Dumpster diving is done with a purpose in mind: Finding a vintage or even not-so-vintage gem in the rough and making it your own—DIY style. I love my store, Tanglewood Works (TWW), and transforming my finds–or yours–into custom furniture is a passion. I also enjoy interacting with and learning from the 50 plus artisans whose work I showcase.
But sometimes even Senior Dumpster Divas need to reclaim their up-cycled roots. So once a month, I allow my creativity full swing and boost my skill set by trying a new technique on a piece of furniture that might otherwise be destined for the landfill of misfit furniture AKA the dump.
This month, I shopped my old stomping ground Community Forklift, which is one of the best places for everything salvage in the DMV. There, I found a vintage dresser. Condition issues discouraged it’s sale, “as is.” IOW, the finish was a wreck. Still, this dresser had character, great lines, interesting hardware, and a matching mirror.
Hello, DIY Creation of the Month! The Furniture Fairy Godmother has descended.
I wanted to try a technique I’d seen on Shizzle ages ago and was inspired again when Turquoise Iris recently showed off this amazing piece in her Etsy store. Then, after I already had started working on my DIY Creation of the Month, Debi, of Debi’s DIY Paint, which I carry in my store, posted a blog about her experience transforming a hutch a la the same Shizzle technique. Great minds, people, right??
Here is how it went down.
Materials: Turquoise Oops! paints sourced from Community Forklift, Home Depot and Lowes . Debi’s Design Diary DIY Paint in Cowgirl Coral and Queen Bee, Debi’s Liquid Patina sourced from Tanglewood Works.
Tools: Clean rags, small brushes, and and various small foam rollers.
1. Wipe off the piece with a rag. While I usually recommend a light sanding, I liked the slightly roughed-up finish already on the piece and I knew it would provide added depth once all the layers were on.
2. Apply the colorful base coats of chalk-style paint with a brush. Sue’s Secret: Try not to lay the paint down in solid blocks of color. Yes, I know, many DIY posts using this technique show patches of color. Trust me, if you get too geometric with the under painting, the hard lines between colors will show. Remember, I make mistakes so you don’t have to! Instead, brush the paint on in a fluid manner that echoes the lines of the dresser.
3. Next apply a coat of Debi’s Liquid Patina over the entire dresser. I used this product to create a barrier layer. I wanted to keep colors from bleeding into each other. In other words, I wanted the under-painted colors to pop as I revealed them.
4. After the liquid patina is dry, dilute your Oops! paints of choice. I used two fairly similar colors of blue. You could use one color but you will lose depth and this technique is all about creating and revealing depth.
5. ROLL WITH IT! Now is when you should switch from the brush to the roller. (Sue’s Secret: There’s enough going on here without brush strokes). The importance of this step cannot be minimized. Roll very thin coats of alternate top colors in a pattern that highlights the architecture of your piece. Sue’s Secret: As you lay down the top layer, use clean, dry rags to selectively reveal the underpainting. Check after every coat to make sure you are covering evenly while revealing somewhat evenly. It isn’t supposed to be perfect, but the balance of colors should please the eye. If you wipe off too much just add more color and start again. This is really where taste, creativity, and know-how matter. At the same, you can always wipe it down.
6. When satisfied with a layer, allow to dry before starting the next. Again, very thin coats of alternate top colors is the rule. Sometimes, all you will need to do is blot with a dry rag here and there to either create balance or provide greater reveal. If you make mistakes, you can pretty easily (IMO) correct them by adding or subtracting color. When satisfied, walk away and let it dry. Don’t get impatient–think about it as a Zen process.
After you are happy with the top coat and the reveal, let it dry completely, or for a few hours, if you are moving on to step 7. Then, wax with clear wax. Of course, I used Debi’s DIY Clear wax.
7. Having achieved a completely sealed surface, I could embellish the final surface! You may like it as is, but as a DIVA I embrace the more is more philosophy in this case! Warning This is the tricky step. I wanted to embed a subtle metallic glow into the finale finish so I made my own metallic wax by mixing metallic stencil paint from Royal Design Studio into to the wax. I used a combo of their gold, copper. and bronze stencil paint. How? I created a palette with a small plate and placed a blob of wax and a daub of the metallic paint and smooshed with a brush to distribute the color evenly. Then, I applied the wax with another clean rag. This was actually the HARDEST PART. Sue’s Secret: Avoid crazy visible strokes and streaking by constantly checking your work with a strong light. Look at your piece in the sunlight, under harsh overhead light, point a lamp at it and keep rubbing until you don’t see any obvious strokes. Remember the goal is a subtle shimmer that reflects and refracts light.
The End. After you are satisfied, dry buff with clean rag to harden the wax and provide sheen. This step is 10-15 minutes of pure pleasure, as you admire the work of your hands. Avoid heavy use for a couple of weeks so the piece can cure.
That’s it! My DIY Creation for the Month of February. I’m already thinking about March . . . . Thoughts? Suggestions? . . . . Profound observations? Stop by the store and let me know.