Friday, August 19, 2011


I always tell you all the steps I take in a finish, however it occurred to me that I've never shared with you exactly WHICH products I use and how I use them.

Well, it's about time isn't it?

The first thing you should know about me is that I do everything on a SUPER strict budget.  I can't and don't pay for specialty paint products.

I rarely tell you what color the paint I'm using is because I simply don't know.  I almost always mix my own paint colors from paint found in the "oops" section at Home Depot.  I check every time I am there (sometimes several times per week) and have eventually amassed a pretty good collection of sample colors at $.50/ each along with quite a few gallons at $5.00 each.  That is a great deal more affordable than $20-30/ gallon.

I don't only buy colors I like.  I always try to have representation from each color of the rainbow.  For instance, I just bought a green that was almost florescent it was so bright.  Then I mixed it with some blue, some gray, and some red to get a very pretty shade of turquoise.

Now, I have had the great fortune of having a artist for a mother.  I was in art classes before I knew how to swim.  The color wheel is just part of my brain.  If you want to mix colors, learn about the color wheel and how to combine colors.  There are a lot of great websites that you can learn how to mix two or more colors to get the colors (or close to the colors) that you are looking for.
 I mixed the blue-green color I used on this dresser from a bright green, a bright blue, a bit of red and some gray.

The next step is often a glaze.  Here's my secret on glaze.  Don't have the paint store tint it for you.  For me it's too limiting to only have one color of glaze.  A tiny bit of glaze goes a long way, so it doesn't make sense to me to have a quart of black and nothing else.  I bought a gallon of the beloved Ralph Lauren Glaze Medium when it was discontinued.  (Don't hate me I only paid $4.00 for it - wahoo!)  I didn't have it tinted.  I do that myself.

 You know, we DIY everything else, why not this?

I mix small amounts of the paint color I want in with about a half cup of glaze medium.  Yes, it dilutes the color some, but for me, that doesn't matter that much when it comes to glazing.  I also love that I can control how thick the glaze is.

The Gentleman's Chair is an example of using a thicker glaze to get more coverage on flat surfaces.

I also use stains a lot, both on raw wood and also over paint.  I don't have a real preference on brand, but did discover that outdoor stains are less transparent than Minwax stains and can even be opaque.  They also come in a wide range of colors.  That discovery dramatically increased the looks I can get with stain.

This Farmhouse Chair is an example of using stain over paint to get a different kind of aged look.

And last by not least, my very favorite secret.

You often hear me (and other bloggers) say that they finished off a piece with a dark wax.  Usually other bloggers are talking about Hannant's Finishing Wax or Annie Sloan's Soft Wax (which are actually the same thing sold under two names.)   I am not.  I can not afford $25.00 plus shipping for a 500ml tin.  Again, I make my own dark wax.

I really love SC Johnson Paste Wax.  It's nice and soft, goes on smooth, and buffs beautifully.  It only comes in clear, though.  Not a problem, I simply add about a tablespoon of a Minwax stain to the tin (I generally us Provincial, I like the color.)  It is a bit of a mess to mix it up, but it works like a dream, and my Home Depot sells a tin of this for about $6.00.  Don't look for it in the paint section, though.  You'll find it in the floor cleaning section.  

The Sweet Green Desk is an example of a piece I've finished with a dark wax.  In this case I brushed it on in a swirling pattern, let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then buffed it with a cloth diaper.  (They are awesome for buffing.)

Well, there you go, all my 'secrets'.  Well, most of the anyhow. . .   I have a few more I'm saving up for a rainy day, or maybe for Post Secret. 


  1. I just perused your blog quickly and I LOVE IT! I so want to paints some chairs I have, but have no clue where to begin. I'll have to check out your blog more when I'm ready for my project. Oh, and I like your blog's look.

  2. Thanks, BonnieKay! I hope you are enjoying your time back east! Email me if you have any questions when you get ready to paint your chairs!


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