…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.

…blue egg q&a’s

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

Did you post the right before picture of the console?

Yes, you are right, I completely flaked and posted the wrong raw before piece! It’s called being a mom and working with only half a brain most days! Here is the correct before photo:


I am wondering how to make the hide and seek TV closure.  Do you still make them?  

Due to my work load, I am not making the screen right now. But, check back!

How is Fiona? I loved talking with her when I came to drop off my chairs.

She is much better! Thank you for asking. She still loves to wear her neck brace for a bit of drama 🙂

My wife and I love the kitchen floor plan of the Cedar House and how it opens to a great room. Are you able to share the floor plan specs? We are looking to build a custom home.

Email me to discuss. cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

Just found your blog and love it.  We’re moving into a new home next month and so naturally I’m shopping for everything.  Do you have any other Vintage Circus Horse…$159 (shipping is $24.33 to most places in US)  for sale? 

I wish! Those were are treasure and I was only able to get 4 to sell before they were discontinued! I’m always on the look out though.


Something I don’t recall learning on the tutorial is discussion about whether or not the clear wax completely protects the (ASC paint from ever rubbing off onto clothing is someone sits on the furniture–say if heat or perspiration are a factor.  Can furniture painted and sealed with the clear wax be in direct sun indoors – under a window, etc.?  I have a bad memory of being out on a power walk one hot summer evening, and stopping to visit friends, they invited me to sit at their table to have a drink and chat.  I realized I’d begun to stick to the chair since I was hot and sweaty, and got up to discover I’d damaged the varnish on their wood chairs. Anyway, I wouldn’t want to have a painted chair and have any paint come off on me or a guest.  Does complete coverage with the clear wax protect from this?

Oh no! That is a bad memory. The clear wax WILL melt in the sun. If you are putting your pieces outdoors in direct sun do not use the wax. It will melt just like candle wax. (It will then dry after melted when the sun goes down, but still, who wants that?) Your painted pieces will wear like outdoor furniture does over the years. It will need to be touched up, but the paint will not stick to anyone’s dress if it is NOT waxed!

I was looking at the beautiful chairs you painted for a client in Paris grey.  They look really amazing. However my eye went immediately to the little holes in the front.  They look sort of familiar to me as (heaven forbid) woodworm holes.  I am a collector of antique furniture and I have dealt with these since I started collecting in Europe.  Once I almost lost one piece as I had no idea. 

Interesting. I never think of real worms when I see worm holes. I always think of it as a design element. I will do some homework on it! I LOVE the way they look.

…blue egg q&a’s

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

Just a quick question re sanding. I watched your tutorials a while back and seem to remember the only sanding you doing was to distress? Is this correct or do you also sand down to ‘smooth it out’ in between layers? I’ve been on a day course and also spoken to a couple of other painters and they seem to sand down after the second and third layer, and then distress. Just wondering what you do and what your point of view is on this?

I primarily sand to distress. If I find that the paint lines seem a little thick then, yes, I will sand down a table top or dresser surface. Be careful, though. You don’t want your refinished pieces to look too “pretty” or manufactured. I want my pieces to look like then were cared for by a person and not a machine.

I would like to find out the dimensions of the Hide & Seek TV Screen With wood framing case. Do you have any photos of the TV screen with wood framing case to share? 

Due to my heavy work load, I am not making the Screen at this time. Check back!

Small Room Design

I began with my own furniture then hoping to start up a business if I am of course any good. So far I have only painted a side unit, I decided to paint it using ASCP in Graphite, which I later found out is the hardest colour to work with. So for me as a beginner, I obviously struggled. Firstly, the first coat went on fine, however, I wanted a second coat as there was a lot of wood still showing, when I began the second coat (the first was dry) the first coat sort of came off too, showing more wood. This has left me confused?. I’m not sure if it was my brush (only a cheap one from a home décor store), if it was because the paint was too thick to use for a second coat, or if I just cannot paint! 

Don’t get frustrated. A few questions – is the piece real wood? Could it be laminate with a shiny stain or poly? This is the only time that ASCP has not applied for me. If real wood, you should be in the clear. Yes, Graphite is a really finicky color also with most of the very dark colors. However, it should not come off. Are you letting it dry sufficiently? Yes, you can paint! You just need the right piece!

I just had a question for you – When you ship using Uship do you package the items yourself or does Uship do it?  I’ve seen online about blanket wrapped but am a little worried it’s not protected enough? Is this what you use?  I want to open an Etsy store but have no idea on how to handle shipping affordably for my customers.   Also, how do you weigh your pieces from home to get an accurate quote? 

I’ve said it before, shipping is a bear! But, it is possible with patience and the right shipper. Yes, I use USHIP and if shipping furniture I always choose the white glove and blanket wrap option. It is more expensive for the client, but peace of mind comes at a cost. I do not wrap anything myself. I estimate a weight.

I have painted my old kitchen table and chairs with ASCP in Old White and there is a bunch of really wonderful detail in both the chairs and the table legs.  I would really, REALLY like to brush some dark wax onto/into these details and I am scared to death. I have watched and re-watched all of your YOU TUBE videos, particlarly the ones speaking to dark wax  application and I know that being scared is silly….I just  don’t want to end up with muddy looking chairs. I DO want the detail to show up better. I think it will look odd if I only put the dark wax on the parts of the chairs that are carved and leave the other  areas of the chairs clean white.

Let me be clear – you do not need to dark wax! IF you want an aged look then lightly brush on the dark wax on the edges and go behind the brush with fine steel wool to smooth out. It will show up more on Old White so apply sparingly. You can always do a sample on the bottom of a chair and if you hate it then don’t do it! Typically, I do not dark wax on light pieces for clients (only for myself).


Again, big props to you and many thanks for all you do for humanity. You seem like such a kind, giving and level-headed young woman.  Lets be friends, ok?

Yes! I would love to be best friends 🙂

I’ve had surgery and been in bed watching videos on how to paint furniture.  I found you and love your style.  I have a large oval table oak petastal table Im going to attempt to white wash with the chalk paint like you did.  I love your dining room cream chairs.  Can you tell me where you got them?  I looked on Restoration hardware site and they didn’t have them. Desperately want chairs just like yours.

Overstock! Sounds like you may need a little retail therapy while you are healing. I give you permission 🙂

I have a table like this that I want to paint and give that Restoration Hardware washed type look. What paint colors do you suggest to achieve this on this type piece.  Didn’t know if I should paint the old white color and then dry brush maybe some French linen on it then a wax or what?  Also this is gonna really be a highly used table so do you suggest a poly type finish on the top?  If I do that then I don’t need to put a wax on top do I?

You need an oak table to do the Restoration Hardware/Weathered-wood look. If you do not have oak the paint will not seep into the lines and give this affect. It will simply look like rubbed off paint. Consider distressing the surface. You can do one coat of a color and then a top coat. Once you sand you will see the bottom coat come through.

I noticed you have some items in your home painted black, Did you use chalk paint to get this finish?

Yes. Graphite. It is not a true black, but it is a rich, dark blackish color. Lovely.

Is there a magazine that will have pictures of your photo shoot? Will you be posting any?

My next publication will be in a design magazine. I will show pictures as soon as I am allowed to!


My problem is I have an old desk. Old in that it is probably from the 60’s or 70’s and yet not old enough to be charming. It was my MIL’s and I am loaning it to my sister. I was thinking that I could spruce it up with some paint but I am new to Annie Sloan paint and am nervous about attempting it. What should I  do with the old metal pulls, which are very dark. Do I paint them as well? Sadly one is missing so I plan to put a different one on the top center drawer because I have been all over the Internet and cannot locate one to match. [I have found similar ones but they have two screws and mine have one hole/screw from which the handle drops down. There is a tiny hole and brad in the bottom to keep it straight.]  Have you ever been successful in matching hardware if any are missing?

Since you are missing some hardware, I would recommend taking it all off, painting the piece and then putting on new hardware. It is tricky to match old hardware. Van Dyke’s is a great resource for all hardware. Or I love the look of clear glass. I’m sure you will make it charming!

I have another question, (sorry, I’m starting to sound like a 2 year old with all these questions), If I’m not mistaken I think that you said something about hinges that your husband is working on. Would you please elaborate, what type of hinges, for what are they used, are they available yet?

DH builds custom hinges for the Hide & Seek TV Screens when available.

Can you tell me the refinishing process you used on the chair you show in the top picture here(with the bunny pillow)?  I have the exact same chairs in my dining room!

This chair I refinished with milk paint and basic stain until I achieved the color I wanted.