Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Miracles of Chalk Paint (or How I Came To Love That Once Ugly Chest)!

 See this chest?  I hate, loathe & despise this chest.  I've had it for at least 20 years & I've always hated, loathed & despised this chest because it's so dark & matches absolutely nothing in my house.  The only reason I kept it is because it was my Grandma Harris's & her I loved.  I kept a white lace tablecloth thrown over it, but I knew under it lurked this hideous thing like an unwanted house guest.  Did I mention how much I loathed this thing?

Then I read about something called chalk paint.  You mean I don't have to sand or prime anything to use it &, since I'm all about the vintage, shabby look, I don't have to be painstakingly careful about how I apply it?  ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?!  How did I not know about this?  Oh, baby, give me some of that!  The first thing I'm trying that out on is this loathsome chest - I hate it anyway so what harm can it do?

First coat on & I'm already liking it better than I did.  I'm using Americana Deco Art Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting (white).  Actually, this was the only coat I put on.  I just kept fiddling with it until I had it distressed to my liking.

Now, of course, this is no place to stop.  How boring would that be?  This baby needs some stenciling.  I decided to go for a Parisian steamer trunk kinda thing.  Love me a harlequin print!  For the stenciling I used my favorites - the Art Alchemy Metallique Paints.  Because I used them over the chalk paint, they don't have the shimmer they usually do, but they worked just fine nonetheless.  I had painted the hardware with the white chalk paint & dry brushed it in Bronze to bring up the detail.  Much better!

I went in a different direction with the lid.  I love crows - think they're smart & cool - so I dragged some Golden coarse molding paste through my crow stencil for each corner & the middle & gave them each a crown too while I was at it.  Used the molding paste for rest of the motif too.  Once everything was dry, I painted all of it, but found it was just a little too perfect.  Some sandpaper took care of that & knocked back the new.  To finish the lid, I took my French script stamp & stamped over the entire thing in black.

Not too crazy about how the leaves & branches turned out.  I tried mixing the paint with the molding paste thinking to save some time.  It did, but came out looking more like Play-Doh & sanding it back didn't help since the paint was mixed in.  The only way to fix this is to sand it off completely & redo it & that ain't happening.

I decided that the front still looked a little too plain so I whipped out one of my favorite pieces from Relics & Artifacts, hit it w/ some bronze paint & voila - that's better!  It was begging for a medallion there.

Ok, so we've got the front & top taken care of, but what about the sides?  Now, don't panic - of course I got to those too!  I decided I'd try an image transfer & it definitely needed some drawer pulls which it didn't have.  Now, I can't go putting on these shiny, bright pulls on the thing - not at all the look I'm going for here.  So, what am I supposed to do - clean them, then leave them in a large closed yogurt container layered between paper towels doused in ammonia & cover them in salt - that's what!  A few hours later & instant patina!  Ok, one of the pulls took a full day because I forgot to clean it first.  Don't do that.  Also, I HIGHLY recommend doing this outdoors & being, very, very careful because of the fumes - they'll knock you out if you aren't careful.  

So, what happens when we throw it all together - THIS!

And now I'm in love with it!  So much better than that ugly, dark thing previously lurking in my living room, don't you think?

As an added bonus, this is the little Alice in Wonderlandish table I painted next.  My intent was to start on the kitchen cabinets, but that felt very big & scary so I decided I just had to have this instead. At least it was productive procrastination & it makes me smile every day when I open the front door.