Saturday, July 20, 2013

White China Cabinet in Chalk Paint

I found this china cabinet in a Restore (Habitat for Humanity) near where I live. It's a small, one piece cabinet around 40 inches wide with the most gorgeous lines, but the finish was outdated. In fact, when I started to wash it down with some soap and water in preparation for painting, the original finish just wiped off. I had left the piece outside in the heat and humidity for a couple of days and maybe that is why the finish came off so easily. I am new to furniture refinishing so I don't really know.

I had read a lot about chalk paint and the Annie Sloan brand on various blogs and thought I would like to see what all the fuss was about. I was only able to find a few distributors of ASCP in Canada. All were a fair distance from my home. Then I found a Canadian manufacturer of chalk paint, Van Gogh Chalk Paint and the best thing was that there was a retailer only 5 minutes away from me. How great is that?

Now I have to confess that I am not brave enough to tackle a big job like this.  I knew the doors and hardware had to come off and I was afraid once I removed them, I would not be able to fit them back.  I was also nervous about picking up a paint brush.  So I have a lovely friend who did all the painting for me.

I was telling him about the wonderful things I had heard about chalk paint.  Well when he started painting, he thought it was the most horrible stuff he had ever worked with.  The paint was thick, it was drying extremely fast and left all sorts of streaks.  He felt bad because the thought he was doing a lousy job.

I have a friend in the furniture restoration/painting business who kindly rushed over to have a look.  She knows about chalk paint and thinned it with water.  After that, things went along smoothly.  Sort of.

Talk about serendipity.  Underneath the white, this amazing crackle thing happened all over the cabinet.  Again my friend thought he had screwed up but then was relieved when I said I couldn't believe how beautiful I thought that effect was and how much I loved it.

After a light distressing, the next step was to seal it with Varathane.  When my friend started applying the Varathane, it went on all gummy and just created a horrible mess.  He immediately wiped it off and I called the woman who sold me the chalk paint for advice.  We both thought the humidity was to blame again.  She suggested beeswax so off to the store we went for beeswax.  Apparently you can work with beeswax in humid temperatures.  She was right.  It worked liked a charm.

Last step was to put the doors and hardware back on.  All went well, except, the bottom outside doors would not fit.  So my friend planed and repainted the sides and then they fit like a glove.

What lot of obstacles but the end result - WOW.  Everyone who has seen it loves it.

Oh and if you enlarge the BEFORE photo and look carefully, you will see the reflection of two of my dogs. :)

And here she in all her glory in white.  I have left it for a week to dry further before I start to fill her up with my china.
Here is detail of the bottom.  I have four other pieces (buffet and hutch, 2 night stands and bed headboard and footboard) waiting for their turn to be chalk painted.  They will be dressed in bright red and a mustard yellow.  I will post those pieces as they get finished.
The Shabby Nest

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