Friday, February 5, 2016

The Process for Creating a Silky Smooth Finish

I show each completed project on my Facebook page, but I don't always write a blog post about each piece.  I finished a vintage Kent Coffey Dresser yesterday, and a lovely lady asked what my process was to get such smooth silky finishes.  I thought an article on my process might be helpful to her and maybe others, too....so here it is:

I start with a quality piece that is in need of some RPK Love...


After assessing any necessary repairs, the prep work begins.  In this case, all of drawers worked well, and there was no veneer damage.  This yellow finish was popular in the early 60s, and experience has taught me that I can strip the top and find some lovely wood, but there is something the manufacturers used in the paint that prevents the stain from blending evenly.  In other words, this top was getting painted and not stripped and stained!

The hardware comes off and the sanding begins.  I know most folks feel like you don't need to sand when you use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  However, I prefer to sand to scuff up the finish and it also familiarizes me with the piece, noticing extra grime, or anything else that might be noteworthy.  After the sanding, every piece gets a good scrubbing with warm soapy water.  That removes any residual dust or oils, grease, etc.  

For this piece, I used a custom mix of ASCP Paris Gray and Duck Egg Blue.  My base coat was Coco.  


The first coat of Coco goes on, dries and then gets a good sanding of 220 grit sand paper.  The second coat of the custom mix goes on, and another sanding of 220 grit.  If I've achieved the level of coverage for the project, then a third coat goes on that is slightly watered down.  I prefer to dip my brush into water and then into the paint.  At this stage it should glide on easily.  After it's dried, it's another sanding of 220.


I wanted to add a subtle variation to the finish, so I mixed some Coco with Old White and created a wash to lay over the Duck Egg/Paris Gray.  Again, after the wash has dried, it gets another sanding of 220.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  Paint, sand, paint, sand, etc.

Then the top coat....General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in Flat....One coat, then guess what?  Sand with 220, then a second coat, sand and for the top I add a third coat.

I had a local DIYer ask me once how I get my finishes so hard and smooth....I told her I do a lot of sanding and her reply was "Oh I don't like to sand so I'll just skip those steps!"  Ok....whatever...I find this is a very tactile job...I am constantly running my hands over the pieces making sure the finishes are even and silky smooth.

That's the process I use.  If you have any other hints, tips or tricks, please share! 

Would you like to see a few more pictures?  I am so pleased with how this lovely gal turned out!









And by the way, each drawer gets a lot of my attention.  I am amazed when I see pieces offered on line or at vintage markets, how there is paint dripped on the sides of the drawers, and the interior of the drawers still have dust, spills, paper clips or hair pins remaining.  Really?  Whatever...I'm just saying.....


That's all she wrote....Sand, sand, sand, and then sand!  Ha! It sounds like I just might have the beach on my mind!  Warmer weather is just around the corner ( I hope!)!

As always, thanks for stopping by!



24 comments:

  1. I just am in love with this piece! Another way I get a super smooth finish with chalk paint is to sand prior to sealing and then after I apply the wax, go over it with 400 grit. It makes it super smooth. It is a tedious job (sanding/painting/sanding/waxing/sanding) but makes a huge difference to the finish. If someone cannot be bothered then I hope they are only painting for themselves lol!

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    1. I love the look of a well done waxed piece, but as I get older, the waxing and buffing is getting harder on these old bones! lol! And I'm sure the folks who mentioned they can't be bothered sanding are absolutely painting only for themselves! wink, wink!

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  2. Hi Robin - I agree, sanding is really important to get that smooth finish. However, I have never had good results with applying a top coat (varnish) over Chalk Paint®. I have tried a few different brands. The brush or sponge just seem to soak up all the top coat before I can slide it from one end to the other. It just dries too fast and I get overstokes. I just wonder what your experience has been. When I topcoat a stained top, for example, I do get beautiful results.

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    1. Hi Mary! I know exactly what you are talking about! After the first coat, there can be some 'streaking'. After I've reached the full coverage with the chalk paint and sanded it, it is smooth and compact. I love, love, love, General Finished High Performance Flat Top Coat. I use a high quality 2" brush and generously load it up enough to get one full pass from left to right (assuming I am working on the top). I then dip a foam brush into the can of top coat and give another swipe/pass with the foam brush, smoothing out the brush strokes. I work quickly to keep a wet edge, brushing on top coat, smoothing with foam brush, etc. After the first coat is dry, there will be some streaking where the paint might have soaked up the top coat unevenly. A light sanding and then a second coat usually evens out the finish...and then the third coat is added for extra protection. The finishes are even, no streaking and so smooth!

      I love the flat, because it has a slight sheen, similar to well buffed wax...but without the muscle workout! :)

      Please let me know if I missed something here in my explanation or if you have any other questions...And please let me know if you give it a try, and what kind of results you get!

      Robin

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    2. This piece is absolutely gorgeous. You used my favorite AS colors, but I've never sanded like you did here. Only for distressing. Will have to try it on a future piece. Thanks for sharing your process.

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  3. All of your sanding certainly pays off. What a gorgeous piece, and it's styled perfectly. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I must admit, there was some happy dancing around my house when I finished this one! :)

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  4. This is beautiful, and your attention to detail shows! I too agree that sloppy drawer painting makes for a very unprofessional piece! I would love it if you would link up with us at our Friday's Furniture Fix Link Party and share your professional tips with us all!

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    1. Hi Melanie! It is amazing to see messy drawers! Thanks for stopping by...I'll hop over in a bit to check out your Party! Regards, Robin

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  5. Thanks for sharing on the Link Party, Robin! I really really appreciate it!

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  6. Did you use any dark each or glazing on the decorative placed or is the dark detail from the cocoa wash? Thanks. The piece is so comforting to look at.

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  7. Did you use any dark each or glazing on the decorative placed or is the dark detail from the cocoa wash? Thanks. The piece is so comforting to look at.

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    1. Thank you, Becky! The decorative pieces on each side are brass, but they have aged over the years giving them a dark patina. I didn't use any glaze or wax to darken them....I just dry brushed a small amount of paint on and around them to give it a painted over time, aged feel. I hope this helps! ~ Robin

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  8. Another gorgeous piece, Robin! I agree with you about being a "tactile" person. I always run my hands over each coat and sand, sand, sand! I think that's what really makes a piece stand out! Thanks for sharing your tips!

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    1. Hi Beth! With all of the sanding, do you ever walk into the house looking like a frightful mess? Every now and then I take a look in the mirror after sanding, stripping, etc and know that it must be true love that my hubby feels for me, because it sure ain't about my looks! Ha! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. beautiful job, robin! the color you have achieved is just dreamy, and your hard work pays off in the end! peace to you.

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  10. beautiful job, robin! the color you have achieved is just dreamy, and your hard work pays off in the end! peace to you.

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  11. What a gorgeous smooth piece! the color is spectacular too!

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    1. Aw, Darrielle... You are so sweet! Thank you!

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  12. What kind of sander do you use? Absolutely beautiful piece.

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    1. Thanks, Becky! When I'm looking to scuff up a piece, I just use 100 grit sand paper wrapped around a sanding block. However, if I am stripping and sanding a piece, I've been using the same palm sander made by Hitachi for years! It's been a work horse! :) I hope this answers your question! ~ Robin

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  13. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    regards,
    Graco Spray Gun

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