Martha asked a question (several questions) about “refinishing her bedroom furniture. She wants to know how to create a style like Pottery Barn hand rubbed paint finish.
I have a four poster bed (w/matching vanity and night stands) they are either maple or maybe mahogany. Anyway…I want to do something totally different with them.
For the four poster bed, I think I’m going to paint it white and then use this stuff (I’ve used it before on a hutch that was already painted white and it turned out awesome) Its Winston Oil Artist paint burnt umber I think is the color). Its real thick, almost like a wax or stain. You put just a really small amount on a staining pad and then spray the pad w/a little mineral spirits and rub on furniture. A decorator told a friend of mine about this and my friend has done cabinets and even her fireplace mantel (all started white). I even did it on my walls where I did the brick breakout that I got from your video.
My problem/question is….since the bed is stained….what is the best way to strip it. I bought some liquid stripper and tried that a little last night…..still takes a lot of “elbow grease” and then I’m left with a sticky residue I’m going to have to sand off anyway. My problem is I always hate the “prep” work.
Do I have to completely strip it? Or can I just use an oil base primer before painting it.
Now, with the night stands, I don’t know what I want to do. I was thinking about doing something different than what I’m doing with the bed but have no idea what. So any suggestions you can make will be greatly appreciated. I really like Pottery Barn’s “rubbed paint” they have on some of their furniture …..they have different colors….red, sage, blue etc BUT I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THAT? HELP?
Do you have any paint techniques or anything you can suggest? Thank you so much for your input, looking forward to hearing back from you.
Great Question Martha!
The idea that you got from the decorator to use the oil paint and mineral spirits is great! I use Dark Brown Briwax Original Formula for a similar result. I love this stuff!
It’s soft and easy to apply and rub in. It leaves a beautiful soft hand rubbed looking finish.
I also have used it on some furniture that I wanted to “darken” to match with other furniture in the room. I have a lot of rustic pine furniture that I want to look more like walnut… so I slap on this rubbed finish.
I like it because it wears off eventually in “high use” places. This leaves an antique “used” look to my furniture – which is exactly the look I want. :0)
The question about the prep work… we all hate that prep stage don’t we?
I admit that I usually save stripping as a last resort. The idea of just priming is a better option. There is a product called Bulls Eye SealCoat Sanding Sealer.
This works great and saves us all a ton of aggravation.
Universal sanding sealer seals all types of wood surfaces including hardwoods such as mahogany, walnut, birch, poplar, cherry, etc.
Also recommended for interior woodwork, including paneling, molding, trim, windows, doors, cabinets, furniture, and wood toys.
Now that we have all that sorted out… what about that rubbed paint finish you want to try?
This is a Pottery Barn Armoire with a blue hand rubbed (look) paint finish. This is the type of distressed paint finish that Martha can’t figure out how to replicate.
The process I’m going to describe can be used on stained wood or painted wood.
If you want a second paint color to show through the “rubbed” areas then the wood must be painted that color.
For instance: If you wanted a bit of red paint peeking out here and there than you have to get the red paint color on first.
The trick is – You Don’t have to paint the entire piece red first. Really!
It’s a step that isn’t necessary… and I’ll tell you how to do it all.
- Step 1 – Prepare the furniture for paint! If it has a sealer on it already – use the sanding primer as shown above.
- Step 2 – Paint the “show through colors” on to the furniture. If you just want a “stain” color showing through (the blue cabinet would be an example) skip this step.
- All the “edges” and areas that would get normal wear and tear on an antique need the “show through” color painted on. Don’t glob the paint on… you do not want globs of paint to sand down. A nice thin coat of contrasting color is enough.
- Paint this color on with a slap/dash feel.
- Let this paint dry.
- If the paint feels raised to the touch – sand lightly.
- Step 3 – Apply Candle Wax and/or Vaseline to the painted edges.
- This is what will make it easy to sand down the distressed areas!
- I actually use both. Some candle wax (use a white candle) and some areas get Vaseline rubbed on.
- I like the candle wax for “edges” and Vaseline if I want to have a “wider” area showing through – like around the handles or at the toe kick area (base of the cabinet where it sits on the floor).
- I have also used a “crackle” product on areas that I want to have a bit of “chippy paint” look.
- The candle wax should be rubbed on “thick” or “heavy”. You should see the candle leaving a wax residue or shavings on your project (wipe these off before moving on to the next step).
- Step 4 – Apply the paint color. Remember to choose a color that is a “bit” brighter than you want your resulting color to be. The staining wax that will be applied over the top will cut the brightness.
- The paint has to be dabbed a bit over the Vaseline or you take a chance of “painting” it off. You will see a slight raised area where the candle wax or Vaseline is located.
- The paint color should have more than one coat to ensure a long lasting paint finish. Allow paint to dry at least 2 hours between coats.
- Allow the entire painted cabinet to dry overnight.
- Step 5 – Getting the rubbed painted look. Now it’s time for the magic!
- Using an old dish cloth or other rough cloth start rubbing the edges of the cabinet and the areas you put the candle wax or Vaseline.
- I use a cloth and “extra” elbow grease instead of sandpaper for most of the project. Once all the edges have been exposed (painted or stained) you can finish off with a light sanding to blend the exposed edges.
- If you used “crackle products” don’t sand these areas… You should see the paint cracked here.
- Step 6 – Apply the Stain or BriWax to age your cabinets.
- The Bri-Wax is easier to work with – but stain gives a nice finished top coat.
- The product is wiped on and wiped off until you get the distressed look you want.
- The dark color will collect on the exposed areas that the candle wax left behind.
- If you applied some “crackling product” to various areas… the stain/BriWax will collect and accent the cracks on the furniture.
- Step 7 – Seal The Deal!
- I don’t always seal the surface of distressed furniture. I like the way it continues to distress…
- If you want to seal the surface a light coat of spray satin sealer will be the best choice.
Close up of sanding off corners and edges.
Good Luck Martha! And Have Fun….
Debra ~ THAT Painter Lady