This absolutely adorable hand painted jelly cabinet set in our shop for months, nearly half the time we had been in business, and it rarely got a second glance. Perched between the large, dark, antique pieces, it did it’s best to look cute, while clutching to the Mason jars that adorned it. Unfortunately, no one, and I mean not a single person was interested. Not even at a discount. I was having a hard time deciding just what to do with it, because I hated the thoughts of painting over someone’s hard work, but we really aren’t in the storage business, so something had to be done, which pretty much made my decision easy.
I packed it up, and we headed home, and for a while I mulled over just what color the cabinet should be. What beautiful Wise Owl Paint color did this cabinet deserve to be dressed in. The style screamed farmhouse, but I didn’t want to take on white, it deserved something a little more. I loved the wood top, and the hardware, so I wanted something that complimented them, and thus I grabbed the Dried Thyme from the paint display.
I saved a pint of the Dried Thyme back, because I wanted desperately to paint something with it, but none of the pieces I picked to paint really fit the look of Dried Thyme, that was until now. Generally speaking, while I love to paint, I try to stick to pieces that need some work, simply because I love the look of a good original, however, not everything still looks good, and I do not have the talent to return something to its original beauty. With this in mind, I paint because it is a skill that works for me. This piece didn’t fit the above scenario, but it still needed help, and so help I did.
As this piece already had a hand painted design on the doors, I knew I was going to have to do a little extra work in the beginning, especially since the paint was slightly raised around the edges. I began by removing the doors from the cabinet, and placing all of the hardware inside a marked baggie for storage. I then sanded the painted areas with a fine grit sandpaper to minimize the raised edges of the original paint. Once finished, I wiped the piece down with cleaning vinegar to remove any remained dust from the sanding, and to make sure my surface was clean for priming.
While I wasn’t certain of the wood, the cabinet appeared to be pine, and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have any tannin bleed through, so I absolutely had to prime the piece. Wise Owl Paint offers two different primer options, a white, and a clear. I often use the white when painting darker pieces to help ensure I have good coverage, but because I knew I wanted to distress this piece, I opted for the clear primer to allow the wood to show through.
Working with clear primer is interesting, especially because Wise Owl Paints and primers dry relatively quickly, which means you need a well lit area, and you want to work quickly so you don’t lose your place on your piece. This is certainly not something I would step away, and come back to, because when they say clear, they mean clear. Though I can say, you can see a difference in the sheen on the piece, and this helps a little.
I allowed a full 12 hours between priming and painting because I wanted to ensure the tannin blockers had time to work their magic. Then I grabbed up my Cling On! S50 and got to work. I chose the S50, simply because I feel I have more control over the paint with the shorter handle, and I wanted to have a smooth finish. Because I store my Cling Ons in water, they are always ready to go, and they help an easy to use chalk paint, go on that much smoother.
From this point on, it was literally just working to apply the paint to the entire surface (oh I should mention that I did tape off around the bottom lip of the top, and around the inside to ensure I didn’t have to sand off any mishaps). I completed two full coats, allowing a few hours between coats for drying, and then left it to completely dry overnight.
The color was fantastic, but it was a little bit bland, it still needed something. I knew that I was going to be using the Wise Owl Furniture Salve to seal the piece, and a friend had mentioned she uses the Wax and Salve together to help blend and age her pieces, so I thought I would give that a try, but first I needed to distress the cabinet. Now I am not a huge fan of distressed pieces generally, but this piece looked the part, but I wanted it to look used, and wasn’t distressing just to be distressing. With this in mind I worked to distress areas that would naturally wear. Edges, corners, legs, the corners of the doors, and around the handles, I made sure to truly think about how the piece would be used, and where it would encounter the most wear, and that was where I used my fine grit sandpaper to strip away some of the paint. I wanted the appearance of fading through the paint to the wood, so I didn’t always remove down to the wood, but sometimes just thinned the layers of paint.
Once I had finished distressing the piece, I began applying Wise Owl Furniture Salve in tobacco flower to the doors of the cabinet, as this is where I would focus the wax. I used Wise Owl Wax in black walnut, and I applied it again to areas that would deepen in color with age and use. So I stuck again to the corners, and inside edges of the door. I would apply the dark wax a little heavy, and then use the furniture salve to help pull and spread the wax, until I was happy with the end result. A little tip, if your wax appears clear on top, cut through the center of the wax and pull from the bottom, as the pigment has settled. Also, if you find that you have too much wax in an area, just apply a little salve and keep working, as the salve helps to soften the wax making it easier to spread.
Once finished with the doors, I continued to apply Wise Owl Furniture Salve to the entire cabinet with a stiff bristled brush (I used a stencil brush as it is what I had on hand), including the inside and unpainted areas to help moisturize the dry wood, plus it was making my entire house smell amazing. After applying the salve, I went back over the entire piece to buff the salve in using a microfiber car sponge, you want to work the salve in until the shine has been buffed away, and you are left with a beautiful soft finish. That was it. Probably one of the easiest makeovers I had taken on thus far!