Monday, June 24, 2013

Dresser Restoration-Take One!

Greetings!  I am the "other" half of The Holland House. For those that have been reading Amy's blog, you may be aware that I am a self proclaimed handyman.  Sometimes it works, most of the time it does not.  The most important thing is that I like to learn the "how" just in case my talents are ever in need, which they rarely are--thankfully. 

With that, I introduce my new obsession, Chalk Paint®.  Chalk Paint® is an easy to use product.  It rarely requires any preparation, such as sanding or priming.  As an added bonus, it may be used on almost any surface - from wood to metal.  I was sold on Chalk Paint at the moment I read "rarely requires any preparation".  You can read more about chalk paint at Annie Sloan or Maison Blanche. So after a few hours of research, Amy and I had developed a plan.  First, we needed a test piece of furniture before I went all out on a piece visible to everyone visiting our home.  Second, I had decided to make my own chalk paint.  Why?  Well we had a sample quart of Benjamin Moore Gray Owl that I desperately wanted to use and I am frugal.  Chalk paint runs approximately $35 a quart.  While I have no doubt it is worth every cent, for my first go at this, I felt making my own would make the most sense.  With game plan in hand, we located our test furniture piece - a 9 drawer dresser for $25.  Awesome because we would actually get some use out of this in our closet!

After picking up the dresser, which obtaining it was quite an ordeal that I will save for another day--or never, I made my shopping list for my new project:

  • Paint--lucky us, we had it on hand.
  • Plaster of Paris, Home Depot $9
  • Purdy paint brush, Home Depot $12
  • Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, Home Depot $9
  • 2 clear quart paint jars (one for mixing plaster, other for paint), Home Depot $3
  • Fine Grit Sandpaper, Home Depot $4
First step was to make my special brew.  It was quite simple, really.  You can add more Plaster of Paris for thicker texture or add more water for less.  It was very much a trial and error process.  Be mindful though, Plaster of Paris dries very, very quickly.  The recipe I used is below:

  • 1 cup paint
  • 2 tablespoons Plaster of Paris
  • 1 tablespoon of water (less for thicker, more for thinner).
  • Mix the plaster in a separate container then add to paint. Stir well.
This paint dries very quickly.  I did 3 coats on the dresser unit but only did one coat on the drawers--see "what I learned" notes for details.  After the paint dried, I sanded the edges to really get the antique, well worn aesthetic that I was looking for.  Also since this was a test project, I sanded through on several of the flat surfaces to allow more of the original color (brown)to show through.  I even took my finish nail tool to create "worm holes".  

The final step is to apply a wax.  I applied using a clean, lint free clothe, then buffed with another clothe.  It really took care of a few of my problematic sanding marks--yes, I got a little carried away--and also adds a protective varnish on the furniture without too much sheen.  Here is the finished product:
For my first attempt, I was pleased and it only took 4 hours.  So for $65 we have a dresser in our closet that provides us additional storage and satisfied my newest obsession.  I will continue working on my technique, next up is an old rocking chair and then our china cabinet.  I did learn some valuable lessons.  So here is my "What I Learned" section:
  • Put your OCD aside and realize that the base coat does not need to be perfect.  After all, it is supposed to be antique. I did a better job on the drawers when I threw caution--read perfectionism-- to the wind.
  • The Plaster of Paris dries very, very quickly.  Don't mix then walk away to grab a beer  before adding to the paint.  You would have thought I would have learned this just once but no, I am an over achiever and did this twice. Genius.
  • If your furniture has already been "refurbished" with a pebble texture then you should just walk away or sand. Your call.
  • Dogs have no business being your painting assistant.  Think you know where that is headed.
Cheers till next time!

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