My First Attempt At Distressing

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I found this mirror at Goodwill for only a few bucks. I thought it would be perfect for my first try at distressing something and transforming it to look somewhat “shabby chic”. I’ve used chalk paint, but I’ve never tried sanding it to make edges look worn and rustic. After removing the hooks and cleaning it, I painted several layers of FolkArt Home Decor chalk paint in “sheepskin” (which I purchased from AC Moore). Then I took a sanding block I found at Dollar tree (fine and medium surfaces) to distress.

After a layer of FolkArt clear wax, here’s the finished product:

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Finishing this piece was like a complete psychological test in taking risk. I didn’t want to distress too much, but then I was finding I was holding myself back to doing much at all. I’m happy with the finished product. Yet, now I’m curious about my next distressing piece. Will I do more to make it look more tattered and used? Could I be so daring?

This will make a perfect replacement to our key holder, which we’ve had for 16 years!

~Lani

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Wood Map of the Philippines

Last fall I picked up this sign from Goodwill for $2. I tend to fall in love with anything on wood with potential to strip and make a new canvas. This piece was absolutely perfect. It was a great size for something significant, about 1.5 X 1 ft. I originally wanted to make a sign for Christmas, but things got so busy that it ended up sitting in my office in a bag until now (yup, 8 months later).

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Since I’ve been so inspired lately, I wanted to make a tribute piece to the mother land of my parents, the Philippines. I wanted something simple and classic. I know I’m stumbling along the way in figuring out how to repurpose things, so I knew this was going to be a flawed piece. However, I knew this was a piece I definitely wanted in my home, flaws and all would make it seem even more special to me. I think I treasure all of the pieces I do where I make mistakes, imperfect execution.

Stripping the paint was a nightmare. I”m not sure if it was the product I used, my technique, or both. However, I know I definitely was rushing and ended up puting tons of scratches in the wood when I was scraping the old paint off.

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I kinda like the character the scratches bring.

Once I stripped the paint (which I still need to fix), I had a blank slate. I found a template for a coloring book page of the Philippine Islands online. Once I taped it, I had no clue of where to start. I had no exacto knife or sharp tool. So I took a screwdriver and started scraping the outline of each island away.

This was a small time-consuming task, but that’s the beauty of these projects for me. It is teaching me patience. It is teaching me to stop, exhale, and breathe. I’m slowing down and existing in the moment.

I desperately need this stress reliever.

With my Grave’s disease, these art projects are a form of therapy for me. Actually, meditation may be more accurate. Even if I can squeeze in 10 minutes of working on the piece in a day, I’ve spent those 10 minutes completely with myself and focusing on my art.

It does bring an inner peace.

Once I outlined, I filled it in with chalk paint.

It will be a lovely addition to a wall gallery I want to assemble.

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First Time Using Chalk Paint

 

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I am in love with refinishing, repurposing, and upcycling.  I am slowly diving into it and have been wanting to try my hand at using chalk paint for a while.  I have so many furniture pieces that I want to redo and heard it is one of the best mediums to use because it adheres so well to any surface.  No stripping or sanding necessary?

I’m in!

I had this piece in my garage reserved for my lovely sister.  It was one of the pieces sitting in my dad’s garage for decades.  It was a former TV stand and was basically covered in gunk and garage filth (and believe me when I say it was caked on!).  I initially wanted to strip it and use an almost black stain on it.  My sister had liked my previous work on my freecycled living room table and wanted me to use the Moroccan stencil again.  So I started stripping.  I started sanding.  Nothing looked even and prepped well for a new clean finish.

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Cue chalk paint.

Maybe I was weak or lazy.  I’m sure if I cared to put a little more elbow grease into everything, I could have gotten it cleaned off well enough for a stain.

Eh.

So I started the chalk paint research train.  I knew a shop near my house sold Annie Sloan, but my current problem was price.  I don’t have much to spend (plus I don’t even know what I am doing), so I figured I should test my skills out first. I checked my local AC Moore and BOOM!  Found these beauties at an awesome price:

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Each of these costs $7.99, however, I always get great AC Moore coupons for 40-50% off.  So these definitely fell in my price range.

I had read that chalk paint was basically chalk powder mixed with regular paint, so I was curious as to what I”d find.  The black paint came out like a pudding and I found that just a little went a LONG way.  I used a brush and found I could spread it very easily and it filled every crack, nook, and cranny with ease.  The best part of it,  was that It really stuck and adhered to the table so easily.  I had recently redone a small shelf from my dad’s house with latex paint and I swear I basically drenched that piece in paint with multiple layers in order for it to be covered well.  The chalk paint was totally the opposite.  Plus it didn’t get all globby and gunky (yup…those are words..heahea!) when my brush was paint heavy.  It was easy to smooth all those goopy globs out.

So here is my finished piece:

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You can see from the picture that the wax hasn’t fully dried yet.  I was so anxious to get this to my sister that I wanted her to have it before the overnight drying was done.  I found the wax was completely necessary because the finish on the chalk paint is super-matte…like an old-fashioned chalk board.  My sensory sensitivies made me cringe when I felt the chalkiness of it.

I seriously hope this wax dries completely clear and she can buff it out well.

Eek…lesson learned.

Have you used chalk paint before?  What tips do you have for my next project?  I have a corner cabinet I want to do.  Maybe distress it?

~Lani

 

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