the gothic chalkboard.

The minute I laid eyes on the Craigslist ad for the gothic dresser that I posted yesterday I knew I had to have it just for the mirror.  In fact, I was so excited to get my hands on it that I didn’t even take the time to get a proper ‘before’ photo, which is unfortunate.

Mr. Q went and picked it up in the afternoon while I was still at work, and the minute I got home from work I separated the mirror from its ‘harp’ and sent the harp home with Ken to cut a chalkboard back for it.

While Ken was working on that, I also made a chalkboard out of the framed mirror itself.  I shared that a while back.

Once I got the harp back from Ken, I went to work painting it.  I knew I wanted a warm white milk paint, which for me means either Homestead House Limestone or Miss Mustard Seed Linen.  Unfortunately, when I dug into my milk paint stash I discovered I was fresh out of Linen and I only had a small amount of Limestone left.  Maybe enough for just one coat on the harp.  I knew that I’d likely need at least 3 coats of paint to cover the dark wood with white.

So I decided to employ one of my favorite tricks.

Today’s Qtip:  If you know you don’t have enough paint left for multiple coats, start with a coat or two of another similar shade and just do your final coat in your chosen color.

In this case I mixed together the dregs of a couple of shades of white Homestead House milk paint, Raw Silk and Sturbridge White, and started with a coat of that on my piece.

I would have gone right into a second coat, but that’s when I discovered I had a bleeder.  The orange-ish stain was coming through and turning the paint a lovely shade of peachy orange right before my eyes.  If this has never happened to you, be aware that no amount of paint will ever solve this problem.  The stain will just continue to bleed through multiple coats of paint.  At this point, you have to seal the stain before continuing on.  Shellac works really well for that.

So once the paint was fully dry I got out a can of spray Shellac.  I keep this on hand for moments such as these.  If you have an entire piece of furniture with a bleed thru stain, it’s probably not cost effective to use spray Shellac, but when you have a smaller piece or just one or two spots of bleed-thru I find it’s convenient to just get out the spray.  And of course I only use the spray outdoors.

So, I sprayed the mirror quickly with a coat of Shellac.  Once dry, I added a second coat of my random mix of whites.  I could see that I’d solved my bleeding problem and I was getting good coverage with the 2nd coat of white.  So once that was dry, I mixed up the little bit of Limestone that I had left and added one last coat of that color.

My trick worked perfectly.  You can’t tell that I have a different shade of white under that Limestone.

The chalkboard itself is painted with Homestead House milk paint in Bayberry.  I find it makes the perfect green chalkboard.  To use milk paint for a chalkboard you simply mix the paint as usual (equal parts water and paint powder), paint two coats sanding lightly in between with 220 grit paper to keep your chalkboard smooth.  Also lightly sand the final coat.  Then season the chalkboard by rubbing white chalk all over it and ‘erasing’ it back off with a dry cloth.  Do not add any other sort of top coat over the paint.

After sanding the frame to distress the edges a bit, I added one last detail.  I used part of an Iron Orchid Designs transfer to add the year ‘1888’ to the top of the mirror.

I just love all of the detail on this frame including the little shelves on either side.

They make a great perch for a vintage camera, or an old family photo.

When I grabbed those two little books to put under that photo I took a moment to take a closer look at them.  The pretty little blue book was signed inside.

It was a gift from Great Aunt Nettie to my mother, which reminded me of a funny story.  Many years ago my sister and I were going through my mom’s family photo album.  It’s an ancient thing that has photos of our ancestors going back to the 1800’s.  One photo was labeled “Great Aunt Nettie Fleaner and her daughter Flossie.”

I thought about it for a minute and then I just burst out laughing.  Flossie Fleaner?!  Really?!

Poor Flossie.  That can’t have been easy to live with.  Then again, I’m sure Flossie was just a nickname, short for Florence or something like that.  Although Florence Fleaner isn’t much better, is it?

Anyway, I’m still deciding on the perfect spot in my house for this chalkboard.

Just for now it looks good hanging above my farmhouse table though.

32 thoughts on “the gothic chalkboard.

  1. Love 💘 This Gothic Chalkboard! I Really like The Green Chalkboard Paint In Place of the black Paint That You Usually See.


  2. I am new to your blog and am learning so much from you. I know about the Iron Orchid transfers thanks to you, but I can’t find a source for the white lettering (French Market} on the chalk board at the top of your post.
    Thank you, Judy


    1. Hi Judy! And welcome! The French Market is drawn onto the chalkboard with chalk, but I used a stencil. I have a post with more details on how to do that {here}. You can find the stencil itself on Etsy {here}.


  3. Really good “Qtip” on the use of similar colored paint for bottom coats and using the intended color last. As simple as the tip is, I probably wouldn’t have thought of it, just because that wasn’t the color I wanted to see for the end result. Stepping outside the painting box for sure! Your mind is always seeing the end result….love the chalkboard!


  4. Hi there …this is a beautiful piece, I would still like it better if it wasn’t,t etchy all over. Did you buy that piece for yourself or for sale. It is a great message board. . I have just painted a small hall table, but I have not got the nerve to etch it yet. Keep up the good work. Love to Mom and Debbie from Betty Ontario,Canada


    1. Yes, I bought this one for myself! I will probably hang it in my living room. As you know, I love my ‘etchy’. I think it brings out the details to distress the edges like I did on this one. I think you should try it on your hall table. After all, if you don’t like it you can always just put another coat of paint back over it 🙂


  5. I love this mirror! It is really different and beautiful. Great QTip. Can I just say, I love the idea of the QTip. I hope that you have a great class with MMS. On my way to Hawaii Saturday. Can’t wait to hear all about it.


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