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Hand Painted Wardrobe with Cloudy Paint Effect

Listed under Blog, hand-painted furniture, Lee Simone Posted Mar 26 2014

Traditional Painter in Yorkshire, Lee Simone, recently returned to a home which he has worked on many times. This time he was to update a hand painted wardrobe with cloudy paint effect.

hand painted wardrobe with cloudy paint effect.

The new look wardrobes, repaired, re-glazed, ‘clouded’ with a darker blue and varnished

Over the years I’ve been back to this property to complete paint effects in the kitchen, the lounge, the snug, the dining room and the master bedroom / en-suite.

When I painted these wardrobes the first time round, it was actually the first job I ever did on my own. I was working for Nicola Creasey at the time.That was over 15 years ago!

This time they called me back to create a paint effect on the walls of the en-suite, and  update and change the look of the wardrobes.

Where are they now?

Even though it had been more than 15 years since I painted them last, the wardrobes were still in incredibly good nick. Yes, they had a few chips, and the paint has worn away around some of the handles, but all in all, great. To be honest, it was pretty amazing how well they looked. A testament to quality cabinetry, good painting practice and top notch materials.

(Back then I used a blue oil glaze sealed with Dulux clearcoat. This time I would be doing exactly the same. If it ain’t broke.)

Bringing it up to date

Rather than a dramatic change and a complete repaint, I was going to subtly tweak the existing effect and deepen the colour. This is a very cost-effective way of updating your decoratively painted furniture.

Instead of the slightly ‘rag rolled’ finish I did all those years ago, I was going to do a more subtle and cloudy effect. Time for a more refined look, of the moment.

Preparation of hand Painted Wardrobe before Cloudy Paint Effect

As I mentioned, over the years, the wardrobes had developed the odd chip and area of discolouration around the handles.

The original blue wardrobes - painted 15yrs ago

The original blue wardrobes – painted 15yrs ago

I would need to touch up the damage and make small repairs prior to any painting. This is because of the glazes I would be using. They are by their very nature transparent, so they wouldn’t cover up or fix the problem areas in question.

But, before any painting, I first had to gently clean and lightly sand the wardrobes to create a suitable key. For the cleaning, overall I used fairy liquid and water. Some of the scuff marks needed some careful wiping with white spirit.

Note to self about Dulux Clearcoat . The Dulux Clearcoat I used 15+ years ago had a different formula to the Clearcoat of today. With the old Clearcoat you can happily attack the finished surface with white spirit with no problem at all. With the new Clearcoat, this is not an option. The coating simply breaks down into a million little bits of goo, something to do with the VOC laws, I would imagine.

Anyhow, once cleaned, I very lightly sanded all areas with a well used 120 grit sanding pad. Now I was ready for the touching up process.

The Repairs.

To start, I repaired the chips and discolouration using opaque oil paint, which I mixed up to an accurate match of the ‘old’ colour. I did this in oil eggshell and applied it using small artist brushes and my Purdy Monarch Elite. I blended it out where necessary. Once everything was looking as ‘good as old’, I set about mixing up my new oil glazes.

The Glazing

The original finish I painted was a form of ‘ragging’. That was very popular in the late nineties but is out of date now.

The original 'ragged' effect

The original ‘ragged’ effect

This time, I was going to set about creating a more contemporary and subtle effect. I would be darkening the colour slightly and ‘clouding’ the glazes rather than ragging them.

I mixed up up four colours using a combination of Prussian Blue, Paynes Grey, Lamp Black, Titanium White, Cobalt Violet and Cobalt Blue. In other words one light, one medium, one dark. I then mixed them as I went along with Windsor & Newton’s Liquin. That meant I could change the opacity levels to suit the area I was working on at the time.

The effect after the 1st new coat of glaze on Hand Painted Wardrobe with Cloudy Paint Effect

The effect after the 1st new coat of glaze

I applied the glazes with a quarter inch acrylic artist brush and then moved it about using a variety of tools. There is a large stippler, a hog hair brush, butter muslin and a well used Purdy Monarch Elite. I used them for blending and tinkering until I was happy.

The glazing was going to be a two stage process to ensure just the right depth of colour. It would also make sure that the ‘ragging’ effect was subtly covered and blended away.

This picture shows the effect I achieved after the first layer of glazing. A new cloudier effect is nicely on its way 🙂

2nd layer of glaze with more blending and dark blue detailing

2nd layer of glaze with more blending and dark blue detailing

Final stage of glazing

Once complete, I left the first layer to dry overnight and returned the next day to apply the second layer. This second layer was applied in pretty much the same way as the first, with a subtle difference. I used more of the darkest glaze and concentrated this around the edges of the door, the handles and the inside edge of the beaded detailing. It’s just a little thing, but it makes all the difference to the balance and overall effect of the pieces.


Once I was happy with the look, I left the alterations to dry and headed home. On returning the next day, all that was left was the varnishing. Exactly like the first time, I would use Dulux Matt Clearcoat. It is a great acrylic varnish that’s just perfect for this kind of work on wood, and for paint effects on walls.

I applied 2-3 coats, using a high density foam roller and a couple of brushes. You have to be careful to add additional protection to the kick boards and around the handles. I then removed the tape and paper, tickety booed and voila, a thoroughly fun job to do. It was not nearly as scary and stressful as the first time, many moons ago. 🙂

The finished wardrobe and chest of drawers

The finished wardrobe and chest of drawers

The client, as always, was over the moon and looking forward to the next project. For me it was time to head into her en-suite and continue the prep work for the second part of the project, a cloudy colourwash paint effect on the walls. This had last been done around 17 years ago and was only now needing a re-paint – a testament to the wonderful longevity and continued interest in paint effects.

Watch this space for a Blog about that side of the project too 🙂

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The finish on Hand Painted Wardrobe with Cloudy Paint Effect

The finished effect

Close up of the 'cloudy effect'

Close up of the ‘cloudy effect’

Close up of the 'cloudy effect'

Close up of the ‘cloudy effect’

What next?

Alongside outstanding specialist paint effects, faux finishes, murals and trompe l’oeil, Lee can also offer you beautifully hand painted kitchens and furniture in block (solid) colours.

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2 comments to “Hand Painted Wardrobe with Cloudy Paint Effect”

  1. Charles Budd

    It looks absolutely fantastic!

  2. Imaginative Interiors Imaginative Interiors

    Thanks Guys! 🙂

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