…blue egg Q&A’s

Hi Friends! Here are you Q&A’s. Got questions? Email me: cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

I have only been painting pieces for myself and my family but a friend-of-a-friend recently contacted me about painting a cabinet/hutch of hers. I’m happy to do it for her but I honestly don’t know where to begin when it comes to giving her a cost for me to do the painting. Is there some basic formulation you use to estimate the labor cost for a customer? Also, I want to work on the cabinet in my home but she doesn’t have the means to bring it to me. My husband offered to pick it up but I’m worried about being responsible for transporting it.

No, I do not have a formula. As I always say, it really depends on your time, materials and if the painted look is really understood in your area. In this case, if you do not have experience painting someone else’s piece, please give her a good price – at least under $100. You don’t want a friend paying a ton of money when you don’t have a lot of work under your belt. You will definitely need the piece delivered to your house. If your husband can do it, great. The friend needs to trust you so I wouldn’t worry about it getting damaged in transport.

Do you know what the Victorian piece is you are showing on the right?  Is is a plant stand? sewing storage piece? footstool (when covered?)  I have one of these and I am not sure of its original purpose.

It is a side table that had a marble top. Lovely.


My family has had some pretty tough times in the last several years and I started painting furniture for myself as therapy 🙂 but financial situations made me realize I need to do more to bring in money, so I thought I’d try to sell some pieces. Needless to say, I’ve spent money I didnt have and havent sold anything…yet 🙂 It’s only been about a month, so Im a little impatient… I was encouraged by your posts, and your story! Even though my garage is already getting packed with furniture, I havent sold anything, and am out of money, still I spend all my extra time looking for furniture to buy/paint, blogs on painting, different color combinations, etc – it makes me happy!! I know God has started me on this journey and His plans are better than my dreams! I will keep reading your posts and learning from you – thank you for being bold enough to reach out like you are. Im not a seller, buyer ~ absolutely, but not a seller, I can honestly say that this is way outside my comfort zone.  Its comforting to read advice from someone who has been working through it, I guess building that yellow brick road that I can follow. 

I’m so sorry that things are rough financially for you right now. My advice to you is if you do not have the budget to invest in painting more furniture then wait before buying more to paint. I know this may be hard. I would focus on marketing yourself and trying to sell the pieces that you have. The last thing you want is to run out of space and be in debt with a bunch of furniture in your garage and home. A small business is a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck to you!

I am very familiar with Annie Sloan products.  My question is, did you sand your table at all?  Was it varnished when you began?  Also did you seal it.  I am thinking a matte poly because it is a table surface, which will see wear,  and shiny to begin with.

No, I did not sand any table you may have seen if I was painting it. You can totally use a matte poly on a table surface for extra coverage.

What is white spirit referenced in the first Q & A.

A reader suggested using wine, I believe, to water down dark wax. I’ve never heard of it, but I’m totally going to try it.

Can you tell me where you bought the chicken wire that you used on your chicken cabinet.  I believe you said it was small solid brass wire mesh.  Did you end up painting it?

You can buy chicken wire many places online, but if you want smaller mesh and/or a brass color then you need a specialty shop. I bought mine online at Van Dyke’s. It’s a great resource for things like this.


I remember a post you did (actually a series) about kitchens and i think i remember you saying that you installed an ikea kitchen? In your first home. We are going to install an ikea kitchen as this is all our budget will allow. We already have the butchers block worktop and ceramic sink from ikea installed. Im thinking white traditional kitchen, but i’d  like to know your opinion on your ikea kitchen and what style to go for? Any help you can give would be great.

Oh fun! We actually only installed the Ikea butcher block counter tops and farmhouse sink on our first renovation. We never did the cabinets from Ikea. I would just try to buy cabinets that you can use for a long time – real wood and a color you can live with. White is always good.

I was wondering if you could tell me the paint color you used on the shutters in your dining room? They are a pretty blue. I have shutters i have been going back and forth trying to figure out a color to go with my gray walls and that blue would be perfect.

The are Duck Egg over Provence. I applied the Duck Egg very loosely so you can see the Provence underneath.


I was wondering if you could get more into detail of the process of shipping through USHIP. I am so hesitant to make this available to my clients. It just seems so overwhelming and possibly a huge headache! What steps do you take in this process? 

Sure. You can also do a search on my site for more info. USHIP allows you to list a piece that you want to ship. You insert measurements and a photo. You will then get bids from truckers going that way. They can do white glove and insurance for an extra cost. You want to make sure that your client has some options so get a few bids. Make sure they know that shipping furniture is not cheap. You will schedule a date and time with client and shipper. It take a lot of coordination.

How does the paint do on laminate furniture?

If it is new laminate with a shiney surface, the paint will not adhere. If it is vintage laminate you will be fine. Do a sample.

Also I have a table that I would like to do that has grooves in the top that I don’t like because crumbs get in it and it is hard to clean. Do you think a wood filler would work to fill them in then I could paint over it? 

Yes, wood filler would be a great solution for you.


  1. Carolyn M. says:

    I believe it is mineral spirits that can be used with dark wax — not wine. Put a small blob of wax in a container, and stir in some mineral spirits until it gets to the consistency you desire. It almost becomes like a glaze that can be spread on the painted surface.

  2. Whitney says:

    What are your thoughts on chalk painting kitchen cabinets?

  3. It was white spirt to thin dark wax down .NOT wine !jess lol

  4. In regards to the one wanting to fill in the grooves on a table, I would also suggest Bondo. It is technically made for metal car bodies and you can buy it in a hardware store. I prefer it for furniture over wood filler because it dries harder, thus allowing your piece more longevity, as well as drying smoother. Often my wood filler will flake or pit before I can paint. But the bondo dries super hard, will sand off smooth, and paint beautifully! And, a can will last you forever as well as apply easier with just a putty knife.

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