My Grandmother and Grandfather in their 1913 wedding portrait. Painted cherub candles sit on Grandma's tray, along with some of her jewelry. She was a dressmaker, and the ribbon belonged to her. The teddy bear is made from a suit belonging to their deceased son, Joe.
My Grandmother and Grandfather in their 1913 wedding portrait. Painted cherub candles sit on Grandma’s tray, along with some of her jewelry. She was a dressmaker, and the ribbon belonged to her. The teddy bear is made from a suit belonging to their deceased son, my Uncle Joe.

David and I stopped by an estate sale near our house last weekend. Alas, most of the furniture was gone so we poked through the small items. I found two cherub candlesticks, minus the candle cups, from the late 19th or early 20th century. David examined them and immediately dismissed them. They aren’t high quality, he reassured me on the way home. Sure, they are cast metal of some kind, most likely an alloy. And a piece on one of the bases has been broken and repaired. Nope.

Metal Cherubs

But I liked them. After dinner I asked how much he’d pay for those cherubs. Five dollars.

The next afternoon I sent him back to pick up those cherubs for five dollars. “I didn’t say I could buy them for five,” he said. “I said I’d pay that amount for them.”

He returned with the cherubs. Because of a series of amazing flukes and a little crafty negotiating, he got them for five dollars. This is one of a million reasons why I love him.

I recently  saw a tutorial for a verdigris dresser at A Bit O’Whimsy’s site and admired the technique. Verdigris is the greenish blue color that occurs when a metal like bronze or copper is weathered. Think of the Statue of Liberty. Anyway, I wanted to test out this paint style and these little ones provided the perfect opportunity.

Since my two cherubs were made of some kind of metal already, I skipped the step of applying metallic paint. I had Antibes and Louis Blue Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on hand, so my blue was lighter than shown on A Bit O’Whimsy.

Cherubs and open paint

I used a small, dry brush for each color, dabbing the brush on a paper toweling to get off excess paint. I did not mix the colors beforehand. I simply applied them with the brush randomly, working in small patches and moving on. This method allowed me to control the amounts of blue and green.

Cherub Being Painted 1

Cherub Being Painted 2

Cherub Being Painted 3

Next I poured a teaspoon of Old White paint into a container and added two teaspoons of water. I wanted it very watery. Using a larger brush, I slapped on the white liquid.

Cherub Being Painted 4

Grabbing a spray bottle of water and a clean cloth, I headed outside with a painted cherub. I must have misted the first cherub a bit too enthusiastically because the spray and the cloth stripped off some of the blue and green paint down to the metal. I was more careful with the second one. Both, however, needed quick touchups with the Antibes and Louis Blue.

I still needed candle cups so I nabbed a couple of frosted votive cups until I can buy age appropriate ones off Ebay or Esty. I also need to wax them, but, all in all, this was an easy, inexpensive project that brings me joy whenever I look at them.

Verdigris Cherubs

Ann Marie

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0 comment on Verdigris Cherubs

  1. melaniealexander
    January 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm (8 years ago)

    What a neat idea! Thanks for showing us how to achieve that look.

    • irisabbey
      January 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks, Melanie, I am so pleased with how they turned out.

  2. Little Miss Maggie
    January 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm (8 years ago)

    These turned out so pretty. Thanks for your tutorial.

    • irisabbey
      January 27, 2014 at 1:34 am (8 years ago)

      I hope the tutorial helps, Maggie. I just love the verdigris effect. We’ve all been in town squares and seen statues or cannons that have changed color because of the weathering.

    • irisabbey
      January 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm (8 years ago)

      Diann, Thank you so much for featuring Iris Abbey’s Verdigris Cherubs on The Thrifty Groove’s FB page. You’ve made my day! And, yes, my husband worked some kind of miracle to bring them home to me — he really did get them for $5 — and I”m pleased with how they turned out.

    • irisabbey
      January 27, 2014 at 1:32 am (8 years ago)

      Thanks, Marsha, and I still am thinking about using Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax. I guess I’ll try it tomorrow.

  3. Sherry
    January 29, 2014 at 1:14 am (8 years ago)

    Great paint technique. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Good Time Charlie
    January 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm (8 years ago)

    What a great tutorial on how to paint Verdigris!! Sharing later on my party today. Thank you!

    • irisabbey
      January 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm (8 years ago)

      That’s great news. I’ve been spending the last few days at my mother’s apartment because she broke her foot. I’ve just come home for a bit and I’m thrilled by your joyful news. Thanks.


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