Transforming an Old Piece of Furniture into Lovely

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Do you have an old table, wooden chair or cabinet that needs transforming?



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I found this unique Drexel Heritage piece of furniture, made in the 70’s, on Craigslist and fell in love with the look of it, but didn’t like the faded yellowish color. So I decided to make it into a refreshing  antique mint green  to accent my other decor.

Initially, the yellowish hutch had 40 years of grease and dirt stuck to it making the cleaning job the worst, taking over two hours! Once that was complete I was ready to move on to the fun part! Transforming this tired piece into something beautiful with layers of paint to give it a rich antique look.

Green hutch touched-2I got a recipe off Pinterest for chalk paint, so I didn’t have to sand the piece before painting. It had 3 simple ingredients. Paint, Water and Plaster Paris.

The first layer is black chalk paint, applied to all the detailed curves, crevices and corners. This can be done very quickly because it is going to be completely covered with other colors.

Secondly, I made up the too-bright green chalk paint from a mis-tint I bought at Lowes for $5.00/ gallon.

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Everyone who walks into the room  comments on how bright it was…way too bright! Much more than this photo actually shows. Even though my favorite color is Spring Green, I had to agree, but, I ignored the comments because I knew it needed to be bright because the subsequent layers will mute it.

Once the green dries, begin sanding with either sand paper or steel wool.

Green hutch touched-5Rub harder in some areas sanding down to the original wood. Other areas only sand a little allowing subtle layers to appear. The sanding reveals the original wood, the yellowy tan, black and green. You can sand as much or little as you like!

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Once you get the aged look you was aiming for, make a mixture of 50% black paint (not chalk paint) used earlier and 50% clear glaze. With a brush, apply the paint mixture to the details of the piece, doing small amounts at a time. The clear glaze allows you to work with the paint getting the desired affect before it dries. Initially this is scary and feels like a mistake because it goes on overwhelmingly black! Don’t worry most of the black will soon be gone.
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After drying a couple minutes, take an old t-shirt, towel or cloth (that can be thrown away when you are done) and gently begin wiping off the excess black paint. This leaves a beautiful antiqued gray in the crevices. Once the trim is finished, add the black glaze to the body of the cabinet using long  thin strokes going from the top to bottom. Then wipe it in long downstrokes. Watch that the gray is consistent over the whole piece. There can be light and dark areas as pictured in the image at the top, but as you look at the whole piece, it should appear to be all the same shade.

Green hutch touched-8 If you decide more gray is needed in one small area or an additional layer on the whole piece, allow it to  dry completely before adding another layer of glaze. If you add a second layer when it is wet you will get a blotchy mess–Don’t ask me how I know this!!:(

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If your piece is going to be a high use piece, like a wooden chair or dining room table, you will want to apply a water based varnish or sealer over it.

Then when you have achieved the look you want, Wha-La, you are done! 

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If you have an old piece of furniture you like the size, shape and design of, PAINT IT! Be brave and bring some color into your room and make it into a piece you love and one that you will receive compliments on from family and friends.

Please share your ideas on what colors you want to paint with. Also share your thoughts, questions and ideas with me.























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