My latest furniture painting victim is a tea cart I got from my sister-in-law Leslie. It was in her family I think for a good while. She didn’t have room for it anymore and asked if we wanted it. I am not sure she knew we would transform this piece and maybe that is better…often we get used to seeing a piece of furniture in one way and it might seem horrifying to think of it being painted over and transformed anew. I did send her photos as the transformation was underway and she was sent back her thumbs up.
This was one of those projects that took a while. I began last fall in the garage/studio. But the weather turned cold and I didn’t want to work out there – plus paint dries slowly in cold as I learned on a couple short attempts to work on the cart on cold days. I was able to get it nearly complete out there thanks to some indian summer days.
The project got tabled (no pun intended) for a while over the holidays and early into the year. The top of the cart was ready for its last coat of paint so I got inspired and asked my husband to bring it inside so I could work in the warmth of the house. Originally, I wasn’t going to paint inside the house but one day in January I looked at an old piece of furniture and I realized I needed to paint it bc I really didn’t like looking at it anymore (see my post on that project here) and I brought paints in from the garage and painted the small chest into a new piece that I now liked again.
So the painting studio had moved inside. Chalk paint has no odor so nobody was being bothered by the smells- but the clutter – well – thats another thing entirely. I certainly am not the biggest messer-upper in this home so I will not listen to any complaints about my paints and supplies covering our dining room table! And the TV is not blocked in any way so all is ok in Sweeneyland.
For the tea cart I had an inspiration piece that I found online. I wanted to just have at it with no cheating(surfing the net for ideas) but I had no idea what I could do with a tea cart. I also thought there might be some way to deconstruct it and make it into something else – but as soon as I saw this picture below I decided I wanted to do something like this.
I used Maison Blanche Paints and for this project I used their Maison White – which is whiter than the paint in this picture – in hindsight I might have used their Vanilla color but I like my results. I also used a grey color called Hurricane as the base coat on the top. I crackled the top using their Crackle Extreme product. The top coat is the Maison White which cracked well and exposed the Hurricane color underneath.
Here is the cart as I received it- it wasn’t in bad shape at all – it was well cared for- it was just a bit boring:
The Process was as follows:
- Took apart the piece as much as I could and wiped it down to get all the dust off.
- NO Sanding needed with this chalk paint and so far that has rung true.
- I began with the bottom part and painted it with three coats of Maison White.
- I distressed it using a medium grit sanding block. Mine dried for at least a week bc I was taking my time- but it can be distressed within a couple hours of drying even sooner probably.
- I added a stencil and after it dried I distressed some more.
- I then varnished it with two coats of Maison Blanche Varnish. I didn’t feel like waxing this piece and I like the varnish finish.
- I took the top and painted it with a couple coats of the white on the underside of the top.
- Then when dry I painted the top with the Hurricane color and let that dry. I applied a crackle medium (Crackle Extreme by Maison Blanche) and that sat for a month or more waiting for me to finish it with a top coat of Maison White.
- I added the top stencil after the white paint dried and I sanded a bit as there were a couple areas that felt lumpy- probably from the crackle medium where it was put on a little to think by yours truly.
- I finished the top with three coats of varnish.
- I spray painted the carts big looking wagon wheels with blue Rustoleum Paint. I had two very nice days in the last few weeks that allowed for me to spray paint in the garage.
Wagon wheels before paint
- The small wheels and drawer pull I painted with a hammered metal finish spray paint also by Rustoleum.
- I put everything back together and Voila…a new trendier tea cart.
- Here it is completed(click on the photos for a larger picture):
Every time I tackle a new painting project I learn something. This time I learned that you can take your sweet time doing something and not stress about it. I really enjoyed the process. The other thing I learned is that if you make a mistake- I make some each time I work on furniture piece – that you can undo most of them. Paint is more forgiving than I thought. AND if I end up hating the entire thing I can always start over!
I showed my sister-in-law the finished tea cart and she loved it. I asked her if she would like it back – but she didn’t have room for it. I am glad bc I sort of become attached to these pieces as I work on them. This will not bode well if I keep accumulating furniture as we have a small home and not much room! I have no idea as yet where I might put this cart.
And if I ever want to sell anything I paint I will need to release my feelings for them and let it go out into the world. I have had to do this with photography as I have sold a few of my photos lately and at first it was a little hard to see them go but now I am glad someone somewhere has an “Anne Sweeney” on their wall.
I have always longed to be creative because it was what my heart told me to do. I fell in love with photography early in my 20’s. After I got that bug I never looked at the world the same. Every field became a scene for a photo- I looked at the light in a new way. I began was writing as a kid and I journaled my way through high school. My favorite part of my job way back when I was a programmer/software engineer was creating the processes which drove the program.
For me art is a form of therapy – its a way to pour my feelings into something- I get something back from it as well. And I when I share my creativity it may inspire or effect another person. I have been wondering why I have such a hold on some of my art. I write (and that is a form of art) and I send that out into the world freely and I share my photos all over the internet where anyone could claim them I suppose. So why did I feel such a hold when it came to selling them in a frame- the original is not really anywhere except as bits and bytes on a computer why was it so hard to put them in a frame with a price tag? And now furniture? Why I am feeling so attached?
I need to ponder on this a bit more because I think the answer is important for me to know.
In the meantime I will keep doing what I do bc it brings me joy.
…… ”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ~Steven Pressfield