…question from a struggling college student

I want nothing more than to help a struggling college student that cares about her kitchen table look! I received this email yesterday and am sharing it in the hopes that it helps others. I know there’s a lot of confusion about getting this weathered wood look.

“Hello I just watched probably 10 of your videos! I am moving into an apartment in Chicago and have recently picked up a round oak table at an estate sale. It is that awful yellow golden color. I really liked the video you did on the restoration hardware inspired white table. Eventually I want to get the soft comfy chairs to go around the table so my place looks comfy and cozy!

Question:

1. Do I have to use a sander in order to get that yellow color off before painting?

2. How much do I sand before I start painting?

3. And what number sand paper do I use?

If you could help me out in any way possible! Thank you.

Sincerely, a struggling college student haha” (Attached photo)

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As you can see, what College Student (CS) has is your typical, dated, wood pedestal table. It looks like it is in great shape and a round table can work in so many spaces. In fact, DH and I bought a white round table for our first home and I still have it (even thought it is now used for kid’s crafts!) I think it’s always a good bet to buy a round table.

So, like I’ve said in the past, the biggest factor in getting your weathered wood look is that you MUST HAVE A TEXTURED WOOD. You will most likely see this kind of texture in older furniture that is oak. When I say texture, it means rubbing your hand on the surface and feeling ridges and lines. The reason you need these ridges is that this is where the paint will pool and the “non-ridge” part is where the paint will be lighter. This contrast is where you will get that beautiful, weathered look as you see below.

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CS, do you see how your table is shiny? I hate to tell you this, but it’s because it is not textured, it looks like there is a layer of poly over it. Even if you sanded this poly off, you still will not get these ridges and undulations that naturally come in oak. The closest you can come to getting this look would be to paint thinly on your table to try to achieve a contrast. I say this hesitantly because it may be hard for you to get the look that I know you want. But, you can get a pretty distressed look like on my kitchen table by painting this way. Paint thinly and then take your 100 grade sand paper and sand the edges to achieve this. I did not use any wax either so that it could continue to weather.

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I hate to disappoint with this information, but if I may, I do want to encourage you that you can still get a beautiful and dramatic look just by painting a round pedestal table. Here is one that I recently did myself.

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Also, until you can afford those comfy chairs that your referenced, I would also think about painting them. It looks like you have nice, solid wood chairs there and I have painting many similar ones for clients that turned out beautifully.

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I wish you all the best in creating the space you want. I am confident you will because you’ve already selected this set. This is just the beginning, College Girl! 🙂

…how to spray paint a mirror

I’ve mentioned spray paint before, but did you know that it is the way I really started painting furniture about 15 years ago? DH and I purchased our first home and it was in need of a complete renovation. We were at Home Depot every single weekend and working on the house after long workdays every week night. We were animals and poured blood and tears into that house.

We also hit up every yard sale between our home and the hardware stores on weekends. I would buy anything that I could hang on a wall and ANYTHING that resembled a piece of furniture and was in the, well, $20 or under range. We were dirt poor newlyweds.

After literally 5 years of renovations, here is my very fav picture. Not every man can pull apart a mint green bathroom like Dear Husband.

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I cannot seem to find a picture of my first, little side table that I spray painted with black Rustoleum, but I was shocked that such an easy transformation could be made even then. I still love spray paint. You have to go slowly with a steady hand, but it is cheap and easy and gets you quick results.

I found a large mirror at Luckett’s that I wanted to use for my daughter’s room. It was a dull, wood and I sprayed – or DH – sprayed it gold. He loves a good spray paint.

Mirrors are a great item to spray paint because they just involved a frame. This frame is really interesting with the detail, but even a plain frame can be made beautiful with a can of spray paint.

How to spray paint a mirror:

  1. Select a wood or metal mirror (it really doesn’t matter what the material is).
  2. Tape off the mirror part so you do not get spray paint all over it. This will pose a problem if you do and you may get frustrated. Taping is annoying, but do it. We used Frog Tape, but any painter’s tape will work.

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3. Pick out a Rustoleum paint or the like from your hardware store. We used Krylon here. Use a brand that has a picture of the type of material you are going to paint or specifically says it works on it. Here is the gold spray paint that I used.

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4. Promise me that you will not spray paint indoors! You will get dizzy from the fumes and they will not go away for days! Paint outside and try not to do it on a windy day. If you paint downwind, you will spray paint everything in it’s path. You will realize this when you are sticky, the bushes are sticky and maybe your card is sticky. I may know this by experience.

5. You want to do 2 layers. Spray in a back and forth manner about 5/6 inches away from the piece. Go slowly. It looks easy, but if you use too much all at once, it will drip and it is VERY hard to fix drips from spray paint! Once completely dry and not tacky, do a second coat. That should be all you need.

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If it’s an old mirror and rather shabby you may see texture. I don’t mind that. I think this is a really inexpensive way to decorate and it takes no time at all. Here is how it turned out before we hung it.

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What do I love most about this transformation? I love that this mirror was sitting on the Luckett’s porch behind a ton of stuff just looking shabby and kinda gross. And now all I see are those lovely details displayed in a beautiful gold! Ahhhh.

…building a business: losing steam?

Dear Creatives,

I want to hear from all of you out there that were really excited and motivated to start your own business – whether it was painting furniture or another creative endeavor. You may have given it your time, money and attention. Maybe you talked about it and wrangled your family into the effort and plugged away. Maybe you became a vendor, maybe you sold in a shop, maybe you opened your own shop. Then, something happened…..you ran out of steam.

A creative business is so very different than a typical business because it requires real spirit. Your spirit. And to keep up a positive outlook it requires really “feeling” it and not just being productive. I think it is much more complicated. It can be difficult for other’s to get on board and so it requires a lot of cheerleading for ourselves. Then once we get some traction we have to refuel and keep ourselves going. The problem is often that creative people are not necessarily motivated by money or success. We want more. Yes, art requires audience, but it also requires inspiration. So, my question to you out there is,

Have you lost your motivation?

I am empathetic to your state. I get it and I hear you. I give you permission to slow and come to a stop. It’s okay and it’s not failure. Instead, let me say to you – Congrats! You did it. You did it for a while and you tried something new. You put yourself out there and were seen as more than just a mom or office person or daughter or friend. And you still are! Now you know that you have the capacity to tap into this part of you at any time. You don’t need to prove anything by opening another shop, but you can tap into the feelings that made you want to do this. This part of you is always there and you discovered it! Big congrats.

I do not say this to discourage anyone, but rather to tell you that I am here to listen and support you. I think creative people live with exposed nerve-endings in a world that is not always aware of us or our needs. We try to perform in the same way as those more Aggressives around us and it’s okay to know that we are not the same. We offer something much different- sensitivity, observation, a magnifying glass on what is not always noticed in a fast-paced world.

If you have tried to expose your creativity in a public manor, you swam upstream. It is not easy. It is not easy for the shop owner of there, it is not easy for the bloggers and writers, it is not easy for me.

If you are plugging away and doing well, I am so proud and excited for you! If you gave it a go and feel done and depleated, then it’s okay to refocus your energies. If you were interested and it never quite got off the ground, then I’m so thrilled you explored the idea! And the good news? It never means you have to stop loving to paint or create! WOW! You can always do this! For yourself and your own home or just appreciate it in other’s homes. What a gift for yourself.

You are important no matter what you accomplish and I think so often we are told that the definition of success is money and press. You are worthy because you live, Dear friends. Love you.

I see you.

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