Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ghost Sign Table ..... finally

If after 7 times you don't succeed,
try another method.

Has anyone else felt woefully inadequate after following a tutorial TO THE LETTER only to fail miserably? Transfers are the thorn in my particular side. I can do an inkjet transfer onto painted wood if it is black only. Transfer onto glass? HAHAHAHAHA snort. I follow the tutorial like my life depends on it but fail every time. I've tried over and over. I really, really want to transfer onto glass.

I also want to do color transfers onto painted wood. I was feeling lucky, I guess, because I gave it a go. On a larger piece of furniture I would hand paint the sign but since this little table is going on etsy I did a transfer to keep the price point down. 

Here are some of my attempts. Need I say it wasn't working? I used Mod Podge. I used water. I used Gel Medium. I used Elmers.
'Cranky' pretty much sums it up.

Geez. I threw in the towel and decided to try an iron-on transfer. Nothing else was working, right? To my surprise the iron-on method worked - after 2 tries.

Here's how I did it.

I used Epson Tee Shirt Iron-On Transfers. 

I reversed the image and printed two transfers - the left side and the right side since the image was
16 x 11 or so. 

I trimmed the transfers so they butted up together into one continuous image. I positioned the transfers on the table and made little pencil marks to mark
where they went.

Then I sprayed the surface of the table with water and put the left transfer down. (This is the do-or-die step. Too much water makes a mess, too little water does nothing at all. I strongly suggest you do a practice piece to get a feel for how much water to spray.) With the transfer face down on the water I covered it with a towel (I found a towel works best. Pillowcases or other fabric is too thin) and ironed according to the package directions. I waited a minute or so then peeled back the transfer. You can't let it get too cold before you pull it off as it becomes
quite difficult.

The same steps were repeated for the right side of the image. After spraying water I used the pencil marks to get the transfer paper lined up to the first transfer. Covered it with a towel and ironed.

It didn't come out perfect and I didn't want it too. However there were holes that were just too big, so I simply painted the image back in those areas.

The transferred image felt rough so I did 3 or 4 coats of poly until it felt smooth.

And that was it.

I have a little ghost sign table at last! The image is from a photo I took of a building near where I live. I love ghost signs and hope enough others feel the same way so these historic works of art are preserved.

I used Annie Sloan Arles with a glaze made of brown paint and water. I used clear wax over that. 

I decided against distressing the table since the glaze and the graphic were rustic enough.

My little table!

I'm already working on Table #2 and I'm skipping right to the iron-on method.

Linking up. Please visit these creative people!
coastal charm
my uncommon slice of suburbia
tip junkie
the girl creative
mod vintage life

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CeCe Caldwell Part Deux

CeCe and the Three Little Tables

Now the the Smokey Mountain tables. I found these tables at different sales over a period of time and when I put them together last week they seemed like they were related. So they all got to be smokey blue.

Aren't they cute? Just look at those faces ......

I used a cabinet scraper to distress the edges since sandpaper wasn't working well for me. I love my cabinet scrapers anyway. They are quick and fun to use.

You can see the brush strokes here. I tried using a foam roller but got little bumps all over. Maybe I should have thinned the paint a little but after the coverage challenge I had with Vintage White I was hesitant.

UPDATED: I sanded down the brush strokes on all three tables and repainted with Smokey Mountain that was thinned with a lot of water. The result is perfection! An absolutely smooth surface. So, despite seeming to be really thin, the paint needs to be thinned for best results.

I have a couple more small tables and a footstool that I'm going to paint with the CeCe Caldwell paint. Now that I know what to expect, I'm interested to see if the results are different. For example, I'll use primer under the white paint next time. And maybe thin the Smokey Mountain a little bit.

Using CeCe Caldwell paint for the first time

I was so excited to try the new-paint-on-the-block! 

I don't know what I expected but it was less expensive than Chalk Paint so I was crossing my fingers that it worked as well. I loved the Vintage White color, but the Smokey Mountain was too much like Annie Sloane's Duck Egg Blue. I was hoping for a blue-gray. So this is my experience with the new paint - but let me say this, since it was the first time I used it, I didn't know what the consistency should be or the best way to apply it. The website doesn't offer any tips, so I proceeded as if it were regular chalk paint. (The only difference I know of between the two paints is the CeCe Caldwell paint has clay in it, along with chalk.)

Here are the projects I did last week using the two colors:

Vintage White and the Seven Days of Painting

I love this sweet little Craigslist dresser! I want to keep it. But I can't - unless I sell my Union Jack dresser. sigh. It was missing one pull, wouldn't you just know. I found the exact pulls on ebay - 2 for $25, shipping included. I also found them on a restoration site - $17 for ONE, shipping included. No dang way. I dug around in my stash and found two pulls that compliment the originals and I was good to go.

I added a couple pieces of trim to the bottom of the sides to hide peeling veneer. I think it looks better with the added trim, it is the perfect finishing touch.

I normally don't do the "Shabby" look but this dresser was perfect for it. The white paint highlighted the details so nicely .... I really want to keep this dresser ....


Can you see the pink creeping through? It's the same problem I've had before with mahogany, so the new paint didn't out-do chalk paint as far as bleed through goes. I had to use a lot of paint - it took 3/4 of a can to paint this one dresser because the coverage was poor. Again, since it was my first time out of the gate, so to speak, I'm reserving judgment until I've painted a few more pieces. And there seemed nothing I could do to avoid brush strokes. I hesitated to thin with water because it would make the coverage even worse. In the end I decided the pink tinge added to the character of this dresser and I didn't have to use dark wax!

The Caldwell paint didn't sand as easily as chalk paint (can you tell I L-O-V-E chalk paint?) It also seemed to absorb a lot of wax but after buffing it had the most wonderful sheen.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Living on the dark side

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted! I've been feverishly working on 4 pieces using the new kid on the block - CeCe Caldwell Paint. I'll try to get pictures today and tomorrow will tell you about my experience with the new paint.

Meanwhile, I've also been re-taking photos of older projects. 

I live on the dark side; the north side of a mountain. Behind the house is steep forested terrain for 100s of miles. It's life in the shadows, especially in winter, which makes taking good photos with natural light a real challenge. Inside the house there are two spots where I can put furniture to take pictures, but that means moving what is already there. That is why so many of my etsy photos are taken on the front lawn - that's where the sun is!

I have a really pretty table that I've been unable to adequately capture digitally. It's tall and leggy but soooo does not photograph like a super model. I've been retaking pictures of this gal for months. Finally, I got some sun!

Here's a history of trying to capture the beauty of this table. When I first started on etsy I thought putting furniture up against a wall was enough. HA!

Another then and now:

The straight-on approach:

And finally:

Still not as good as I want, but it's come a long way baby!

Tomorrow - CeCe Caldwell Paint!

Linking up to these creative sites:
finding fabulous

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, on the ..... floor?

Adventures with colored wax.

I had real reservations when I saw this mirror on Craigslist. Not only did it scream 70s but it is a whopping 50 inches tall. (When I was getting ready to photograph it I dragged the thing around the house looking for a spot ... it's too big for my house.) It's a heavy thing, too. I was huffing and puffing while wrestling it into my car.

Here it is in its disco colored glory:

My first paint combination was way too blah. Instead of aged it just looked dirty. I used an eggshell milk paint which turned ugly beige when I waxed with the clear and dark waxes. I used Duck Egg Blue on the trim but it also seemed too dark.

So I white-washed the whole thing but the white-wash just slid off the wax.


Time to experiment! This is something I've been wanting to try for a long time. I mixed powdered white pigment into clear wax and waxed the entire mirror. The white wax lightened the beige to a pretty antique white and softened the blue trim perfectly. It settled into crevices to highlight nicely. I ended up with a combination of highlights and lowlights.

The different paints I used reacted to each other and crackled naturally. I've had this happen before and I love it! it doesn't always work, however. These natural paints have a mind of their own to be sure!

Before and after.

I'm really happy with my colored wax experiment. Now that I have white wax mixed up I might try pickling. I'd like to try the white wax on black stain. I've seen some pictures on the net and like the look.

Example - not the best but I can't find the image that first got me excited about this technique.

And, speaking of trying new things, I am off to the post office to pick up my first order of CeCe Caldwell paint! I'll let you know how i like it.