January 30, 2012

✥ Reader Feature: Paint the Shabby Chic Look {Tutorial!!} ✥

You know when you see someone's work, and you think to yourself- "Holy Cow! I wish I could do that?" Right- Well, let me introduce you to Meg from Meg and Mum's. She's a ridiculously talented Aussie with sassy personality and a love for salvaging and repurposing old furniture.

It wasn't until about 15 months ago that I started to really get into it and developed my blog Meg and Mum's, where I showcase my furniture and also from time to time I will feature my Mum's awesome mosaics.  She is really talented and does some beautiful work. I now have a huge passion for restoring furniture and have been lucky enough in the last twelve months to make a bit of extra pocket money from doing it.  Being a stay at home Mum it has definitely come in handy and it also keeps my body, mind and soul happy and healthy. Now Becca has asked me to share with you a tutorial or two.  I have never really posted a true tutorial in the past, purely because I was learning as I went and, well... I was too lazy.  

But I can share with you how I do the French/Shabby finish.
Now I'm not saying that this is the "right" way to do it and you might find that people who have been doing it a lot longer than I have do it completely different, but this is what works for me.  Also, the descriptions of the kind of paint I use may be different to what you use in whatever country you may live.  I'll give it a go anyway. Here's a two toned side table I did recently.

 1.  I start by sanding the table back with 120 grit sandpaper.  I normally don't go heavy handed with this, but if it looks as if the varnish or paint is coming off too easily I will go hard at it or take my heat gun to it and scrape the paint off.

2.  After sanding I obviously get rid of all the dust and give it a good clean.  Then I give the table one coat of acrylic undercoat/primer.  If I am going blue, I will normally undercoat with grey.  Just normal acrylic paint is fine.

3.  Once this is dry I will go over the whole piece with a fine tooth comb to see if there are any dings, scratches or holes that need to be filled.  I always recommend giving it one undercoat first as after it is painted the flaws will really become obvious.  Then I will use painters bog or builders bog to fill it up. This isn't the actual table I'm referring too, but it's the only photo I have to give you an example.  All the holes will be more visible after the first undercoat.  Once you fill it, wait until it dries and then give it a sand with a 180 grit to give it a smooth even finish.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of filling. I also have a look to see if there are any gaps or light cracks.  I will use a gap filler for this.  (My husband is a painter so I've been lucky to learn all the tricks).

4.  I give the whole thing a very light sand, wipe down and then give it another undercoat.

5.  Then I apply two coats of my colour choice in acrylic, with a light sand in between with 600 grit sandpaper.  This makes it feel really smooth.  Acrylic usually dries pretty quick, like about half an hour.  But I always wait overnight before I start the distressing.  For the distressing, I get a 180 grit and lightly sand on the edges or "peaks".  The more you distress furniture, the better you'll become at knowing where the best places are to distress.  I was really quite messy and heavy handed to begin with.

6.  Once it is all distressed, I apply a dark English Walnut stain by brushing it on in sections.  So I will start with a leg, brush the stain on, quite sloppily I might add, and then wipe that section down with a clean lint free cloth.  Then you'll see it magically transform before your eyes!  The finish is spectacular. Once that is all dry I give the whole thing a coat of poly, and that's pretty simple to use.  Just follow the instructions on the can! As I said, my way might be very different to someone else's but it works for me.

  I've been asked by some people whether I use a brush, roller or spray gun.  For me it depends on what the weather is like.  If it is super cold or scorching hot outside I might bring a piece inside to paint with a brush.  If weather permits I will use the spray gun which is a hundred times faster obviously.  But in saying that, I find using the brush can be quite relaxing and therapeutic.  I've only used the roller once and I wasn't that keen on the effect it left.  I can kind of zone out when using the brush.  On a couple of occasions I have used can spray paint for really small projects if I happen to have some sitting around.  But these are really expensive where I live so I rarely use it.
You will see from my blog that I am also a big fan of all things retro, which is what I prefer to furnish my home with.  But I find the process of doing the shabby finish very rewarding and therapeutic.

If you've reached this point after reading my essay above, thank you so much for bearing with me.

And thanks to the lovely Becca for having me here. I'd be over the moon if you'd stop my blog and say hello!
Megs x


Isn't Meg great?! I wish I could somehow absorb all the knowledge she has about redoing furniture. {hmm, jealous!} I'm like as novice as you can get compared to her! I love her tip about painting the piece and then filling the dings, since they'll show up better. I never would have known to do that!

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