Monday, February 23, 2015

The CoCo Curio and A Tip for Using Dark Wax


I'm just sitting around freezing.

I'm fighting off that bitterness I develop every late February for all those people who start talking about spring.

How close it is.

How much they love it.

They start decorating with bright lime green stuff.

And yellow.

And they are all cheery.

I hate them.

Doesn't sound like I'm fighting very hard does it?

I must try harder.

Because it won't be spring here until April 22.

At least.

We don't get to start gardening until Mother's Day!

That's in MAY!

In the meantime,

I'll be painting furniture.

I wanted to show you this piece we, at Vera's Daughter, collaborated on for a client.

It has glass shelves and lighting, but we didn't have those.

You'll just have to enjoy it like it is.

This piece, I'll call it the CoCo Curio, is painted with Chalk Paint® in CoCo. It was one of those pieces from the 60's(?) that was finished in that slightly putrid, slightly yellow French Provincial finish, and had been sitting in a garage for a LONG time.

It took a lot of cleaning.  With mineral spirits and then Simple Green.

Then it got painted with CoCo.  Two layers.  Inside and out.

Yes I did tape off all the glass. 

Hated that.

It was a great day when I got to pull that tape off.

Then it was dark waxed.

Here is my great tip for using dark wax on a piece with this much detail.

First, apply a VERY LIGHT coat of clear wax with a chip brush just to the area you are working on. It's easier to get a very light coat of clear wax with a chip brush. Wipe area with a paper towel or clean lint free rag.

Take a small stiff bristled brush. I used a small stenciling brush. I mean really tiny - mine was about half the size of a pencil.

Load up your small brush with dark wax and "paint" into all the crevices of the area you just clear waxed.  Reload the brush when you fill like you aren't getting a dramatic lines of application.  Keep going until the area you clear waxed is accented.

Take a small dense wax brush - I used one that looked like this:
Wooster Brush 1895 1-1/2 Thick Stencil Brush, Size 10

It was maybe 2 inches across. You could probably use a larger one, but I can't attest to it.

With a fairly firm touch start "dry brushing" the dark wax in the crevices over the entire area. 

What you are doing is pulling part of the dark wax from the crevices over the rest of the detail area. 

When you have finished the area, wipe the high areas with whatever rag or towel you are using. Continue removing dark wax until the color is to your liking. It shouldn't take too much wiping, because this technique doesn't darken the highlights too much.

On the flatter areas run a line of dark wax next to every edge and corner, then pull the dark wax out with the dry wax brush just as you did on the detail area.

I really wanted the dark wax to be in each and every crevice of the piece so I made up this technique to avoid having to spend a bunch of time removing dark wax from the highlights - which happens when you just apply directly with a larger brush, even when you try to target only the crevices.

After each section is completed, wipe the dry wax brush with your rag to remove as much of the dark wax as possible. It doesn't need to be removed completely - just do it a bit.

It may seem like a lot of work to you, but when you have wonderful details to work with like this, it's fun and just slightly exciting!

We let the dark wax dry completely for several days.

Then it got buffed all over with a shoe polishing brush. Just a little. Not a lot. I like to use these brushes over detail areas. It's just easier. 

Then we applied a bronzy/gold gilding wax to most of the highlights.

It was a little glowy for our tastes so then we took a chip brush that was SLIGHTLY damp with mineral spirits and dark wax and just barely wiped it over the gilded areas.

Then we brought it out into the store so all the customers could see it, too.

Then it got picked up by the owner...

And I cried because it wasn't mine.

And that's the story of the CoCo Curio.

The end.

Do you wish it was yours?

Sharing here:
Between Naps On the Porch
Snazzy Little Things
Savvy Southern Style
The Dedicated House
Kathe with an E
Miss Mustard Seed 
Funky Junk 
Mod Vintage Life 


Rita C at Panoply said...

Yes,, I wish it was mine - stunning! And I have some antique purses that could move right in.

As for spring, oh I feel for you. Jan & Feb are killing me this year. I seem to be getting more intolerant of winter each year, ugh. And I am one of those who will likely see spring in March. But that doesn't keep me from sending snarky comments to my sister in Beaufort SC who insists on posting daily forecasts on FB with temps in the 70s. We haters gonna hate....

NanaDiana said...

Oh- I do wish it belonged to me. What a gorgeous, gorgeous piece...and I can see the previous color you described in my mind's eye. I remember that color!

We have a long winter ahead of us yet, too. We cannot put anything outside until after Memorial Day for fear of frost. I just can't wait to get through March-at least we will start to warm up a bit in April (I hope). xo Diana

Gail @Purple Hues and Me said...

I love AS's CoCo. It seems to take on different looks depending on the wax used. You did a superb job in transforming this piece! It is absolutely stunning!

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Karen that is a gorgeous piece and maybe the first time I've ever thought I really like the dark wax. You did a great job and it just "glows". (Not like lime green glow...more like warm wood glow) So I opened my dark wax for the first time since I think you were here and it was moldy. WTH? Any ideas what would cause that?

Cheryl in Wisconsin said...

Your hard work really shows. It now looks like an heirloom.

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

I'd cry to see it go, too. That is a gorgeous curio. Fantastic job on the finishes.
Being one of those blabbermouths about spring being here, I'm now sitting here looking out at the cold gray. Spring has been snatched away and replaced with more winter. Bye bye sandals, hello Uggs. Keep painting beautiful furniture, Karen. :)

Unknown said...

Karen, you're humor always makes me laugh. yesterday it rained here, I mean poured and I had to go out several times to cart my daughter around and I felt that cold chill all day, so I get it a little about That cabinet is so gorgeous!!!! the color is perfect. Thanks for coming over and linking up at the Something to Talk About Link Party and making us laugh. Have a great day, Lisa at Concord Cottage

Bliss said...


At Rivercrest Cottage said...

thanks for such a detailed guide. I have a curio somewhat like it and I am going to try out your tips.

Amanda said...

Oh my! Absolutely gorgeous work! Inspirational for sure!

Marie-Interior Frugalista said...

Gorgeous in so many ways! Love the coco color, the dark wax, but the bronze gilding wax was like the icing on the cake - beautiful! You may want to give this tip a whirl: I took a small chip brush and cut the bristles down to about 1/2" and it works amazing for dark wax in all those tight crevices. Re: Spring...I hear ya. Like you we won't see a tulip or a crocus until May grrrrrr

The Crowned Goat said...

Karen, this piece is STUNNING. Wow, it's just so amazing. Thank you for the tips on coco paint and the dark wax. I've never tried to use a brush with wax before but I definitely want to try it now. You are truly talented! Hugs, CoCo

Ggomez said...

This took my breath away! Just gorgeous!
Just found your blog. Look forward to more beautiful pieces! I rrrreeeeaaaallly want that cabinet 😩😢

Curtains in My Tree said...

I WANT IT !!!!!!!!!!!

I have wanted a COCO cabinet just like that for years and when I find them they are a thousnad dollars USA dollars !!!!!!!

someday it will come to me ?
you did a fabulous job

Unknown said...

Oh so pretty!! I do wish you would send it to me! I love it.

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

Karen, it's stunning!! Thank you for sharing. You are one of the features at The Round-Up from the Before & After Wednesday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. Hope to see you again tomorrow at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

That is such a great tip about using small stenciling brushes to apply the dark wax in the crevices! I have several of those left over from the 80s! Your piece is simply stunning!

sarah krouse said...

That is one snazzy looking curio, for sure! I love your work - every single one is a beauty. You have such a great eye.


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