faux finish

I have been meaning to share a cheap DIY makeover with all of you, but haven’t had the chance yet! Today is the day.

I needed a piece of furniture to go against the wall near the entry to the apartment. I wanted it to be unobtrusive, but large enough to store my china… sort of like a mini-buffet. But, I didn’t really want to spend money on it.

Which brings me to a surprise garage sale at which I stumbled upon this gem:

2-shelf interior

The handles were kind of a nasty greenish color that matched the inside. Gross. I bought these old-fashioned looking blue glass handles for the cabinet door and small drawer.

Initially, I wanted to refinish it. (Surprise, surprise.) But alas, it was made of cheap particle board with laminate finish. But for $10, how could I pass it up? I decided to figure out a different finish. I decided on crackle paint.

Crackle paint gives a distressed look to any finish. I prefer real wood that has become distressed, but we can’t just have everything made out of historic, repurposed barnwood. Sigh.

I like the look of contrasting crackle paint. So my first step was to pick a bottom color. I chose a very dark, chocolate brown.

I painted the entire piece brown (minus the butcher block top… why would you mess with butcher block?) You have to let bottom coats dry for quite some time if you want to use crackle. This is the crackle medium I chose, by Folk Art:

Crackle medium is sort of a learn-as-you-go type of product. However, I can offer a few useful tips from my trial and error (mostly error).

Crackle tips:
* If you wait too long to paint the top coat, the crackle will just dry and offer hairline fractures only
*If you paint top coat too soon, the whole crackle/top layer will sort of melt downwards
*If you paint a thin layer of top coat, the cracks will be much smaller and appear in the direction of your brush stroke
*If you paint a thick layer of top coat, the cracks will be bigger and appear both vertically and horizontally (which is the look I prefer)
*You cannot paint another coat on top of the top coat or it all falls apart

So in summary- to achieve the best look:
*Paint the top coat when the crackle layer has become tacky (aka if you touch it, it should feel a little sticky, but you shouldn’t have the crackle medium on your finger)
*Paint the top coat with plenty of paint on the brush
*Brush in only one direction

I was pretty pleased with the result. As far as furniture goes… it’s not really that well-built, but it definitely works for our current needs and space. I imagine this being a piece that we have until we move out of our apartment, but I couldn’t keep it in such an ugly state for a few years! Especially when the whole thing cost about $15 (including the new knobs!)

Happy Thursday!

 

 

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