(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Friday, January 11, 2013

painting, painting

So I have been playing around with paint, investigating options to make it easier, prettier, easier, for myself.

I have been dabbling in painted furniture for about ten years now.  When we first opened Mignonne Decor many years ago, we didn't paint the furniture, we bought it from artisans.  My daughter, the artist, became inspired to try her hand at it, first for the savings .... but finally as her passion.

I had dabbled here and there in various crafty projects for a while, but never seriously until moving to France.  But before that, I started collecting painted furniture for my homes ... never thinking so much about technique but just being drawn to pretty pieces.

There was a little shop on the coast of Oregon, a collective, where I met Darla, someone whose furniture continuously drew me back and sparked a flame in me about the beauty of the old becoming new again.  I blab on about this because she has been on my mind while I conduct my experimentation with chalky type paint and its merits.  See, this little table I am working on is one of the first pieces I bought from Darla.  It was just a plain creamy color.  But so many little details ... the rollers, the lion paw feet, the gateleg, the insert, the carved edging ... she has travelled far with me, this little lady and is in need of a touch-up! I hope to learn something new and do her justice for one of my early inspirers!  Darla, if you are out there ... I think of you often!

So, regarding paint.  I stumbled across some videos demonstrating and debating the virtues of various paints...milk paint, craft paint, chalk paint...various brands like Miss Mustard's Milk Paint, Ce Ce Caldwell's true blue American paint, Annie Sloan's sophisticated English Chalk Paint ... I found homemade recipes for paint that include growt, calcium carbonate, baking soda, plaster of paris ... antiquing treatments with boot polish, walnuts, coffee grounds ... wow!!! talk about Alice's hole of painting wonderland!

I will be honest.  I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.  Last year, my furniture inventory suffered because I was stretched too thin. I love doing my furniture but there were not enough hours in the day or energy to do it all.  And since I have been considering offering some workshops, I want to make it easier for my customers too. So when I started reading about chalk paint eliminating mountains of prep time, I made one of those Scooby Doo snorts and started researching.

Being in one of those too much to do moments presently, I decided to start my experimentation with the homemade version.  I am leaving in a day or two to head to Paris for the Maison et Objet show in Paris. 

I opted to mix up the Plaster of Paris/paint version to create a type of chalk paint.  I am no expert, the little I know is that the chalky substance allows the paint to adhere much more strongly to the surface you apply it to, theoretically allowing you to eliminate the sanding and priming prepwork I so judiciously adhere to with all of my furniture. 

I whipped it up and painted my little table.  It was slightly gritty in bits, even after looking like the pancake batter  texture recommended.  It dried like a matte paint, a bit rougher and brush strokes were evident.  I used two coats on a painted, polycoated surface.  It sands like a dream, becoming smooth.  For the bottom, legs and such, I proceeded zith the recommended wax vs. poly, applied with a brush and then I buffed it.  Nice result.  Since this is a kitchen surface piece, I think I will poly the top.  This format was easy enough to work with but from what I see, would be most useful on distressed furniture vs. modern slick undistressed effect you might use on later dated furniture.

After the conference, I am ordering some Annie Sloan product to test.  I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this paint and I am looking forward to testing it out.  If anyone has thoughts to share, please do? how interested would you be in having this product available in the Dordogne? perhaps with some workshops? have you used it before and what did you think? inquiring minds and all!!!

I am sharing this on both of my blogs ... trying to get the most feedback with reader experiences!

so that is it for now, my slam packed agenda calls!!! more updates soon about the great paint experiment!!


Maureen said...

I've used it a few times and I still can't decide whether I like it or not. I think part of it is that I am a creature of habit. After years of experimenting, my preferred method is to sand lightly with a block and then use a spray primer (Rustoleum's Artist's Touch 2x coverage is superb), paint, then sand (which used to seemed to be counter-intuitive to me), then wax (good old Johnson's Paste Wax). People comment on the final often.

With ASCP I find that although you may not have to sand before, the sanding after is far more. Oh, and the cost of ASCP @ $40 per quart is rather lofty. Just my 2 cents.

Rosie said...

Just seen this post. I'm not sure whether you are still in France but my friend runs Thomasandlucia.com which is a shop in Christchurch, England and she was telling me that it is cheaper (and quicker delivery) to get the paint sent from the UK than from France. Worth a cost comparison. Good luck, Rosie.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

thanks for that Rosie! I am actually considering selling it in my shop which could definitely solve that problem... but I will check on the UK thing in the meantime.

And thanks for your views too, Maureen.

I have to say, I will be writing soon about ASCP, it has been lovely to work with so far... but I haven't done very much with it yet.

Luis Rivera said...

Writing blogs is a so cathartic action.