Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shabby Chic (?)


Just finished abusing this cute little table, "shabby chic"-style. My goal was to give the $10 flea market find a new look without spending any more money on the project. Since I have other pieces in my living room that are light neutral distressed tones, I wanted something coordinating.

But.... I only had white paint, and all the how-tos I consulted recommended two colors of paint to layer in coats. I decided on a bruised mushroom color. If you're chic, you call it taupe, which is French for "bruised mushroom". (Actually, une taupe is a mole, the little burrowing beast). Ahem. A trip to the DIY store yielded two mini pots of paint (half-price!) which, when mixed, I hoped would produce the desired shade. They did, with a lot of white added in.  There went 4 francs. Ooops.

I sanded the old finish down to what I hoped was an acceptable level, since I have not ever had good luck with stripping and am scared of the toxic chemicals involved. Not to mention their cost - lots more than the table price. So sanding would have to do. Then I painted it with one coat of primer for "difficult surfaces" (hoping to counteract any deficiencies in my sanding job). Two coats of bruised mushroom came next.

Already the table looked vastly better, but it was still a bit boring. Time for the white paint. The pros all recommend using glazes, but as far as I can tell, paint glaze does not exist here in Switzerland. So I just watered down the white paint a bit, and applied a thin coat. Ack! What streaks! After about 5 minutes, though, I decided maybe it would be OK. Repainting is always an option. I let it all dry a week.

Today, I got the sandpaper and steel wool, and set to work. I sanded the edges non-uniformly, where wear would occur over a long period, and even some of the surfaces on the legs where they protrude the most. Then I sanded the flat surfaces to tone down the streakiness and create "worn" patches. Et voila! A coat of paste wax, et c'est fini!