Chalk paint and wax makeover of a bedside table

Our home contains a variety of furniture we have collected over the last 5 years from various places. Some is new, some are hand-me-downs and some are eBay purchases. Currently in our spare bedroom the furniture is either hand painted or from a matching set of Ikea pieces. All except an old bedside table that used belong in my parents’ home. For a long time I ignored this fact but recently it started to annoy me and I decided it was time to do something about it.

As a lover of chalk paint I had bought an Annie Sloan book some time ago but never done more than flick through it. I finally had a proper look and found some inspiration for my prospective project.

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On a bit of a whim (always best to strike whilst the iron’s hot with these things I find) we set off to an Annie Sloan stockist in nearby Holmfirth. This well – known Yorkshire town is full of lovely shops, pubs and cafés and is always a joy to visit. Hidden at the end of a quintesentially Yorkshire cobbled street is Lost and Found Interiors. This was the first time I’d visited the shop but I’ll definitely be back. I could happily furnish my entire house from their lovely vintage and upcycled stock! I had a chat with the owner about my idea. He runs Annie Sloan workshops so was full of useful suggestions though I’m not sure he was completely on board with my planned technique! As well as the paints and wax I needed I also picked up a funky print.

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The next day I dug out my dust sheets, cloths and brushes and set to work. After cleaning the cabinet I started with a coat of Old White and let it dry (which doesn’t take long). In my haste to get going I’m afraid I forgot to take a before picture!

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Here you can see that this white coat is applied unevenly and all in different directions to get the required effect. This goes against how I’d normally prefer to do things but I found it quite liberating! Next, on to the coat of Provence applied in the same way but without letting the white show through too much. Let it dry.

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The door handle isn’t painted. I covered it in aluminium foil to protect it. Originally I had planned to distress the finish next so you could see the white paint through it. I tried this on a small section and didn’t like it so didn’t do any more.

Next comes the fun bit – waxing! This is where the project really comes to life. First you coat the whole thing in a layer of clear wax to protect it. Then you start to apply the dark wax. It seems a bit scary at first. Your item is looking lovely. Not yet how you imagined the finished product but ok. Then you start slapping on the brown wax and think “what have I done!”  You have to keep the faith that you can do it and it’ll turn out just right!

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This photo shows the side of the cabinet as I was working my way down to the bottom. Apply the dark wax with a brush, making sure you work it into the contours made by the way you’ve applied the paint. Then use a cloth to get most of it off again. It dries quickly so you have to work in small sections and it takes a bit of elbow grease! If there are bits with too much dark wax and you don’t like it you can use more clear wax to help remove the excess. When you’re happy with the finish leave it to dry.

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It took me several hours to get to this point. It’s quite handy though as in the drying time after each coat of paint you can go and get a few jobs done around the house (or sit and chill out with a cup of tea and a biscuit or two!). After 24 hours use a clean cloth to buff the cabinet to a nice finish which removes any stickiness from the wax. Ta-da! You’re done!

Position, style, admire!

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Thank you for reading. Leave me a comment if you’d like. Why don’t you have a go yourself? I’d love to hear how you get on!

Breathing new life into an old Wardrobe

Two rented properties ago, R and I bought a really cheap flimsy pine wardrobe and chest of drawers that we thought would “put us on” until we could afford something better quality.  When we moved from our old flat to our last house we thought it probably wouldn’t survive another move as it was pretty rickety. However, when it came to moving again this year R persuaded me to give it a chance and promised he would sure it up a bit to make it strong enough to stay in use, at least in our spare room. I agreed – on one condition… the pine finish had to go!

I forgot to take a photo of the wardrobe before we started but here is a picture of the matching chest of drawers so you can see the original style.

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Not very attractive, I’m sure you’ll agree.  So we set about a transformation! At first I thought the best thing would be to paint the wardrobe white and I bought some spray paint and some lovely new handles in a light green with polka dots that matched the curtains in our spare room. I say “spare room” but it is the room we’ve been in since we moved as what will eventually become our bedroom is still a general dumping ground. I digress. The spray painting was easy to do but we were really unsatisfied with the finish. It appeared quite “stripy.” I’m sure it was probably our technique rather than the product’s fault (we used Rust-oleum Universal spray paint in satin white) but we also didn’t achieve the coverage stated on the pack and had to buy more than we’d initially estimated and we still didn’t like the final effect, even after two coats. We’d thought the advantage of spray paint would have been not having to prime the wood first but in the end it would have been a better option! Anyway, I won’t keep you guessing any longer – this is what it looked like after each panel had two coats of the spray paint and the wardrobe was re-built (with lots of extra screws to keep it together!).

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That’s R on the right, busy applying the next finish! The handles did look nice on it when I tried them out – but it needed a better finish and I didn’t like the white in this room. So I decided I’d like a greeny-grey colour to complement my curtains and the dark wood furniture in the room and thought I’d look for an eggshell paint.  I settled on this   2013-08-05 20.07.34 Acrylic Eggshell in Moonstone Grey by Graig & Rose from B & Q. It was a bit of a punt really as I felt inspired to get on with it and didn’t want to spend ages poring over the different options and never getting around to actually painting the wardrobe! So I decided to trust my instincts and just go for it!

2013-08-02 19.14.31    This was after the first coat. Pretty rough – lots of brush marks!

We applied two coats of the eggshell paint by brush (we tried both gloss and emulsion rollers and both gave an awful finish!). Once it was dry I reapplied the handles (which now blend in more than stand out as I’d originally intended) and decided to lightly distress the wardrobe in places to give it a bit more character.  To do this I just used some fine grade sandpaper and went back to the wood in some places and in others just back to the white coat underneath, which looks quite effective although I wasn’t very brave with it and it doesn’t show up in the pictures too well I’m afraid.

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It was all a bit of an experiment but was good experience and I think we’ve turned something ugly into something much more attractive – I hope you’ll agree! We’re planning a bigger project further down the line that I will report back on here eventually, and the experience with the wardrobe will be invaluable I’m sure. Doing this project has reminded me how much I love painting – I can’t wait till we own a home one day and I can paint walls not just furniture!

Finally before I go I just wanted to share a couple of photos from the weekend. On Saturday when we weren’t busy painting we went to the Emley show and had a great day out. These shots are of the mast and the beautiful sky… (I’m now totally inspired to enter my craft projects and photos in local agricultural shows in the future too!)

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