Wednesday, February 22, 2012

numbered cabinet tutorial...

It has been a crazy week around here! My sister had an unexpected major surgery on Monday, so I have been at the University of Wisconsin hospital with her the last few days. Needless to say, I am behind on everything, as the whole turn of events kinda threw me off...but I am home today, trying to get back into the swing of things. 

While I was waiting in the hospital all that time I was trying to go through my inbox and get caught up on emails. I still have 4,876 to go. And no, that is not an exaggerated number, I really have 4,876 there patiently waiting for me. Yikes!

One subject that kept popping up in my inbox was about the numbered cabinet I painted as a project for Heather's Homebound E-Zine a few months ago. Since so many of you asked, I thought I would revisit the project, as it seems many of you want more details and info about what I used and how I did it. we go. 

Let's start with the 'after' photo, shall we? 

I {LOVE} this cabinet soooo much! I found it sitting next to a dumpster on one of my weekly "cruise the old industrial plants around my city to see what they are trashing trips".  This one was at a building that was a printing company for almost 100 years. 

It now resides here, in my home office, and sits right next to my desk to hold all my supplies. Everything from a phone book to post-it notes are neatly arranged and organized. I like things out of sight, but easily accessible. 

This is what the cabinet looked like before. Now, the last time I showed this you were all wondering why I didn't keep the original paint. Well, had you seen it in person or if I had remembered to take a "before" shot of the whole piece, you would understand. Because it was in a working print factory the bottom of the cabinet was splashed with dark blue ink...all. over. it. 

It looked ugly and dirty, not cool and chippy like we all love. No worries, I choose my painted pieces wisely, I never paint over {good} chippy paint.

These are the supplies I used:

-leftover BM paint in my favorite shade of gray...Gray Owl
-a nicely worn sanding sponge
- a sample of a darker gray paint I already had on hand
- silicone number stamps (purchased at Michaels and I LOVE them!)
- a 1 1/2" Purdy brush and an artists paint brush

I first gave the drawers a light sanding to try and remove some of that old splattered ink and clean up the finish. I couldn't believe I had found old numbers below the layers of paint! So cute, but they didn't come out this well of every drawer, that is why I decided to duplicate them. 

Once the drawers were sanded, I gave them a "gray wash" over the entire surface. I cut my Gray Owl paint with water to about a 50/50 mixture. That put it on nice and light so that the original finish could still show through a bit...

I know most of you will find this next technique to be a little unconventional, but I have found it to work well for me, and I use it all the time. It's one of my personal 'painting secrets' that I have just found over the years. 

When I am doing a piece like this that has an original paint finish that I want to retain the character of, I take sanding sponge to the surface when it is still slightly wet. Use an old sanding sponge that is quite soft. It is perfect for removing most of the paint wash but leaves behind the perfect amount just where you need it so the piece comes out looking like it still has the original, old paint finish...but it is just a little refreshed!

I cannot stress enough that this only works if you are using a paint 'wash', meaning you have cut your paint with water. If you try to do this with straight paint, you will have a mess on your hands. A rag does not seem to work the same for me either, it has to be the sanding sponge. 

Once it was dry...I dug out my favorite $5 silicone stamps from Michaels. I cannot tell you how much I love these! They are removable from the clear block, you can use them over and over, let your paint dry on them when you get distracted with something else like I do...then just wash them in the sink and they are brand new again. Best. stamps. ever. And for $5?? Love it. 

These gave me 2" numbers on my cabinet, so are a good size! 

I brushed on my paint, but you could dip it, too. I tried both, and liked the worn and inconsistent look the brush gave the best. 

The clear block makes it so easy to find your spot...then just press it down firmly...

and viola!! A perfectly vintage looking number!

I didn't want them to look to 'perfect'...just a little worn with a hand painted quality. 

I finished the piece off with a light coat of wax, lined each drawer with a vintage map...and she was ready for her new life!

Painting a piece that I want to maintain the feel of the original finish on is so different than how I paint a "normal" piece of furniture...but I love the result! This one was an easy project, I finished the whole thing in about 2 hours. 

And to answer a lot of your emails asking if I am selling it...well...not right now, but I do change my mind so you never know! 10 minutes from now, I may give a totally different answer! {smile...} But if I do, I will mention it in a post before I bring it to one of my shows, I promise!

Ok, I am off to take a zillion photos for Etsy today. If white ironstone is your thing, you may want to check my shop tonight...I have embraced the act that my collection it out of control, so will be selling around 25 pieces. {someone hold me, I can't believe I just said that!} I also have some old drawers, books, wire baskets...all kinds of goodies I found recently!