Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Antique Furniture with Paint

I am sure that many of you have an old piece of furniture that could use a makeover - an armoire, a dresser, a table... You can makeover just about anything as long as you can paint it.

I found this great article on called How to Transform Furniture with an Easy Faux Finish. Check this out! I love the aged and antiqued look of the paint finish. So, do you want to learn how to do it?

First of all, let me say that a great way to change the look of an old furniture piece is by changing the knobs or handles. You can even use wooden knobs and just paint them with a contrasting color to whatever paint finish you plan on doing.

Now for the faux paint finish part:

  • Prepare the surfaces for painting. For proper paint adhesion, the surface should be free of any dirt, film, or oily substances. You may want to give the surface a light sanding. This technique is especially good at masking severe damage, so perfection isn't necessary. Scratches don't matter and even major repairs will be masked by the new finish. Just be sure the piece is sound and that the surface is relatively smooth.
  • Remove all hardware and take doors off hinges. It's much easier to work with a flat piece of wood than working around hinges and knobs. Use masking tape to label each hinge so you can replace hardware in the same spot when finishes
  • If you want to shield parts of the furniture from the process such as the interior of drawers, take the time to mask those parts off with paper and/or tape. Mask off any hardware that you couldn't remove, or any surface that you want to shield from paint
  • Use drop cloths to protect the area while you are painting. Paint in a well-ventilated area free from sparks or flame. Use painting gloves, mask, etc. to protect yourself and your clothing.
  • Use a dark colored spray paint as the base coat and paint all surfaces. In the picture above, they used an Espresso Brown. Use one or two coats to make sure the surfaces are completely and evenly covered. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly based on instructions on can. If you want contrasting knobs with the dark color, paint them now. You can screw them on a scrap piece of wood to keep from handling them while painting.
  • After the base coat is thoroughly dry, load the brush and apply one coat of enamel trim paint (they used a creamy tone). Allow to dry for about 15 minutes. The paint should be partially adhered, but not dry. Wipe off excess with a rag or paper towel. You want an uneven look...not solid. Allow this coat to dry completely.

  • Brush on a second coat of the enamel paint and allow to dry completely overnight (no wiping on this step).

  • Using the coarse sandpaper sparingly and lightly, begin to sand off some of the outer paint layer. Switch to the medium and then the fine paper to sand the surfaces until you begin to see the base coat. Don't sand beyond the base coat. Let the dark color show through such as wear and use would expose it. The goal is not an even, uniform surface, but a patina that adds visual interest to the piece.

  • The final finish is the stain (they uses a walnut color). The stain gives the piece a beautifully aged appearance. I like to apply the stain with steel wool and then wipe off with a cloth. The longer you leave the stain before wiping, the darker the color. Be careful not to leave on too long or it will be sticky and hard to remove. If the resulting color is too dark, remove excess with clean, dry steel wool.

The surface should look naturally aged and is ready to put the hardware and knobs back on. Not too hard right? I just love the look of a distressed or antiqued piece of furniture!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finding Ideas for Baby Nursery Murals

My name is Dawn, I am the author of this blog. I am both a faux finish painter as well as a mural painter in the state of New York. Over the past several years, after having a few children of my own, I have really gained more of a passion for painting baby nursery murals.

I love working with parents in coming up with one of a kind Nursery Mural Theme Ideas for their special child's room. Yes, at times, I do get the homeowners who want something more generic such as cartoon characters, but I always enjoy when they have unique ideas where I can let my creative juices flow to come up with something that noone else has done before.

Here are a few nursery murals that I have done in the past. Click on the pictures below to read more about how I accomplished these murals.

Having a professional mural painter come into your home is something ultra special. A mural can change the entire mood or feel of a room. And in a baby's nursery, you have lots of room for creativity. There are so many mural ideas to choose from.

If you are looking for nursery mural ideas, be sure to check out my other blog - I use this site as a place to gather ideas and reference pictures from artists all around the world. Everything is categorized by subject. And if you are looking for something specific and don't find that particular theme after doing a search, please contact me and I would be happy to research the topic for you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How to use Faux LusterStone

I came across this great video on How to do Faux LusterStone. Great stuff! Very easy to do!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Few Simple Tips to Paint a Children's Mural with No Experience

I recently had a client contact me for a quote to come and do a mural for her twin's baby nursery. She knew exactly what she wanted - so I gave her a ballpark quote over email without seeing the space. She decided that the project was way over her budget. I made a suggestion to maybe call around to local high schools to see if there might be students in the art departments that could come and do the mural for a cheaper rate.

She wrote me back and thanked me for the advice and said that she was going to try and attempt the mural on her own. She followed with these common questions:

  • What type of paint should I use for smaller items in the mural?
  • Can I purchase paint from a craft store?
  • What brand of paint do you prefer?
  • How do you achieve shading in the background areas like sky and landscape?
  • What color paint should I use to darken or lighten the existing paint colors?

These are all great questions and when I was responding to her email, I decided that it would be great to share my answers with you as well.

Here is what I wrote:

I use acrylic craft paint for smaller things within a mural and I use latex paint for larger background areas. I don’t use any specific brand. You can go with the 2 oz containers of acrylic that you would find in any craft store. Michaels carries them. Be sure to bring your reference pictures with you to the store so you can buy the exact colors that you need.

A great trick for getting images to look right on a wall without freehanding them is to use an overhead projector.
Trace your outline on acetate and project the image onto the wall, trace with a pencil and then paint. (Click here to read more about how this is done)

The shading colors really depend on what colors you are using. If you are doing the sky, mix the color you are using with a darker blue color.
The biggest misconception about shading is that you add straight black to make a color darker. It winds up being way to dark and muddy. You want the shading to be as natural as possible.

Another trick to bring out the shading is to also use highlights.
This is done by adding a small amount of what to whatever color you are using and highlight areas that are on the top or sides. Be sure to pick an imaginary light source where the light will be coming from within the mural so that you know exactly where your highlight areas should be and keep it consistent throughout the mural.

So, there ya have it, a few simple steps to paint a mural on your own without any prior experience.

So let's summarize:
  • You don't need any special brand of paints
  • You can purchase cheap acrylic paints from a craft store
  • Use latex paint for the mural background
  • Always use reference pictures
  • Use an overhead projector for an outline that is in proportion
  • Add shading by mixing a darker color with the original color
  • Add Highlights by adding a dab of white to the paint color
  • Pick an imaginary lightsource
I hope this helps! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. :)

And if you are interested in finding lots of great baby nursery mural ideas, be sure to check out my other site

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to Prep and Paint Finished Wood Cabinets

One of my most frequently asked questions is on how to prep and paint cabinets.
Hiring a professional will cost you, so many homeowners are attempting to update their cabinets on their own. Though it is a tedious undertaking it CAN be done if you follow the proper steps.

Prepping is the most important part of any painting project, but it is even more important when painting your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

Here is a great How to Video on How to Prep your Cabinets by Lowe's.

In the video, you will see that they listed several things that you will need in order to prep your cabinets properly.

The list is as follows:
  • Screwdrivers
  • Drill with Bits
  • TSP for cleaning
  • Course & Fine Grit Sandpaper
  • Water bucket & Sponge
  • Dropcloths
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Dust Mask
  • Work Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Ladder
  • Primer
  • 5 in 1 Tool
  • Paint Stir Sticks
  • Paint Brushes
  • Small Roller & Roller Skins
  • Painter's Tape
  • Paint Tray

Now that you know what it takes to get your wood cabinets ready for painting, here is another video on How to Paint Cabinets.

Keep in mind that these video instructions are not meant for laminate cabinets only for finished wood cabinets. Good luck everyone and Happy Painting!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tips for Getting Ready to Paint a Room

My friend Jennifer over at The Magic Brush ( wrote a post recently about her bedroom painting project. Even though she is a professional decorative painter (and a great one at that) she admits to making some mistakes.

First she picked the color that she thought she wanted and bought a whole gallon of it instead of purchasing smaller sample size paints and testing them on the walls. Later on she decided to change the color all together. So this became a bigger project than she anticipated.

She wrote out a few great tips on her site and I asked her if I could have permission to share them with my readers as well and she agreed. They are fairly simple, but if you follow them, you will save yourself a LOT of work in the long run.

I did change the order of Jennifer's tips. Her actual tips are in quotes, but I pulled from her ideas and did some re-wording.

Painting Tips - Getting Ready to Paint a Room

1. "Pick your fabric first" (bedding, window treatments, etc) Go with a color that is in the fabric. Don't choose the main color, go with a color that is NOT the focal point, but would be complimentary to all the colors together.

2. Pick your colors and then purchase sample containers of the paint. Some stores may offer 2 oz. sample containers. Otherwise just purchase a quart. Do not assume that because you love the color on the paint chip / chart, that you will like it on your walls. There are many things to take into consideration such as natural & articifical light.

You can paint the sample colors right on the wall or I always tell my clients to take the sample color and paint the color onto a piece of foam board. You can then move the board around the room to see it in different lights and at different times of the day. This brings us to Jennifer's next tip...

2. "Live with the color on the test spots for a few days before pulling the trigger. In retrospect...I wish I still had chosen an even "dirtier" blue. I know most paint seems to look darker and brighter once it's in an entire space. Usually if I pick a color that is a little "duller" than I want... it ends up to be perfect."

3. "Clear out as much of the room as possible to give yourself plenty of room to work." I have to say that it sure can be frustrating working around a bunch of furniture. I have had to do this in some of my client's homes - work on one wall and then move the furniture and work on the next wall. It is a real pain in the neck. If you can avoid this by moving the furniture entirely out of the room, that is great. Otherwise try to move everything in to the center of the room. An ideal space to work in is 5-6 feet between the wall & furniture.

4. "Give yourself plenty of time to paint the space (48 hours is NOT enough time)." I have to stress to you not to rush. Get the job done right the first time. Clean up at the end of your work time as well. It is always nice to start fresh the next day with clean tools and a work area that is tidied up. Painting should never be sloppy.

So there ya have it. A few great tips for those of your DIY'ers who plan on painting a room in your home. If you start out doing it the RIGHT WAY, you will be so much happier with the outcome. You may even be PROUD. :)

Happy Painting everybody!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Bellagio Faux Finish

I recently was asked a question about the Bellagio Faux Finish Technique. Because I had not yet done this particular finish, I did some research and found some great step by step videos from Expert Village. The Bellagio finish uses layers of tinted plaster that are both troweled and brushed on to give a dimensional look. You can use any color combination and even add in some metallics for added depth.

Video #1 - Supplies needed for the Bellagio Finish

Video #2 - Basecoating with roller

Video #3 - Tinted plaster laid on with a trowel

Video #4 - Adding depth with a darker color

So, there ya have it. Pretty easy right? And this finish can be done in any color. Just follow the simple steps and you are on your way to a professional looking faux finish that looks like it should be in the Bellagio!

Here is a great example of a Bellagio finish done by an artist friend of mine named Ellen Leigh.

How about this golden toned bellagio finish done by Mural Magic?

You can even add a layer of metallic plaster or glaze - adds depth and dimension.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bathroom Mural Ideas

A bathroom is a really fun place to decorate. It is a room separate from everything else -a place to sit and have some peace and quiet. It is a place where you can get away and have some privacy for a few short moments (especially if you have 3 little ones like me, but more often than not - they follow me in the bathroom. LOL)

The bathroom is one room in the home that you can really get creative with and not worry about it coordinating with adjoining rooms. Even if your color scheme in the rest of your home is more neutral and and toned down - in a bathroom, you can let your hair down and use use some color for heaven sake! There is no better way to add life to bathroom walls than a beautiful hand painted wall mural. The themes are pretty much endless.

I have done some research on the internet (one of my favorite things to do) and I found so many great bathroom mural ideas. You are going to love these!

This first one, I think is soooo creative and something I have never seen before - A Circus themed bathroom! How cool is that? This one was done by Rene of Rene Gebhart Designs.

And we have all seen the tropical themed bathroom. This mural was painted by Robin Cambria.

How about this gorgeous Tuscan Style mural over the tub? If i had that in my bathroom, I don't think I would ever leave! This one was done by Bill Briggs of Briggs Art Studio out of Tennessee.

Here is another archway / column mural overlooking the water. I love how realistic this scene looks! Mural by

How about a fun under the sea scene painted above the tile? I love the bright oranges & yellows in the fish. They just pop against the blue. It was done by The Art of Christina Carstens.

I have a thing for HUGE flowers. First of all, the rust / red color is a great base color for these beautiful big flowers. The artist did an amazing job!

This one is quite original. It has an art deco feel, but also a bit whimsical. Love the colors in this bathroom - brown, gold, and sea foam green as the accent color (within the mural).

Well, that is all I have for now. The list goes on, but I have a 6 month old who is quite hungry. Until next time!.......

BTW, I also have a couple other sites that you might be interested in checking out.

Painter Mommy (my Mommy fun site)
Nursery Murals and More (my Nursery Murals fun site)
Surfaces with Paint - (my NY Painting Biz)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tips on Prepping for a Faux Paint Finish

I cannot ever say it enough - Prepping is KEY when doing any type of faux paint finish. I have the tendency to OVER prep at times, but I would rather do that then run into an issue later on.

I had a job this past week doing a plaster type finish called Old World Plaster. Click here to see pictures and read more about it.

I recorded a short video on what I do to prep before painting. I share a few simple tips to help make things easier once the finish is ready to be applied.

  • Dropcloths
  • Taping
  • Keeping Tools Organizes
Check out the video!

So, let me know what you think. And feel free to share some ways that you like to prep a room before painting. I always love to hear comments!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ragging Faux Finish Technique

I just recently finished a fun faux finish job for my church. I paint for them whenever they need me too (mostly murals). But this time, they asked me to do something decorative for their new Welcome Center.

I chose to do a classic faux paint finish called Ragging. It isn't as easy as let's say a color wash or sponging, but only because it can be hard getting the rag - JUST RIGHT. It takes some getting used to, but once you figure out how to manipulate the paint & glaze on the wall and get a rythm - you are good to go!

I went through over 25 rags in this room. I always change the rag once it gets too soaked with paint. This can cause the finish to get muddy and blotchy. I often like to use the really socked rags to get up into the corners where the wall and ceiling meet. But otherwise a fresh crumpled rag is the best - you can really see the texture.

With this project, I purchased bags of cotton rags from my local paint supply store, but you can also use old white T-shirts. They are the same cotton material. In the bag of rags, I actually found that their were some different thicknesses of cotton material. The best were the ones that were a bit thicker. The thin ones did not hold their shape well and didn't show much of that "ragging" texture.

Here is an example of what the finish looks like up close:

I was very happy with the outcome. It is a beautiful tighter finish that looks fabulous up close. And because this room will be used as a Welcome Center - I thought it would be a very welcoming look for new guests looking for more info about the church.

The number one tip I have for anyone attempting to do any faux paint finish for the first time is to practice with your color combinations on sample boards. I like to use a material called Polystyrene. And be sure to use a good quality glaze with a long open time (meaning that it doesn't dry fast). This will allow the glaze / paint mixture to be more movable - longer. The last thing you need is to have the finish dry on you before you have the chance to blend it.

Feel free to share your tips and ideas on the ragging faux finish. I would love to see examples of your own work! Comment below.

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Murals & Faux Finishing - Tips, Advice, and Ideas - Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008