Thursday, March 29, 2012

French Chair and Crackled Lamp Transformation

So I finally found some time to transform the other burgundy leather French chair I aquired in January. One was for a custom order you may remember from a previous post . This one I decided to give a Hollywood Regency feel. I used  a wax metallic in an antique gold finish. The process is very simple. You rub it on, let it dry then buff to a high sheen. It seals itself and doesn't require primer. I used this on all of the wood frame of the chair. This is also what I used on the leather to stencil the leopard print. So heres a before shot, in process and the finished piece.

Complete Royal French Chair! Everyone needs one!
As always, this chair is currently in booth #409 Eeeklectic Town at the Dilworth Blacklion and online in my Etsy store.  Free local delivery!
I also had another challenging little project for one of my clients. She had a lovely pair of crackled finish outdoor lamps. The finish was coming off in sheets. 

So rather than replace them, she asked me if I could redo them. Since I never say no, I took them home. You would think since so much of the finish was peeling, it would have been super easy to get the balance of the paint off. Wrong. I used a green, environmentally friendly paint stripper. I finally had to enlist the help of my husband's eternal patience and muscle. He finally prepped them down to the metal!
I used a "green" metal primer from one of my favorite online vendors. I used a dark brown because I wanted it to show through the cracks. The picture is one coat, but I did two coats.

I used a crackle size (which is what makes the cracking paste crack) from another fav online vendor. I randomly applied it so that I wouldn't have cracking all over. The shiny, darker areas in the picture have size on them.

After the size dried, I applied my tinted crackle paste. It comes white, so I added a little raw umber to tone it down.

After drying, this is how it looked! Cracked beautifully!
It still needed to be toned down and given some dimension. I mixed a glaze in a dark putty color and appilied it all over the lamp, wiping it off to soften the effect.
Once dry I applied 3 coats of exterior sealer. Lots of layers and labor, but we saved the lamps from the landfill and now they are just as beautiful as before!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blooming Wisteria

So I know I always write about painting stuff, but I just had to share these glorious photos of the wisteria blooming in our back yard this week. We planted this beautiful weed 11 years ago. We had alway intended to create a large arbor for it to grow on, but everything we read said wisteria can crush structures. So we just keep it pruned like a small tree. It was a transplant from one that my mother had in her yard. We just love it! Even though it has to be pruned heavily several times a year and it grabs the small children as they walk by, we just love the scent of the spring blooms. The purple color is amazing!

I took this photo a few days later. The purple of the wisteria behind the glowing red of a recently planted Japanese Maple. Great inspiration for color on an accent piece of furniture or wine glasses! I would love to see photos of YOUR gardens in bloom! Feel free to send in your best!

Monday, March 12, 2012

French Side Table and Whimsical Coat Rack

A couple of other small, upcycled projects completed recently, include an awesome side table perfect for that Paris style apartment and an old, solid wood cabinet door upcycled into a fun coat and hat rack with an inspirational Dr.Suess quote. I also did the top of an old Duncan Phyffe drum style table. I painted it to look like my favorite distressed clockface. I completed that for "Remember Me Antiques". Scott and Dara have a great little antique shop in Monroe, NC. You can check out their stuff and follow them on Facebook at . Both side tables were transformed using the same paint colors. Typical preparation included rough sanding, wiping down dust and priming. There are some new products out there that allow you to skip these steps. I'm still old school on this process, but will be doing some pieces in the near future using these products. If you are a DIYer, make sure you follow by email so you don't miss this. My basecoat is a satin finish, antique white. A little creamy and warm, not bright and harsh. For the clock table, I printed out my Roman numerals on the computer in the size that I felt was appropriate, using Times Roman font.
Clockface table in process
I also used the font Harrington for the word Paris to go on the side table. Using carbon paper, I duplicated the letter/numbers onto each table. Carbon paper is  my new favorite way to duplicate text. It works very well. The scrolling around the border of the Paris table was hand painted, but you could also use carbon paper for that also. Below picture is before distressing and glazing. Next, I always love to add a little distressing! A firm sanding block with a touch here and there. Lovely French country, cottage chic style.
Paris table before distressing and glazing
Once I am satsfied with the distressing, I rub on a chocolate glaze. It further tones the white and makes the text and distressing a little more subtle. I finish it off with a 50/50 blend of my favoirite flat and satin varnish. You can see the dramatic change below after the distressing and glazing on both tables. I hope these transformations inspire you to transform and old piece of furniture you have or allow me to breathe new life into it for you.
Completed Paris table!
Clockface table after
Clockface table after

The coat and hat rack was a similar process, except that the old door had been used as a crackled finish sample for a client and it needed to be freshened up. It had been previously prepped and painted so I just added a fresh basecoat in a canvas white color. My crackled texture was still visible which was perfect. I envisioned a little more drama and color, so I did a soft wash of a champagne metallic glaze and a very soft wash of an aqua glaze. Overall, still going for creamy neutral, but with a pop of fun color! I found an inspiring Dr. Suess quote that I wanted to wrap the border on the hat rack. "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.." I found a whimsical font called Viner Hand that I printed in the appropriate size. Using my new favorite carbon paper, I traced the quote around the border.
Tracing text onto coat rack

Text imprint on coat rack

Once the I had the border imprint, I used a sheer champagne metallic wash with some chocolate glaze to fill in my text. The effect is slightly dimensional.
I also added the metallic on the higher points of the cabinet detail. Once dry, I polyurethaned the coat and hat rack. I found some slightly whimsical hardware. I tweeked the color of the hanger hardware by adding a little of my champagne metallic. I measured and lined up the coat hangers, drilled my holes and installed. I also added two D ring hooks on the back for hanging. I though it turned out great! You can also see these items in my online shop. .  Thanks so much for looking!

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