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Chalky Finish Paint to Create an Old World Look

Do you love a sweet love story? I do, especially when it has a happy ending. Let me give you some background before I show you how I used chalky finish paint to create an old world look.

A couple of weeks ago, we took our family out for a fun day of hiking, picnics, and all around quality time in honor of one of our daughter’s birthdays. Before we set out on our jaunt, we decided to stop into Goodwill to see if we could find the birthday girl a camera case since she had lost hers at the zoo the week prior.

We were able to find a hot pink case, perfect for a little girl, then after that I decided to quickly make my normal rounds.  I say quickly because although my kids shop with me, my hubby doesn’t care to treasure hunt. Also, because I had promised myself no new pieces until I emptied my stash and built the work table I’ve been craving. And that’s when I spied this…

Antique Chest of Drawers in Thrift Store | prodigalpieces.com

THE FIND

I literally gasped and said, “Oh no.” I gave a silent point to my husband and I could see his face say, “Here we go again.” Hoping the price tag was too much so that I couldn’t buy it, I crept over that jungle of weight equipment to find it was marked $100. Sigh…thankfully I had a 35% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. tsk. Guess my work table would have to wait. My hubby agreed this piece was coming home with us.

Because we were off for a day of adventure, we couldn’t take it with us that day (I mean, who can fit a large dresser and a family of 8 in a suburban? I would if I had to!!) We picked up this diamond in the rough the next day and gave it a look-over. Here’s a better look at what I was up against.

Damaged Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

Structurally sound and beautiful design, but missing a few wood carvings, which I sometimes affectionately call “jewelry”. If you look close at this next photo, you’ll see where the carvings are missing and I’m sure you can’t miss the damaged veneer.

Damaged Veneer on Antique Chest | prodigalpieces.com

Carved Antique Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

Missing Parts on Antique Chest | prodigalpieces.com

WHAT WEAR

The side panels are chipped up and looking like snaggle teeth, much like the drawer fronts and face. Thankfully, the previous owner stuck the leg carving piece that popped off into the top jewelry drawer which makes things a little easier.

Snagged Veneer on Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

Not only is the top worn with water rings, but it looks like someone took a drill bit to make some not-so-pretty decorations to the top on both sides.

Damaged Chest Top | prodigalpieces.com

Chest of Drawers Damaged Top | prodigalpieces.com

This piece totally reminded me of my first rebuild of another empire dresser a couple of years ago (see below), so my pulse happily quickened at the challenge. GAME ON!

Antique Chest of Drawers Refinished | prodigalpieces.com

So, you may be asking, “What do you do with all that damage and missing parts?” You roll up your sleeves and get ready to work.

DIY TIME

When you have a piece that has damaged and missing veneer, you can do one of two things: remove it or repair it. There have been several instances where I’ve used my method to remove all of the veneer and work with the surface below. You can also buy veneer in rolls and repair it that way as well. For this particular situation, I decided to patch the empty spots with wood filler since I was after a time-worn look. (You can also use auto-body filler too)

With my handy-dandy putty knife and filler in hand, I went crazy on that snaggle mess.

Patched Chest of Drawers Front | prodigalpieces.com

I even use filler like clay and form it to match the missing details as well. it’s a pretty versatile medium. I’ve also used actual polymer clay for repairs using my clay method in other projects.

One particular drawer, the bottom, had me baffled for a bit on how to replicate the missing trim. I couldn’t just yank it off the opposing side because it ran down the faces of all the drawers, I’ll show it to you again…

Missing Chest of Drawers Foot | prodigalpieces.com

See the missing braided piece on the right? That’s when I called over my hubby and asked his thoughts. He said to take off the trim on the left, cut it, and add something to both bottoms. I love that guy. I am leaning towards replacing the trim with these two wood carvings, but I like his idea better.

Wood Accents for Chalky Finish Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

Funny how all of these goodies are from the same store.  So…off goes the trim piece I do have, and out comes my hack saw. {{wicked giggling ensues}}

 

NEXT STEPS

I cut off an end of the new wood pieces, then cut the salvaged piece to length. With both laying on my work surface, they’re looking good to me!

Wood Carvings for Chest of Drawers Repair | prodigalpieces.com

Notice how I used wood filler to complete the missing design on the scalloped edge. Much better.

Repaired Chest Bottom | prodigalpieces.com

Since nothing goes to waste, I decided to add the remnant new carved pieces to the drawer front of the top jewelry box to tie in the detailing below.

Nailing Wood Trim | prodigalpieces.com

Now those other missing carved pieces can make things interesting, but that’s when I get out my Dremel and cut the intact opposing design to match the side that has missing details.

Dremel Cutting Trim | prodigalpieces.com

Next, a light sanding just to give the surface some “teeth” (something for my paint to grip onto).

INSPIRATION

My inspiration for this piece is to create an old world look and a story, as if this beauty resided in a story-book home from the 18th century. Imagine a home decked from floor to ceiling with ornate intricate designs, gilded accents, and a true appreciation for artisans of another time. I can just picture this piece originally up against a wall decorated with damask wallpaper. Then, flanking brass candle sconces and a divine crystal chandelier above. Also, inside the drawers overflowing with slips and underclothing for a lady of stature. Just dreamy, isn’t it?

To create the look I’m after, I chose to work with a new product to me, Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint and Clear Créme Wax by DecoArt. The blue is called, Serene and the off-white is named, Lace, both of which I believe are aptly named for such a lady as this, don’t you think?

Americana Decor Chalk Finish Paints | prodigalpieces.com

FIRST COAT

First, I give a coat to the entire piece. That includes the details I plan to draw out later. It is less time-consuming to get crisp edges when you apply the detail paint, than it is to try to cut in with your first coat.

Painting Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com

 

An artists’ brush makes it easier to get into those tight crevices.

Blue Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com

MORE PAINT

This is what the cabinet and drawers look like after the first coat of the chalky finish paint. Sometimes I stop there when I’m wanting a washed effect. But for this gal, I’m going for that old work look and I’d like a good base to start with, so I apply a second coat.

Chest of Drawers Primed with Chalky Finish | prodigalpieces.com

I must say, I sort of giggled when I found how easy the paint was to apply. Smooth and self-leveling makes me happy. It’s the little things.

After all the base coat I do one coat to the intricate details I want to highlight. That wash creates texture and adds a time-worn feel.

Painting Chalky Finish Details of Chest | prodigalpieces.com

Adding Detail with Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

The original pulls are dainty and ornate, but lacking life. They appear brass, but are actually brass-plated steel. Solid brass is non-magnetic, so always check to be sure.

Original Chest Hardware | prodigalpieces.com

Using a white-wash wash method to add dimension and call out those details.

Whitewash with Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com

BLING

Now you might think I would stop there, but oh no…this lady needs some BLING! Another product by DecoArt is a metallic paint line called Elegant Finish Champagne Gold, also aptly named for this fine lady. Again, with an artists’ brush, I highlight and add detailing here and there to add a feminine touch.

Gilding Chalky Finish Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

Once painting to suits your taste, it’s time for the fun part…distressing. I typically use a 120 or 150 grit paper. It’s key to not just rub all the corners creating the same wear everywhere. Take your time and think about where the wear would occur. Drag across and downward and in opposite directions – that adds more detail to the story.

Distressing Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com

After you’ve finished your distressing, it’s time to add the wax topcoat. For this I use a soft t-shirt type cloth to dip into the wax. The, apply in circular motions to get an even coat.

Creme Wax for Chalky Finish Paints | prodigalpieces.com

Applying Wax to Chalky Finish Paint on Chest | prodigalpieces.com

Even the painted pulls get a light coat of wax to give them longer life and a bit of sheen.

Waxing Chalky Finish Paint on Pulls | prodigalpieces.com

WAXING

Once the wax has had a chance to dry (approx. 20 min. or less), take a soft cloth and buff the surfaces. Our old cloth diapers are perfect for this purpose and are like gold to me.

Buffing Waxed Chalky Finish Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

This will give the dresser a soft lustre and extend the life of the paint as well. Also, you can add a bit of paint to the wax in the color of your choosing. Which means create your own custom colored wax. Fun!

My lady is finished getting her makeover. How exciting to show you her reveal. {{deep breath}} Are you ready?

THE REVEAL

Her gilding and her gown of blue and white is fit for a queen.

Antique Highboy Chest with Chalky Finish Paint by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this piece with all the ornate details getting a chance to shine.

Old World Style Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com

Beautiful Blue Chalky Finish Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com

The repairs were well-worth the effort. There are still some waves in the veneer, but that just adds to the story being told.

Intricate Details with Chalky Finish Paint by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The repair work I did blends in perfectly with the feel of the dresser.

Repaired Chest with Blue Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com

Isn’t it wonderful how the white-washed effect of the chalky finish paint and gilding really made those details pop out?

Closeup of Antique Chest by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

You know me, I’d keep every one of my pieces, but lack the space to do so. If you would like to call it your own, this dresser is available in my shop. (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Antique Highboy Chest with Chalky Finish Paint | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

But for now, I’m having fun enjoying this stately piece in all its splendor.

Blue Chalky Finish Antique Chest of Drawers | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #furniture

Now it’s your turn. Go on and give this look a try with some chalky finish paint. Feel free to ask me any questions!

I’d love it if you would pin and share this technique using chalky finish paint. My goal is to inspire others to learn and create a story of their very own.

Thrifted Dresser is damaged and missing parts, but with a chalky finish paint, it now showcases an Old World Look by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com
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More projects using a chalky finish to make new:

Antique Stereo Repurposed Into Sewing Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Ikea Rast Dresser Done Brownie Camera Style by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Comments

  1. Ellen Braunberger says

    The Lady is fabulous!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you! Now if I could just squeeze her in my closet. 🙂

      • Joie (Conrad) Glatt says

        Hi Larissa!!

        Oh my gosh!! How beautiful your pieces are!! You are so incredible with all that you do …taking a throw away and making I into something so desirable!!!
        So proud of your accomplishments!
        Love,
        Joie

        • Larissa says

          Thank you so much, Joie. It is something I take pleasure in and am blessed I’m able to do something like this. So glad you stopped by!

  2. Sherry Fram says

    Gorgeous piece! She turned out great!

    • Larissa says

      I am so happy that all the woodwork came out as I’d hoped, and you know I love my blue!! Thank you, Sherry.

  3. MJ says

    Larissa, Lovely piece! Your vision was terrific–as usual.
    Now, will you tell us how you managed the broken front foot? Did you turn that around so the broken part is patched in the back? I don’t think so. Are these feet something you pick up from un-restorable furniture and save for later use? Do you have a secret source of replacements of the correct height?
    I ask because I’m looking at taking a tall “provincial” dresser to the dump because I can’t figure out how to fix the broken leg.
    No doubt others see pieces broken this way and wonder about the repair. Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you! I had mentioned in the post that the previous owner had their wits about them and put that missing foot piece in the top jewelry drawer. Email me with pictures of the broken leg and furniture piece you’re talking about and I’ll see if I can help. 🙂

    • Larissa says

      You are a gem with your compliments as always, Marie. Thank you!

  4. Frou Frugal says

    Great job, Larissa. For wavy veneer fixes, I bought a hypodermic needle from Tractor Supply (the kind for horse or cows) and fill the syringe with glue and insert the needle into the wavy area. Something hard on top to hold down the veneer is all it takes and then fill the needle hole with a spot of putty. If you ever want to fix those, that is.

    • Larissa says

      Thanks, Susan. Yes, I use a similar method too. Some of these spots were actual bubbles that didn’t reach the edges and I typically do a thin slice to get into it an add glue in a similar fashion Thanks for the tip!

  5. Marilyn Gray says

    This is gorgeous and you are an awesome worker on furniture. It was a pleasure to “watch your mind work” in this project! Thanks for going the whole way with this beauty for us! Looking forward to the next one!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you so much, Marilyn! It is very rewarding to breathe new life into pieces and that others enjoy them so. I’m happy you took a minute to bless me. 🙂

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Christina! It’s fun to put together a unique piece and especially to give a tired dresser a new lease on life. I’m headed to check out your bed! 😉

  6. tawni dilly says

    You could always use silicon to make molds of broken trim pieces and cast the with clay, plaster or something. What a beautiful piece of furniture and you are very creative ! Great find!!

    • Larissa says

      Yes, I’ve made my own molds before, as I mentioned in the post, but my originals were damaged too. It was fun to recreate and make it a new piece. Thank you! 🙂

  7. Marianne Andreazza says

    Larissa….AWESOME transformation of the vintage dresser. It makes me wish I had vision enough to keep all of that type of furniture from my parents’ house. Super job! Congrats on the Honorable Mention in the DecoArt contest!

    Marianne
    Temecula, CA

    • Larissa says

      Thank you so much, Marianne! I often think of the pieces I let go too…hindsight is 20/20. 🙂

  8. Linda Magruder says

    Wow just wow.. in my opinion this should have been the grand prize winner Sooooooo beautifu.l Great creativity and planning. Well thought out and great use of the products!

    • Larissa says

      You made my day! Thank you so much, Linda. I know all the contestants worked so hard, and I’m certainly pleased to included in the top bunch. Half of the fun is the challenge too, and I am greatly blessed. 🙂

  9. Sue Pagels says

    That is still one of my favorite pieces EVER! Wish I could have bought it!

  10. cheryl B. says

    What blue is that? its is very soft.I like it a lot.your pieces always amaze me.

    • Larissa says

      I have the link to it in my post, but it is by DecoArt called Vintage.

  11. Cheryl B. says

    One of the most fabulous pieces ever.If only I was closer to you.amazing.Larissa you never fail to. Inspire.

    • Larissa says

      And you, Cheryl, are a wonderful support to me. Thank you!!

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