hand painted furniture with a difference
First of two articles
Most enquiries for hand painted furniture start with, “Can you paint our pine bedside cabinets, dining room tables, wardrobes or chairs? Can we have a smooth matt or eggshell finish in our preferred colour?”
No problem, that is all part of our specialist painting services.
Periodically the requests for “Can you paint this?” hit a different level. In this article, the question was, “Can you transform an unpainted walnut chest? And finish it in time for a reveal on a TV show?”
In an article to follow, the question was, “Can you spray an upright piano in high gloss white?”
Chalk paint a walnut chest and replicate an intricate design
Richard Willott, Traditional Painter member for East Anglia gets all the luck sometimes with hand painted furniture. He received a phone call from the BBC late last year. “Could you help us out? Our designer has ordered a piece of furniture … and it’s still in India! The reveal is in a few days’ time and it’s not going to get here.”
Without thinking, he jumped straight in and agreed to help out.
On receipt of 2 emailed images, a before and a proposed after photo, he realised it would be anything but straightforward.
“Blooming interior designers“!!
During the site meeting with the head of production, Richard suggested using Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint to add some depth and interest to the finish. En route back to his workshop with the solid walnut furniture onboard, he stocked up at his local Annie Sloane Chalk Paint stockist in Bury St Edmunds.
Trade tip for ‘no bleeding furniture’
Chalk paint is very forgiving as it requires no primer, ordinarily. However when painting over walnut, (or oak or pine), the resins in the timber can bleed through the paint. (This potential for staining applies to most conventional paints too.) As he planned to seal the whole surface, the first tin of paint Richard pulled out was a shellac-based adhesion primer.
When painting the whole surface, Zinsser BIN pigmented sealer will be fine. To spot prime small areas, though, forget the BIN, it is liable to create patchiness in the topcoats. If spot priming, it is best to use clear shellac knotting, which chalk paint covers perfectly, often in one coat. Here is all you need to know about stopping bleed through in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
There is a misconception that chalk paint is only for rough and ready finishes, but like any other paint, in the wrong hands, it can be dangerous. In this case, the chalk paint was perfectly safe in Richard’s hands. The chalk paint basecoat was called ‘Pure‘. Each coat was carefully sanded smooth so he could recreate the intricate pattern with stencils.
Tap, tap, tapping on heavenly drawers
The colour effect was to be created with ‘Barcelona orange‘. It took many hours of gently tapping away on one section at a time with a stencil brush. The trick is to make sure the stencils are removed carefully and placed back down carefully, to create a seamless pattern. The end result very closely resembled the picture in the original email.
Richard carefully applied a couple coats of clear wax to seal and protect the surface, and headed back to the site.
I was met with many approving comments from those involved in the show, and even a superb from no other than Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (my new mate)!
It was in the end a total pleasure to be of help to such a fantastic program.
High gloss white grand piano
Ron Taylor has been spray painting for a lot of years now, and is particularly experienced with water-based paints. His articles on acrylic paint spraying are some of the most well read on this site, and Ron has long been the one we turn to here for spraying advice.
A quick preview of the finished piano. More to follow on this project
Over the years, we have painted an AVL dobby loom, gypsy caravan, fireplaces and more. And with experts like Richard (who trades as FX Decor in East Anglia) it is fair to say that with thought and attention to detail, most items of furniture can be painted successfully – with or without special effects!
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