Thanks Pinterest. No seriously….Not only do you suck all my time and attention, but now you stick images in my head and I can’t get them out. A couple of weeks ago I pinned an image of a chippy, gorgeous white and not white mirror and table on the beach that I just couldn’t get to go away.
Now lets be clear about my distressing ability (or lack thereof). I love to paint. But I’m not going to every be able to achieve those “aaaaahhhhh” chippy distressed shabby chic finishes. In fact one of my facebook buddies recently referred to the look as “elegantly sloppy” which is much closer to the truth. Light on elegance, heavy on sloppy. Think Joan Jett meets Audrey Hepburn.
It’s why I love CeCe Caldwell chalk/clay paint so much since I don’t have to sand or prep or prime. I can just dig in and go for it. So when recently I came across a beat up old chair I thought I had my perfect candidate (or victim). She was a middle aged gal, not terribly old, just a little down at heel. Her caning had seen better days and her upholstery was outdated, but she had just the French look I was wanting and since I had recently seen a video (thank you Debi Beard) about painting fabric with our paints so I decided to give it a whirl.
First I had a grand ole’ time breaking the cane out of the back of the chair. It started out fun, but then when I got to the end it became a bit more difficult. I found that a box cutter to start and then a chisel in the end knocked all the cane out. I did use a heavy grit sandpaper to even out the rough edges left by the cane.
Then I took off the seat cushion, 4 bolts…simple.
I started with the cushion since I figured it would take the longest. Boy was I wrong. It was SUPER easy! First I started with an all-over coat of the Vermont Slate. It soaked right into the fabric, but the coverage was really good. I let it dry about 4 hours. **Caveat: I do live in Arizona and this was a 105 degree day**
Then I applied a generous and smooth coat of Divinity crackle medium. I like Divinity because it really gives you the time to spread properly and dries very evenly. You have more control with this product than with some you’ll find in big box stores. I found that pouncing the medium into the welts, smaller spaces and then doing even consecutive strokes everywhere else gave a nice evenly crackled consistency. I let the crackle dry about 3 hours.
When the crackle was dry to the touch and clear all over, I applied my next coat of Young Kansas Wheat. Again I applied thickly and evenly without repeating back over strokes in order to make sure the crackle was even. I did the same technique with pouncing the brush into the nooks and crannies. I let this dry overnight.
In the morning all was dry and it really looked fantastic. It felt like leather and I couldn’t wait to get the last coat of Satin Finish onto the top. I evenly applied the Satin and before I was halfway through I knew I loved it. It looks and behaves just like a pearlized aged leather. It doesn’t feel crunchy or stiff. It looks fantastic and it seems to hold up just fine to people sitting on it and testing it so far. I’ll keep you in the loop if I find any issues with it.
Then I was able to give my full attention to recreating my dream chair. First I started with an all over light application of Pittsburgh Grey. After it dried I again used the Divinity Crackle and did a heavy coat (the heavier the coat, the deeper and more canyon like the crackle) intermittently around the chair. I then dried it in front of a fan and tapped my foot impatiently and played with the blow drier until it was done. I know…I know…patience is a virtue, but when I’m in the zone….don’t hold me back! Luckily I had my friend Laura with me and she made sure I didn’t dig in before it was cooked.
Next I did a good coat of Vintage White all over the chair. I loved watching the crackle appear and thought maybe I should just do some distressing and stop there. It looked very French and white and yummy. Especially after it dried and I started doing a little rubbing. I loved to see some of the darker grey poke through and it was looking dirty and dingy and delicious!
Next I poured a little dab of Seattle Mist and Myrtle Beach Sand (new color obsession) and used some damp cheesecloth to work both colors into the chair all over to give it that grungy aged look. After that I used the same technique to add a little more Vintage White back into the finish to deepen the texture. I let it dry for a few hours.
When I went back, I started brushing the Clear Wax over the whole finish with my favorite brush then I buffed it out. Bolted the seat back on and Voila!! I now speak with a French accent!