mistakes were made.

I picked up a pair of wooden boxes while thrifting a week or so ago.

After sanding and cleaning them, I painted them with Dixie Belle’s Endless Shore, which is from their Silk paint line (ie. an acrylic paint with a built in primer and top coat).

I pulled out I.O.D.’s Floral Anthology transfer to decorate box no. 1.

After applying the florals, I added some French wording from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer.

Full disclosure, I have only the vaguest idea of what these words mean so it could be total nonsense.  But it looks good to an English speaker.

After decorating the first box, I was about to do something similar with box no. 2.  But then I remembered a customer who once told me that she wished I didn’t put French words on everything!  So, I decided to go in a slightly different direction on the second box.

I first added some grain sack stripes using Dixie Belle’s French Linen.  Then I added the sheep from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.  The little “No. 1120” and the date in the corners are from a Tim Holtz transfer.

I also added a farm name to the side of the box from the Everyday Farmhouse transfer from re.design with prima.

Finally, I applied one of the re.design with prima knob transfers to the top of the box.

I didn’t paint the insides of either box for a couple of reasons.  First of all, they aren’t real roomy inside and getting in there with a brush would have been a pain.  Second, they are clean inside, so they didn’t really need to be painted.

So far, so good, right?

But this is where I made my mistake.  As you can see in the photos, I distressed the edges of my boxes quite a bit.  Although the Silk paint has that built in topcoat, the transfer still needs some sort of sealer.  In addition, because I sanded the edges down to the bare wood, the Silk paint finish is compromised and will benefit from some protection on those edges as well.  Unfortunately, I decided to topcoat with Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  As I’ve learned in the past, sometimes a water based sealer will draw tannins out of the wood.

Honestly, I should have known better.  Look back at that ‘before’ photo, this wood was very orange-y red.  The Silk paint has a built-in stain blocking primer, and it was working quite well up until I added that flat clear coat.  All of the preceding photos were taken before the clear coat was added.

But about 24 hours after adding that clear coat, the boxes started to show bleed thru.

It’s much more obvious on the back of the boxes, but if you’re familiar with the look of bleed thru you can see it on the front as well.  Especially in the area I’ve circled below.

Also, FYI, the bleed thru continued to worsen over time.  Be forewarned, that can happen with bleed thru.  It has been about two weeks since I finished these and they seem to have stopped getting worse now.

If I could go back and start over I would opt to give these boxes a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S., followed by their chalk style paint in Drop Cloth, and then a top coat of clear wax after applying the transfers.

But I can’t go back in time, so now what?

If these were pieces of furniture there is no way I would feel good about selling them ‘as is’, but these boxes?  Maybe?  I don’t know, what would you do?  Leave a comment and let me know!

42 thoughts on “mistakes were made.

  1. Wood sealer. I never know what was on that wood through it’s life. Because I reclaim a lot of wood for my projects, sealer is critical for consistency when later staining


    1. The bleedthru will only matter to particular people – other people won’t even notice it. It looks good, even with the bleedthru – I say sell it!


    2. I typically use the Dixie Belle B.O.S.S. to ‘seal’ wood before painting, but I skipped that step this time due to the ‘built in’ stain blocker in the Silk paint. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. But I’m curious, you actually use a sealer before staining wood? I’ve never heard of that, I need to know more about that …


      1. A sealer coat allows the stain to go on evenly
        Not only does it help with bleed through, you also avoid that blotchy finish if the stain doesn’t absorb evenly.


  2. I would buy the boxes with the “bleed through” because I think it adds to their character. I have had “bleed through” happen to me when painting over old wood in the past and never knew why but now thanks to your blog post–I do–so thanks!!!


  3. I’m not so sure that the clear coat caused the bleed thru. I think it was going to happen anyway, with or without it. My guess is that the “built in primer” was a fail in this paint. The boxes are adorable and would probably sell as is.


    1. There was a span of a few days between when I was done with the paint and transfers and when I applied the clear coat and there was no bleed thru until the clear coat went on. So I’m pretty confident that the clear coat was what drew the tannins through that paint. That being said, I also know that the ‘built in primer’ in the Silk paint is not foolproof either. I think it would have been OK if I’d used wax rather than a clear coat though.


  4. Cute. I might repaint the sides without the transfers but in the photo I don’t see huge issues.
    I would sell them as is …
    If they don’t sell then I would do the partial repaint .


    1. I have tried that partial repaint approach before, and the problem with it is that the repainted section will end up looking much brighter than the rest, causing the problem to be magnified on the sections that weren’t repainted. So … not sure I would go down that road.


  5. It’s happened to me, and I would just sell as is. It doesn’t bother me and I think most people would not even notice. Love the sheep!


  6. I had that happen with a spice rack I painted white and embellished with bits of transfers. My solution was to use an antiquing glaze over the entire project, which (sort-of) disguised the bleed-through, I figured I’d try to sell it that way (even though it bugged me!), and it sold! Moral: everyone has different tastes, so put it out there and see if the right buyer comes along!


    1. The glaze was a brilliant idea Linda! I may give that a shot. But I think I will try selling them as is first, but if they don’t go I may be getting out the glaze!


  7. Love both of these. French words or this very slight bleed through wouldn’t stop me from buying at all. It’s just part of the vintage charm.


  8. I vote to sell as is! Give it a try, if they don’t sell then you can always look at a re-do. I am partial to the floral box, but the sheep box is cute! I think it was a great idea to add variety to the boxes.


  9. I think they’re both really pretty. Although I’m not a fan of the bleed through, they’ll sell anyway. Most people wouldn’t even know the yellowing is bleed through. They’ll probably assume is just a special finish.


    1. Good point Suzi, you might be right about that. It’s mainly those of us who can readily identify ‘bleed thru’ that are going to look at these and be turned off.


  10. Linda, did you clean the boxes before you painted them? I am too OCD. I would have painted and started over. Sorry.☹️


    1. I did clean them with a TSP substitute. No need to apologize, I think I lean in your direction too. I’m tempted to break out the orbital sander, sand them down and start over. But the overwhelming response from comments today is to try selling them, so I’ll give that a shot first!


  11. I would seal the back and touch up the paint but leave the fronts as is and sell-it doesn’t look all that noticeable to me. You’ve already put a time & effort in so why not give them a go. Love the sheep!


    1. Yep, I have put a lot of time and effort in already, and I won’t make more than around $15 profit on each one of these! So … I’ll admit, a part of me is considering just putting them in my Goodwill donation box!


      1. Oh no-they’re too good for that-they don’t belong with c.1980 tchotchkes and poorly stenciled suitcases!


      2. LOL, well, you might be right about that 😉 I have this mental picture of seeing them on the shelf the next time I go to the Goodwill, it does feel a bit sad.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.