…blue egg q&a’s

Here are your Q&A’s! Be sure to check out the video of Bensten at the end. I know you all have been praying for him!

Got questions? Email me at cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

I would like to try your technique for being creative with a drop cloth. I’m wondering your thoughts on attacking it with a wire or stiff bristled brush to aid in softening/distressing/antiquing. Do you think it would help or just tear up the fabric too much.

The drop cloths that I use are canvas so you don’t have to worry about tearing the fabric. It may be hard to control if you are just doing lines like I did. However, if you are going for a larger design it could give you the texture you are looking for. I would work with a smaller brush for control if possible.

I have some pieces I want to share with you that you have inspired me to create…if you are interested.

Yes! I love to see your projects!!

I am a little stumped as to when a person should paint the inside of dressers, desks etc.  Do you paint the inside of desks and dressers?

I never paint the interior of a drawer. It’s just not necessary. I love old pieces and this reminds me of where the piece came from. I do paint the interior of a secretary and armoire since I am going to open a door and see the inside. I think a contrasting color looks super cool.

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Do you clear wax all surfaces that you paint (interior sides/backs of hutches for example). That is the hard part and I’m inclined to only wax the surfaces that will need protection.

Yes, I clear wax all pieces because this does add a protective layer. If you do not clear wax then it is a chalky surface that is more prone to scratches. I do not dark wax all pieces as dark wax is for a look and not protection. 

Did you ever do a post on how you installed the chicken wire on your cabinet? 

Yes, I believe I did. It involved a nail gun and patience.

I was just wondering can you use chalk paint over wood furniture that’s already been painted? I think with a latex paint?

Yes!

I love the TV hide and seek screen.  Is it available for purchase?

Due to my work load I am not doing custom screens right now. Check back in, though.

I love the fabric that you have above your kitchen window, as I noticed it also matches some of your pillows.  The other fabric that I really like is on the couch in your formal living room.  It has more of a French motif, and it appears to have actual people on it.  I was hoping that you knew the names of the fabrics and where I might be able to locate them. 

It was many years ago at an online shop. I know I’ve written about it so you may want to do a search on my site. I will try to find it.

Small Room Design

Were you able to paint while you were pregnant and, if so, did you take any precautions like wearing gloves?

If you are using Chalk Paint then you will be safe – it is environmentally friendly with no chemicals or fumes. If you are using other latex or spray paint I would hire someone to do it for you. The fumes are too much, especially indoors.

How do you price your services? Do you go by hour or size of a piece. I would really appreciate if you can give me your take on that.

There are many factors. How big is the piece? Consider the cost of your materials and your time. Where do you live? Is there a market for this type of work? Do you know how to give a client what he/she wants? I cannot give you a cost, but think about these questions. You will always have to tweak your cost. You can always ask if he/she thinks the price sounds fair.

In your experience, what TYPE of pieces sell faster than others?  I’ve read your advice about what you are normally willing to pay for pieces and our need to be patient for a piece to move, so thank you for that smart advice.  As I search and negotiate prices on pieces (Craigslist, flea, etc.) I find myself wondering which types of pieces you have found move more quickly than others (armoires, dining buffets, bedroom dressers, etc.).  Obviously a higher ticket item will sit a bit longer in general at times, but have you found any sort of trends to what people tend to swoop up the fastest?  It helps as I plan on what combo of pieces I should purchase at a time. 

In my experience beds move the slowest across the board. I find that the items that move quickly make sense: dressers, consoles, side tables. Think about the items in your own home that are necessary.

I was just wondering how your nephew is?  I have been praying for him.  

Amazing! Have you seen the video of the Caps visiting him? Check it out! Prayer works.

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Caps visit Bensten video here.

…blue egg q&a’s

Here are your Q&A’s. Got questions? Email me at cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

In your experience, what TYPE of pieces sell faster than others?  Obviously a higher ticket item will sit a bit longer in general at times, but have you found any sort of trends to what people tend to swoop up the fastest?  

I would say consoles, nightstands and dressers are probably the most popular. The slowest thing to go for most painters are beds for some reason. This is why I very rarely hunt them out and refinish a bed.

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Many of your pieces look “distressed” not only along the edges, but also on the flat surfaces, almost like the paint has worn off in places.  I am wondering if you don’t apply a full coat of paint in those places or if you fully cover the piece and then sand those areas back to the wood surface.

It really depending on the piece. If it is a piece that is in excellent shape then I feel like I can play a bit more and, yes, I will leave paint off in places. Other times I paint a solid few coats and sand until I get a custom look.

When I saw your website I was impressed & wanted to ask you how you got started? I hope it’s okay that I ask! How did you learn how to use ann’s paints so well & was it hard to start up a website & keep up with business?

Well, I would suggest reading some of my back posts from the past few years. I had a need and I learned out to paint out of that need. I then realized that I really enjoyed it and it fit my lifestyle. I have also been very blessed with wonderful clients, readers and support.

I’ve followed you on your page and You Tube.  You have helped me bring out some passions I had allowed to lay dormant. Now at my age I do need some help especially with this technology stuff. My  question is how can I get a page like yours since I’m just starting. I’d like to sell my things online. 

You need to practice what you love until you are good at it and motivated enough to put yourself out there. You can hire web designers to create a page for you and then it’s up to you to do the writing, painting and listing. So much of it comes from ambition and drive. Good luck!

How often is your website updated? I see a lot of your items are already sold. I am interested in a distressed coffee table and some dinning chairs and would like to know how often you get new pieces &  finish them?

The best thing for you to do is “Like” Blue Egg Brown Nest on Facebook too. Many times I list pieces here first. By the time I list on my site they have sold. Every piece is custom and I do not hold a ton of inventory. However, if you are looking for a specific piece I am happy to hunt one down with you and refinish.

I just had a question for you if you don’t mind answering it. I’ve been fixing up a couple of nightstands and am ready for the waxing process. I did not know about ‘Annie Sloan’s” chalk paint sadly. I already have painted with ‘Americana Decor’ chalk paint that I bought from Home Depot. I also bought the ‘Americana Decor’ creme wax. I applied a bit of it today and it just didn’t seem to turn out right. It looks like it makes the white of the paint turn a bit blue and also you can’t see where you apply the wax. When you apply it, you can also see the wood start to come through which shouldn’t happen because I put two pretty heavy coats of paint on there. Do you have any experience with creme wax? Do you think I could go buy some ‘Annie Sloan’ soft wax? 

I have not used this brand of paint before. What does the piece look like once you let the clear wax dry? I find that with lighter colors the clear wax and make the paint look a little translucent, but once it dries it is solid once again. If you are not happy with the wax then, yes, you can use an ASCP wax over the paint. If this still does not give you the desired look then I would recommend trying another paint. You can always paint over a project without sanding it down with ASCP.

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I was hoping you could help with a chandelier I bought on Craigslist. Do you have any idea how to make a brass chandelier look antiqued? I’ve looked on Pinterest and apple cider vinegar mixed with sea salt sprayed on the fixture is a way to go. Before I dive into it I’d like to ask you if you’ve ever done it and if not do you have any suggestions on how to?

I would spray paint the chandelier and then go over it with some gilding wax. You can find this at your stockist or craft store.

On your blog post yesterday, you featured the Pinterest picture with that awesome chair and French secretary desk. Did the pinterest post note where the chair came from? I have seen some like that at Restoration Hardware, but not sure it is the same one. Can you give me any insight? 

I hear you! There are so many pictures on Pinterest that I wish listed a source! I’m sorry to say that I have no more information for you. I have been known to spend hours hunting for products that I see in photos and eventually I find something that comes close.

Please let me know the color gray and brand of paint on the wall in the photo of the two candles and a teapot with roses you posted on FB on December 8. 

Do a search for “Wall Colors Revealed” on Blue Egg Brown Nest.

Do you have concerns or had any issues with dealing with strangers?  I am weary of putting myself out there too much and worry about dealing with people who might be somewhat crazy, for a lack of a better word.  

Yes. I am very careful about where I hunt for pieces. I have a mover that I work with that picks up furniture for me so I do not put myself in any uncomfortable positions. My phone number and address are also not listed. When you do not have a storefront you do need to be cautious.

I grew up with a dad who owned retail businesses and other ventures.  I’ve seen, firsthand, how difficult it can be to please some people and how critical or unreasonable they can be towards a small business owner.  As someone who provides a service, is this something you ran into a lot in the beginning and how did you deal with it?

This definitely comes up every now and again. I have been blessed with amazing clients, but every so often there is a bad apple and you can see them coming from a mile away! I always feel like I have a choice because I run a small business. I can say no. I have done that before. When I meet someone who is difficult to deal with I have had enough experience to tell myself, “That is them. It is no reflection on me.” That being said, I HATE mean people.

What product do you use to clean furniture and or kitchen cabinets in particular if you suspect grease build up on kitchen cabinets?  Recently had a situation on kitchen cabinets.  thought we had them thoroughly cleaned with simply green but the grease must have permeated into the wood because the paint started to crackle after we applied a water based poly as the finish instead of wax for more protection.  the crackling only occurred around some of the doors in the door knob area which is touched the most often where oil from your hands and from cooking buildup. how can I avoid this in the future.

The poly should not come up easily, but accept wear and tear. I have not used Simply Green so I can not speak to it, but basic cleaners should not give you that type of problem unless the grease was not properly sanded down before the poly was applied. Was your wood prepped?

We have been in business for eleven years and have had some struggling times, but we’re still holding our own. Would like to get our one of a kind furniture out there for others to see.  What do you suggest?

Check out some of my “Building a Business” posts. I try to help address these issues.

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…blue egg q&a’s

Here are your Q&A’s! Got questions? Email me at cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com and I will post!

I just bought a fantastic pedestal table yesterday. It was marked down, for to what looked like water marks on the surface. It has a black distressed look. I’d like to keep the base black, but lighten up the top. Could I use that wipe off method with grey paint? I’m guessing it would leave the black underneath and still show the little distressed marks. I’m scared. It was a $2200 table,  marked down to $700. That’s a lot for me and I don’t want to ruin it.

That is a very expensive table. You can try to the weathered wood method, but, yes, wood would not show. You would get the black showing. If it does not look good then your choice is to just repaint the top and really sand it down to get a layered look.

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I have a question.  Eventually I want to do my kitchen cabinets and I  going to do my bathroom cabinets as well.  I was at lowes the other day getting a brush and the lady told me that I shouldn’t wax those cabinets when done because with the heat and humidity the paint will start to streak so I should use poly-acrylic.  What are your thoughts?

Clear wax will melt if in the heat. The first time I sold at the Luckett’s Spring Market the wax was not happy in the direct sun. I am not sure you will get that kind of heat in your kitchen and bathroom, however. Again, if you are happy with a worn look then you can use a furniture paint. If you want something more solid then do with your latex. It taste here.

I wanted to do my kitchen a sage green color.  What color mixes should I do.  I saw olive and white do that color but I’m not sure how much of what to mix.

Color is SUCH a taste thing. I could say one color is olive and you could think it was bright green. You are really going to have to mix your colors yourself until you get your desired look. AS has some color combos on her site that you can check out.

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I am a chalk paint virgin (lol) and could use all the info you can give me.

Check out my YouTube Tutorials and read some of my back posts. I’ve been writing about it for about 4 years every single day so there is a lot of content!

I read that you watered down your chalk paint to let the wood show through.  I’ve already applied two coats of a creamy colored chalk paint.  Is there any way to get this look now?  Can I get it by dark waxing or dry brushing with a darker paint?  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

You could try to take a damp cloth to it and wipe off some of the paint. If it has been days then you may need to do back to the drawing board. Sand off your paint and then water you paint and apply.

Love the color of the walls in the room where you painted the round oak table.  I think it might be your dining room.  Can you tell me what color you used? 

Look up “Wall Colors Revealed” on my site.

My question is your opinion on how to best choose a paint color. I do not see any distributors in my area (New Jersey) and I’m afraid that the color pallets that I have seen on Annie’s site do not give the best visual of what the final product would/could be. I first thought the old white would be my go to, but then saw a few pieces that you did on your site in other colors that looked amazing and now I’m just confused! If it wasn’t so pricey I would just order a few, but want to make sure I’m actually good at this first!

I think the answer is that you just have to take the plunge. Buy a few cans and see what you think. I prefer the neutrals as most of you know 🙂

Did you strip and sand first?  I know you don’t need to with ASCP but it looks like maybe you had and wondering if it changes the look.

Not sure which piece you are referring to, but the answer if probably no. I do not strip any of my pieces if I’m not staining.

Also, what do you suggest as far as getting a hard finish for a much used item like a table – just one or two coats of wax??

One coat and let dry for a few days.

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I watched your tutorials and loved your personality.  I am 43 and have been a nurse for 20 plus years.  I am also the mother of 2 special needs children.  I have always loved painting and being creative, so when I recently got laid off from my nursing job, I decided I would finally live my passion!  But, how do I get started and make it sell?  I am very creative so I know I can do the pieces, but how much do I charge, how much do I pay for the pieces up front before I paint, how do I market myself, build a website etc?  

Bless you. I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now, but I do applaud you for seeking out your passion. I would recommend going through my “Building a Business” posts. I know many people have found them helpful and I’ve written on all these topics.

If you have a lighter piece of timber and want to paint it and then distress it but want the timber that comes through to look like a darker timber rather than a light, do you put a stain on the timber to begin with before painting?

Yes. Stain the piece first.

When I am painting with ASCP I always leave subtle brush strokes within the finish..Yikes!…How can I avoid this.

Painted furniture will always have some brush strokes unless you use an electric sprayer and that takes away the peace of it all if you ask me. You can try watering down your paint a bit more to reduce strokes, but you will always have them and that’s ok. Embrace it.

I have a question about profit and how much to spend. When you make do u put that away? And only use the funds u originally spent to repurchase new pieces?

Yes and no. I would like to say that I only use my profit towards my furniture, but that is not always the case. My home is part of my business and I love designing the interiors so I do spend money on fixtures and furniture and accents for my home. It has worked for me because that is also how I get press. I would just make sure that you have enough money stored up so that you can always buy your paint and next piece. This will be different for everyone depending on location and piece. You should know if you are spending money where you shouldn’t – like on a new purse!

I wanted to know do you sand your pieces before painting to get a smooth finish? I recently got a beautiful vanity but the original painting on it is all chipped and I think I need to strip it , what would you do?

Sometimes I do. If there is paint flaking off then absolutely. Try sanding it off by hand and if it is still pealing off then use an electric sander to really get it smooth.

I am getting ready to paint my bathroom cabinets and need your help in selecting a color or colors. I am leaning towards a 50% of pure white “or old white” and French linen. By counter tops and tile are a light sand “very light tan” swirl with off white. Do you think this would be too grey as I won’t be changing out my counter top anytime soon. I will be changing the wall color too, just not sure what route to go. If I want to stay neutral earth tones what color would you suggest? 

I would recommend that you do something monochromatic instead of introducing a grey that may not really match. Can you find a shade darker or lighter in the tan family?

When might you have new desks to sell?

You can always email me off line and we can hunt for one together.

Do you stay firm on the pricing of your pieces, or are you willing to negotiate?

Great question. It really depends on the context. If I am working with a customer on Etsy and the shipping price is really high then I may offer a discount. If I am selling at a show I will come down a bit if asked. If I have a great piece and I know what it is worth then I may stay firm.

I’ve notice in your photos and tutorials that your first coat of paint is generally very thin where you can see lots of the wood.  Is there a reason for this and are you able to get enough coverage with the second coat.  I realize that the color may be a factor and or the type of wood.  I generally only have to do 2 coats which saves on labor and paint but my first coat is thicker than yours.  I know you use this technique when washing a piece but that’s not what I’m referring to here.

Yes, my first coat is generally light. I do this because I want to get a general feel for the piece. I want every brown part touched with paint to start off with. It may just be me, but that is my personal method.

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I had read and was also advised by my supplier of the ASCP to never use polish of any kind.  Technically Endust isn’t a polish but more of a dust remover.  I’m also concerned that the chemicals in Clorox wipes would be too harsh.  Having small children as you do I can understand why you would use these and I also assuming if you use them, it doesn’t damage the wax finish or you wouldn’t use them.  I want to make sure I’m telling clients the right message so can you please reconfirm.

I don’t really like rules when it comes to painting. I know there are guidelines and “rules” to painting, but I tend to not what to hear them. I experiment and see what works for me. If it’s a disaster then I go another direction. I have never had an issue with cleaning products on any of my painted surfaces. If you are nervous about being accountable then just tell your clients to use soap and warm water.

I love the fruit bowl you have on your center island in your kitchen. Where did u get it or did you make it as I know your also talented in pottery! I just love it. Do you have fake artichokes inside?

I found it at the Luckett’s Spring Market a few years ago. You could probably find something similar at a garden store as it is meant for outdoor use. Real, dried artichokes 🙂

Small Room Design