Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tortoiseshell Time

I inherited an extremely ugly side table from the previous owners of the townhouse I lived in throughout college.  It was beat-up, had water stains all over it and just looked old.  My roomies and I kept it that way forever because it always went unnoticed in a corner and since it was our college space, we really put no thought into spending money to redo anything.  I ended up needing a side table when I first moved into my apartment and since I was strapped for cash the table was mine for the keeps but I had to find someway to spice it up!  I had seen a technique several years ago and had literally written it down waiting for the perfect opportunity to whip out this specialtyness of a furniture recipe.

Here is what you need: 
- Piece of furniture
- Base color in latex paint (I used "Cream in My Coffee" by Valspar) @ Lowes
Glaze Mixture:
- 3/4 cup Malt Vinegar
- 2 Tbs. Burnt Umber Powder Pigment (MUST be POWDER)...I believe I used this one. Hard to find in stores but WoodCraft did have a few colors in a brand called real milk paint.
- 1 squirt of liquid dishwashing soap
- Clear sealer in spray/paint form (I used a spray) bought from AC Moore

Here is what you do:
1.) Paint your furniture with the base coat.  You may need to paint 2 coats to cover completely.
2.) Sand the furniture when the paint is completely dry.
3.) Mix the special glaze mixture ingredients together (Malt Vinegar, Burnt Umber Powder, Liquid Dishwashing Soap).
4.) Apply mixture liberally using a small brush.  Try to do sections of your piece of furniture at a time so that the glaze doesn't dry in certain areas before you have time to do Step 5.
5.) Dabble your fingers in the glaze across the piece of furniture.  It's as if you are playing a piano.  Press lightly so you get the desired effect.
*If mixture on furniture is dry before you get to dabble on it, paint over it again...otherwise you will leave fingerprints.
6.) Repeat until the look you want to achieve is complete!  As you can tell in mine, I did the ENTIRE table but you may just want to do the top part.
7.) Spray with a high gloss sealer once the furniture is completely dry.  You will need to spray 2-3 times. *The mixture may have a powdery look when drying on the furniture but that is completely normal and you can spray over top of it.

Total Cost:
Furniture: Fo Free!
Paint: ~ $7 - 1 Quart
Brushes: I have an abundant supply.
Malt Vinegar: ~$3
Burnt Umber Powder: ~$11.50 (with S&H)
Liquid Dishwashing Soap: On hand!
Clear Acrylic Sealer: $7.91
Total: ~$30
*Also necessary: Ability to move your fingers in a piano playing motion & an abundant supply of hot water to shower off all the mixture that flings and dabbles onto your skin!  Dark colored/painting clothes and a drop cloth are all great ideas as well.  My mother and I worked on this project outside in our driveway so we could reduce the risk of a huge mess inside.

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