Creating a Piece of Jacobean Royalty with a Watercolor Paint/Stain Technique

This is a tutorial, but also the story of Sir Albert, a neglected Jacobean cabinet who wanted nothing more than to have someone see the beauty behind his years and restore him to his life among the Royalty. He found me, and I fell in love with him and this process, so I hope you enjoy his story. I tried to show the important steps in the process in bold font so they would stand out and others can try this to help save and restore these beautiful pieces of history. I also want to share the thought and work and heart involved in making these pieces quality furniture once again.

It all started when I found this cabinet. I loved the carvings on it and it reminded me of one my mom and dad had refinished years ago (it is apparently in my blood to do this). However, my dad took off about 5 coats of different color paints to get to the wood, and here I am putting paint on it. He would be just shaking his head over that. 😉

At first, I was going to just clean it well and perk it up with some Howard products. I even went so far as to create a video on how well Restor-a-Shine worked on one of the small doors.

However, as I studied it more, I realized it needed more work than just a light restore, including some places that were alligatored. You know, all dry, crackling, and crisscrossing on the finish. (More on that later.) So, I started dreaming on how I would paint it. Sometime after that I had tried a technique I’ve used before where I mixed the chalk-style paint we sell and use (Missouri Limestone Paint Company Indigo Blue) with distilled water (so there are no impurities). This piece of raw wood had beautiful grain and the paint/stain technique turned out beautiful! I did not measure as this piece was so small. I think it was more paint than water, so I would paint on and wipe off. I did this 3 times. I knew then I wanted to try this on a large piece. Isn’t that gorgeous! I love Indigo Blue – a true navy blue! I love it so much I painted a pair of shoes with it. But that’s another story! I spent about a month daydreaming about painting this beautiful cabinet. But first, I wanted to learn a little more about it. A kind lady in one of my painting groups I belong to, Vintage House by Leah identified it for me as Jacobean Style. Thank you again, Leah, for identifying the style of this piece. I did a lot of research but could never find one that looked exactly like mine or knew what the style was even called.

Once I had the style identified and researched some more, I knew this guy was going to be royalty. So I named him Sir Albert from the Jacobean era during the reign of King James. The rest, as they say, is history!

And then, as luck would have it, I posted a pic of my piece on one of my painting groups and Rachel of Not Too Shabby posted one she had done that was almost identical except that hers didn’t have the shield in the center of the large door! How beautiful is this! I was ready to try my experiment!

I tried a practice run on one of the doors. I had cleaned it earlier really well and used Restor-a-Shine on it before I decided to paint it instead. So now, I just cleaned it well with a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water.

It was looking good so far so I knew it was going to work. I could see the more coats I put on, the more the navy blue came out.

My original intention was to do like I had done on the raw wood and paint it on, then wipe it off. But I could tell that where the raw wood soaked up the paint, the stained piece soaked in some places but stayed on top in others. But the thin mix just flowed out of my brush. In many areas I just used a small artist brush.

I was ready to do some watercolor painting!

I finally brought the piece home from storage and decided to try my experiment on this piece. I did not want to sand or strip it as I wanted to keep the original color, darkened with age. I believe it had only a coat of shellac, which was missing in places, and other places the shellac had developed what is known as alligator, cracked, or crazed. Who said this furniture restoring was easy, right?

So, back to Google to research some more. And here is what I found and tried:

Reamalgamation! I learned a new word. It means I could do a technique that would pretty much liquify the cracked shellac then would turn it solid again and unblemished. It worked pretty well. It is not perfect, but neither was the whole piece. But at least I now have a smooth finish instead of an area where the finish was deteriorating.

I first cleaned the piece really well.

1st cleaning: 50/50 mixof vinegar and distilled water is a spray bottle with several drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent added to cut grease. This thing was really dirty. The pic below shows about the 5th rag I used and still cleaned more. I cleaned until I wasn’t getting any more dirt on my rag.

I then used a different cleaning mix to make sure there was no residue left.

2nd cleaning: A 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water.

We did the whole piece two times.

In the process of cleaning a little of the crackling finish brushed off. That didn’t bother me because I was going to touch it up with a little stain and then paint/stain that area anyway. I also wanted a little old world look so this was fine. I didn’t want perfect.

Then, because this was shellac, I learned we needed to use denatured alcohol. Wow! This stuff is dangerous when you read about it on the can. If you try this be very, very careful! And store it high and out of site of children in a locked room. Away from heat. Very flammable. Use in a well ventilated area. And many many more warnings. We weren’t sure how dangerous so we poured just a little into a small mason jar. We were afraid it might eat through anything else. 😱

We got a new natural bristle brush – one of our chippy brushes we use. We dipped it in the denatured alcohol, wiped against the jar so it wasn’t dripping, and painted it on the areas in long strokes. We did not go back over. We dipped the brush each time, so it wouldn’t dry out. It looks really shiny at that point.

We then waited 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, it dulls some. Then we took a very fine steel wool and rubbed gently. And….just like magic… we had a smooth surface.

I tried to get photos in the same spot each time, but I don’t think they quite came out that way, but you can see where there was a cracked finish, now there is not. You can see where a little finish is gone, but as I said, I don’t mind that. I will fix that. I am happy it is smooth without having to remove all the finish or sand it. I wanted to keep that dark look.

So now, maybe you have learned a new word, too, along with what it means. Amalgamation! It may just save your piece!

Here is the link to the site that helped me:

So now I was ready to do some water color painting with my paint stain mix of 50/50 of chalk-style paint and distilled water. I used a cup of water and an 8 oz jar of paint, mixing together in a mason jar. I poured the paint into the mason jar, then poured the water into the paint jar and shook it to get all the paint out, then poured that into the mason jar.

So far so good. More coats will make it more navy.

The inside and shelves had a few scuffs and marks. I used Howard Restore-a-Finish on them, and they are beautiful. Do they still have a bit of character. Certainly. Don’t we all? 😉

The parts I am keeping wood, I refreshed with Varathane water based stain and polyurethane in dark walnut. I just painted it on and left it to dry. It made the wood shine and covered any nicks and scratches.

So, that’s pretty much it. This actually went much faster than most pieces. I just kept painting until I saw the dark navy I was looking for. I think it was 3 or 4 coats. It goes so fast and dries quickly. Someone asked if I taped around the wood on the front sides. No. I used the small brush and the diluted paint just flowed into the right places. It was pretty amazing to me as no background in watercolor or any type of artistic painting.

The last thing we did was put on a new back. The old one was cracked and veneer peeled away. When we did, a package of Singer sewing machine needles fell out.

I love when we find treasures. I am a member of a sewing machine group and found someone there who could use them, so sent them on.

We cut a piece of luan the sizes of the two back pieces and painted two coats of the Varathane water based dark walnut stain and polyurethane. The color matched the wood stained areas perfectly. We used screws to attach the back.

Rachel, my new painting friend, told me she had put new knobs in her piece and I was missing the one on the large door. She searched and found one of them and sent it to me. It was a perfect match, and as Rachel said when I let her know it had come, that she was happy it was back where it belonged on a Jacobean cabinet.

I sealed the whole piece (wood look pieces, too, with Howard FeednWax. I chose it over paste wax due to the fact that it was still mostly a stained piece with wood showing through with lots of nooks and crannies paste would get stuck in. I loved how it worked. Very easy to use and smells good, too. You paint it on. It looks very shiny going on but doesn’t stay that way. Wait 20 minutes and wipe it off. Let dry and lightly buff. A unique thing about wax as a sealer is that it is a natural dust repellent so Sir Albert will not get as dusty as some pieces of furniture.

This has been my favorite piece to paint. I hope if you try making some paint/stain and doing some watercolor on a piece you have that you will share photos in the comments here. I would love to see them.

If you have any questions, or if I can make something clearer, please let me know and I will edit this tutorial.

So here is the last photo of Sir Albert of the Jacobean era of the reign of King James in all his glory until….he gets dressed (staged) in all his finery as he searches for his forever home. When he is ready, I will post those photos, too.


Our Invention We Like To Call SharSum Paint’s Leg Painting Contraption

We are working on a project involving table legs. I love painting this type of leg, but as you can imagine, there is a lot of: paint an edge, let dry, turn, paint another edge, you understand. But, not anymore! With SharSum Paint’s handy dandy, Leg Painting Contraption, painting these table legs is a breeze.

But first, the history of a base we made early in our business that has allowed us to work on a number of projects fairly easily – our Super Duper Lazy Susan Spinner. This is another Invention we do not plan on getting a patent on, but pretty sure no one has ever tried to make one just like this or ever will. 😉

It all started with the idea of making a huge tray out of a free table top that would spin around. We had purchased a Lazy Susan mechanism at Lowe’s for about $7.00. We were ready to roll (I mean spin).

We quickly found out the top was not real wood and upon close inspection when the paint did not stick well that it was covered with a plastic contact paper like material. So…. we didn’t add any more coats and called it done. We attached the mechanism anyway and Ta Da! We now had our Super Duper Lazy Susan Spinner. Waste Not Want Not as they say. We will visit our Spinner again a bit later.

But now, we have 4 legs to paint. I said, “Danny, I wish we had something we could use to hold the table leg up so I can paint it.”

Meet Danny’s Invention – SharSum Paint’s Leg Painting Contraption! This model was specifically built to hold the legs of this particular table, but can easily be recreated for any set of table legs. Looking good so far? Don’t you wish you would have thought of this life-changing Invention?

And now, for the finale!!!! Insert the top part of the leg into the space provided on the contraption. Place on the Super Duper Lazy Susan Spinner and paint all sides of the leg at once, spinning the base as needed. Play the video to see this in action.

I hope you enjoyed learning how we made these very useful tools. We do not plan on getting patents so if you wish to recreate these items, we give you our permission.

Fellow painters, consider it our gift to you. 😉

Refrigerator Test Tube Vases

We’ve been busy getting ready to change out our booth at Spirals Art Gallery and Studio in Cuba, Missouri. I have a bunch of test tubes and wondered what I could do with them. Pinterest did not fail me. I found a great idea – Magnetic Test Tube Vases for refrigerators!! I love the first batch I made so much, this grouping is now front and center on my refrigerator and is going to stay there. Goodbye ugly magnets! Hello test tube vases. You can even put real blooms in these vases. See the water in mine keeping my artificial 🌸 🌺 fresh?😉

We cut a 1×4 pine Board into 6″ pieces. I color stained the boards with a mix of paint and water. The 3/4″ clamps snapped right over our test tubes. We screwed them onto the board and glued 4 round magnets on each corner of the back. We added an artificial bloom and now Spring has sprung in our kitchen!

But wait! That’s not all! A friend asked me if I was going to have any with a rusty clamp. The challenge was on! So, I used a rusty technique I had tried on other things and….now we will have rusty ones, too!

But still I wasn’t finished. What about copper? Why not? I had some Rustoleum Copper Penny Metallic paint so….now we will have 3 colors of clamps! In fact, I am changing out the ones I am keeping as my kitchen has copper accessories.

I am doing a variety of colors on the boards. You could use just one, but I love the grouping of 3, don’t you? They would make great Mothers’ Day presents. Hint, hint.

You’ll be able to purchase these at our booth at Spirals starting Monday afternoon (3/5/18). They are $10 each or 3 for $27.

I know my favorite color clamp is now copper because I have copper in my kitchen. What is your favorite clamp color? You can vote by commenting below. Thanks!

Creating a Color Portfolio of Work on Pinterest

Note:  To make it easy for you to follow the directions below in print, I created an eBook for you.  Just click on this link to download.  Be sure to follow my blog if this is something you  can use.  I would appreciate it.

Free eBook: Pinterest Colors Board Tutorial

I found Pinterest to be an excellent way to showcase my painted projects.  If you enjoy this tutorial or just enjoy looking at painted furniture and home decor, please consider following me on Pinterest.  And if you like seeing tutorials like this, please follow this blog.  I have many tutorials listed here.  Just click on the category Tutorials to see them all.  I add new ones periodically.  Thank you.

I’ve been working on creating portfolios of my work through various platforms:  Pinterest, Facebook, and eventually here on my blog.  This is something I’ve attempted in the past and it is a lot of work. I realize now I have created quite a few projects and have the images saved in several different places and finding them all, saving in one place, adding descriptions, etc is all going to take time.

However, I am highly motivated right now to get this done.  Why?  I am doing more custom work with my business and I want an easy way to share examples of my work along with colors and techniques to hopefully, future clients.  So, I am creating color albums.  I started with Facebook and have quite a few ready to go with it, but last night I got distracted (lol happens often) with checking out how to go about it in Pinterest and Wow!  I love what I discovered.  The only drawback is that the client will need to have a Pinterest account, but these days, most people do.

Note:  These directions are for the Pinterest app.  But if working on a computer, they are basically the same.

Steps for Creating a Color Portfolio in Pinterest:

1.  I logged into my business account in Pinterest.  Click on the Plus Sign at the top of the page.pinterestlogin2.  Type in Colors for the Board name and click Create. After it is created, you can click Edit and add a description of your Colors Board.  Here’s mine:  “Portfolio of SharSum Paint’s Work”


3.  I then clicked on Add Section, gave it a Color name and clicked Next.
Add a Section


4.  You may or may not get this message.  If you do, just click Skip at the top right.  I think I got it as I already had boards on my account.

Skip This

5.  You are now ready to add pins to your Brown Section.  Click on the left arrow until you get back to your main page and click on the + sign there.


6.  You will now add a pin.  This can be from a photo on your phone, a copied link, or a website.  I think it is best to use a photo from your phone.  You will see the photos from your phone.  Click on the brown photo you want to add.  (note:  my brown is not in this screenshot as there was a selfie of me beside it and I didn’t want it on here, but you get the idea.  LOL)Photos from Phone

7.  Your brown photo will show up.  You will want to add a description of your photo at this point.  You will then Click on Choose Board.  You will Choose the Colors and then it will ask you to choose a Section.  You will choose Brown Board.  Then click Done.  Or you may be at the point where you have a photo pin to add that doesn’t have a color section.  At this point, you can choose that photo and choose Create a new Section and add your pin to it.  Bonus:  When you click on a Pin to view it, if you scroll to the bottom, Pinterest adds additional pins that relate to the pin you added.  Pretty cool!


8.  You can add a link now.  But to do that you have to edit your pin.  The spot for a link doesn’t show up when you are creating the pin.  So click edit and add the link you’d like visitors to go to.  Be sure to click Save.


I have found a very cool link that I use with Instagram and other places that only allows you one link.  It is called  It is free and you can sign up through Instagram.  I add all my business links to it.  I found you can even copy a link of the Colors Board in Pinterest, so I added that, too.  Kind of a one stop shop of all my business links and a way to contact me.  It is perfect for Instagram.  Here’s mine: 


9.  You are now ready to add a new pin or see your color board.  Just go back to the main screen again and click on Colors to see all your Color Boards or click on the + sign to add a new pin.


10.  Click on Colors and you will see all your Color Boards


That’s it!  I hope you enjoy creating a Color Portfolio in Pinterest to showcase your work as much as I did.  If you create one, please share below!  I love looking at other artists’ painted projects.





Transfer an Image with Varathane Water-based Polyurethane

Be sure to visit our SharSum Paint Facebook page to see more of our work.

Using a water-based poly to transfer an image???  I am in love with this method for transferring an image.  I have tried many different ways with several degrees of success.  This is by far the easiest and quickest and the best results I’ve found.

I’m not sure why I haven’t run across it before, but when I saw how this video tutorial by The Craftsman transferred the images using water-based poly I knew I had to try this.  The video is linked from The Graphics Fairy site, which has an amazing selection of files free to use.  I found a French Handwriting Script  that worked perfectly.  I chose the reverse image as I would be transferring text.

The Craftsman is entertaining and a very good tutorial.  I linked it above as it is buried on The Graphics Fairy site under Transfer Methods.

Note on changes I made from what is suggested in the video:

  1. In the video, The Craftsman used a product called Poly-Finish (which is a poly acrylic).  In another tutorial I read,  Minwax Polycrylic was used.  I used Varathane water-based crystal clear polyurethane in satin finish as that is what I use on all my furniture. It worked perfectly.  So, your favorite water-based poly should work also.
  2. The video transfers onto raw wood. I had already painted a chair with chalk-based paint and had put one coat of poly on before I ran across this technique.  The results were amazing, so this works not only over a painted surface, but one that has had a poly coating already added.
  3. I wet the edges and tore them (a trick I learned on another site).  This helps hide a straight edge that might be more noticeable. Even with removing the paper, there will still be a thin layer of paper that remains.

There was another tutorial I ran across that reiterated using poly to transfer images and she shows how to do it over chalk-based paint.  In this tutorial, she creates her own rulers. to make a great looking tray!  People are so creative!  Thanks for sharing, Cheltenham Road:

A client wanted her ladder back chair to have a French Handwriting Script across the ladder backs. See update at the bottom for info on the inspiration for the handwriting script on a ladder back chair. I thought of several different ways I could accomplish that, including using a stencil, but I really wanted to do a transfer.  Here are the steps I used.  I am extremely happy with the final result.  The whole process literally took less than an hour.

Practice make Perfect – I thought it would be a good thing to practice first.  Please do not mind my ugly practice board.  Just focus on the script, which literally just took minutes to do.

I printed out several reverse copies of the French Handwriting Script from The Graphics Fairy.  I decided how I wanted them to look on the ladder backs, then trimmed them.  I also wet down the edges and tore them so they wouldn’t be straight as mentioned above.  Notice in the photo I tore 3 sides on the first one  That was before I realized the top and bottom wouldn’t show anyway as I wanted it to go off the wood, but the sides would end, so I really only needed to wet and tear the sides of each.

I put the chair on its back to make it easier to work with.  Each ladder back will have a liberal coat of poly painted on.  I did one ladder back at a time, putting on the poly, then adding the image with the script facing down.

Each time I added the image, I made sure to smooth it down well, including around the edges.  I used a credit card to burnish it into the wood and make sure there were no wrinkles.  I literally let this dry only about 15 minutes (poly dries quickly).  I won’t lie….I’m impatient.  I even used a hair dryer to make sure it was really nice and dry.

It was then time to saturate the paper with water.  In the photo below, you can see I am painting water all over the paper.  I worked with just one ladder back at a time.  After it was thoroughly saturated, I let it sit a minute or two.

This next step was fascinating!  Unlike other transfer methods, starting at the corners, the paper almost completely peels away.  I peeled as much as possible this way first.

After the first peel, I  used a rough texture wet washrag and carefully rubbed away the rest of the paper.  I let dry just a bit (ok….maybe used a blast or two from the hair dryer) so I could see if there was any paper left.  There was, so I used the wet rag to rub some more.

It was now time to let it dry.  Yes, I might have used the hair dryer again.  LOL.  But anyway, once dry, I gave each ladder back several coats of poly, not only for durability, but the coats of poly make the thin layer of paper that remains seem to disappear.

And now, for the beautiful, final results!

How about this closeup?  I’m so in love with this!!!!

All three ladder backs:

Chair is now complete.  The only thing left to do is to seal the new paper rush seat for durability.And…..would you believe we wove new paper rush seat for this chair?  The client really wanted to save her heirloom chair and the original rush seat was in bad shape, so I found a great tutorial for that, too.  If you ever need to weave rush for a ladder back chair, you have to watch this youtube tutorial:

But that’s not all!  I wanted to put a fleur de lis on the knobs of the desk/vanity that will do with the chair.  Easy peasy with the poly transfer.  Hint:  If you rub away a bit too much, no problem.  That’s what black Sharpie permanent markers were made for.  LOL

Update:  My client saw a chair with French handwriting script and asked if I could do something like that with her chair.  I found the creator of this chair and requested permission to use her chair for inspiration. (I always ask permission of artists if I can find out who they are.)  She graciously allowed me to do that.  Gina Kellogg of Kellogg Frosted Furniture (isn’t that a great business name) I thank you.  You can see Gina’s beautiful chair here.

And now for the final reveal:

I first sealed the new rush seat with a 50/50 mix of shellac and denatured alcohol.  Then I stained it with another favorite Varathane product. (I just love the Varathane products but are not affiliated with them in any way)  I used Varathane water-based stain and polyurethane in Dark Walnut.

I am now thinking of all kinds of possibilities for using these transfers:  jewelry boxes, cutting boards, photos on wood, hmmmm….will it work on fabric?  I’m off to try that possibility.




Scheduling the Listings of Furniture I Sell Online

I belong to several painting sites and many of us sell the furniture we paint online.  With so many Buy, Sell, and Trade (BST) sites out there, it makes it hard to keep track of all the places we have listed our furniture for sale and when we need to refresh them.  Some have wished for an app that would keep them all straight and would let us schedule when we need to relist our furniture for sale.

The best rule of thumb at this time, from experts I follow, is not to bump your listing but to remove it completely and relist.  At some point you may even want to restage your furniture.  Facebook has been pausing accounts of people lately due to too many postings at one time, so we do need to try to find a better solution than to just hit the button that says post to more sites.  Also, when you add listings that way, if you delete one, it will delete the others, too.  So that’s not a good solution. But how can we keep track of our listings and schedule them efficiently?

I’m no expert, and I’ve not found any kind of scheduling app that would do this, but I did think about scheduling and wondered why I couldn’t schedule my listings on my Google calendar.  I tried it, and it seems I can.  Here’s what I did and why.

  1.  I created a new Google calendar under my business email account, which is gmail.  You should be able to use any gmail account, though.  (I initially set up my new calendar on my desktop) and made sure I kept it private.  No one needs to see these entries except me.  I named it “Scheduling BST Postings”.
  2.  I then made my first entry.  This would be the day I first listed a piece on a BST site.  For the Title, I used the Title of my listing and the amount I listed it for.
  3. I made sure to choose to repeat it once every month and set a notification for an hour before.  This way I know that listing should be updated by then and will show up on my calendar and being notified will help me remember.
  4. On the desktop version, there is a description area on the entries.  In the description area, I copy the info from my listing description and paste it in. I also copy the URL for that listing so I can easily access it.  I then list all the other sites I chose to use so I would remember which ones they are. There is also an area to add attachments, so I add all the photos I used in the listing.  (On my iphone, there is a note section rather than a description area.  This is where I would copy/paste the information.  The phone app does have a place for a URL, so I put the listing URL there.  Once I have the calendar set up, I can add it to the other calendars I see on my phone and then can easily add new listings from my iphone. )  I’m not sure how Androids work, but I’m sure you can use Google Calendar on them also.

That is pretty much it.  Now I have all the information I need for relisting my furniture at my fingertips.  I also get notified once a month when it is time to update that listing.  Note:  I do not relist to all the sites at one time.  I do a couple at a time.  Then wait an hour or so and do a few more.  I don’t want my account paused for posting too many too soon or Facebook may think it is SPAM.

My next piece of furniture I list, I will make another entry, but if done the same day, I will make sure I change the date on the calendar to another day that week.  I can go back or into the future for new entries, it doesn’t matter.  The point is I have a schedule now that hopefully will help keep me organized.

I have added a screenshot of my calendar entry for the first listing I did.  I hope it will be helpful to others.


A Wax Resist Tutorial – Using Chalk-Based Paint and Furniture Wax

I have probably said it before, but I’m saying it again.  I LOVE playing with techniques and color on the 1970’s style plastic furniture.  I have been buying up wall vase sconces and wall candle holder sconces and trying out different techniques.  This is going to help me decide how to paint some solid wood furniture I have with the plastic fronts. These pieces are gorgeous when painted.

The technique I used on this set of wall sconces is a wax resist using the paint we sell, Missouri Limestone Paint Company’s chalk-based paint.  Any chalk-based paint should work just as well.  Any furniture wax should work fine also. I used Annie Sloan clear wax mixed with gray paint just because I had it on hand.  Otherwise, I would have used just clear.  You can wait until it is fully dry (about 24 hours) and give it a light coat of wax and polish.  Just don’t rub too hard.

The wax resist, on these sconces, produces an old world layered effect that is just beautiful.  I used 4 colors. over the original gold of the plastic piece, “January” (a pure white), “Sunday Silver” (a medium gray), “Arlington Blue” (a medium blue), and “English Bluebells” (a light blue).

View the Tutorial Here: 

Photos from the tutorial: