Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shabby Chic Refinishing Using Annie Sloan Paint: Color Change When You Want To Keep The Chippy Finish

In progress: before glazing.


I grew weary of the shabby green & gilt finish on my mass produced c. 1930 French style cabriole leg table and its unproportionally small center wreath applique, especially after seeing this at my friend's antique store...

She's not into it the look any longer, but I was in love with French Neo-classical and wanted to change the color -- but not the patina. 

This is not a weekend project.  It involves gesso-like crackle paint, antiquing solution, and a lot of distressing.  Here's what to do:

Rub the end of a paraffin wax candle over any spots that reveal the original finish.   After painting and distressing, the new color comes off and exposes the original wood.

Select a crackling accelerator and spread it places the table would've seen wear over the years, such as sun damage from a window.  I like DecoArt Texture Crackle ($5) and DecoArt Weathered Wood ($5) from Michael's. 

Above is the effect from  DecoArt Texture Crackle.  It needs to dry for a day or two.

Above is the effect from DecoArt Weathered Wood.  On the left is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey ($15 for the 100ml sample size) applied over the crackle painted on both horizontally and vertically with a crappy old nylon bristle brush.  On the right is the effect with paint over crackle done in one direction.  If you leave the crakle to dry until tacky it crackles more.  I usually brush paint on over it as soon as they won't blend together.  The crazing is more subtle.  Be sure to use craft or interior paint; leftover exterior paint resists crackling.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Original.  I used another white craft paint in areas, because you need 3 shades of white to make a good rich patina.

I wished the center wreath applique was as wide as the side appliques from Do It Yourself Chic.  Unable to find one online I made one out of craft foam board and fake flowers.  Nail a few brads into the area, hang your form to verify placement.

Pull the fake flowers apart and rearrange as a wreath with hot glue.  Spray paint it white until all the color is gone.  Mix a small batch of plaster of paris the texture of cream and paint on.   Keep making fresh when it gets gooey.   Let dry thoroughly, touch up and let dry again.   This wreath is fragile so if the object gets a lot of bumps you're better off with a resin applique bought online.

Wet a rag and apply an antiquing glaze like Valspar's Antiquing Glaze from Lowe's ($14) in small workable sections.  When a section is damp, distress it with an old pair of scissors, your fingernails, a bit of heavy chain (I avoid sandpaper because the finish looks like manufactured distressed furniture to me).  Be random.  Let the cats use it as a scratching post.  Let the kids kick at it and doodle then cover it up so it has that lived-with look.  Really scrape the feet hard as they would show damage after a century.  Hitting fresh paint with a blow dryer on high will bubble paint like sun damage.  Warning: antiquing glaze stains the gesso-like substances like plaster of paris faster than paint.

Someone once asked me 'how do you get that really authentic distressed look?'  I said I left the table on a screen porch or drafty dusty garage all winter and in the summer if I wasn't using it to get blistering and shredding.  Don't allow water on it; it de-laminates and weakens joints.

Also don't allow it to catch on fire.   I wish I could show you the "after" picture but the table was 'seasoning' in my unfinished home when it burnt down.  The only thing left was part of the side (circled) and even that's been cremated.

I walked this table to my dorm from a flea market near Wheaton College in Massachusetts, enjoyed it for years, and spent money and worked very hard on this refinishing.  It's gone now and I can accept it and let go without anger.  Not every project in life works out.  But you learn from every project.

Send me any questions you have on refinishing furniture if you like!

Until next time, stay shabby!

Sharing with:

White Wednesday at Faded Charm

Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

Favorite Things Thursday at Katherine's Corner

Creative Things Thursday at The Vintage Farmhouse

Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage 

Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Feathered Nest Friday at The French Country Cottage

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Blessed Serendipity said...

I love your table now. It's so pretty. I never thought of painting little artificial flowers before. Such a great idea! Hope you are having a beautiful week.



Wow! That is one heck of a process, but it turned out beautiful. I guess your story is proof that beauty, like life, can be fleeting. Enjoy the now. I'm so sorry you lost this one, but just imagine the one that is going to show up "down the road".

Have a lovely weekend Sandy!

Wild Oak Designs said...

It's so true that we learn from every project....Great job...

Jojo said...

It was a beautiful table that was refinished with love.

Handmade by Sirlene Oliveira said...

Everythings I did saw here are gorgeous. I loved and I´m following you. Have a nice day. Sirlene.

NanaDiana said...

Oh sweet Sandy- I have thought about you a hundred times when I see something that reminds me of your little house that burned. I hope you are moving forward and that you have found some peace (and hope) in your future.

Your refinishing technique is amazing. You are one talented gal! Love to you- Diana

AntiqueChase said...

wow, just. wow! Fab tutorial!

Jennelise said...

Incredible! Especially the flower applique! It looks very lovely :)

Shelley Noble said...

THANK YOU! I just learned so much from your generous sharing of your technique secrets!

It is sad indeed that this and much of your other cared-for pieces were lost in such a tragic way.

Good for you to have found a way to move forward.

Shabby chic Sandy said...

Thanks so much for sharing how to do this-looks beautiful!

Mariette said...

Dearest Sandy,

Sad that you cannot show us the little finished table, after so much work and dedication!
But it's better not to look back too much but move forward. The fact that your Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine has sold out or April is more reason for JOY!
Love to you,


Mary in VA said...

Very, very helpful tutorial-thank you! Also, I believe that the Lord gives us blessings for a 'season'. When one season is over, the next new season brings a different blessing. I have learned to be thankful and enjoy the blessings of each season and not hold too tightly to them. If one blessing is ended, I can now just look forward to the next. It has brought me great peace and joy!

Lilla Blanka said...

Hi sweetest Sandy!

Ohh, wow.. I am amazed by your great skill and creativity...! The result is top class! ♥

I loooove that table, it is so beautiful!

I also want to thank you for sharing the "how-to" ♥

Wishing you a lovely weekend...

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Best Post Ever!! So awesome to see the things you did and shared with us!! I love how you think Sandy!! So beautiful and creative and thrifty all at once. I will be using your guidleines~thank you darling!

Wonen con Amore / Casa Shabby Chic con Amore said...

Wow the result is wonderful! You were very nice to share your skills with us, really thanks. Even I never thought to paint artificial flowers, and is a great idea. The table is really great. I want you to know that I do the paintings for the Shabby Chic style, it is not easy to find suitable pictures that are not too expensive so I created them. I would love to know how you find them and if you have any tips on selling! Hugs Barbara

POSY and CO. said...

Hello, sweet love. Thanks for taking the time to share with us this incredible art form. Sadly, I lack the patience to take on such a transformation - I'm working it! Sending loads of love and happiness your way. Now and always, Much Love, Lisa

Rhonda said...

Sandy, my dear, I have the best table to refinish like this.
Oh, thank you for this post.

Letting go is so very hard, I understand completely. May many more shabby tables land your way.

xo Rhonda

Curtains in My Tree said...

Love your table before and after so glad to read about the paraffin trick to over origanl finish etc

I really want to try this

I hope you can heal more quickly from your lost & the fire etc

thanks for the paint lesson

I still think you have the most beautiful blog of them all

Licho_Nie_Spi said...

It's pity you lost your table...but this one is fabulous!

This is great idea to change fabric flowers into a shabby decorative swag...very instructive, I will be remember about this simple, genuine and low-cost way to make some decorations :)
And the shop you liked- very inspiring
And I admire- for effect I should wait :)
Thank you, with love- Licho

LizlovesVintage said...

Hi Sandy,
I hope all is well!! I love what you did with the table. Looks easy.. but, I still need help. Great idea using the flowers. Smart!!
Have a great weekend,
xxx Liz

Di said...

Thank you such a great tutorial, I love what you did, it is so pretty...I love it. Take special care dear lady. Di@cottage-wishes

Anne said...

That table looks amazing.What a process to finish it only to lose it.I have thought of you often.I hope you are healing.It will take time.

A Cottage Muse said...

Hi Sandy, how kind of you to share this after what happened to it. You did a beautiful job and thanks for the step by step! Hope you are doing well (and your sister too!)! Keeping my fingers crossed that the white show will bring the perfect buyer for the mirror!!

Take care!

Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Sandy,
I so remember a post maybe close to a year and a half ago when you stated that this sweet table was left out side and aged perfectly, I loved the touch of green so muted in your cottage of white, but I do see why you would nbow tire of it and go with a aged of white as your friends table was what inspired you.

I have been inspired lately doing the same, taking the old and painting them in an old white with hints of grey making it look even older.

I am going to be posting a chest of 6 drawers french in style that I painted much like what you have created on your side table, come visit soon...I hope to have the chest posted this week.

Thank you for the wreath inspiration I do this treatment on my birdcages and other creative pieces.

Your beauty inspires all.


Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

So gorgeous Sandy- thanks for sharing how you got the look and made that darling applique too. Super excited to get my copy of the magazine- I know it will be amazing and inspiring! xoxox, Courtney

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

Oh my gosh that is amazing!!! I love the detail and love the idea of making your own wreath! Thank you for the awesome tutorial!

I am so sorry that it burned though :(

hugs to you Sandy!

Bring Pretty Back said...

Sandy , I must tell you ... it's hard for me to paint a table in hi gloss white from start to finish!
This table is perfection!
Have a pretty day!

Sizzle and Zoom said...

Love this sweet table. Thanks for the update on the magazine. I am looking forward to it.

Lili said...

It's so sad that you lost this beautiful creation, but with your tutorial you so generously have shown us your amazing techniques and I so appreciate that! I am so in awe of how you made that wreath using flowers and plaster of paris. I absolutely love that! xoxo ~Lili

Lili said...

It's so sad that you lost this beautiful creation, but with your tutorial you so generously have shown us your amazing techniques and I so appreciate that! I am so in awe of how you made that wreath using flowers and plaster of paris. I absolutely love that! xoxo ~Lili

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

You really poured your heart into this table. I love the end result.

chateau chic said...

Hi Sandy, Your table turned out gorgeous after all your hard work. So lovely!
Mary Alice

pink*cherub*moon said...

HI! I just found your beautiful blog via The Vintage Farmhouse's link party. What a gorgeous table! The refinish is so gorgeous you would think it was aged naturally! I also love the idea of turning silk flowers into plaster embellishments - genius! Sorry to hear of your house fire. I am now following and looking forward to reading more posts and admiring more photos! Hugs Leena

Marie Soderberg said...

So beautiful, I love the table..I have a table to paint to..but mine goes from white to black..

Victoria Lynn said...

I love how you added the plastered wreath. What a GREAT idea. It all turned out gorgeous! Victoria Lynn

Hege Sletsjøe Morris said...

Wow it really is a piece of art! Well done! Wish I could do what you do. Happy Easter! Hege x

Janae said...

Wow that is one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen! You did a wonderful job!!!!

Fotograf Christin Eide said...

Amazingly beautiful. Amazing day to you!

Candy said...

I just ran across this tutorial and WOW, I love it. I wish I could try doing one of those floral wreath appliques TODAY. But, no time today. I will try that soon though. It adds so very much to your table.......GORGEOUS.
Thanks so very much for sharing your techniques.
Im your newest follower. Please come follow me at

PR Fashion Beauty said...

Fabulous! I've just been pinning your images :)

Anonymous said...

I like it very much!!


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