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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Painting Vintage Furniture


 
If you have never done this before,
 it can appear to be a daunting task.

BUT

You can transform an item of furniture over a weekend,
particularly if the weather is on the warm side, 
when the paint will dry really quickly.

We can get onto more fancy stuff later on.
Here is the absolutely simplest way to get you started.

You will need:

Matt emulsion paint (latex)
sandpaper or a sander
brushes
antique wax such as Briwax or Mylands
(If the piece has been previously waxed you will need some white spirit)
buffing brush or cloth
fine wire wool


To remove wax from a piece of furniture,
you can use white spirit and cloth/kitchen roll.

However, it can be quite a long job doing it this way
and if you don't remove all the wax you
might have problems later on,
with the paint not having a good key to adhere to.

So,

if you don't possess a sander,
de-wax really methodically,
 and then sand with some fairly rough sandpaper.
 You should then get a good surface to work on.

I just prefer to get the sander out and really sand it within an inch of it's life!

Fill any cracks and holes, if you want to, and sand when dry.

I say should you want to, as you might want to
leave some of the signs of its age.
It's entirely up to you.

Now the fun starts.

 There are several ways of doing this and
it depends very much
 on
the look you are trying to achieve.

Let's  assume you want the piece to look as
though it has had years of paint and wear.

Always put on a fairly thin base coat.
Once dry, give it a light sand and give a second coat.
Then paint on a couple of coats of a contrasting colour.

You can give it fairly thin coats, and paint in one direction,
keeping it all very neat

OR

you can really bash on thick layers of paint,
working in different directions.
( then when you wax, the antiquing wax will sit in the ridges)
You can paint on several different colours in layers,
if you want to.

Give a gentle sand between coats.

When you are happy with the coats you have put on and its all dry,
start sanding around edges where the furniture
would have got most battered and worn.

If you have used several different colours,
 it can have a good effect here and you can also sand in
other "worn" areas, to show all the colours underneath.
It's up to you how far you take it back and it might
be trial and error to get the exact look you are going for.

Just try to do it so it isnt too contrived looking and
what my dear friend Allie calls
"the Nellie Neat" look!


Waxing.

This is the exciting bit, when the paint takes on a mellow, aged look.

If your top colour is pale, you will find it gives a better finish to mix a little of the antique wax with white spirit and paint it on, a thin layer at a time.

Darker colours are fine using the wax neat, but if you do this on light colours, it comes up looking very dirty, rather than gorgeous and mellow.

You can either use a brush for this, or a cloth.
Dont worry if you put too much on and it looks to dark, or uneven. 
Just take some wax off with white spirit, until you get your desired colour.


Leave the wax to harden off a bit,
around 30 minutes.

You can then buff it up to a soft sheen with:

a furniture buffing brush
or 
a shoe brush
or a cloth
or
the fine wire wool


whatever you use

it just needs a bit of elbow grease!

Now...for the trade secret.

Take your fine wire wool, and work at extra buffing on the edges,
in fact all the areas which would be well worn.
I mean, really work on them.

You will see after a while what I mean when I say,
this gives the most wondrous finish,
as the furniture
feels so smooth and worn.
You will just want to keep touching it!


Make yourself a cuppa
or
pour a glass of wine
and 
stand back and admire your handiwork.




Arundel Eccentrics

are hoping to start their own
painting and decorating furniture courses.

Get in touch with us if you are interested.


If you have found this useful and want to take your
furniture decorating one step further
do let us know and we will try to help.

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