…practice makes perfect

As I sit at the piano with my daughter helping her practice the music for her recital, I am reminded that there is no substitute for practice. Just like sleep you can’t bypass it. This is so true for learning to refinish pieces through paint. You can read, you can listen and you can talk about it. Fine. But, what you really need to do is roll up your sleeves and paint. Then when you are done. Paint something else.


I have learned more by doing then I could have in a class. There are different variables that come up when working with different pieces of wood, colors, textures & sizes. Nothing will prepare you for every combination. Not to mention the confidence that also comes along with doing something over and over until you master it.


I do realize that it can be intimidating to take a brush to a piece of perfectly good furniture. If you are really nervous then find something you can practice on. A perfect example is something small like a picture frame.


This will allow you to see the color and apply your wax. Once you feel good about the steps then start your big project. Remember that if you “mess” up then you just go back and do it again.


  1. Lori Vaterlaus says:

    Practicing lots now! Glad you are too! Question: When you paint with more than one color, do you tape off to keep your lines straight, or do you just do your best and enjoy the handmade result?

  2. I like the church pew you painted 🙂 You’re right but I think that painting furniture is really funny and nice – it’s sooo relaxing to me 🙂

  3. That is so true! We hate to believe that because we expect ourselves to be perfect at everything we do the first time (guilty!). I love your frames and the progress on the furniture items!

    Gigi @ Old World Patina

  4. Your post is so timely. I just tackled a French Provincial dresser that had been painted turquoise and the customer wanted it finished in Old White. Needless to say I learned a lot and bought my first quart of Shellac :). It turned out lovely but took me much longer than I anticipated. Probably should have covered in in gray first but I will keep at it and learn along the way. Thank you for your post 🙂

  5. elaine clayton says:

    just like to say thank you you have inspired me i am painting vintage clocks at the moment after seeing your videos the info has been great love your work thanks

  6. Hello!
    I needed this encouragement! I actually just bought a desk with a hutch that is exactly the same as the hutch in your first picture. But I’ve been too scared to touch it. Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to see what new life this piece has! Thank you!!

  7. Paula Swain says:

    beautiful work! The piece at the top of your blog looks like one we gave to Meredith Craven.
    It was from the old Mayflower hotel where Bernie’s aunt worked in the 1930s. It has seen many “renovations”. Hope it is the same one…nice to think it is being restored by “family”!

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