Given my love of upcycling I was completely on board when The London Vintage Paint Company recently offered to send me a sample. What a perfect excuse to buy yet another unnecessary and impractical piece of furniture! The Husband was somewhat less enthusiastic but as I explained, they had sent it to me free of charge and I now had a responsibility – an obligation, even, – to find a deserving item. In fact it would be darned right rude not to go out immediately and buy an antique French armoire.
So, defeated husband in tow, I hit my local car boot sale. Lucky for him they were low on French armoires but I did find a little wooden stool for the bargain price of £2.00. (Incidentally I also got two – yes two – matching table lamps for £1.00. Who needs IKEA?)
Once home I pored over the colours available on the London Vintage Paint Company’s website. Their shades are inspired by classic English themes and include romantic hues such as ‘Rose’, a gorgeous faded pink, and ‘Clotted Cream’, a rich tone reminiscent of Cornish cottages.
I decided the stool would be a welcome addition to my recently renovated bathroom and that as well as a coat of paint it required a little roughing up to fit with the period look I was trying to achieve.
And so began my latest shabby-chic project…
This is where The London Vintage Paint Company had something different to offer. In addition to their range of colours, they sell a product I’ve yet to see from other paint manufacturerss. It’s called ‘paint enhancer’ and is a powder that you mix with water and then add to your paint to create texture. You can adjust the amount you use depending on the desired look. I experimented by applying some towards the edge of the seat. See what you think. I like this idea, it’s original and the textured effect helps create a look that can’t be achieved with ordinary paint. The finish is a little powdery, though, (maybe I got the ratios wrong?) so I’d advise you do a trial run on an old piece of wood before you begin.
Since I was carrying out this project, I thought it might be useful to give you some guidance on how to achieve the shabby-chic look.
To successfully distress items you need a small kit – two contrasting paint colours, a pot of furniture wax, some sandpaper, a clean, soft cloth and some paintbrushes (obviously).
- Sand it down
I started off by lightly sanding the stool to create a ‘key’ for the paint to stick to. Luckily it didn’t have any varnish on it so this was a quick and easy job. Make sure you wipe down the wood afterwards to create a clean, dry, lint-free surface.
- The base coat
Your base coat is the darker of the two shades. Once you’ve finished all the painting this is what will show through when you get to the shabby chic-ing stage. You needn’t worry about being too much of a perfectionist here as you’ll be adding another two layers of paint on top. Just apply a decent covering but perhaps go for two coats if you want to avoid any of the wood showing through when you come to the final stage.
The paint I used spread on nicely and created a smooth undercoat in preparation for the next part of the project.
Once your base coat is completely dry use the soft cloth to dab furniture wax on the areas you want to distress. Remember to be random in doing this and avoid creating a pattern. You can see the areas I waxed in the image above. The edges are the most obvious place as this is where items age naturally but go with your instincts. It’s hard to get this wrong as the whole idea is that the finished item will look imperfect and unique.
- The second coat
Now it’s time for your main colour. Apply a generous but even layer, being careful not to create any drips.
- The top coat
Again, wait until the paint is dry and then apply another coat of your main colour. This will prevent any streaky paint marks on the wood and create a good, solid covering. ‘Antique’ turned out to be an excellent choice as it gave the stool a gorgeous, chalky hue which was fresh but not stark and yet still contrasted brilliantly with the grey.
- The fun part
Once dry, use your cloth to wipe the areas where you dabbed the wax. The paint should come away easily but I also find it useful (and much more fun) to have a blunt edged butter knife to hand. Use the flat side to gently scrape away the paint in the areas where the item would naturally age. If you’re gentle you’ll just remove the top layers of paint but I like to go back down to the wood in some areas as well to add interest and create a sense of authenticity.
Et voila! Your new piece of furniture is ready to go.
I’m really pleased with the finished product and would recommend giving The London Vintage Paint Company a try. I love that they sell 125ml pots of furniture paint. This isn’t usually the case with paint companies as they tend to only provide sample pots of emulsion. Admittedly, £5.99 is a little on the pricey side for a small pot but it’s not that much to pay when compared with shelling out for a massive tin of paint you don’t need.
With a bank holiday weekend coming up at the end of August why not get your DIY on and head over to The London Vintage Paint Company’s website to get your hands on some interiors-enhancing hues?
*Although this was a free sample the above views are a genuine reflection of my experience of using this product.