December 4, 2013

China cupboard, round two

I had this bright idea a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving that I should try out the new chalk paint craze that has everyone abuzz and redo my old china cabinet.  Two weeks before Thanksgiving.  Was I insane??! My husband and I gifted a dining table set and the china hutch to each other on our first anniversary and it has graced every home we have lived in since our wedding.  But four children, three dogs, three states and six houses later, time had taken its toll and it no longer looked nice enough for my dining room.

So it had been relegated to the basement where it held trip souvenirs, and my china resided on a bookshelf in the dining room.  Project fever held me in its grip, and off I set to buy the chalk paint.

The table departed several years ago, and our new table has a wood top with vintage looking cream colored legs, and the chairs also have the creamy white paint that looks slightly worn and antiqued.  Surely it would be an easy process with the chalk paint to bring my cabinet back to life and match my new table and chairs? I carefully read all the blogs and reviews about different chalk paint companies, and also debated the diy chalk paint recipes, and in the end I chose CeCe Caldwell paint.  In the nonsensical way I have of choosing my Super Bowl team by who has the "nicest" quarterback or the most endearing story (unless its the Vikings, in which I case I ALWAYS root for the Vikings!) I ended up choosing CeCe Caldwell paint because I read how nice the company founder (CeCe) was.  One really nice feature of the paint is that it is eco-friendly and non-toxic.  Perfect for a basement project.  I chose the vintage white color and came home excited to start.

Chalk paint's claim to fame is that there is no prep work involved--no stripping or sanding required at the beginning.  It is supposed to be painted on, then sanded off in spots to achieve that perfect vintage look. Well, let me tell you here and now, it ain't that easy!  Here's the first coat on the side of the cabinet. Nothing to write home about.

Second coat was better.  Third coat even better.  But then it started to get gloppy and was more difficult to get a smooth finish.  Even though I knew it was supposed to look different than regular paint, I kept thinking I was doing something wrong because it wasn't as smooth.  I decided the inside of the cabinet would look better with a color instead of more white, so I primed it with regular primer and painted it the soft green of my dining room accent wall.

I was probably over ambitious by choosing the cabinet for my first project, but with company coming and Thanksgiving right around the corner, there was no going back.  I can get a little stubborn that way, when I have a vision in my head.  All the little grooves and detail work, plus plenty of glass, made for slow going. And have I mentioned I'm a perfectionist?  But since I'd already completed the banner to hang on the cabinet I was determined to finish what I'd started (we won't talk about my closet full of uncompleted projects, ok?). I spray painted all the old brass hardware with a nickel finish to match my lighting fixtures, and I love how it looks against the cream paint.

Once the paint was dry,  I really struggled with using the sandpaper to actually rub OFF some of the paint I had spent so many hours applying.  There was no instruction manual on how much to take off, and there is a fine line between creating a piece that looks vintage and not just plain banged up.  Since I had put on several coats, taking it off wasn't very easy.  After serving an apprenticeship with Mr. Miyagi--paint on, paint off--it was time to put on a protective finish.  I chose endurance cream, a wax designed for tables and kitchen cupboards that are used a lot.  Back to Karate Kid school--wax on, wax off!  You apply the wax with cheesecloth, and then once it dries you sand softly, then apply another coat.  Maybe I needed this poster to motivate me?

But in the end, I love how it turned out, although I can't say I would want to use chalk paint for a lot of projects.  No prepping in the beginning is nice, but the waxing at the end is hard work!

It was so satisfying to lovingly place my china back in the cabinet.  The top shelf holds some of my special display plates, the second shelf my beautiful china from my great aunt, and the bottom shelf displays my special cake plates.  All in all, I just couldn't be more thankful with the way it turned out!

And for no reason other than it's Wednesday and we all need a little something to make us grin, here's a fun poem by Shel Silverstein to shake the giggles right out of us!  Trust me, you won't find my furniture carrying on like furniture is very well behaved. That's English china in my cupboard and all the plates and tea cups are quite proper indeed!

Furniture Bash

The hand of the clock
Pinched the foot of the bed,
So the foot of the bed
Kicked the seat of the chair,
So the seat of the chair
Sat on the head of the table,
So the head of the table
Bit the leg of the desk,
So the leg of the desk
Bumped the arm of the couch,
So the arm of the couch
Slapped the face of the clock,
And they pinched and they punched
And they banged and the knocked,
And they ripped and they flipped,
And they rolled and they rocked,
And the poor dresser drawer
Got a couple of socks.
There was sawdust and springs
When I turned on the light
After that horrible furniture fight.
And that’s the truth, no lie– – no joke.
That’s how your furniture
All got broke.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 

1 comment:

  1. It looks great, Martha. But I share your feelings on chalk paint. I used it when I was painting our bedroom furniture. First of all, it's pricey. Secondly, it doesn't cover as easily as they claim. I don't think I'd use it again.