playing doctor.

I saw this desk listed on Craigslist shortly after painting the ‘young at heart’ dresser in Fusion’s Park Bench (green).

If you’ll remember, I’d purchased a 2nd pint of the Park Bench that I didn’t need for that dresser so I was looking for something else to paint green.  I did some searching for ‘green painted furniture’ on pinterest looking for some inspiration and I came across a very similar desk painted green.  So Mr. Q went off to New Richmond, Wisconsin to pick this one up.

The inspiration desk on pinterest was gorgeous.  Very fresh and modern looking.  But as it turns out I just don’t lean towards fresh and modern.  I really want to be young and trendy.  But when it comes right down to it, my vision almost always seems to go in a different direction.  I might as well face it, I am neither young nor terribly modern.

So let me show you what I did with desk instead, starting with the top.

The seller turned out to be one of those guys who buys out storage units where the renter has defaulted on their rental payments.  He had a huge pole barn full of stuff.  This desk had likely been stored for a while.  That’s always a bit of a dicey situation.  Furniture really doesn’t do well in storage, and sure enough this piece was not in the greatest condition, especially the top.

But underneath all of those stains, scratches and gunk I thought there might be some very pretty wood veneer.  It was time to play doctor and do some serious desk top surgery to save it.

I started by pulling out my Citristrip.

As I mentioned last week, this is my stripper of choice because I can use it inside the house in the middle of winter.  It has a slightly orange scent, not a nasty chemical smell.  And see?  Right on the label it says ‘safe for indoor use’.

It seems that there are two camps when it comes to refinishing wood tops; the strippers and the sanders.

I’m definitely a stripper (but please don’t quote me on that out of context).  There are a few reasons for that.  For one thing, when sanding veneer you have to be very careful not to sand right through it.  Second, when using a power sander you also have to be careful not to leave sanding marks behind.  Third, sanding to remove a finish in the middle of your living room (which is where I work in January) would be huge mess.  But the main reason is that I don’t enjoy using power tools of any kind, including electric sanders.  I know, hard to believe that a prolific furniture refurbisher like myself doesn’t like power tools.

It all stems back to a childhood incident.  My friend Heidi and I were playing with our Barbie dolls on her back porch one pleasant summer day.  I must have been about 8 years old or so.  The neighbor was out mowing his lawn when something must have gotten clogged in the mower, so he stuck his hand in to dislodge it.  Yep, you know where I’m going with this.  When he pulled his hand back out it was missing four fingers.  I still clearly remember vivid details from that day, like how much I loved my Malibu Barbie and the fact that the neighbor’s wife ran out of the house with an adorable embroidered vintage dish towel and wrapped it around his bloody hand.  Although of course the towel wasn’t vintage at the time, it was just your standard dish towel and obviously it never got the chance to fulfill its vintage destiny.

Anyway, you get the picture.  It was traumatic.  To this day I refuse to operate a lawn mower, or a snow blower, electric hedge trimmers or any kind of power saw whatsoever (thank goodness for Mr. Q).   I’ll probably get some sort of DIY blogger demerits for admitting that out loud, but there you have it.  I prefer to work with plain old hand tools whenever possible.  I still have to break out the electric sander sometimes, but I try to limit its use.

So, back to my desk.  Here is how the top looked after being stripped.

Hmmm.  Not sure that is an improvement.  And the stripping brought to light a secondary issue.  The veneer had started to buckle in a couple of spots.

Drat.  At this point even painting isn’t an option that will disguise that problem.

So I decided to attempt to fix it.  First off I had Mr. Q order some glue syringes via Amazon.  We paid $7.50 (free shipping with Amazon Prime) for a kit with two syringes and 4 tips (the yellow and metal part).  The tips are meant for a single use only because you can’t clean the glue out of them well enough to save them for another use.

To repair spots of buckling veneer you fill the syringe with wood glue and then insert the small metal tip under the loose veneer to get the glue way back in there.  If your veneer is buckled, but hasn’t cracked you may have to use a razor blade to make a small incision along the buckled area for inserting the syringe.

Incisions?  Syringes?  Paging doctor q, you’re needed in surgery, stat!

Once you’ve got plenty of glue under there, press the veneer flat and wipe away any excess glue that squishes out.  Then lay down a sheet of wax paper first, followed by lots of heavy stuff to hold the veneer flat while the glue dries.  Of course you can also use clamps if your repairs happen to be in a location where clamps will work.  Mine weren’t, so I used bricks and heavy books.  The purpose of the wax paper is to prevent you from gluing the books to the desk top.

Let your glue dry overnight, remove the books and voila!  No more buckling.

My next step was to sand the desk top smooth removing any last remains of finish that didn’t come off with the stripping.  This is not the heavy duty sanding that would be required to completely remove a finish from scratch, just a couple of passes with my new orbital sander.

Although the sanding made the water stains a little less dramatic, they were still fairly obvious.  This was the point where I had to step back and consider my options.  I debated using some Miss Mustard Seed antiquing wax and going with a more rustic look for the desk top.  I wasn’t sure how much of the discoloration would be disguised by the wax.  If I was keeping the desk, I would have chosen this option because I like a very rustic look.

But I’m not keeping it.  So I next considered using a milk paint stain made with watered down Miss Mustard Seed Curio (brown) to even out the color first, followed by the Homestead House Stain & Finishing Oil that I wrote about last week.  I knew the SFO would work beautifully over milk paint.

But ultimately I decided to use just the Stain & Finishing Oil in Cappucino alone and keep my fingers crossed that the color would be dark enough to disguise those stains.  In a worst case scenario, if the top looked awful, I would have to wait three weeks for the SFO to fully cure before painting over it.  I decided it was worth the gamble.

Luckily my gamble paid off.  Here is one coat of the SFO.

Pretty much amazing, right?

I do have a couple of wonky spots where I fixed the buckling veneer.  I suspect it’s because I didn’t quite get all of the glue off and the SFO wasn’t able to penetrate to the wood in those spots.

Next time I’ll try using some mineral spirits to make sure that I’ve gotten every last bit of the glue before applying the SFO.  Unless one of you has a tip for that?  If so, please be sure to share in a comment.

But despite those couple of marks, the difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of this desk top is like night and day.

I am perfectly happy with this transformation despite a couple of flaws.

But it took me so long to explain this process that I’ve run out of time for sharing the rest of the desk today, so be sure to check back later in the week to see the total transformation!

In the meantime, be sure to pin this post for future reference.  You never know when you may have to play doctor and repair some buckling veneer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

mind the gap.

Remember this dresser that I painted last September?

I mentioned at the time that I don’t usually keep the mirrors that come with dressers.  I have found that it takes much longer to sell a dresser with a mirror than one without.  But this mirror was so gorgeous and it added so much to the dresser that I decided to keep it.

But I didn’t literally want to keep it.  I wanted to sell it.  I posted it on Craigslist and it sat, and it sat, and it sat.  I got a couple of nibbles, but no one even so much as came out to look at it.

Honestly it’s not often that my pieces don’t sell within a month or so, sometimes even faster.  But it does happen.  When it does I usually go back to the drawing board and try to figure out why and what I can re-work to make the piece more marketable.

First I figured it couldn’t possibly be the color.  Right?  It’s white.  Anyone can work a white piece into their existing color scheme.

I supposed it could be the transfer, or the hardware.

But I don’t think its any of those things.  I think it’s the mirror.

So it’s time to cut my losses and remove the mirror.  However, removing the mirror leaves a gap at the back of the top of the dresser because the mirror sat down into that gap.  So it wasn’t quite as simple as just removing the mirror and calling it good.

Luckily, I have a handy neighbor who can help me out with such things!

Ken made short work of cutting a board to fit down in that gap.

I painted it up to match the dresser (in Fusion’s Limestone) and attached it.

And presto, the dresser has a whole new look.

Now this dresser could hold a widescreen TV, or it could be used under a window.  It could work in a living room, dining room or foyer.

It would also work well in a home office to hold the printer and office supplies.

  It’s just so much more versatile without a mirror, don’t you agree?  I also have to say that I like it much better this way myself.

And in case you are wondering what the fate of the mirror will be, Ken and I are going to turn it into another chalkboard shelf so it won’t just be going to waste.

So now we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not my theory about mirrors is right.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.  In the meantime you can see some of my other do-overs here, here and here.

s.f.o.

I purchased this table back in September at a garage sale.

I loved the detail on the base of the table, but didn’t love the dated dark, shiny, reddish finish which also was not in very good condition.  So of course I planned to give it a makeover.

I started by stripping the top of the table using Citristrip.  Although I stripped this piece outside in my driveway back in September, I like using the Citristrip because it can be used indoors also and it’s not as toxic as some of the stronger strippers.  But the trade off is that it doesn’t work as quickly as the stronger strippers.  Usually it works great to just remove some old varnish, but this piece had some serious red colored stain that just kept coming up.  In fact, even after three passes with the stripper I still hadn’t gotten quite all of it.  So I put the table in the back corner of the workshop to think about its bad behavior for a while.

Then over a frigidly cold weekend recently I pulled it into the house to finish the job.  Since the tabletop was not a uniform color, I decided to forgo my original plan of just waxing it and instead try the Homestead House Stain & Finishing Oil All in One (or SFO for short) in Cappucino.

Homestead House sent a complimentary sample of this product to me a while back, but this is the first chance I’ve had to try it out.  Although this product isn’t designed to cover up discolorations, my hope was that the dark color of the Cappucino would help disguise the fact that the wood tabletop was still just a little bit splotchy from that red stain.

First things first, the SFO is ideally meant for bare wood.  It is designed to soak into the wood rather than sit on top of another finish like a gel stain does.  Also, it is color and topcoat in one, no need for the multiple steps of stain followed by poly.  Once cured this stuff is even durable enough to use on floors.

Here is what Homestead House has to say about the ingredients:  “Our Stain & Finishing Oil is composed of plant products, Safflower oil, Tung oil, Linseed oil, Vegetable wax, safe odourless mineral solvent and cobalt free siccative which means effective drying without toxic cobalt dryers while being virtually odourless.”  And based on that, I felt comfortable using this product inside my home with no windows open.  It was -12F outside when I was working on this, so opening a window was definitely not an option.

To prep the table top I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper, vacuumed the dust, and then wiped it down with a clean microfiber cloth.  I applied the SFO with an old brush, but next time I think I would just use either a lint free cloth or a stain applicator pad either of which can then just be tossed.  This is not a water based product and cleaning an oily brush is just not something I enjoy spending time on.

After applying the product I let it sit for about 10 minutes to absorb into the wood.  Then I used an old t-shirt to wipe away the excess.

And that was it.

Yep.  Done.

No need for an extra topcoat.  After 3 days this finish is cured enough for normal use and after 10 days it is fully washable making it a great choice for table tops.

Although you can use multiple coats to deepen the color, I found that just one coat was plenty dark for my table.  However, keep in mind that multiple coats will also improve the durability and increase the shine slightly with each coat.  If you don’t want to darken the color, but do want to increase durability or shine you can do your first coat in the color you want (Cappucino for example) and then add subsequent coats of SFO in Natural (allow 24 hours of drying time between each coat).

Seriously though folks, I am pretty much a novice stain-er.  I don’t have a lot of experience with wood stain and I am pretty intimidated by it.  It seems like you have to be very careful to keep the color even, etc. etc.  But this stuff was super easy to use.

I mentioned that the SFO is best suited for bare wood, but it also works great over milk paint.  I did a double take the first time I read that one myself.  I do a lot of painting with milk paint so I’m always interested in alternative top coats.  When you think about it, it makes total sense that the SFO will work well over milk paint since the paint itself is porous and will allow the finish to soak in.  I did a little practice board to see how the Cappucino SFO would look over both some Coal Black (top) and some Midnight Blue (bottom) Homestead House milk paint.

By the way, please try to ignore those white specks in my paint.

Don’t use sandpaper that was previously used over white paint to sand your dark milk paint, it will leave little flecks of white paint behind.  Lesson learned.

But hopefully you can see that the SFO looks fantastic over the milk paint.  It adds a richness to the color, but not a lot of shine.  I plan to try this technique on a piece of furniture that I’m working on currently.

With all this talk of SFO being an oil, designed to soak into porous surfaces like bare wood and milk paint, you might be thinking that you can’t use it over an existing sealed surface (such as Fusion or other acrylic paints).  While it’s true that it’s not ideally meant for those surfaces, you can do it.  Much like you can put hemp oil over Fusion paint.  It won’t soak in like it does over bare wood or milk paint, but it will harden as it dries and provide both color and added protection.  I tried a practice board for that too, using Fusion’s Plaster and Park Bench.

The difference when using the SFO over non-porous surfaces is that you need to wipe carefully.  If you wipe too vigorously you will just wipe away all of the SFO.  Wipe gently leaving a thin coat behind and then let it dry.  I think it gives a similar look to using a glaze, but again with very nice matte finish.  I love the Cappucino over the Park Bench.

I hope that some of this info about the Stain & Finishing Oil has helped give you a better understanding of how this product works.  I definitely plan to use it on a couple of upcoming projects, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that.  But meanwhile, back to my little table.

For the base of the table I pulled out some Fusion paint in a color that I’d never tried before called Cathedral Taupe.

I’d always thought this color had a bit too much pink in it for me, and it definitely does have a pink undertone.  I think the pink shows up more in photos than it does in real life actually.  The combination of the Cappucino colored top and the Cathedral Taupe base is gorgeous in person.  I feel like I didn’t really capture it well in my photos.

Once again I applied a little beeswax before painting to help make distressing the edges of the table base easier.

I plan to bring the table in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell, unless one of you wants it first?  If interested, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more info.

 

the cottage dresser.

I don’t often buy pieces of furniture that are already painted.  There are a few reasons for that.  First of all, you may not know what kind of paint you are painting over.  Is it oil based?  If the previous paint is oil based you will not get good adhesion over it with a water based paint.  Second, you don’t know how well the previous painter prepped the piece before painting.  If their coat of paint is not stable, your’s won’t be stable either.  Third, if the existing paint job is full of drips and brush marks you will need to fix those before you paint (by sanding them down).  Fourth, if you are going to distress your piece by sanding it you risk having the existing color of the piece show through on the edges, so if you don’t like the color you are out of luck.  Lastly, while stripping the existing paint might be an option for some, I am not a fan.  It’s a messy, time consuming job.

None of these things are obstacles that can’t be overcome, but it takes time to deal with them and why bother when I can just keep looking and find an unpainted piece to work on?

But as always, there are exceptions to every rule.  This dresser is one of them.  I broke my own rule simply because this piece was dirt cheap.

Since this piece is already painted, I thought I would take a moment to critique the previous paint job and explain what I think isn’t working for this dresser

No. 1 – The terracotta paint color.  This is just kind of a hideous color.  I’m sorry if any of you out there are lovers of terracotta, but I’m definitely not.  I’ll put this color right up there with faux tiger oak, I just don’t like it.

No. 2 – The oversized, over-shiny, bulging brass drawer pulls.  Ugh.  Could these be any more unattractive?  They really aren’t suited for the style of this dresser.

No. 3 – The two-toned look.  Normally I enjoy a good two-toned piece and I’ve certainly done a few in my day (here, here, here and here are some good examples).  In the case of this dresser though, the two-toned color scheme seems to be emphasizing the fact that the upper drawer is different than the rest.  In my opinion it just throws off the balance of the entire piece and makes it look strangely top heavy.

No. 4 – The bad distress job on the drawer fronts.  These drawers look like they were just hit randomly with the sandpaper.  They don’t look naturally distressed over time.  I know that some people are OK with this look, but it just doesn’t do it for me.

The trick here is going to be whether or not I can improve upon this piece.

I started by removing the hardware and sanding the piece.  I sanded it a bit more heavily than I would normally just to be sure I was going to get good adhesion over that existing paint.  I also wiped the piece down with some TSP Substitute.  Next, I filled some of the holes left by the original hardware.  I had some new pulls in mind and although they also require two holes each, they are spaced just a little wider than the existing holes.

I started painting with a base coat of Fusion’s Inglenook.

Ah, better already I think.  Inglenook is such a lovely color I was tempted to just stop here, but I didn’t actually have enough Inglenook for a second coat.  Plus, I was going to add these drawer pulls …

Aren’t they sweet?  They are from Hobby Lobby and their full price is $8.99 each.  Kind of high if you need 8 of them.  So of course I waited for the half-price sale and then paid $4.50 each instead.  Even then it was $36 just for the pulls.  However, since I’d gotten such a great deal on the dresser itself I felt like I could splurge a bit on the hardware.

Anyway, these pulls are just a little bit more green than the Inglenook, so in came Fusion’s Brook which is almost a perfect match for the pulls.  These two colors are really very similar.  The Brook, much like the pulls, is just a little darker and a tad more green.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just paint the first coat in Brook too.  Well, it’s simple, I didn’t have enough of that color for two coats either.  And since I’m a total cheapskate (and I already splurged on those drawer pulls!), rather than buy more paint I just made do with a basecoat of Inglenook followed by a second coat of Brook.  It was a simple solution and a great way to use up two jars with not a lot of paint left in either one.

You might have noticed that I said I needed 8 drawer pulls, but this dresser originally came with 10.  There was a mismatched pair on the top drawer.  The top drawer itself is mismatched with the rest of the drawers.

As I was working on this piece I realized that it looked far better without any knobs on that top drawer.  You can still easily open and close it from the sides of the drawer.  So I filled the holes from the previous knobs and just left the drawer without hardware.  Now it’s sort of a ‘hidden’ drawer.  It looks like it’s just part of the trim that wraps around to the sides as well.  It’s a great place to hide the family jewels!

As you can also see in that photo, I just barely distressed the edges of this dresser.  I didn’t want to reveal too much of that terracotta color that is underneath.

I used a lot of vintage greens in my props for the photos including some old wallpaper and that awesome green bird cage.

So there you have it.  A pretty blue-green cottage style dresser.

I think I improved upon the existing paint scheme, what do you think?

 

aging british rockers.

Before we get on with today’s regularly scheduled blog post, I promised to report back on how long it took the sell the ‘young at heart’ green dresser that I posted on Monday.  I was a little nervous about painting it in the vibrant green of Fusion’s Park Bench and wasn’t at all sure how easily the piece would sell in that color.  Well, I posted it on Craigslist on Tuesday morning.  By Tuesday evening I had two potential buyers expressing an interest in the dresser.  The first buyer in line showed up on Wednesday and bought it!  So if you’ve been hesitating about painting something in Park Bench (or perhaps some other more vibrant color) I say go for it.  I’m starting to think that I might just start painting everything green!

I also want to share the story of selling it.  The buyer was a young woman furnishing her new apartment.  She loved the dresser and promptly handed over the cash.  But when we went to load it into her vehicle it was just a hair too wide to fit.  Flipping it up on its side wouldn’t work either.  Mr. Q and I don’t usually deliver my pieces, but on a whim we offered to load it into our van and follow her home with it.  After all, we didn’t have plans for the rest of the evening and she had mentioned she lived in Minneapolis so I knew we wouldn’t be going all that far.  So we loaded it up and headed out.  Turned out that she lives in a huge old mansion just off Hennepin Ave that has been sectioned off into apartments.  The foyer had the most gorgeous original hex tile floor, beautiful oak wainscoting with a stunning arts and crafts style wallpaper above.  The apartment was full of old leaded glass windows, a built in china hutch in the dining room, gorgeous original wood floors.  Even the radiators were amazing.

It’s so fun to get to see where the dresser ended up and to know that it’s going to look amazing in that space.

But enough with the green dresser, let’s move on.  Today I thought we could talk about aging British rockers.

No, no, not that kind of rocker, this kind …

Although I will admit that I am a Rod Stewart fan, after all blondes do have more fun.  I especially like his more recent Great American Songbook recordings and I often listen to those while painting.

But seriously, this post is about that 2nd rocker.  You might be wondering what makes it British, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

I picked up this aging rocker at a garage sale last summer.  I have found that I really enjoy painting these little chairs.  They are perfect for an afternoon project, and also as a way to try out new paint colors, or conversely use up the little bit that’s left of some already well-loved colors.

In this case I pulled out my bin of milk paint.

Am I the only one with a bin of milk paint?  These are all of the opened and partially used bags of milk paint that I have.  Let’s face it, those zip lock tops are really hard to get sealed back up again properly and I store my milk paint in my somewhat damp basement so I need to make sure that it is kept dry.  I used to store each individual opened bag of milk paint inside another gallon sized Ziploc storage bag but that got to be cumbersome, so now I store them all in this plastic bin with a tightly fitted lid.

I pulled out a few colors, Eulalie’s Sky, Luckett’s Green and Flow Blue (all Miss Mustard Seed) to mix together and see what I could come up with for the rocker.  The first batch I mixed ended up far more blue than I wanted.  I think it was the Flow Blue that threw it off.  So I went back to the drawing board and mixed 3 T Eulalie’s Sky with 1 T of the Luckett’s, leaving out the Flow Blue altogether.  That combo was far too green.  So I simply added in some of the previously mixed ‘too blue’ paint one teaspoon at a time until I had the color I wanted.

I’m calling this one British Rocker Mint.  Isn’t it pretty?

I once posted a piece painted in a mix of milk paint colors like this and someone commented that it was a bit much to expect people to go out and buy three bags of milk paint to paint one piece of furniture.  Yes, I totally agree.  I don’t mean to imply that you need to do that.  What I am suggesting is that you can use up your left over milk paint in a similar way.

If you don’t have enough of any one color to paint an entire piece of furniture, mix a few of your leftovers together and see what you can come up with.

Now, back to that aging British rocker.

The only prep I did on this piece was to wipe it down with a damp rag.  I was feeling pretty flexible about any amount of chipping I might get.  There were spots of pre-existing shiny finish, but there were also lots of areas where the existing finish was completely dried out and I knew the milk paint would adhere well in those spots.

I got great coverage with British Rocker Mint.  I did use two coats, but I prefer a more opaque finish.  Once dry, I sanded lightly to remove any loose flakes of paint.  I followed that up with vacuuming away and dust and further flakes of paint.  Then I finished with a coat of Fusion clear wax (same as Miss Mustard Seed clear wax).

Oh, and I almost forgot … what is it that makes this an aging British rocker?

Well, it’s the portion of an IOD transfer that I added to the seat before I added the wax.

This section of transfer was left over from the IOD Gilded Gander transfer that I used on the handmade hutch last year.  This leftover bit fit perfectly on the seat of the rocker, and  gave it a little British style.

This was definitely a project that was good for using up some left overs!

And the end result is an aging British rocker even more adorable than Rod Stewart!

 

 

the thrift store library chairs.

Remember the thrift store library chairs?

My friend Meggan who was shopping with me when I purchased them suggested I paint them black, and several of you agreed.  Mark this day down on your calendars, because it’s not often that I follow good advice.  I ask for opinions all the time, but then usually go and do my own thing, often to my detriment (and I bet this annoys my friends to no end).  But not this time.

This time I gave it some thought and decided black would be perfect on these chairs.  I started by sanding the chairs a bit and then wiping them down with TSP Substitute.

Next I debated which paint to use.  Milk paint, chalk paint or Fusion’s acrylic paint?

I love the look of hemp oiled black milk paint.  I definitely wanted a distressed look for the chairs, so milk paint would have been perfect for that.  I even had plenty of black milk paint on hand (both Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter and Homestead House’s Coal Black).  But the existing finish still had a bit of shine left to it so I knew it might possibly resist the paint a little too much.  I could have solved that problem with a little extra pre-sanding  but the chairs have all of those legs, slats and stretchers.  So.  Many.  Surfaces.  I just didn’t want to sand them all.   Plus then there is the added work of applying a topcoat to the milk paint as well.  Chalk paint was out for the same reason, and also because I didn’t happen to have any black chalk paint.  So in the end I decided to go with Fusion’s Coal Black.  Two coats of paint and done (well, not exactly as it turns out, but almost).

Before I started painting I remembered some advice given by Sue at My Painted Door for making it easier to distress Fusion paint and decided to give it a try (read her post about distressing Fusion paint here for more details).  This must have been an advice-following day for me!

So, as Sue recommended, I added a little Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish (a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed beeswax) to all of the areas of the chairs where the paint would naturally be worn away.  Then I painted them with two coats of the Coal Black.

Here is how they look before being distressed.

I imagine some of you prefer this look (especially you Betty!).  But I think distressing is what brings out the life in a piece.  So I sanded the areas that had beeswax applied to them by hand with some 220 grit sandpaper and voila!

And yes, it was much easier to distress the Fusion paint this way.

Applying beeswax first in areas that you want to distress before painting with Fusion acrylic paint will make them much easier to distress.  Even after the paint as cured for a few days.  Although I haven’t tried it, I would assume this is true of other acrylic paints as well such as General Finishes Milk Paint (which is really an acrylic paint, not a true milk paint).  Also, this is basically the same technique that I use to get perfect chipping when using milk paint.  However, the acrylic paint doesn’t chip.  It just becomes easier to sand away.

Normally I don’t add a topcoat to my Fusion paint because it has a built in top coat and is very durable and washable on its own. However, in this case the bare wood in the distressed areas looked a bit fresh.  Plus once you have sanded through to the bare wood, those areas are not protected.  So I got out my Fusion black wax and added just a bit of it to the distressed areas to darken up and protect the freshly exposed wood.

Although you are only seeing one chair in my photos, I do have a matched pair.

However I think I’ll price them separately since some people might need just one chair, for a desk for example.

If you are in need of a distressed black library chair (or two), be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page for more info.

young at heart.

Recently my friend Terri has been sending me messages about furniture for sale on Facebook Marketplace.  I’d never purchased something via Facebook before, but one of the pieces she forwarded really appealed to me and it was a good price so I followed up on it.

I found it a little clunky going through Facebook to make arrangements for the purchase.  I ended up wasting about 2 hours because initially the seller said he was available at 4:00, but then when 4:00 rolled around I was still waiting to get his address and not getting a response to my IM on Facebook.  So there sat Mr. Q and I with our boots on, ready to head out.  Finally around 6 p.m. the seller messaged me with his address and we headed out.  From there on out it was smooth sailing.  The seller’s home was easy to find and only about 20 minutes away.  He had the dresser out in the garage ready to go.  I looked it over, handed him the cash and then he and Mr. Q loaded it into our van.  Easy peasy.  And of course, this kind of thing can also happen with Craigslist.  I just seem to have better luck communicating via text rather than via Facebook messaging.

Anyway, here it is.

Perhaps you are wondering at this point what gotten into me.  This is not at all my typical style.  But I was in a mood and I knew that with some paint and some new hardware I could bring out some amazing mid-century mod style with this piece.

As soon as I saw it I was picturing it in a crisp fresh green.  Specifically Fusion’s Park Bench.  Perhaps it had something to do with the shortage of green things to look at this time of year in Minnesota!

But then I hesitated.

That’s a lot of COLOR.  It’s a larger piece of furniture, could it really handle it?  I definitely won’t be keeping it, so I had to wonder if I would be able to find a buyer for a large-ish, very green, mid-century dresser.

But the universe kept shouting ‘green’ at me.  Starting with that Northwest Orient luggage tag.  How many of you remember the days of Northwest Orient?

Then I was watching a colorized version of an old episode of the Dick Van Dyke show.  I have to say, I only made it about halfway through the show before I had to give up on it but that’s a whole different story.  I just had to change the channel when Dick told Laura he wouldn’t allow her to dye her hair.  Um, excuse me?  Allow?  As if.  Some mid-century things should definitely not come back in style.  But what I couldn’t help but notice was the fab green chair in the background of Dick & Laura’s living room.

Clearly this shade of green was a popular mid-century color.

Next I was thinking that this piece would work beautifully in a nursery so I checked on pinterest to see if people were doing this color in nurseries these days.  And why yes, they certainly are.

And doesn’t it work beautifully?

source for both nursery color schemes: https://www.laybabylay.com/

I’ll definitely be marketing this piece for a nursery, but it could also work well as a liquor cabinet/bar.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s go back to the beginning.  Since I went so far off track, here’s the ‘before’ photo as a refresher.

This piece was in almost perfect condition.  The drawers glide beautifully, the piece is solid and well made.  The only problem was a missing drawer pull (see the middle drawer).  As I’m fond of saying, if you’re missing one you might as well be missing them all.  It would be very tricky to find a replacement part for that one pull.  I could have tried to find three new pulls for the drawers that worked well with the hardware on the top doors.  But I didn’t much care for the look of those anyway, so I opted to go with new hardware overall.  That meant filling the holes left by the old pulls on the drawers.

It’s not difficult at all to fill and disguise previous hardware holes if you’re planning to paint your piece.  I don’t think you’d know that there used to be holes here, would you?

Here is how I do it.  Start by placing a piece of tape over the back of the hole on the inside of the drawer.  Next, fill the hole with Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler (or whatever brand of wood filler you like, as long as it is paintable).  Make sure the entire hole is full of filler, then smooth off the excess and let it dry.  Most fillers claim that they don’t shrink, but I have yet to work with a brand that doesn’t dry a little bit concave (maybe technically they don’t shrink, but they do settle into the hole).

So here’s today’s q-tip:  Once dry, sand your wood filler and then go back with some lightweight spackle and fill again.  I find that the spackle is smoother and does a better job of filling in that last little bit of concave space that was left after the wood filler dried.

Once dry, I sand smooth again and then I’m ready to paint.

After my usual prep (light sanding following by cleaning with TSP Substitute) I painted the piece with two coats of Fusion’s Park Bench.  I purchased two pints of the Park Bench just in case one wasn’t quite enough.  There is nothing more frustrating than running out of paint near the end of your project.  But I didn’t even use one full pint.  I probably used about 3/4 of it.  So on the plus side, I have lots of Park Bench left for another project down the road!

Since this is a mid-century piece I opted not to distress it by sanding the edges.  However, I felt like the result looked somewhat one-dimensional so I decided to add some dimension in another way.  By adding black wax.

You do not have to top coat Fusion acrylic paint for durability or water protection.  However, you definitely can wax over it for aesthetic reasons like this one.

I find that wax behaves a little bit differently over acrylic paint than it does over a more porous paint like chalk paint or milk paint.  It doesn’t soak in quite as much, which can be an especially good thing when you are working with black wax over a lighter color.  You are better able to wipe away the excess without leaving a ‘stain’ of sorts behind.  With this piece I really just wanted to add more definition to the trim around the edges of the drawers and door fronts.  I used a wax brush to apply the wax just to those areas working it into the creases.  Then I used a clean rag to wipe away the excess from the raised areas, leaving some wax behind just in the creases.

It was just enough to give the dresser a bit more dimension by accentuating that trim.

I replaced all of the original hardware with these gold knobs from Hobby Lobby.

I wish Hobby Lobby had more mid-mod style knobs.  They do have some, but not a huge selection.  This particular style also comes in silver, but I thought the gold paired with the green had more of a mid-century feel.

Are you wondering what the whole piece looks like?  I’ve been teasing you a bit with all of these glimpses.  Enough already, here it is …

This is my attempt at staging it for a nursery without having any real nursery type props other than some pretty vintage baby dresses and a fabulous vintage green kid’s book.

I also felt like most of my vintage, cottage-y, farmhouse-y style props weren’t quite right for the more mid-mod look of this piece.

I did much better staging it as a bar.

I found this old record album at the thrift store for $1.49.  Perfect for providing some mid-century art to the wall.  I’ll probably just re-donate it after using it in my photos.  Not only did it have the perfect shade of green, but the title is perfect for staging a piece of furniture meant for the very young at heart!

I found the round tray that I’m using in the photos at Target.

It’s part of the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line.  While I was standing in that aisle of my local Target I ran into my friend Donna (also a loyal reader of my blog, thanks for that Donna!) and we had a whole conversation about how the final season of Fixer Upper has really transitioned toward more of a mid-century modern style rather than their previous farmhouse style.  Have you noticed that?  It’s definitely noticeable in their Hearth & Hand line.

As you can see, I did not paint the inside of the upper cabinet portion of the piece.  It’s in perfect shape, so I felt that leaving it alone was the right choice.  At first I wasn’t sure why this top section is divided vertically like it is.  But looking at it again I realize that each section is the perfect width for folded shirts.  Also, those dividers are removable, so if you did want the use the entire space without dividers you could.  And coincidentally this section is also the perfect height for most liquor bottles or baby clothes, or maybe diapers?

How convenient.

Now the real trick is going to be seeing if this dresser will sell.  Wish me luck on that!