Chalk Paint on Fabric – Vintage Chair Upcycle Project

FINDING THE RIGHT CHAIR

My mother appeared with a chair a few months back that she had rescued from going onto a bonfire.  It was in a pretty bad way, with ruptured springs, very dark wood which is not really my cup of tea at the moment, and a needlepoint that had definitely seen better days.  She told me I should try and do something with it, so I chucked it into a corner and sort of ignored it!

Before collage

However, I have been itching to try the chalk paint on fabric method, so decided that this should be the guinea pig of a chair, and if it did not work it could always head back to a bonfire.  On the plus side is that it is a pretty shape, and the carvings are actually very good, so it was worth a try.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, so started out by painting the wood of the chair and sorting out the saggy seat.  I removed the very crusty edging braid and refixed all of the underside webbing elements with my trusty staple gun.

The painting started out in a buff chalk paint, it looked OK with the needlepoint, and if I had waxed it and added dark wax into the crevices it would have been very typically shabby chic.  But I felt I should push it (and myself) more.  So I left it alone for a while and had a think. Continue reading

TV Cupboard makeover

After the recent sideboard makeover, I thought it would be a while before I did another one, but then I was sitting watching TV and realised that this corner of the sitting room is really a mess.  In our old house I had a lovely huge Chinese cupboard that hid the telly, but we could not bring it with us as the dimensions were just too big, so I sold it on to the house buyers.  In this house, I usually hide the TV when it is not on by dragging an armchair in front of it.  The TV sits on an old painted trolley, and it is too big for it, and the machines/wires look plain horrid.  In fact TV’s are really ugly to the point that in both the magazine shoots of my houses, the photographers either asked them to be hidden or removed – so it is not just me that thinks it!

This messy corner irked me so much that it totally ruined my TV viewing, so I started to scour eBay for a quick solution.

I found this little beauty for a bargain £9.99 on ebay, and it was very local so cost nothing for delivery.  It is really well made, but quite old fashioned, and the mahogany was very scratched on the top.  However it does have pretty brass handles.

As I loved the effect of Graphite Annie Sloan chalk paint that I used on the recent sideboard, I whacked on a coat to the TV unit, and then clear wax to finish and seal it.  They look like mummy and baby now…

I then hid all of the wires and TV boxes inside and placed it in the sitting room corner instead of the messy trolley that had been there before…

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Phew, I can now relax and watch the TV rather than staring at the wires and mess around it……. such is the life of a slightly OCD decorating person…

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Junk shop mirror makeover

another bargain find

Whilst buying the sideboard for a makeover, I found this mirror at the back of the same shop. For bargain price of £10 I snapped it up.  I had been hunting for one for my guest room that I recently did a makeover on.

It is dark, badly varnished and very large.  But the frame within a frame and shape is interesting, and it has carved details as well.  Hmmm… potential I thought.  And for £10 It would be rude not to…

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Large and with a good shaped frame

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Carved roses joining the two frames

I had been looking for a large mirror for the Guest room makeover I did recently, and this looked like it could really work.  I had spotted a couple in OKA with insert frames that I loved on a recent visit, but it they were so expensive that I just could not justify it….

on with the paint

Continue reading

Junk Shop Sideboard Makeover

FINDING A JUNK SHOP SIDEBOARD

The Armoire which caused so much chaos, see prior story about internet fraudsters, was finally sold to a lovely local lady.  This left a gaping chasm in the hallway, and I needed to find something in which I could store art paper supplies, and general ‘stuff’.  I trawled local ads and ebay, looking for an Architects Plan chest.  But a) they are really expensive even in dire condition and b) the depth dimensions are large, and It would have been a little too deep for the space in the hall.  So I needed something long, waist height so it did not interfere with the visual diagonal line of the banisters and with multiple storage options, oh and also to be as cheap as possible.  The local charity shops proved fruitless and I was beginning to look online at more expensive and new options.  But I do like a bargain, so that was not really doing it for me….

So I set off to a shop in my town that has house clearance stock and opens at strange random times.  It is a hit and miss affair, but this time I struck gold.  I found a dresser base style sideboard in full-on orange pine, all for under £80, brilliant!

Here is the offending item pre-makeover:

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The sideboard is modern pine, solidly made but way too orange and dull.

GETTING STUCK IN

I felt like something dramatic was needed for the sideboard, and found some graphite Annie Sloan chalk paint left over in the stockpile.  I gave it a really good sand and two coats of paint.  This is the point when you start something and you always think “Uh oh…”, but there is no going back once you have begun!  I used about a 5th of an Annie Sloan pot of chalk paint for the whole sideboard, (and that was 2 coats), and the half a tin of clear wax.  I recommend dipping your paintbrush in water each time before you dip it into the chalk paint, then swirl it once before applying the paint, this creates a much smoother paint finish than neat chalk paint.

The original drawer handles were really pretty cup shape ones in aged brass which I thought would look great against the graphite, so I kept them, and added new matching knobs to the two cupboards.IMG_1200

A coat of clear wax was applied all over once the paint was bone dry.  I also gave the top surface area another coat to add extra protection (my family brutalise the furniture a lot so better to be safe than sorry).  I let it dry overnight and then gave it a serious rubbing to buff the wax up to a sheen.

THE RESULTS

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I  LOVE it!  The grey is not totally 100% solid, so it has an interesting effect.  And I have a fabulous huge surface area to play with for dressing.  So I started with some glass domes: Continue reading

The humble Moppe drawers

a universal product

I had a family member visiting us once from Australia, and their small daughter pointed at some IKEA Moppe drawers in our house and she chirped ‘We’ve got those at home’…  We also had the same plastic kids mugs and flower plates, so I am sure she felt comforted by those worldwide IKEA staples! I love the fact that all over the world, the Moppe boxes are uniformly used in homes to tidy away bits and bobs.  Those cunning swedes have also given a creative outlet to many upcyclers and hackers witih this humble product.

I was needing to tidy up my overspilling art supplies and grabbed a couple of Moppe boxes at IKEA last week.  On their own they are pretty basic, but with a bit of imagination they can be transformed with minimal cost and fuss.

DECOUPAGED MOPPE

So I looked around at the Moppe situation in my home.  In the house I already had these Moppe drawers which I had customised for my daughter last Christmas and each drawer had a gift in it… (note: bit of a pain as I found out as only little things fit inside, even a make up tube was a challenge).

IMG_0958 Continue reading

A cracker of a busy few days….paint, weddings, exhibition and more makeover paint.

This weekend I have been buzzing about all over the place.  Distressing samples for mirror makeovers, going to a lovely wedding, then going to my first gallery exhibition opening, and ending today with a gargantuan task of upcycling the biggest mirrors I HAVE EVER SEEN!

PAINT EXPERIMENTATION:

On Friday, with my friend and accomplice-in-paint Claire, we tested out loads of samples for some huge mirrors that need to be revamped.  They are for a lovely shoe and boot shop Ted&Muffy who are launching in Bath, London and Edinburgh very shortly, and the designers asked for some samples with combinations of blues, greys and whites.  They asked if we could come up with a crackle glaze finish on very ornate carved mouldings.    We started by testing the two colourways on a plain frame with chalk paints; Napoleonic Blue with Old White on top, and Anthracite with Original white on top:

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To do a crackle glaze, you paint your base colour first, and then when it is dry you paint a coat of glaze on top of that.  After 30 mins when it is seemingly dry/a tiny bit tacky, you paint the top coat on top of the glaze.  This has to to be done in one coat/brush sweep only or the crackle glaze sort of mutates and fails.  It is great on flat planes of wood etcetera, and the results show immediately.

So, this all looked good.  BUT….. we were going to try and have to do the one sweep motion on really heavily carved frames, and so we tested a more ornate frame to see how it worked… it was really quite depressing!

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So, the conclusion was that the glaze cannot work in any ornate areas, as if you work the paint into the mouldings then the sweeping one pass motion is lost/impossible and the paint looks like it is curdled, not cracked.

CHIN UP! we thought, in a very British gung-ho fashion.  So I decided to do some samples using rubbing back distressing rather than crackle glaze on some more mouldings.  Even when I got a bit clumsy and this happened, I kept my stoic British face on…

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Chalk paint on deck, that was a bugger to get off….

The next mouldings again used the same colour combinations but I did the typical 2 coats, sand back method with the chalk paints, and wax to finish them off…, and I did a variety to send off the the shop designer to see:

So off the samples went, and I got changed and went to a….

WEDDING!

I love weddings, and this one was for my friends the lovely Aaron and Jenny in the most beautiful location of Priston Mill near Bath.  It is an amazing place with a choice of venues, all hidden in a valley reached via wiggly lanes.  The sun was out, and it was one of those beautiful English evenings.  We sat in a beautiful garden to start, with the most amazing herbaceous borders.  The wedding had sunflower themed floral decor everywhere  There was a brilliant self-photo booth with a polaroid camera, props for the models and a pin board to mount them onto.  Little signs were everywhere, and it was just perfect…

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EXHIBITION LAUNCH

The next morning my family and I headed down to Cornwall for the launch of Art & The Map of Cornwall where I had a piece in a group exhibition at POP Gallery.  This is a great gallery which has very cool street art.  All the artists showing were given a very old map of Cornwall and asked to go away and turn it into something new which referenced Cornwall.  The launch exhibited the original artworks, and limited editions of them are available from POP gallery.  I did a piece called the ‘Great Wave of Cornwall’, mentioned before in this post, and the original painting had already sold by the time of the launch.  There are prints for sale via POP gallery, and they are all hand-finished.  I also sold another large print that night, so it was a great start to the show for me!  Here is the final original artwork piece…

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There were some amazing pieces from the artists and everyone had such different ideas….  Here are some of my favourites:

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We them stayed in Cornwall for the night, and meandered back yesterday after a lovely Brunch in Wadebridge.

BACK TO THE MIRRORS….

So this morning I headed to Ted&Muffy’s store to start work on the mirrors.  The decision was made to not crackle glaze as it just was not working in the corners and on the mouldings, and to paint the mirrors in a very similar shade to the walls of the shops which are all being totally redesigned.  I had a bit of shock when I saw them in the flesh…

Gulp... really quite huge

Gulp… really quite huge

There are 4 mirrors, and they are at least 7 feet tall!  The moulding is even more intricate than I expected in the flesh, (although I had seen photos), so I was really pleased we were going with a simple decorative scheme.  I cracked on and had mixed up Dulux eggshell colour code 10BB83014 which is a really pale, pale grey and suits the decor of the shops.  As it is an eggshell, it also needed a primer to go on first to the frames.  I took the precaution of masking out all the glass, as eggshell is really runny to work with compared to chalk paints which I usually use, and I thought I might make a bit of a mess otherwise…

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Before and after priming

It is the MOST fiddly painting to do, serious dabbing and stabbing to get into all the nooks and crannies, and there is also a beading around the frame almost like pearls on a string which took ages to get the paint behind.  However, here they are primed:

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Masking tape and newspaper to protect from splashes, all primed now

The primer has definitely saved me a lot of time, and the first coat of eggshell went on next:

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Those are REALLY fiddly to paint but starting to look good

I will finish them tomorrow, and when the shops are launched I will post up how they look in their intended scheme.

But for now I shall be having a night off to rest as it has been really hectic but really fun over the last few days.

DIY : Botanical Cupboard Makeover

My recent decoration of the Breakfast Room left one piece of furniture standing out like a sore thumb, a cupboard I had perviously overhauled as a shabby chic affair.  However, it was the wrong colours for the room I felt, and did not fit the new scheme.

IMG_0018I am really into using wallpaper on furniture at the moment, and spent ages scouring the net for something with dark backgrounds and botanical to compliment the room.  It needed a smallish pattern as I want to use it in the inset panels on the doors.

Everything I found that I liked cost at least £90 per roll, and some were an eye-watering £270… but they are stunning.

I wanted a very punchy green for the rest of the woodwork, and I had a pot of Annie Sloane Olive Green sitting around, but it is a very dark, sludgy colour and not as eye popping as I wanted.

The green chalk paint

The green chalk paint

At this point I gave up, thinking that I could not get want I wanted on a tight budget…. BUT…. THEN…..  HALLELUJAH!!!!!

I was in my local B&Q (a place I can found in very often actually – some like Prada, I like paint shops), and I found this wallpaper by Ideco Home in EXACTLY the colours I wanted for the piece… navy and chartreuse or lime.  And it also only cost £14 for a roll…. Bargain!

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It has beetles, flowers and everything that I need.  So I promptly matched some Valspar paint to the green, it is called Chartreuse:

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I painted up the cupboard in the green (eggshell, water based), and wallpapered the panels.  It looked very bright and had quite a sheen… maybe a bit too bright… so I was not convinced.

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So I then mixed up some of the ‘Olive’ Annie Sloane Chalk Paint with the Valspar eggshell, and mixed until I found a tone somewhere between the two.  This also was great as it turned the eggshell into chalk paint, which I much prefer to paint with.  A coats or two of clear wax after and I was done….

Starting to apply the new tone of green paint

Starting to apply the new tone of green paint

I warm up my wax to make it easy to get into crevices.

I warm up my wax to make it easy to get into crevices.

Here is the finished result, I love it and it suits the room much better.  I still have nearly a whole roll of the paper left over, and I was really tempted to use it on the chimeny breast, but then it all becomes a bit ‘matchy-matchy’?

The finished cabinet

The finished cabinet

Before & After:

Geriatric picture frame makeover…

The Husband likes to attend car boot sales…  Bit too early for my own tastes, although he does bring home some nice old saws for me to upcyle now that he is trained… and I get a lie-in, a wake up coffee and the Sunday papers along with his latest proffering at a civilized hour too, so all is well.

However, yesterday he appeared with some HIDEOUS pictures!!!!!  They are nautical oil paintings in gnarly frames, but a bargain at £1 each.  He was very pleased with his purchase, and wants them up in the house somewhere, (not that we have much wall space going, and they are not really going to sit alongside the Tracey Emin or Julyan Davis pictures that well…).

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So an upcycle was in order after a lengthy discussion that went somewhere along the lines of:

HUSBAND:  “Look!  These are quality!  They will look great hung up, I love them…”

WIFE:  “Over my dead body matey…”

And so on and so on.  We needed to reach some sort of compromise so I decided to at least have a go at making them look better.

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The actual oil paintings are not too bad when out of the frames so I tried to find paint for the existing frames to bring out the colours in the scenes.  I found some duck egg blue and taupe chalk paint in a cupboard, (yes, it’s an Annie Sloane moment again), to compliment the tones in the oils, then applied two different shades of wax to tone down the colours, and actually they now look much better.  It took all of an hour, and equilibrium now applies to marital bliss.

Instructions:

1.  Remove oils from frames

2.  Sand down frames if they have any lacquer on (the inner frames did on these ones)

3.  Apply a couple of coats of Chalk Paint (although I think any paint will suffice), and find colours to bring out the tones of the painting as well as to compliment your decor scheme.

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4.  When the paint is dry, first apply a coat of clear wax.  Then add a smidgeon of darker wax straight away and blend in to create an overall darker tone/patina.  Don’t overload the rag or it will end up looking very french shabby chic as the dark wax will get stuck in any crevices.

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5.  Buff to a soft sheen.  Replace pictures in the frames and stand back to admire your amazing handiwork!

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Painting a Piano – Before and After

My friend Anne-Marie has been given a piano, and although it is in tune and plays well, it was a bit battered around the casing and woodwork.  It is also very dark brown and stood out like a sore thumb in their living room which is very calm in design.  So she asked me to have a go at painting it to make it blend better into the room.  The room has pale creams, greys and a sage green in it, so I took those colours and used them on the piano.  We ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about using decoupage, but as the piano will be situated next to curtains with a strong and graphic pattern, so we felt it better to leave it simple.

before

A lovely, but very dark piano

The piano was sanded back to get a really good key, especially on the lids and music stand which would get heavy use.  Then a base of Country Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloane was applied all over the piano:

Base of Country Grey

Base of Country Grey

Certain areas were picked out in Olive chalk paint, such any as rims and edges with horizontal lines on the lids and legs:

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Horizontal mouldings in Olive

Finally two coats of clear wax were applied and buffed heavily to create a soft sheen, and then the original candlesticks were re-attached.  They have an aged patina which works very well against the new colours:

detail 2Here is the finished piano, which now looks great against the colours of the room and lifts the piano into becoming a stylish piece of furniture in its own right:

after

Armoire Makeover on a tiny budget

Slide1After my last cupboard makeover, I decided to start on another one.  I spotted this cupboard in a Charity shop which was a bargain at only £40.  The quality is great; it has veneered wood to the panels on the front, ball feet legs, a carved pediment, and has immaculate joinery inside.  I guess it to be around the 1930’s.  However it is very solid in colour, and some of the veneer was beginning to flake on the panels.  So I was happy to give it a makeover and not feel bad!

Ornate pediment

Ornate pediment

I am obsessed with ‘Snow Tree’ wallpaper by Colefax and Fowler at the moment, and decided to use the cream colour way on this Armoire.  I managed to source some on Ebay for £42, down from the usual £58.  I already had some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Olive, County Grey and Original leftover from other projects which suited the wallpaper’s colours.

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I painted all large areas of the Armoire except the front panels in Country Grey to start, and the detail mouldings in Olive.  At this point an issue came to light as the right hand door did not have beading on the inner left side, which would make wallpapering the panel neatly very tricky.  I popped down to the local DIY store and bought a piece of 180 degree fine wood moulding for £1.80, and with my craft knife I trimmed off the flat edge so it became a pure semi circle.  I then used my best friend, No More Nails, to stick the beading in place and painted it Olive.  Bingo!  Now I had a raised edge to abut the wallpaper so I had a neat edge.

I then added detail to the pediment, feet and any mouldings on the Armoire which were painted Olive, by dry brushing Country Grey very lightly on top.

Finally it was time to wallpaper. I started on the right panel, using wallpaper paste on the paper and letting it soak in for a good 10 minutes before pasting to the panel.  I fold the paper onto itself as well so the paste does not dry out when this soaking period takes place.  I then hung the paper, trimmed it to fit exactly into the space using a pair of sharp scissors, (I find craft knives always tear wet paper).  A damp sponge then smoothed it into place.

To paper the left hand panel, I mentally ignored the two pieces of beading that separate the wallpaper and trimmed the wallpaper so it smoothly flowed across the entire front.  Then  it looks like the paper actually runs below the beading.  I then left the paper to dry before the next steps.  Time for a coffee!

Time for a coffee break while the paint dries.

Time for a coffee break.

The wallpaper has a very distinctive background of dragged paint marks whereas my paint to the Armoire was solid, so I decided to emulate the effect on the front of the armoire edges to match.

IMG_1082On a plate I put a blob of Country Grey, and one of Original white and poured a little water on top of all.  Then using a rough and stiff paintbrush I gently painted lines in both colours on top of all the pale paintwork to the front of the Armoire, so it has paler and darker tones.  It is not a total match, but I think it compliments the piece better than a dead flat colour.

Finally I waxed the whole piece where paint had been applied with clear Annie Sloan wax plus buffed it to get a good sheen. I also applied a dead flat clear glaze to the wallpaper to protect it.

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Dragged brushwork to paint

Moulding on pediment highlighted with a lighter tone

Moulding on pediment highlighted with a lighter tone

The Final Armoire

The Final Armoire:  the wallpaper pattern runs smoothly across the front

Sadly I have nowhere for this beauty to go, which is why it is currently standing in my hallway .  I really do not want to let it go!   But for a total cost of £94 I am pretty pleased with the results and hope it inspires people to get creative with wallpapering furniture.