Monday, October 24, 2016

Refreshing a Sideboard With Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint


We're settling into Fall here and actually had to turn on the heater Saturday night. For the most part the days are warm enough to enjoy but when the sun goes down it gets just a bit chilly. Perfect sleeping weather.

Today I want to show you a piece I did for a client back in April. 

I really wish I had a before picture of it, but I can't seem to find one. That probably means I didn't take one.

What was I thinking????
This piece is a small sideboard. (that's my best guess but I'm not positive)

The client used it in her entryway and the family used the very thin top drawer for keys and sunglasses.

This is a great piece of furniture. Very high quality. There wasn't much wrong with it but the client had a picture from Pinterest that had inspired her to want to have this piece painted.

The inspiration piece was painted with milk paint and much more primitive than this piece so I knew I wouldn't copy it exactly but give it a definite nod.

Specifically, I would try to match the overall color and strip and stain the top.

The original finish looked like cherry with a thick varnish finish. When the original finish is this fresh and strong I always opt for a heavy duty stripper.

When I am stripping varnish and lacquer I go straight for the strong stuff. I don't have the patience to work with one of the gentle formulas. I have found the gentle formulas satisfactory for normal layers of paint, but anything more than that they are just insufficient. This, of course, is just my opinion 

My favorite heavy-duty stripper is Jasco Varnish & Stain Remover(affiliate link
  • It draws the stain out of the wood grain which means less sanding to get the wood back to its original color.
  • It is semi-paste so it spreads easily but is less likely to drip when used on vertical surfaces.
  • It doesn't dry out before it's finished doing its stripping duties.
My favorite gentle stripper is Back to Nature Ready Strip Paint and Varnish Remover.  (affiliate link)

  • It is environmentally safe; contains no methylene chloride, caustic or harsh chemicals
  • It is semi-paste so it clings well to vertical surfaces.
  • It changes color when it is ready to be removed.
  • In a direct comparison test it worked better than the other safe stripper that we had on hand.(the comparison stripper was orange, if that helps you) I'm not making "official" claims here - this is just what we experienced when we compared the two. 
When stripping a simple flat surface like this I just use a plastic scrapper and scrape the waste directly into a cardboard box held at the edge of the top.

Once the top has been completely stripped, I wipe down the area with mineral spirits, then let the surface dry completely. 

When the surface is dry I sand with 180 grit sand paper and use a tack cloth to remove all dust.

I've told you a million times that my favorite way to treat raw wood is with a dark or colored wax. 
In this case I needed a much darker color so I went to my second favorite way to treat raw wood - gel stain.

Probably the darkest wood toned stain you can get before going into the blacks, is Java Gel Stain by General Finishes. (affiliate link)  I'll add here that gel stains don't always require you to strip the finish before you use them. However, my experience is that the finished product is always better if the prep includes stripping. I have also used gel stains over flat and satin finish paints for an antique look

One of my favorite uses of gel stain is keeping a walnut gel stain handy to use when I get a scratch on my wood floors. I treat the scratch directly with gel stain applied with a q-tip. 

The last step for the top was to seal it. This time I tried General Finishes Gel Topcoat(affiliate link This is a wipe on urethane finish that can be applied with a rag or a sponge brush. I liked working with this product. It was easier to get an even, unmarked finish than with a more liquid product applied with a regular brush. I used 2 coats with a light fine sanding in between. 

The paint I used was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Aubusson Blue. Before applying the paint I cleaned with Mineral Spirits and Simple Green. I also did a very light sanding with 180 grit sand paper. Sanding is not necessary with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but I did it anyway this time because this was for a client and sanding helps you become more aware of any issues with the wood or finish before you begin painting so you can deal with them then rather than after you have begun to paint.

I also sand between coats with 300 grit sandpaper if I'm looking to get a perfectly smooth finish. Sometimes I want the finish smooth, sometimes I want it to be textured. The steps I take to the finished product always vary and are dependent on what I start with and how I want it to end up. I will say that one of my favorite finishes is smooth with an oh so slight distress around drawers, doors, and trim. Generally that requires sanding between coats with 300 grit and sanding the top coat with 500 grit sandpaper. I always wrap the sand paper around a sanding sponge so that the sanding is even and not too heavy in any one spot. This is very easy when you have a flat piece like this dresser and is really worth it when you start to wax. The wax will go on more evenly over a smooth surface.

I used one coat of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax and a bit of Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax to finish everything off.

The hardware was brass. I cleaned it with Brasso and it turned out perfectly.

I wish I had better and a better selection of pictures to show you because I don't think the ones I took with my phone quite do this piece justice.

I thought that I wasn't a fan of Aubusson Blue before I did this piece. But the color was so beautiful I had to change up my mind. 

I know that the color varies slightly in each picture, and just so you will know, I think this picture best shows how the color looked in person.

I was really glad to be able to do this piece. It's nice to work on fine furniture occasionally. Not everyone is brave enough to change a piece that looks perfectly fine. I was especially glad to get to strip off all the clear finish off the top. The wood was so beautiful underneath. I feel like the whole piece ended up looking better than it did when she brought it in. 

I hope you are enjoying your fall wherever you are!

See ya!

Sharing here:


Art and Sand said...

You do such beautiful work.

I will have to look at Aubusson Blue next time I at am the dealer who carries ASCP.

NanaDiana said...

Karen- YOU did a fantastic job on that cabinet. It looks like a side piece that my mil had that matched her dining room set. She used the top drawer for her silver ware. Whatever it is, I love it. I love the hardware, too.

I know- I was not smitten with Aubusson Blue until I used it the first time. It is really a rich looking color. xo Diana

ps- I sand a bit even when I use chalk paint, too.

Unknown said...

Hi I love how this chest looks. I've never painted a wood chest becauI listened to other people say "you can't paint that piece". Well I am telling you I intend to find a chest and paint it. Absolutely beautiful work you did there.

I like to add a different looking piece in where there is lots of wooden tones just to brighten up a corner.

I went to Grad School at Alabama and would love to work a chest or odd piece with a deep crimson color for the tradition and warmth. I'll let you know later. Even though I love the blue that you did. Maybe use the blue also. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas, instructions and guidance. Constance in LV.

Beth J. Beal said...

That is absolutely lovely!

srpprcrftr said...

When I come across a post on redoing furniture like to print out pages that document as you did how /what/why. That certainly is quality piece of furniture. My son in law is one that hates to paint good wood or see it has been painted.
Daughter found dining set at our local thrift store not long after they bought their home just few miles to east of us in new sub-division. They came here to buy a home as trying to find decent house they could afford in San Diego.
Think dining set is from 40's, very nice. SIL stripped whole set, table with 6 chairs, then proceeded to gel stain it. She paid $30.00 for whole set.
She had gotten beautiful buffet/hutch at furniture store in their damaged dept. for $200.We gave them an English commode which had been stripped. He gel stained the dining set to match buffet/hutch and also stained commode. I miss the commode but we have small house so decided they should have it.
Had used commode in Ky house entry.
Their dining room is gorgeous with their furniture, at least dining set and commode aren't something they'll be seeing anywhere else.They waited long time to have own house so think they deserve what they have, have worked hard to get it.
You did such an incredible job on that piece, imagine your client was very pleased, love that blue.
Have great week

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

One of my favorite colors and this piece is stunning, Karen!

Bliss said...

Beautiful. i will remember the stripper talk too.

Allison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...