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:

https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/home-diy/projects/how-to-restore-wooden-furniture-finish1.htm

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.

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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.

https://videos.files.wordpress.com/9WNFoaQg/img_2646.mov

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!

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:  https://cheltenhamroad.wordpress.com/tag/polycrylic-image-transfer-method/

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.

 

 

 

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:  https://youtu.be/pcmhZ5Ydb64 

Photos from the tutorial: 

 

 

Chalk-based Paint Q and A – A Recorded Live Video

Last Friday evening, I sat down to do my first Live Video on Facebook.  After stressing pretty much all day about it and primping like I was getting ready for a first date, I was ready.  It seemed almost too easy to set up so I was a little worried.  I got in about 5 minutes early just to make sure I knew what I was doing and 30 seconds later, I got the message that I had a poor connection and the little hamster wheel just started spinning.  Great!  I’ve had enough experience with technology, though, I just canceled it and started over.  That time I connected and it was smooth sailing (kind of) the rest of the evening.

Another lesson I learned was that there is evidently a rule that says you can only do an hour. Oops…didn’t know that.  One hour in and people weren’t wanting to leave, so I did 45 more minutes.  I also learned you can stop after an hour.  Wait 5 minutes, then reconnect.  I’m glad I didn’t do that and I’m glad Facebook didn’t cut me off, recorded the whole thing, and didn’t put me in Facebook jail for not following rules.  Whew!  Live and learn.

The biggest thing I would do differently would be to actually use the laptop sitting in front of me.  I was so stressed about it failing the first time, that when I saw the comments start coming up on my phone, I was so relieved, I didn’t think to start it on my computer.  In fact, I remember wondering why I wasn’t seeing it on my computer.  So, I spent the whole time leaning forward peering into the phone to see that tiny little print.  LOL

But once into it, I really enjoyed it.  There were a lot of questions and I was able to share a lot (although it was hard to share when questions kept scrolling through).  I tried to go back to see them but there were some I missed.  I did go back after and answered them on the recorded video.  It was also a little bit fun to “have the floor” so to speak with no one interrupting and me not talking over anyone else.  LOL

It was a great experience, all in all, and I will do it again.  In fact, one viewer suggested doing a live video during a painting class we have coming up on September 30, so we will be working that into the class.  Stay tuned for an update on that.

It is also important that you create an Event for a live video, usually about a week ahead of time.  Then people can join it and will be reminded when it is time for the live video.  I did this quickly, so I only had the event for the day.  I had so many viewers and reached so many people by sharing it with the online course I’m taking and the instructor shared it with one of the other groups she admins.  That was extremely helpful.  I also shared it in the groups I’m in that allows that, on my personal page, and on Instagram.

So…..are you ready to view my very first Live Video.  It really was like having friends come over on a Friday evening.  Too bad I didn’t think to serve wine. LOL .  I do want to warn you that sometime after the first hour, someone asked me to show something I had painted, so I grabbed my phone and tripod and took them on a tour of my living room.  LOL.  I was afraid I might have made them seasick.

And remember.  Be kind.  I am a newbie at this.

 

Dry brushed Desk and Hutch

This has been one of my favorite pieces I’ve painted.  I really wish I would have had room in my house to keep it, but it sold very quickly.  I’m so happy it sold to a family who had adopted several kids and wanted it to put in a bedroom, but once the lady saw it, she was going to display it in one of her main rooms instead to show it off.  Here it is in all its glory but since I recently was asked how I did this, I am going to show you some steps on how it came to be.  

I put off doing anything with it for months because I wasn’t looking forward to trying to paint inside those little cubbies on the hutch.  I even sold it to a painting friend because I wanted it out of my living room.  But then….I ran across a post from a lady describing how she had painted a desk using the dry brush technique.  And, wow!!!! It was the same exact desk I had.  They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but I did show her what I had done when finished.  She loved it!  She laughed and said she thought it was her piece at first.  So I thank her sincerely for the inspiration to try something like this as I never had attempted anything like it.  It was time I bought my desk and hutch back from my friend. I was sure glad she still had it. : )

Here you have the original desk and hutch.

As you can see, it is your standard oak.  The desk even had a hard laminate type top.  No problem.  It was time to start.

Proper preparation is very important.  I cleaned the whole thing thoroughly.  We usually use a spray container of a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water or 50/50 alcohol and water then clean and rinse well and let dry.  I then scuffed up the whole thing by hand with just 220 sandpaper, just to rough it up a little.  No major sanding need.  Cleaned again.

I took out the drawers and decided it would be easier to take the back off the hutch to paint it.  When we did, what do you know?  All those little cubbie slats came out!  The hutch ended up being a breeze to paint, too.

The drawers I painted with a couple of coats of a light turquoise with the paint we sell and use called Missouri Limestone Paint Company and the color is “Front Porch”.  Love the name.  Doesn’t it remind you of the color of the slats on the ceilings of the old farmhouse porches?  I distressed the drawers a little, too.  I even painted the cute little knobs I found at a yard sale and the wooden part of the handle with the color “Harvest Pumpkin”.  I did seal those with poly. The drawers have a slightly gray shading to them.  I did that by rubbing them with very fine steel wool.  That really makes a nice look.

 

I did a little video at the time to show how to dry brush, using the color “January”.  In this case, I wanted some of the oak showing through.  The big thing is not to have too much paint on your brush and then dab most of it off.  Fair warning – this video is in no way professional.  And yes, I sometimes paint in my dining room.  I have severe garage envy.

This hutch also had a corkboard.  I painted it with a coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac first to keep the paint from soaking in too much, then painted a couple of coats of “Front Porch”.  I used a little of the “Front Porch” to get into the grooves of the detail on the top of the hutch.

I painted a chair with “Front Porch” and distressed it after the paint dried with a slightly damp scrubber sponge.  Used the scrubber to distress, then the sponge to wipe clean.

I sealed the whole piece with several coats of wax.  We use toulene-free Briwax.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to dry dry brushing.  It is very easy to do, and the results can be spectacular.  I have a few more photos of the process for you to enjoy.

corkboard

Painting the corkboard

paintedcubbies

Painting the cubbie slats and bottom

hutchwithoutbackandcubbies

Hutch without the back

 

 

 

 

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