DIY Projects

DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkins: Hand Stitched

Today I’m talking about DIY upholstery fabric pumpkins. Yes, there are loads of instructional videos and posts explaining how to make DIY fabric pumpkins. Does the world really need another tutorial? Absolutely, because we’re focusing on DIY upholstery fabric pumpkins.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
My pumpkins — 3 so far — resulted from a conversation I had with my son:

Me: Should I order some Etsy pumpkins for our booth? It’s that time of year.

Michael: You know, Ellen (another dealer) makes pumpkins over the weekend, puts them in her booth, and they sell during the week.

Oh! Sure. Why not? There’s no reason I can’t whip up a few, I suppose. In fact, let’s do it with the leftover upholstery fabric used to recover dining chairs:
American of Martinsville

DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

First of all, I looked at several DIY pumpkin sites and modified the design so it would work with thick upholstery fabric.

Make sure you cut your fabric twice as long as its width. I went with 16″ x 8″, but it’s your choice.

By cutting on the bias, you’ll create the greatest amount of stretchiness for your pumpkin. I based my very rough template on Made To Sew’s cut-on-the-bias one.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkins
Line the arrow up with the fabric’s selvage — that’s the side with a frayed edge or white band. Use chalk, marker, or pencil to outline this template on the right (pattern) side of your fabric.


Fold the fabric in half, with the right sides together, and pin.

Hand Stitch – No Machine Needed!

Don’t knot your doubled thread, just put  3 small stitches on top on one another to anchor it.

I sewed a running stitch using regular thread, then went back and filled in the spaces between the stitches with filament thread because I don’t want visible gaps. Unfortunately, my incredibly fine filament thread became nearly invisible while I sewed.
Running stitch
Press open the seam.

With your thread doubled, sew a running stitch along a single side of the fabric. Leave thread tails at either end because you’re going to gather. Note: You are not sewing sides together. Simply sew along the circumference. You can see my stitching and tails along the bottom of the fabric:
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
Pull the threads to gather the fabric. Since you’re working with thick fabric, don’t expect a perfectly tight circle.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
Once gathered, tightly wrap thread around the fabric.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
Flip the pumpkin right-side-up. Here’s how it will look empty:
DIY Upholstery Fabric PumpkinAnd filled with poly fiberfill:
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin


Begin to stuff with poly fiberfill. No matter how much you put in, it won’t be enough. Keep going.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
For the top of the pumpkin, sew a running stitch along the top circumference, but first turn over about 1/8″ of fabric.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
Gather your fabric with the two thread tails. Remember, it won’t close tightly because of fabric thickness. Mine had an opening about the size of a quarter.

I used a limb clipper to cut a wooden branch for the stem, then plugged in the hot glue gun. After slathering hot glue on the base of the branch, I pushed it down into the pumpkin as far as it would go.
DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
After the stem was in, I sewed a few stitches around the opening to tighten it a bit more.


It’s time to decorate with fall decor! I assembled leaves, ribbon, and picks of berries and reached for my glue gun.
DIY DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
After decorating, I decided I didn’t like the length of the stem. It needed trimming, courtesy of the limb cutter. Frankly, I think the stem is too thick for this pumpkin, but since I’m working on a deadline to bring you breaking tutorials, I can’t be choosy.
DIY DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
Ta-da! One of the DIY upholstery fabric pumpkins sits on scattered autumn leaves.
DIY DIY Upholstery Fabric Pumpkin
Thanks for stopping by. Right now, all 3 pumpkins are in our booth at Avonlea Antiques & Interiors. Let’s see if anyone else thinks they’re charming.

Ann Marie and David

Featured at:

Participating in:

Sweet Inspiration Link Party, Inspire Me Monday, Electric Red Barn Wonderful Wednesday

Creative Inspirations Link Party     

Designthtusiasm Style Showcase

Painted Upholstered Chair: Graphite, Old White

Painted Upholstered Chair

Amy Howard inspired my painted upholstered chair project. Safe to say, I wouldn’t have done it had I not viewed this photo on her Facebook page. She transformed this sofa at Lucketts Spring Market. I love the gold leaf accent band.
Amy Howard Lucketts Demo 2017

My upholstered chair languished in our climate-controlled warehouse unit — I had forgotten about it. The fabric didn’t speak to me when we bought it, but the chair was structurally sound. I especially liked its cabriole legs with detailed wood carvings and the hairy-paw feet.

I decided to replicate Amy Howard’s project by painting the fabric and wood, and highlighting the carvings with dark wax and touches of gold leaf. As the pièce de résistance, that magnificent blaze of gold.
Upholstered chair unpainted
Overall, the fabric was in excellent condition. I simply vacuumed it.The embroidered fabric would create an interesting pattern once painted. This sun-dappled closeup shows the embroidery.
Upholstery embroidery fabric painting
Screech! Stop! Fling that plan out the door.

I talked to our son, Michael, and his girlfriend Raven. Both work Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery. They quickly quashed my gold-leaf enthusiasm. Shiny doesn’t sell well in Jacksonville, they advised. No gold leaf, not even to highlight the wood carvings. Also, stay away from colors. Stick with black or white if you want to sell this.

Unknowingly, they snatched away the sole reason I wanted this project.

Nonetheless, full speed ahead with the revised, more sedate, version of a painted upholstered chair.

Although Amy Howard inspired me, I had Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Graphite on hand.

Here’s my technique for painting fabric with ASCP:

  1. Add approximately 20% water to your paint and stir
  2. Spray water on the section you’re working on
  3. Use a rounded brush — I used one of Annie Sloan’s — to push the paint into the material. A circular motion works well. You don’t want to simply brush the paint onto the top of the fabric
  4. Apply about 2-1/2 coats
  5. Sand lightly with 320-grit sandpaper and wipe off paint dust with a damp cloth
  6. Apply a coat of Clear Wax

This photo shows me starting out. I’ve already spritzed a section of fabric and begun to paint. You can see how important it is to push the paint through the fabric and the embroidery. The pattern will remain visible — and look good.
Painted Upholstered Chair

After 2-1/2 coats of paint, light sanding, and waxing, I achieved this look shown below. Just so you know, David and I carried the chair outside because — like every afternoon — it looked cloudy with a high chance of rain. Perfect for a quick photo session. Alas, once we started taking photos, the sun came out and created weird bright and shadowy spots.

Painted upholstered chair
Back to the project. After I finished painting the fabric, I moved on to the wood. I tried Paris Grey but it failed to create the sharp contrast I sought. Not to be deterred, I repainted the wood in Old White. Much better, and the Paris Grey served as an excellent primer. I applied the paint thickly to create texture.

On went Clear Wax and I decided to test out Annie Sloan’s Black Wax. Since I couldn’t incorporate the drama of gold leaf, I wanted to highlight those beautiful carvings:
Black wax on Old White
Annie Sloan Black Wax Oldl WhiteThe hairy-paw foot is so defined and striking:

painted upholstered chair
Here’s the final product. A black-and-white-painted upholstered chair, as Michael and Raven recommended. No gold leaf band, no touches of gold. Let’s hope their advice translates into an appreciative shopper.

Painted upholstered chair graphite old white

This chair, I must say, turned out much better than the previous one I painted. That one  sustained rain damage and never fully recovered: Removing Water Stains from Painted Upholstery.

Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!

Ann Marie and David

Creative Circle Link PartySweet Inspiration Party

Recovering Dining Chair Seats: Mid-Century Modern

Recovering dining chair seats, perhaps the easiest upholstery project, still requires organization.

Recovering Dining Chair Seats

Peeling Away the Years

I always love seeing the layers of history. The photo below shows the jaunty floral fabric wrapped around the original batting and wooden seat. It’s 90’s and awful, I know. The staples are already out, so let’s see what’s underneath.

Recovering Dining Chair

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a plump seat. Instead, imagine a pancake. One layer down and we’re at the dirty, original, yellow fabric stapled securely in place.
MCM Yellow Stripe Fabric

How about delving down more layers? Here we are at the thin, sad interior batting:
Dining Chair Old Batting

Foam and Batting

Luckily, Joann’s offered a 50% discount on their $59.99 high-density foam the day I ordered online. After seeing it in person, I absolutely recommend the high density. A roll of 2″ x 18″ x 82″ is perfect for covering 4 dining chair seats.2" high density foam
I traced the wooden chair seat onto the 2″ foam with a thick black marker. David grabbed the electric knife and cut out four pieces of foam.
Dining Chair Foam CutThe foam will provide a far more comfortable cushion. Below, there’s the wood seat, 2″ foam, batting, and the ivory microfiber upholstery fabric. By the way, we found the fabric in Joann’s remnant fabric bin. Four dining chairs require 1.5 yards of fabric, which we purchased for $9.
Recovering Dining Chairs

The Process for Recovering Dining Chair Seats

  1. Spray glue on the wooden seat and the pre-cut foam. Let both sit and get tacky before adhering together. NOTE: David prefers using 3M General Purpose 45 Spray Adhesive. After he unsuccessfully used the spray pictured, he went out and bought the 3M spray and tried again.Recovering Dining Chair
  2. If rounded edges are desired, spray the glue on each raw edge of the foam and compress. We used a punch awl to help with the fold.Recovering Dining ChairRecovering Dining Chairs
  3. Cover with batting and staple down.Trim excess. Recovering dining chair
  4. Cover with upholstery fabric; use hands to smooth the fabric, and staple. Cut excess.Recovering Dining ChairRecovering Dining ChairRecovering Dining Chairs
  5. Fold the corners neatly, making sure to cut excess fabric to eliminate bulges of batting and fabric.
  6. Fold corners and trim excess material before stapling.Recovering dining chair seats
  7. Optional but simple, this next step involves stapling a cambric dust cover to the seat’s underside. It finishes off the piece by hiding all your fabric edges and staples.Recovered Dining Chair Seats
  8. And a quick photo of the recovered chair seats:Recovered Chair Seats

Sure, the hands-on experience proved more challenging, but we saved a lot of money and, really, that’s all there is to recovering dining chair seats. They’ll look stylish with the matching dining table.

Thanks for stopping by. David and I will be back with a new project in no time!

Ann Marie and David


Featured at:



Participating in:

Is Little Speckled Frog Paint Right For You?

Little Speckled Frog

Little Speckled Frog Chest

Little Speckled Frog Chest
Melanie Alexander of Lost and Found promptly supplied me with Little Speckled Frog, part of Fusion Mineral Paint’s Tones for Tots Collection. Unforeseen delays — like Hurricane Matthew — postponed completion of my Little Froggy Chest.

I’m tickled by the names in this collection: Little Whale, Little Speckled Frog, Little Lamb, Little Stork, Little Piggy,  Little Teapot, and Little Star. Anyway, Tones for Tots is made with babies and young children in mind. According to Fusion Mineral Paint —

Our Paint is lead free, phlalate free, formaldehyde free, ammonia free, virtually odourless and is Zero VOC.


Painting is a rare delight for me because the main stock in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery is Mid-Century Modern. You can see links to our Danish Industrial Lamps, Blue Bridgewater Sofa, Ficks Reed Rattan, and our Milo Baughman 1952 Dining Room Set.

A few months ago I painted this curvy, feminine French Provincial chest with Fusion’s Tones for Tots Little Piggy. It sold within 5 days.

hand painted French Provincial chest

Let’s see if lightning strikes twice. This piece seemed a perfect candidate for another Tones for Tots color. It’s small stature and strong lines will enhance any nursery or child’s room.

Burl Wood Chest

As you can see, the original burl wood was gorgeous. Sadly, we quickly realized we couldn’t save it. The veneer had too many chips and scrapes — and you know David goes to heroic lengths to save wood. Check out the original hardware, a gorgeous and complete set of Bakelite drop pulls that I replaced.

Here’s a detail of his top:

Veneer Damage


Gothic Clover Stencil

I added a modest amount of decoration. The design needed to be simple and appropriate for either a boy or girl’s bedroom. A Gothic Clover stencil won out.

I pushed the VP Antico, a synthetic plaster by Artisan Enhancements, through the stencil, which stretched across two drawers. Two thin layers. Once the final layer dried, David scored it with a razor along the drawer lines. There were a few chips, but I did some touch-up painting and the clover looks fine.

Little Speckled Frog

I painted the Gothic Clover stencil with a mixture of Annie Sloan’s Old White and Pearl Plaster by Artisan Enhancements. My Pearl Plaster jar was almost empty, so I wanted to use it up. The new knobs came from World Market.

Believe me, it’s difficult to get an exact match when presenting the paint sample and the finished product. I’ve made several adjustments to get as close as possible.

So, here’s Little Froggy — just waiting for something in our booth to sell so he can take his rightful place. I have no doubt he can stand his ground amid all that Mid-Century Modern.

Little Speckled Frog

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to leave a comment. We love those.

Ann Marie and David

Featured at:
makeitprettymondayfeaturedbutton_zps97338ec2-pngoriginal DIY Vintage Chic FFF feature button 250x250_zps1dj53s4v




Participating in:
amaze button2

DIY Wood Repair: Water Marks, Burns, Scratches, Finishing

An unexpected acquisition exploded into weeks of DIY wood repair for David. How did he overcome white water marks, dark water marks, burns, scratches, finish stripping, and create a new finish color? Read on to find out.

Backstory . . .
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Bedroom Set

We bought a lot of furniture and decor at a hectic estate sale last March. Unlike our usual sales, this house was wall-to-wall Mid-Century Modern (MCM), every room overflowing with stunning pieces. Collectors and dealers came out in droves. My son Michael and I were among the first into the house and it was a bonanza.

We came across a beautiful Broyhill Premier Sculptra bedroom set, made in 1964. Unfortunately, the high prices wouldn’t allow us to make any money on resale. Michael suggested we leave a bid but, with the eager mob surrounding us, I didn’t think we had much of a chance.

Surprise! A phone call informed us we were the proud new owners of the Broyhill set. Broyhill Premier manufactured their Sculptra collection between 1957 and 1965. With our purchase we acquired one of the first king-sized headboards ever made.

Great collection. We put it in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery and enjoyed lots of interest.

A client and friend contacted us and asked if we’d be interested in buying a matching nightstand. She had paid already paid a mover to deliver her own merchandise and they would throw in the nightstand at no shipping cost to us. Good deal.

Big Problem: Wood Repair Needed

On a muggy, rain drenched night, the nightstand arrived. It matched the collection’s design but troublingly sported a cherry stain, not our golden walnut.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstand Cherry

David pulled out the CitriStrip and began the process of wood repair. He’s the expert at our house.

Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstand CitriStrip
First side loaded up with stripper — 4 more to go
Stripping Broyhill Premier Sculptra
Residue CitriStrip and old finish

But this baby had issues beyond its color. Once the cherry finish came off David tackled the stains and scratches.

White Water Mark

The white water mark was easy. Denatured alcohol helped get rid of it and a 180-grit sanding left it matching the rest of the top.

Broyhill Premier Sculptra nightstand damage

Dark Water Marks

Dark water marks are always the hardest to remove. With the finish completely removed, David used a paste of oxalic acid, marketed as Wood Bleach (Trade name). This is neither a quick nor easy solution. It sometimes takes several coats to minimize the black ring, which is caused by water soaking into and reacting with the tannins in the wood.

After three applications, most of the dark ring disappeared. He sanded down the area with 180-grit sandpaper and was fortunate that it didn’t ghost back through when the he applied the new stain medium.

Burn Marks

Finally one goes our way. The burn wasn’t deep and was easily sanded out with 180-grit.


The scratch was a bit deep. David knew if he sanded the veneer to remove the stain, he’d run the risk of going through the veneer. Then the area the wouldn’t take stain properly. He tossed out this option. Instead he used a steam iron and a wet cloth to pull the scratched area back to the surface. When heat is applied to wet wood, it raises the grain. As you can see in the picture, the scratch is now flush with its surrounding face. There is a dark line or bruising now visible, but no deep scratch. Once he had it flush, David sanded the dark area down then matched the tone of the wood around it.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra wood damage

Matching the Stain

With the blemishes in the wood ameliorated, David took up the task of staining the piece to match the walnut tones of our other pieces. Minwax Special Walnut looked like a good match when he put it on an inconspicuous area for testing color. He plunged in and stained the entire piece.

Wrong. It looked way too red to belong to our Sculptra collection. Next up, a car trip to a local furniture refinishing business and a plea for knowledge. I imagine David pressed the finisher about miracles. Could this piece be saved? Especially with the time and effort already invested. The pessimistic answer he received held a ray of hope and, frankly, he felt it was too late to turn back. Like Ahab, David and his nemesis nightstand found themselves locked in a mortal struggle. The poor finisher skeptically advised Provincial, a stain close in tone to Special Walnut but mostly based on green. The only way to kill the red was to mix it with green.

Still Mixing the Stain . . .

Provincial toned down the reddish color but didn’t come close to matching the existing finish. Frustration. A week and a half of work needed to be removed from the piece. Out came the CitriStrip for two more full strippings. Several hours and many dark words later and there! The nightstand was back to neutral with no red tone bleeding out of the wood.

He surmised that the original finish had been a layer of dye and shot with cherry toner before the finished top coat got sprayed on.

The extra strip was an attempt at removing any residual red tone from the wood. After a few trial-and-error color matches, he went with a mixture of Watco Light Walnut and Golden Oak. The Light Walnut still had some red in the light walnut stain. The Golden Oak toned that down and added a lighter golden hue to some of the wood graining.


David came very close to matching the two pieces. The lighter undertones of the original collection mimicked what an aging process would have done to the finish and the wood underneath. I was quite pleased with the final results; David bordered on ecstatic.

David DIY Wood Repair
My Hero

An added bonus: after three weeks we no longer had to explain why the second nightstand was offsite. More importantly David stopped muttering to himself about stains and tones and being generally disagreeable when things didn’t work right. But that’s pretty common, right?

Lesson learned: matching tones of wood finishes is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it’s best to let the pro do the job. But David loved the learning experience and he lucked out on the top of the curve. Pretty amazing. He gives himself 25% to skill and 75% to luck — and not knowing when to quit.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstands

Here they are, together at last. The collection sold within a week. Don’t they look beautiful together? And heroic David brought about this transformative wood repair.
Broyhill Premier Sculptra Nightstands

Thanks for visiting. We love reading your comments.

Ann Marie & David

You can find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Featured at:


DIY: Wood Repair







Participating in:
monday-social-button-8-5-16-small FFF FINAL SQUARE
812253_origamaze button2 vintage-charm-button-2d534c079-09d2-4d76-8209-c1a9aaae1e69_zps64479110-1the-creative-circle-grab-button

DIY Wall Art with Stencils and Templates

DIY Wall Art with Stencils and Templates

I want to present three different pieces of DIY wall art that I made with stencils and templates. A couple are already on display in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.

Octopus Stencil on Canvas

These first two pieces are created from stencils designed and cut by Cate Tinsley, a talented  artist and illustrator whose business is called Olive Leaf Stencils. She offers an amazing  selection of wall stencils and I can’t recommend her enough. I found her on Etsy I asked if she could reduce a couple of her oceanic images. Hooray! She agreed.

My instinct tells me there’s a niche for these images since our booth stands about 15 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll see — but the final images look great.
Octopus Stencil

I used an 18″ x 24″ canvas for this mighty guy and painted the background periwinkle. The silvery octopus shimmers — and the photo doesn’t do him justice.

I’d like to paint my next octopus with more colors — blues and greens for the watery background — and add dimension and texture to the octopus with VP Antico by Artisan Enhancements.

Tube Coral Stencil on Pallet Wood

This is the other stencil from Olive Leave Stencils. Isn’t it fantastic? David cut pallet wood to  form a 31″ x 20.75″ surface. Using a belt sander, he sanded the slats as smooth as he could so the stencil would lay as flat as possible. He added a frame to the back.

I whitewashed the raw wood with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) Old White and rolled the stencil with ASCP Barcelona Orange.

Tube Coral Stencil

This guy is heavy — 10 pounds — but won’t he look terrific as the focal point in a beach cottage? He’ll go into our booth in the next couple of days.

I’m entertaining the idea of customizing the octopus and coral in colors requested by clients. What do you think? The alternative, for now, is simply to choose my own colors and surface — either canvas or wood, and sell them in the booth.

Halloween Mirror Silhouettes

DIY Wall Art

This last wall art project arrives in time for Halloween. I’ve had this 4-paned mirror for too long. I repainted it a while back, but it never garnered any attention. Something drastic needed to be done — I’m determined to sell this piece. Halloween gave me the perfect idea. I remembered seeing a photo on The Graphics Fairy site for Halloween projects. Emily Martin created the window below, and it served as the inspiration for my mirror.

Halloween Window Silhouettes

I bought my supplies at Joann’s:

  • a black glitter card with adhesive backing
  • black acrylic paint
  • cobwebbing

I gave a slipshod paint job to the frame — it’s supposed to look creepy. An old peeling window frame might work as well, but you use what you have on hand. I liked the glossy black look.

On my computer, I reduced the size of the templates and printed out the images. Next, I cut the vulture, raven, crow, and rat and traced them onto the white adhesive backing of the black glitter. Cut and adhere.

With the paint dry and the silhouettes attached, the mirror still needed something. A small bag of fake cobwebbing did the trick. I stretched webbing across the frame and added a free spider that came in the package. Voilà!

Thanks for stopping by. You can find us on Facebook and Pinterest, too.

Ann Marie and David


812253_orig Rooted In Thyme makeitprettymondaybutton_zps76188e71-pngoriginal monday-social-button-8-5-16-small creative-inspirations vintage-charm-button-2 the-creative-circle-grab-buttonamaze button2

Little Piggy Goes to Market

Take a peek at my newest painting project, a hand painted French Provincial chest in Little Piggy:

hand painted french provincial chest

I cannot take credit for the inspiration. That goes to Mary Vitullo of Orphans With Makeup. Mary not only creates beautifully painted pieces of furniture, but her styling is brilliant. Here’s the Little Boho, a French Provincial chest by Mary:

French Provincial Chest

See what I mean? Mary displays fancy doilies in the window and a hanging basket featuring plush animals and a gorgeous pompom cloth with delicate tatting. You may catch a glimpse of my empty painted basket in the photos below.

Last year I bought a French Provincial chest and put it into storage. I delayed doing anything with it because it faced competition from mostly Mid-Century Modern furniture in our booth. But such an adorable painted piece brings radiance anywhere it lands.

Mary used Little Piggy from Fusion Mineral Paint’s Tones for Tots. After trying to buy locally, I turned to my blogging buddy, Melanie Alexander of Lost and Found. She sells this paint line and I’ve been meaning to give it a try. Melanie and I started blogging around the same time, so I’ve always felt a special connection to her. She’s also excellent at shipping quickly.

French Provincial is such a feminine style that I felt I had to go with the Little Piggy color. Unlike Mary’s piece, however, I didn’t distress. Fellow painters take note, Little Piggy is a tad pinker once you get 3 coats on but it’s still a light blush.

Tones for Tots Fusion Mineral Paint

I pulled out my piece and started cleaning.French Provincial Chest

Hello, Starbuck!

French Provincial chest

Fusion Mineral Paint is thinner than Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and it glides on.

hand painted French Provincial chest

Tomorrow we’ll take this lovely girl into our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery amid the mid-century items and create a vignette. Although we’ll staged it for a nursery, this chest is perfect for a girl of any age.

French Provincial Chest

handpaianted french provincial chest

Using Tones for Tots was a breeze and I can’t wait to try Little Speckled Frog to match this froggie.

Thanks for visiting. You can also find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Ann Marie and David

FFF FINAL SQUAREthe-creative-circle-grab-button DIY Vintage Chic 812253_orig vintage-charm-button-2 makeitprettymondaybutton_zps76188e71-pngoriginal

Why I Won’t Paint Furniture with Latex Paint

David and I try hard to preserve the wood of Mid-Century Modern furniture. I’ve seen him work miracles on damaged surfaces. But what happens when a piece has too much damage or would require too much time to salvage? It might be anathema in some circles, but sometimes a bit of paint does the trick. We base that decision on 2 criteria:

  • Does the piece have a distinguished pedigree, like Heywood-Wakefield or MCM Broyhill?
  • Is it worth the time and effort to bring it back to original glory?

If the answer is No to both questions, we consider painting. Here’s today’s contestant:
Mid-Century Modern ChestIt’s a good, sturdy chest. Faux burl wood on the upper drawer is the most interesting element about this chest. The slanted drawers a close second. You can see wood fill that we’d already begun using.

We’d previously painted another set using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Although I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and use it as my go-to paint, the process took forever. We slapped on 4 or 5 coats, using 320 grit sandpaper in between. All of that didn’t matter once David wiped polyurethane on the paint and sanded with a wet/dry 400 grit to keep the poly smooth.That’s what gave the pieces a super shine — and they sold quickly.
Mid-Century Modern Dixie chest and nightstand

I explained to my Ace Hardware man, Mike, that I wanted an easier method. He recommended Valspar primer and high gloss paint, along with smooth-surface rollers. Rollers! It’s been a while since I’ve used latex paint and rollers.

OK. Let’s go Old School on this. For the record, I never paint furniture with latex.
paint supplies

I wanted my color to look like Cream of Mushroom soup, so I opted for Beach Dune. Mike tinted the primer lighter shade.
Valspar Beach Dune
Here’s an example of why we elected to wood-fill and paint this piece: separating veneer. David handled the repairs.
MCM chest damage

Some things, like scrubbing with Simple Green, doesn’t change.
MCM Burl Chest no drawers

I taped the top drawer so I could apply paint to the wood accent strips and not the faux burl.
MCM Burl Chest taped drawer

By the end of the day we had two coats of primer covering the piece. I had some difficulty easing back into latex paint: did it always have such a thick hide? It felt so elastic, and not in a good way.
MCM burl chest primed

I was dissatisfied with the final finish. Our goal was straight forward, to achieve a lacquer finish. This didn’t come close, no mater what my ACE guy had assured me.

It looked bumpy, like I used a roller — which I did. I’m hoping you know what I mean because I didn’t take a photo.

David repainted it using a brush and it looked better. Yet another reason why latex paint is a pain: you can’t sand a spot and paint over it. You must repaint the entire surface.

I vow never to use latex on furniture again. With so many better choices out there — I’m looking at you Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Fusion Mineral Paint — why would I ever need to battle with latex?

David made it handsome enough to put into our booth. It’s a fun piece, especially with the African textile draped over it.

Mid-Century Modern Chest latex paint

MCM Chest latex paint

But this project reminded me of the issues with latex paint. I’m still searching for the perfect enamel or lacquer technique. Any suggestions?

I think I’ll try Amy Howard’s Lacquer next.

Thanks for stopping by.

Ann Marie and David

FFF FINAL SQUAREamaze button2Make-it-Pretty-Post-Button

Embracing Change the-creative-circle-grab-button


DIY: Creating Aged Patina

Let’s start with the After photo of 3 females carved from wood, showing their aged patina:
3 Female Figures Carved Wood

I’ll give a quick run through of how I achieved this look. The piece started out looking much different. It suffered from wear and tear, with scrapes and scratches exposing the bare wood beneath an all too dark exterior. As you can see, I’d already begun to apply wood fill on some of the dings and scrapes. Not all of them though. I wanted to keep its aged look.
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

As you can see, two pieces of wood come together to form this sculpture.
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

My original plan was to repaint it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) in Graphite, remaining consistent with the original color. My son, however, suggested I consider lightening it up with paint and aging it with wax. Sure, why not? I pulled out my can of Old White and set to it. I have the first coat on here.
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

And the second coat:
3 Female Figures Wood Carving

After the paint dried, I covered the whole piece with Clear Wax. Next, I dipped my chip brush into Dark Wax and highlighted the lines by brushing the wax into them and using a soft cloth to rub off the excess.

As for the rest of the piece, I wanted to achieve a lighter contrast using the Dark Wax. I dipped the tip of my brush — lightly — into the Dark Wax and judiciously dabbed, brushed, and rubbed with the cloth. I worked in sections. Any area looking too dark, I applied Clear Wax to lighten it up. It was important not to slather on the Dark Wax and simply rub off. My process took more time.
3 Female Figures Carved Wood

ASCP leaves brush marks that are perfect for Dark Wax to settle into and create an aged patina look.
3 Female Figures Carved Wood

Lastly, I want to mention how powerful I find this piece. It’s 30-inches tall and can stand alone or hang on the wall with a sturdy hook. In that regard I’m reminded of sacred figures in church. The gospels, for instance, mention 3 women at the foot of the cross.

I’m also reminded of family. This piece could easily represent daughters — my neighbor has 3 and this week became a grandmother for the third time. All girls.

Or, the carving provides a symbol of generational love, presenting the unity of a grandmother, mother, and daughter.

Above all, I believe it shows the strength of women through the ages. Standing together, laughing, learning, and lifting up.

3 Female Figures Carved Wood

I think the ladies look great. I’m glad I went with the lighter paint color because the Dark Wax shows a lot more detail now. This sculpture is now in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery.

Thanks for stopping by. You can also find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Ann Marie and David

amaze button2Make-it-Pretty-Post-Button

Embracing Change

the-creative-circle-grab-button DIY Vintage Chic vintage-charm-button-2 Over-the-Moon-Link-Party-200

© 2014 Designed by Jax Computer Chic   ➸ADMIN LOGIN