When you scroll through Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and see all of the beautiful staged pictures of furniture transformations, it can be intimidating. Even though no one claims this, all of the perfection gets me thinking that people the world over are churning out amazingly beautiful projects without any hangups, mistakes, or mishaps.
Well take a deep breath and relax a bit because this post is going to join the ranks of projects gone wrong. Let’s face it, we’re all real people testing techniques and color combinations. It’s statistically probable that we’re bound to run into issues at some point. The odds are not always in our favor. Even though I’ve been painting furniture for almost 4 years and I work in a furniture shop, I still make mistakes and my projects don’t always cooperate.
I hope this post encourages you not to drop kick your botched piece across the room when things aren’t working out the way you hoped and it will keep your hands from chopping your problem project into firewood.
Not that any of us would ever do that.
(I’ve totally thrown one in the trash.)
Let’s take a look at my current problem project.
This buffet is beautiful and has a great shape to it. I started by removing the hardware
and filling in some of the areas where the knobs had gouged the drawer fronts.
So far so good.
Next, I mixed a custom “Midnight Blue” color using Napoleonic Blue and Graphite Chalk Paint®.
The problem started with the next step – top coat. I used a product I had never used before and that was my first mistake. For such a large piece, I should have gone with what I know works. I applied the top coat on a super hot and humid day, and it wasn’t drying properly. Mistake number two. Every time I went to wipe it off, it dragged, resisted, and was streaky.
I tried to let it sit for a day and the problem persisted.
Frustrated, I painted over it and turned to another top coat – White Soft Wax. I applied it over the piece, pushing it into the grooves. It was turning out pretty well, but my results across the entire piece were inconsistent.
Not so good results:
(Can you see how the drawers on the left are a much lighter and smokier than the door on the right?)
Here is the piece as it currently sits in the shop:
You can clearly see how the middle of the piece has a completely different look than the left and right side. Repainting the piece would require another custom mix, more paint, and more time. I’m not sure using Clear Soft Wax would help to take away the smokiness either. I tried it in certain spots and it’s just not matching the left and right sides the way I want.
And the worst part of it all is the top. It’s streaky and inconsistent. I just can’t “make it work” as Tim Gunn says.
Right now, this project doesn’t have an ending yet because I’m back to the drawing board.
This is totally normal and it happens when you’re involved in an artistic process. Even if you made mistakes, don’t sweat it!
The hard part comes when you experience a little bit of heartbreak. Don’t laugh! Painting furniture (or sewing, graphic design, photography, etc.) is an emotional investment and when your product doesn’t turn out as expected, you can get pretty bummed out. That gorgeous sunset you thought you captured is totally blurry. That 3 foot section of curtain you sewed just has a top stitch because you dropped your bobbin thread and didn’t notice. (Ugh, I’ve so been there…)
It’s times like these where you just have to step away for a little bit and regroup. Don’t do more damage and allow yourself to take a break. Come back fresh and try another idea.
The great news is that it’s just paint and you can totally paint over it!
Well, when you’re ready
…which I’m definitely not