seeing the world in black and white.

Yikes!  We’ve got a bleeder!  Hand over the sealer, stat!

I have to say, I have had my fair share of bleeders.  What I’m talking about, for those of you who don’t do furniture, is when the stain on a piece of furniture bleeds through the paint giving it a pink or orange tint.  It doesn’t matter how many coats of paint you put over it, it will continue to just bleed through.  When you have a bleeder, there are a couple of solutions.  One is to just use a really dark color of paint.  I have successfully painted bleeders with black and dark navy blue without sealing them.  Another solution is to go with spray paint.  I know, spray painted furniture is tacky, but spray paint will generally ‘seal’ a bleeder.  But if you are determined to go light, you have to seal the piece first somehow.

Usually I can pick out a bleeder from a mile away, and I tend to avoid them.  I just don’t want to mess with it.  But this one totally snuck up on me.  Seriously, does it look like it’s gonna be a bleeder to you?

car handles before

OK, in hindsight, maybe it was a bit orange.  But I really just saw “blonde” when I looked at it.

The plan for this dresser was to go black and white.  I wanted a geometric, bold, black and white look.  I painted the black sections first.  No problem.

Then I painted the white.  I totally did not see this coming.

bleeder 2

What started out as just a few little spots that were slightly peach turned into large areas of rusty orange overnight.  The next day I pulled out the MMS Tough Coat Sealer.  Miss Mustard has used it to seal such pieces successfully, so I thought I’d give it a try.  I went with two coats and 24 hours of drying in between each one just to be on the safe side.

Then I added back my white paint.  I tiptoed around the situation with more care than usual.  I let the first new coat of white dry a full 24 hours before adding another.  Just to be sure.

Ahhhhh, so much better.  It worked so well that I don’t think I’ll worry as much about avoiding bleeders in the future.

black and white MCM dresser

And here you have the finished piece.

black and white title

I painted this one in chalk paint.  I happened to have an almost full can of CeCe Caldwell’s Beckley Coal and some Vintage White already on hand.  Plus, I knew I didn’t want the chippy-ness of milk paint on this piece.  So chalk paint it was.  Before I painted, I stripped off the very bottom middle piece of veneer that was chipped up (you can see the chunk missing in my ‘before’ photo).  I then sanded the entire piece lightly.  The black went on super easy in two coats, and you’ve already read what happened with the white!

The handles got touched up with some gold rub n’ buff.  They were in fairly gnarly condition.  The rub n’ buff worked really well to just perk them up.  I wiped it on with my finger, then let them dry/cure for about 4 days (while I dealt with the bleeder situation).  Then I just buffed them with a shop towel.

b and w handles

And yes, I kept them!  That seemed to be the general consensus among those who weighed in.

Good call people!

I have to say, I am really loving the black and the gold.  Egads!  I can hardly even believe I’m saying that!  I’m finding it so appealing that I’m thinking about ordering these light fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric for an upcoming master bedroom makeover.

schoolhouse electric lights

What is happening to me?  In January 2014 I posted about the trend towards gold and how I really didn’t much care for it.  Now I want some in my own house!  Fickle, thy name is Quandie!

I staged the dresser with my new petite black vintage suitcase, some clock faces and a brass desk lamp.

b and white staging

Initially I was going to use strictly black and white pieces for staging, but as I played around with various props, I realized that the warmth of the suitcase handle, the brass and even the aged book page on the wall really played well with the gold handles.

b and w close up

I don’t know about you, but I definitely do not see the world in black and white, however, I think I can see putting a little black and white into my world.  Especially when it’s paired with some gold.  How about you?

black and white



31 thoughts on “seeing the world in black and white.

    1. Is the Zinsser primer clear? And does it clean up with just soap and water. Those would be my two requirements. Well, and a third would be that it’s not too stinky. All of these are true of the Tough Coat Sealer. I’ve avoided most primers because they are white and I don’t want a white undercoat on my pieces.


  1. The first time I encountered a bleeder I was speechless. No matter how many coats of white I put on that mahogany end table, it was determined to be pink…in spots. Pretty frustrating but you pulled it off and it looks fabulous. Even though I haven’t warmed up to the new gold that is popular now, I think the gold handles look terrific on this piece.


    1. I still remember my first bleeder too! I just kept adding another coat of white while thinking to myself “OK, this one will finally cover it!” Nope, that pink just kept coming through!


  2. Nice job Quandie – my husband,the painter, suggested having a primer tinted – he cannot seem to grasp the sealer
    application because he has always primed. I tried to explain you are getting the results you are looking for with the sealer but there it is in case you ever need it.
    Those handles make it for me 👍


    1. I’m thinking that getting a tinted primer for specific pieces would end up being cost prohibitive. With the clear sealer I can use it on any piece whether it’s going to be white, green, blue or whatever. I actually just used it again on a bed that I am painting in a minty green and it worked perfectly on that too!


  3. LOL..I woke up this morning to a peachy bleeder mid-century piece, so your post is quite ironic. The 1st MCM piece from the set didn’t bleed at all, but the side table did! How does that work? I don’t have any tough coat yet, so was going to try clear poly spray and then paint over that. Have you tried that & does it work?


    1. That is weird that one pieces is bleeding and the other isn’t. I have not tried clear poly spray, but I am guessing it will work well. I’ve used just regular old spray paint to seal bleeders before, and that works too (but of course, you end up with a colored undercoat). However, milk paint won’t stick to spray paint very well … so I guess the next question is, what are you painting on top of the spray paint?


      1. I’m using chalk paint for adhesion and smooth coverage. I personally don’t like MCM pieces with a chippy finish so I don’t use milk paint. I almost tried the fusion paint I just got, but decided to save that for another project. I’m glad I did with the bleeder problem. Think I’ll try the poly spray since it’s cheap, fast and I have it on hand. I’m not big on the gold trend, but the handles look fabulous! Where do you get the rub n buff?


      2. Yep, I agree, I never go chippy on MCM pieces either. I’m also a big fan of going with products I already have on hand 😉 I probably would have gone with Fusion on this piece, except I already had that black chalk paint and I did not have any black Fusion paint. I found the rub n’ buff at Michaels. I had to ask where it was though, it’s tucked away in an odd spot at my store. Kind of by the art supplies I think. It comes in a tiny, tiny tube, but a little bit goes a really long way. You can’t even tell I’ve used any out of my tube and this is the 3rd set of hardware I’ve used it on.


    1. I have to confess that I haven’t used shellac since the 80’s, and back then it had to be cleaned up with mineral spirits and it was horribly stinky. Are there soap and water clean up versions out there now?


      1. Have you used milk paint over the shellac? I’m wondering if the milk paint will adhere to it. I’ve honestly never thought about just using a rag and tossing it. I use a brush with the Tough Coat Sealer.


      2. Does shellac leave a shiny finish? I’d like to try that on a dark bleeder piece using white milk paint over it and still get chipping -but without the shiny underneath showing.


      3. You might want to try a test on an old board or something before proceeding with an entire piece. Since Kristin (Hazel Mae Home) hasn’t tried milk paint, and I haven’t tried shellac, we probably aren’t good judges of how that might work. I can tell you that the Tough Coat Sealer pretty much eliminates any chipping. It seems to provide a surface that hangs onto the paint. I’d love to hear about how milk paint performs over shellac though, so if you try it, keep us posted!


    2. I used to use shellac in clear before using Tough Coat. I would never go back to that mess now. You cannot beat the soap and water clean up, not to mention lack of noxious fumes, and still get the same results as with shellac.


  4. thanks for the great tips! and i love black, gold and white combo, perfect picks for your modern dresser. i also am loving schoolhouse electric brass and black sconces, just need to convince the husband he loves it also.


  5. I use milk paint over shellac and got a nice crackly finish. Hadn’t intended that but now when it happens I just pretend that was my plan. Also I notice that I get more bleed thru when I sand first. Now I still tend to prep but its an observation. I did buy some deglosser and am going to try that on something vs. Sanding.


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