Sunday, January 20, 2013

I made my own chalk paint!

Recently, I have wanted to explore using chalk paint on furniture. Fortunately for me I had a client send me their desk and stool which was the perfect candiate to test out this paint. For those of you who are not familiar with chalk paint, it is a fast drying paint mixture that creates a 'chalk-like' matte finish. It is a popular paint and said to be easy to use when creating a shabby chic look or when distressing furniture.

In theory, I like the idea of chalk paint but on the hand, it is very expensive. Since I was not comfortable paying $30 for paint, I started researching  recipes on how to make my own.  I found a couple great recipes one on the blog Elizabeth and Co. and the other at I Heart Nap Time blog.

Below is the guinea pig an old Ikea desk. Typically, I steer clear of Ikea furniture but the desk fits perfectly in my clients small Hoboken apartment. They wanted the desk to painted navy with gold highlights and were totally open to me trying chalk paint.

desk before

Chalk paint has a great deal of benefits.  It is the best type of paint to use on furniture that cannot be sanded or furniture you do not intend to strip. Also, it is extremely durable. I ended up using the Elizabeth and Co. recipe.  Overall I was very pleased with the mixture, however, it dries out quickly therefore I suggest making small batches of paint.

desk after

close up on leg detail and upholstered stool

close up on desk top

Next time I want to try I Heart Nap Time's recipe. I wonder if using a smaller amount of plaster of paris will make the paint last longer.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A place for six to eat...

My clients, Kelly and Rainer, wanted their old dining room table and chairs to be refurbished with a modern look which included refurbishing everything from the seat cushions to the various water stains and chipped pieces of wood. The whole ensemble was in desperate need of a "Refurbished with Love" facelift!

It turns out their dining set had a matching china cabinet in decent condition which I used as a guide to match the new stain for the set. Since the table top had a layer of wood veneer, I chose to use new a product to refurbish it, a gel stain by Minwax.

I haven't had any experience with gel stains before, but supposedly they are an alternative for 'faux' wood surfaces. In the end, I developed a big love/ hate relationship with this gel and there are more reasons why I don't like it.  First off, I should warn you, the gel has the consistency of pudding and is better applied with a sponge brush as opposed to a bristled one. Secondly, it dries ten times faster than your typical oil based stains. Therefore, if you are working on a large area, I suggest staining it in sections. This will help tremendously considering if it dries on you, it will be tough to get out. However, should you run into this problem, I suggest applying additional stain over the dried section and buffing the heck out of it! Lastly, the gel seemed to leave a residue on the wood and was rough to the touch. This was obviously frustrating since you need your surface to be smooth as silk before applying the polyurethane at the end. Lastly, fom a price conscious perspective, the gel stain only comes in quart size amounts at a whopping $16, which can add up quick when trying to pick the right color for your piece.

table and chairs after

Half of the table had water damage and uneven color in many areas. 

table top before

table top before

table top after

chair after

chair after

close up on stud detailing

Overall, the dining set came out beautiful and the stain was spot on for matching the cabinet! I also upholstered the dining chairs in a neutral fabric picked by the client and added a stud detail which gave the chairs the modern appeal they were looking for.

Overall I do not think I would use a gel stain again, however I was very please with the final outcome.  This was a big project for my small work space, but definitely a fun one to transform.

I am now pleased to say, seating for six is now available at the Hoboken brownstone of Kelly and Rainer. 

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