Sunday, June 5, 2016

My stab at shabby

The before and after for the project in this post

Today, I'm writing about a lesser-known side of me. Those who are close to me know that I like to craft when I have time, which isn't often, and that I sometimes can see things in objects that others don't see. This usually leads to doubting looks from my husband when I suggest colors or decor for our renovation projects, since he can't see what isn't there yet. Happily, what I see is usually attainable and once there, he can appreciate what I had already known would be.

Which brings me to this blog post. I love to get bargains. Not clothes, not shoes, just stuff. I love nothing more than to find the exact piece I need for an area in my home at a resale shop, antique store, or estate sale. There are stores I shop specifically for the deep discounts on items with sluggish sales. I have a large piece of metal wall art that should have cost me $150 hanging on my wall, merrily reminded me that I only paid 3 bucks for it. This excites me. One of the finds I am excited about was the focus of a project this weekend. I converted a worn-out, neglected sideboard into a piece of furniture I've seen in upscale antique stores for $250 or more. It cost me a total of about $60. This post explains how I did that.

One of my favorite places to visit frequently is Goodwill. Lots of the furniture and decor in my house is from finds there. One day, I happened upon an antique sideboard there. It was so worn out and neglected. It had not been a high-dollar piece in its day, and the laminate on the wood was bubbled and peeling. One of the casters was broken. The finish was scratchy and sticky in places. It looked like someone had kept it on a porch for a long time. The tag said $25. I loaded it up and brought it home.

My husband gave me one of his doubting looks. I assured him it would be fine. This weekend I finally had time to work on it. Here is what I started with:

The sideboard as I purchased it at Goodwill

The inlays on the doors attracted me to the piece and I thought it would make a good project for me to learn how to do the shabby chic style that is so popular.

The first thing I had to do is remove all the hardware. I pulled the casters off and unscrewed the knobs. I also removed the doors and hinges.

Next, my plan was to pull all the laminate that was separating from the wood. The side (shown in the picture) was obviously needing this done. One of the drawers also had very loose laminate. I wasn't sure about the top or the doors - they each had some laminate that had come off, but it seemed like the rest of it was pretty firm. I thought maybe I'd leave them that way to add another dimension of weathering.

However, when I started working on the doors and the top, it became clear that the laminate was going to have to come off. I started searching the internet for the best way to do this and found a recommendation to use acetone to be the most likely. I ran to the store, bought acetone and got back to work.

Most of the laminate came off pretty easily. Unfortunately, the laminate on the doors was very stubborn. The inlays were a part of the laminate, so parts of them came off with the laminate. There was a lot of it that wouldn't budge, even when my hubby used an electric sander.
I really, really wanted this to be a one-day project, so I had to come up with a solution. I figured out that I could turn the doors inside out and put them on opposite sides so that I would have a smooth surface to work with. This leaves my doors looking like this inside of them, which means I will probably need to put decorative contact paper or some kind of fabric or even a laminate inside the doors before I'm completed finished with the project.

After I had removed the laminate, I sanded all of the surfaces. The paint I purchased to use for this project is chalk paint, which was a little expensive, but enabled me to paint directly on the finished surfaces without a lot of prep. The drawer I removed the laminate from still had streaks of laminate on them, but I decided they might add interest to the finished piece
After everything was sanded, it was time to start painting. The process I had decided to do called for two layers of paint. The first layer needs to be the color you hope will show through when you do the weathering. The second layer needs to be the primary color you want the piece to have.

My first coat was in a color called "Nana's Fudge." It is made by Little Billy Goat. It is important that you use some kind of chalk paint for a project like this, and I found Little Billy Goat paint to live up to its promise to paint on without much prep and also to cover up blemishes just due to its texture.

After a coat of "Nana's Fudge"
I noticed after the first coat that the area that had been exposed to weather on the side looked like it was darker. I decided this might also fit into the look I was going for. I only painted one coat of Nana's Fudge.

After that coat had dried, I added just a small amount of vaseline in areas I didn't want the next coat to stick to. This was mostly in light, streaking motions across the drawers, up the sides, and across the top. The idea behind this is that it would make the next layer easier to remove from those places.

Then it was time to do the second coat. This time, I used a color called Tablecloth, also by Little Billy Goat. At first, I was a little distressed that my brush seemed to have one stiff bristle which kept painting lines in this coat. However, after I did this for awhile, and made sure that the strokes went the length of the piece, I realized this was adding another, cool dimension to the paint.
"Weathering" on the top of the piece

"Weathering" on one of the drawers

After that coat had dried, I first took a scraper to the areas that I had put the vaseline, followed by a heavy sanding. The result was even better than I had planned. The fudge color showed through in a manner that looked very natural. I put a little more strength into the sanding along the edges and around the inlay on the top piece of the sideboard.

Lastly, I put reassembled the doors/hinges and added new knobs to the piece. I have to admit, I am not in love with the knobs I chose, but those are something I can easily change. 

Overall, I am very happy with the results. I had a piece that was dark, worn, and overbearing and now I have a piece that is light and comfortable in my bright front room. My family's doubting looks have turned to exclamations of "Wow, that actually looks good!" We will live with the piece for a few days before I apply the matte sealer (also from Little Billy Goat) to finish the project.

What do you think?
The finished piece