Friday, April 12, 2013

Lady's Desk/Vanity in French Blue

For me, painting furniture is not as simple as applying paint, rubbing it off, putting on some wax and completing the project.  There are so many talented folks out there who come to this craft with natural talent and make this process look so easy. I am not a naturally creative person.  I operate more from the side of your brain that uses numbers…abstract concepts are challenging for me.  But I am a focused, determined person who is willing to read, study up on something I find interesting.  Thank heavens for the blogosphere and Pinterest.  I have learned so much from so many people.  I especially appreciate all of the sharing from MissMustardseed , Christen at BlueEggBrownNest and Amanda at Reloved Rubbish.

With that being said, while snooping around the internet, I came across a wonderful video from Virginia Weathersby. She is painting a petite lady's vanity/desk using ASCP.  I have watched the video several times.  One of my first Craigslist purchases was a similar piece.

Sorry she looks a little odd!  I had already placed her on my workbench when I remembered to take a few “before” pictures.  By the way, whenever I can, I always start my projects with the item upside down.  I feel like you’ll be more thorough and see everything that needs your attention.  No taking short cuts!

She was old but in good shape.  I liked the idea of making a custom color, so I went with a 1:1 ratio of Duck Egg Blue to Paris Grey.  I then added Aubusson Blue until I got the shade of blue I had envisioned.  By the way, after I mix paints, I like to put a sample on a stir stick from the paint store with the “formula”.  It helps me remember what I did for future reference.  Also, if you are making a custom color, try to make enough to complete the project.  If you run short, it may cause some problems trying to get the new batch to match the original batch!  

I didn’t use any shellac on this piece.  She didn’t have a deep, dark stain to bleed through and the deeper color value of the blue mixture also gave me confidence there wouldn’t be any bleed through.  I worry when I’m using light colors like Old White…seems like I get bleed through with that color a lot!

I applied two quick coats on the entire piece and then a light coat of clear wax.  I distressed this piece with 220 grit sand paper after I applied the clear wax.  Distressing after wax gives more of a worn look as opposed to a chippy look.  I’m a very gentle distresser, as you’ll see from future projects.  I generally rub the edges of drawers and a few spots at rounded corners of tops and legs.  I have not used a hand sander to distress.  My philosophy is “ I’ll start the distressing and let the wear and tear from the new owner add to it!”  

Now that she has a coat of clear wax and some gentle distressing, I move to the next step.  This tip from Virginia Weathersby has been most helpful for me.  I mixed in clear wax, dark wax and a small bit of olive green to create a wax sludge!  I am very heavy handed when applying wax and haven’t had much luck with using the dark wax.  Making this mixture was so much easier for me to manipulate.  Hopefully you can see how the darker wax is accented around the edges of the drawers, dividers between the drawers, crevices in the turns of the legs.  

She deserves a little sparkle,don’t you think?  Out comes the Renaissance Gold wax to highlight her curves!  Just a very slight amount is all you need!  Keep the clear wax handy just in case you get a little heavy handed!

After some buffing , she is  ready to be adopted into a new family. 

I think this was another successful case of taking that which is old and breathing new life into it!

As it turns out, a very nice man bought her as a house warming gift for his wife.  What a good guy!  


  1. Wow, this turned out gorgeous! Thanks for the great tips as well. I, too, am a light distresser. I have watched many videos of the dark wax and just don't care for the heavy applications I've seen. The addition of the gold is perfect, too! Thanks for sharing this... :)

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thanks for your kind words. I am so glad you found the tips helpful. It would be nice if we had one location for all the helpful tips we've all learned along the way! :) If you have some pictures of your work online, send me the link...I'd love to see your work!