Thursday, September 10, 2015

Upcycling an Old Jewelry Box with Chalk Paint

Hello my lovely readers!  Today I have a very special project to share with you.  I took an old jewelry box that my oldest daughter has outgrown and upcycled it into small storage in my studio!

You can see in this before picture how highly decorated this box was.  It was not hand painted and I cannot remember where I got it - a garage sale, I think.  It was very smooth with no varnish of any kind.

This was my first experience with chalk paint.  All the tutorials I read stated that I wouldn't need to prime this in anyway.  I figured if they were wrong about that then I could easily fix it.  Start small.  This is my "test piece".  My oldest just got a brand new set of "grown up" furniture and all of her old pieces were moved to my toddler's room.  They've been well loved and used for fourteen years.  But goodness do they need a face lift!

I got a whole bunch of Chalky Finish paint from DecoArt to make over all sorts of furniture, so y'all will be seeing lots of projects from me over the next several months.  Just so y'all are prepared, you know.  'Cause I'm warning you now.


So my first package arrived containing only the Treasure Chalky Finish paint.  This is such a beautiful turquoise color!  And y'all know how I love my turquoise!!!

The only prep I did on this was to remove the drawers and tape all the way around the edges.  I didn't want to worry about any sticking so I did not paint the edges or sides of the drawers at all.

I grabbed a big 1 1/2" brush with synthetic bristles and put down a a light first layer.  The coverage was better than I expected.  Click on the picture to the right and pull it up big.  You can still see some of the design peeking through but look how great it is already!

I used a smaller brush to do the small bits on the front and the legs.  Once dry, I did a second coat.  Let me take a second right here and tell you about dry time.  If you've ever worked with craft acrylics you'll know how quickly a thin layer with those dries, right?  This Chalky Finish paint has that same dry time!  It is so quick!

I had read that to receive a smooth "furniture store finish", you should dip your brush lightly in water to minimize brush strokes.  Well... this is chalk paint y'all.  And I love a distressed, funky, aged look.  So there was no "furniture store finish" wet brush painting for me.  I wanted brush strokes!  That's just me though.  If you want smooth, try the wet brush on your second layer.

You can especially see the strokes on the drawers.  Personally, I like it.

I didn't want to use sand paper to distress this piece.  Because I didn't paint another color underneath, if I'd sanded, I might've gotten the original colors and that's not what I wanted.  I didn't know what to do at this point so I left it alone for a little while.

I wanted something on the drawers.  Not labels of the contents but something.  I got out my Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs (Numbers) and numbered my drawers 1-5.  I wish I'd been a little more OCD about it and lined them up perfectly, but I'm ok with the imperfect alignment.  Provided I don't look at it too much.  That One bothers me.

I want to point out that I did not seal these numbers in anyway.  I did not use glue or matte medium or anything in order to either glue them, stick them, or seal them.  I simply rubbed them on really really well.  So far, this has worked out perfectly.  I have no peeling or movement at all.

So this was cute.  I liked it but I still wanted a more distressed look.

Enter the dry brush technique and some white acrylic paint.  I have some super old oil painting brushes that work perfectly for dry brushing.  The bristles are super stiff and they've been terribly abused which means their all wonky and misshapen.  I inherited these brushes but they are simply the best tool for "distressed dry brushing".  I told you I was still waiting on my other box of Chalky Finish paint so I busted out the white acrylic (Liquitex Basics).  I didn't want to use anything too fluid so all craft and fluid acrylics were out.  Needed something thicker for this technique.  I kind of wish I had tried gesso.  I need to do a test piece using gesso - I think that might've worked a little better because it would've "faded" more.  I'm happy with the result either way though. 

Now, I'm sure you're wondering why that lovely bright turquoise is dulling down in the photos.  That would be due to the light.  It's kind of a chameleon color - very bright in natural sunlight and much more blue under artificial light.

Well, at this point I thought I was done.  I let it sit for a couple of weeks in this state and just lived with it.  Once I got my other box of Chalky Finish paint, I decided that I really wasn't done.

 I used a sponge pouncer, Chalky Finish Paint in Refreshing, and an Americana Stencil (Array of Arrows) to decorate all but the bottom and back of the box.  I love how the colors go so well together and that the Refreshing is a very light mint when dry.  I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to my stenciling.  And again, I think it adds to the "Found Junk" look.  Yep, I'm using that one... Found Junk.  It has a nice ring to it, I think!

I let it sit and cure for several days before deciding to wax it.  I know it will get a lot of use, especially the flower pulls, and I wanted to protect it a little bit.  Plus, I had it so of course I had to try!  I took one of my husband's old (and clean!) undershirts which was oh-so-soft and cut it up to use as a waxing cloth.  I used the Americana Decor Créme Wax in Clear.  Now, I was thinking wax.  I was expecting wax.  When I think of wax I think of carnuba, candle, or bees wax.  Hard yet malleable.  Y'all be careful opening the jar of this wax!  It is completely liquid.  Not that that's a bad thing, I just wasn't expecting it.

I held the shirt over my finger and dipped into the jar.  Then using a small circular motion,
rubbed the wax into the surface.  Super easy.  I did use a small paint brush to get wax underneath those flower pulls.  Totally impossible to get my finger under them!  The wax dried in no time at all.  I left it to dry overnight before loading the drawers with goodies.  I've been using this thing for several weeks now and it's holding up wonderfully, looks and feels great, and is getting far more use in my studio than it ever did as a jewelry box!  I use it to hold itty bitty things such as Wood Veneer pieces, Fortune Cookie fortunes, Postage Stamps, small words for collage, and tickets.

I put together this little animated .gif to the right to show you all the steps I took to turn this piece into something a little more grown up and totally usable!  I think my favorite part about this make-over is that I can use this piece anywhere in my house, not just my studio.  I could use it as a jewelry box myself, or as storage in a bathroom, on a bookshelf... the possibilities are endless.  That's a successful upcycle if you ask me!

Here is a list of all the supplies I used:

  • Old jewelry box 
  • Old soft t-shirt
  • 1 1/2" synthetic bristle paint brush
  • Small flat synthetic bristle paint brush
  • Sponge Pouncer
  • Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs - Numbers
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint - Treasure & Refreshing
  • Americana Decor Créme Wax in Clear
  • Americana Stencil - Array of Arrows
If you haven't used chalk paint before I absolutely recommend it!  It's really very easy to use.  It is a little pricey, but you can use it inside without worrying about fumes.  Though it does smell a little odd, it's not bothersome.  Plus a little goes a long way.  Coverage is great and ease of use is fabulous.  And for a novice (read, bad) furniture painter like myself... the ability to be imperfect (and have it look like it's supposed to) is the number one selling point for me!

Just one more note of housekeeping... today's project & post are brought to you by the DecoArt Bloggers Outreach program and I want to extend a massively huge thank you to them for sending me such wonderful paint!

I hope y'all enjoyed today's project.  I'm off to go paint something else now.  See y'all next time!

Until then,

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