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Saturday, April 7, 2012


I am so happy with this project that I just have to share!

I have had this cabinet for 25+ years.  I always liked it, but it never held a prominent place in the house since the decor is so very different than anything else we own.  So, despite my affection for it, it was relegated to an inconspicuous corner, the loft or the basement (depending on which house we're talking about).

Since, I am sprucing up our basement for my sewing/design studio, which includes purging, donating and organizing all of my sewing gear I knew this cabinet could come in handy down there.   Plus, I could have a little fun with color.'s my "before" and "after" of this fabulous cabinet.

(Please pardon the garage)

Isn't it cool?  Do you see why I chose to keep it all these years?  It has so much built-in character. 
I had researched the topic of distressed furniture quite a bit; looked at a bunch of on-line tutorials and other blogs and finally decided to dive in.  After all, what could go wrong?    I completed the whole project yesterday in about six hours (that included the trip to buy the paint).

 I found a "baby blue" paint swatch that I liked and had a quart of paint mixed at my local Wal-Mart.   I wasn't needing some type of the line paint...something simple and economical.

Then, I sanded (sporadically) some of the dark color off the piece all over...nothing too drastic.   That was my first attempt with a power sander...woo hoo!   For the smaller areas, I sanded more carefully by hand.  Throughout the piece I used an "80" piece of sandpaper, which is really rough.

The idea with sanding is to allow for the blue to adhere properly and also have some of the dark continue to show through as if it were well aged.

The cool thing with a project like this, is it's very forgiving.  You don't have to be a fabulous painter, imperfections/mistakes can make for an even better final outcome.

 If you do some reading on distressing furniture, you will learn you can use screwdrivers, hammers, chains, etc., to create the dents/dings in the piece.  The nice thing about this one, is it already had those elements in the wood itself.  I didn't add any of that; my mission was to make the overall piece look weathered and faded.   I love the nails, hinges and lattice work on this piece, they provided the interesting design elements of a previous era.

I will tell you as I was working on it, I thought maybe I went too light with the blue I chose since it was looking more white as I applied the paint.  But, in the end all was good.  Once I stood it up and the light was reflecting on it correctly (I had it laying down on saw horses while I painted), it was perfect.  Anything more blue would have been too much.

After the paint was dry, I then went back at it with the sander exposing the under layer as I went.   The areas which would likely be more worn is where I removed more of the top coat.  For instance the drawer pulls.

I love, love, love this...I think it's freakin' AWESOME (my husband said I used "awesome" way too much yesterday)...and it is going to be so perfect for this room.   As you can see, I am already filling it up with all of my sewing notions and crafts which were scattered underneath my pattern table.  You can probably see, I didn't worry about painting the interior.  I also didn't worry about the back of the piece since I knew it was going to be to the wall.  So, my one quart of paint was more than enough.  I added contact paper to the shelves and drawers... a blue calico that I had on hand and went to town loading her up!   Between the shelves and the drawers, I have lots of room to get myself organized.    I chose not to apply a protective finish when I was done.  In my opinion, any additional wear and tear is just going to add more character.   

Now it's your's really a fun and creative way to give new life to an old piece of furniture...just go for it!!!

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