Most of us that restore furniture have faced the dilemma of painting an antique piece, even if you, yourself, have no qualms about it, you know someone somewhere is going to give you a hard time for ruining a piece.
I have seen times when the naysayers are right....some beautiful historic pieces have been ruined (in my opinion), and in fact I predict in about 10 years a new fad on restoring painted pieces to original finish with sweep the blogosphere.
But...for those of us who like painted furniture may I present a reason to paint- several reasons actually!
This is a lovely piece we received free from a friend. Looks are deceiving, first it looks tough, second, it was in much worse condition that it looks like. Gorgeous rich wood tones are lost to chipping, bubbling laminate, one of the key drawers is missing and it was in poor structural condition. Lots of people would have given up on her but not us!
First recreating a matching drawer was too difficult due to the convex curvature, so we elected to remove it along with the first large drawer, this gave us a pocket to use for display and also room to reinforce the structure. Next a few pieces had to be replaced along with new wood drawer slides etc. I am not sure how long my husband spent....but it was many hours.
|board placed for support as well as looks|
Some of the laminate had to be removed. My husband use a putty knife and a heat gun to scrape it away. No easy task- but I bet you knew that.
the back, I think leaving the back unfinished is a great way to maintain the history of the piece, keeping the wood style, condition and age represented. Since I will be showing this piece at a booth, it stood out like a sore, very sore thumb, so I taped over any markings and then lightly washed some color over it. The result is an easy to see through, easy to remove key to the history of the piece.
As for the rest, I went with Annie Sloan Versailles for the main color, and Graphite for lettering. I decided to use a good quality chalk paint because old pieces can be choosy as to which paint they like, sometimes they rebel against latex and won't adhere as well. Chalk paint grabs on, dries fast, and seems to have that softer finish that blends better with an old piece, kind of like giving your obstinate child a cookie to calm them down.
yes, furniture speaks....you just have to listen- no, I don't take meds for this.
The graphics come from The Graphics Fairy. Save them in a .jpg form and go to Blockposters and blow them up. I went old school and used plain old carbon transfer paper, and then hand painted them by brush. I honestly find this process relaxing, for an upright item, I recommend painting the connected areas vertically and then removing the drawers to finish, if you do it all on the vertical you will get a bit of a back/neck ache. Paint pens are available, I have never used one but if you have feel free to leave a comment about them.
***** amended note- transferring with the carbon paper onto chalk paint did not give me smear issues, I have however since done it on glossy latex, this will smear, you can fix it but just use caution and be more careful.
|after the carbon paper is removed|
|after hand painting, bees are a stencil|
Sometimes a piece can be saved and not ruined by paint.
My guidelines are
- too far gone structurally for reasonable cost and time restoration
- bad laminate
- mid century and newer pieces that have lower quality wood or are just plain ugly (shh, don't let the piece hear you say that)
and yes.....just because you want to paint it, someone will yell at you- but it is your piece so you can't paint it if you want to.
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