Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Creating a Perfectly Chippy Dresser

Sometimes there are pieces of furniture that just don't get the attention they deserve and they sit in the shop too long. This blonde dresser was measured time and again over the past couple years by people wanting to use it for a bathroom vanity -- fitting it out with a basin. But it just never happened.

So it was time for a new "old" look. Imagine it coming out of a farmhouse basement or attic after years of use and wear. TLC Vintage wanted to go for an authentically chippy look -- random, not too perfect of a paint job. Here's how you can do it...

First up, clean the piece with dish soap and water, rinse and dry. Next apply a coat of Chalk Paint® Clear Soft Wax, and wipe away the excess. Allow to cure at least a full 24 hours.

Next day, brush on just one coat of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. Don't try to be precise, just "slap it on" without regard to how thick or thin or in what direction. Here we used Old White, but color is completely up to your decor needs.

By the time a piece this side is completely painted, it is fine to start the "chipping" process. Or if you don't have time and have to wait a few days to get back to it, that will work just as well. The process is simple and random, but takes a little time. Grab a roll of duct tape and a scraper, which may or may not be necessary.

Applying pressure with just your fingers may produce the results you are looking for when you strip the duct tape off. Usually it is best to use four- to five-inch strips one at a time so you can position your chips to look random.

If the chips are too small and you want larger or more decisive looking chips, apply the tape and press down with a scraper. Be careful not to apply the corner of the scraper too hard or you will get linear chipping that looks unnatural.

How much "chipping" to apply depends on you and the look you want to create. Avoid very large chips -- several inches in size or the finish will be too "busy" and not particularly natural.

Once you have the look to your taste, apply one to two coats of Clear Soft Wax again to seal the painted furniture to protect against further chipping and to create a protective water-resistant finish. As usual, apply wax with a brush then wipe off the excess. Allow 5-25 days for the wax to fully cure, but you can use your piece gently during that time. I like to buff immediately or in a few days if I want a shinier surface.

In this case, the hardware was also painted and waxed. The wood carved appliques had Dark Soft Wax applied to the crevices to give an aged and dusty look. Once that was done, Brass Gilding Wax was lightly applied with a small brush to give a worn look.

With any old piece that is hand-finished, it is nice to add some personal details. I like to finish and wax drawers inside and out so they are clean for the next owner. Stencils and a pop of color give extra personality. Like many things, it's "in the details!"

Our redesigned piece is now ready for its new owner -- charming and subtle -- with an air of hard-use and vintage flair.