…q&a’s

Here we go!

I have followed your advice for painting cane furniture and my chairs have turned out great but I am struggling with waxing the cane. How should I be doing it?If I put it on really lightly it’s hard to see where it’s been done but any heavier and it clumps in all the holes.

Very slowly! I realize I did not show the clear wax process in my tutorial on painting cane so I will do a video soon. You really do want to clear wax your cane if you are clear waxing any wood surrounding it. The reason is because the colors will be different if you do not. I would recommend using a small cloth that you can control. Dip it in your clear wax and work in a circular motion again. Use very sparingly. When you have put a light coat on the top, turn the piece over and rub the wax on the bottom side, cleaning up any excess wax that has gone through your holes. Again, use a small amount of wax. If it gets stuck in any of the holes and you can’t clear it with you cloth, go in with a Q-Tip.

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I’m also curious as to whether you used dark wax on this piece or any of your furniture that is a light color?

Yes, I have. Dark wax creates a very different look if used on a lighter colored piece. It will look much more shabby and rustic. Certain pieces call for it, in my opinion. Kinda like my large armoire. If you want a more subtle look, only use your dark wax on darker pieces or not at all. If it scares you, then just leave it be and don’t use.

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When you use dark wax in the crevices…do you completely remove all the dark wax on the flatter surfaces and only allow the dark wax to remain in the crevices?  I’m trying to understand how you keep the overall color of the piece consistent so it doesn’t look like the detail areas are darker than the flat surfaces.

Well, the look of a chalk painted piece in the style that I use is to intentionally not make the piece look “consistent”. You want areas that look aged & rubbed as if they are old. So, yes, I tend to use the dark wax in the crevices and some of the corners and details and not on your smooth surfaces. I will also note that it will look more muddy on a flat surface.

Do you have a maximum price in your head that you won’t go over when buying pieces to refinish? Do you ever have to pass on beautiful pieces because they are priced too high for you to resell? Or if it’s beautiful, do you buy it even with a high price tag?

Great question. Yes, I do have a price limit in my head when I go to buy a piece. I know what I can resell for and if the margin is too close than it’s really not worth the work & hassle of moving a piece of furniture around. There is an exception to every rule and if I see an amazing piece that I don’t come across when I’m out and about then I may go ahead and buy it. Of course, this typically means I love it and keep it in my own home for myself!

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Even with a good quality, clean paintbrush I feel like the brush gets piecy as the job moves along. Anyway to avoid this?

Do you mean the bristles clump? You should be fine painting one coat with your brush. Then clean it while letting your piece dry. Go back the next day with your clean brush and do another coat. If you have a good brush you should not have an issue.

Also, how do you clean your wax brushes?

I usually use lye soap and sometimes let them soak overnight. I then go back in the morning and really work out the wax. Veggie oil also works well.

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After using my dark wax, for the first time, on a table it still feels a little tacky…  Is there a magic trick you could share with me to fix it?

Yes, go over it with your fine steel wool while doing the application. This will smooth it out.

I was just wondering if when you finished the look that you were trying to achieve (weathered wood look) if you need to seal the chalk paint with some sort of polymer or if you let it be.

You will want to use your clear wax to maintain the look.

I have a question about the brushes you used.  Can the Annie Sloan chalk paint brushes be used for waxing as well? I found a website where I can purchase a brush set, but wondered if I needed to buy the individual paint brush set and the waxing set both. The website indicated that the paint brushes can be used for waxing as well as long as I didn’t use them for both processes.

I would not recommend this. You will want to keep your wax brushes separate from your paint brushes. Believe me. A wax brush is very different in shape. If you don’t want to spend the money on a wax brush then use a lint-free rag.

For your dining chairs… is the padding something you do yourself when you need to?  I’ve been told upholstery shops charge a lot for padding chairs.  What are your recommendations?

I have never upholstered chairs that do not have padding. The cost would go up and might not make sense for resale when no one wants to spend a fortune on a vintage dining chair!

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I have a china hutch, table and chairs that I am thinking about painting.  I love ASC paint and plan to use Old White for the set.  However, having never painted a china hutch before, I was wondering, do you remove the glass from the front to paint the inside of the hutch?  This set was my mothers and has beveled glass in the front and I certainly don’t want to risk breaking it.

No. No need to do all that. Paint and then scrape the glass afterwards.

I was re-watching your video and wanted to ask what i should buy to sand a piece (my bed!) after painting it old white.

You will want to buy a sanding block, like a 3M and then 100 grade sand paper. Sand in the edges and corners. Don’t go too crazy because with Old White, you will see the contrast of the darker wood underneath more clearly. It will look more shabby the more you sand.

How do you keep the black clean/pure when buffing the wax? I’ve tried lint-free cloths, paper towels, my hand… I always seem to find a bit of ??

Great question, I am finding that when you use Graphite or a black furniture paint, you really want to use a clean wax brush. I have used every lint-free cloth under the sun and still find a bit of residue. Use your brush and then once the wax is dry you can go back and buff with a rag without issue.

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Got questions? Email & I will post. cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com

…building a business: as good as it gets

Before kids, I used to watch Barefoot Contessa. DH and I used to get a kick out of when she would say “Use good Mayonaise” or “Good heavy cream” or “Good dark chocolate.” But, as snooty as it sounds, there is truth to using “good” ingredients.

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You are only as good as your materials. If you work in water colors or fabrics or wood or clay or food or whatever your craft is, then you know there is a difference between good quality materials and inexpensive materials. It’s worth experimenting with both so that you know yourself the difference between the two. When you are first starting out, you will not want to spend the money on pricey materials, but the quality of your work will certainly suffer. Cheaper materials will always handle differently.

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This is true for the Chalk Paint that I use and it’s also true for the furniture that I resell & repurpose. When I first started out and wanted to build an inventory of furniture I would take on most everything. There were raw pieces that I loved and a few that I just wasn’t crazy about. I remember painting a little side table and thinking I just don’t love this. It was too plain, too simple and there was no character. I made an unconscious decision not to use my paint and time on anything that I did not love or want in my own home. I can seriously say that anything that I sell, if I had the room, I would put in my own house.

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Take a minute to think about what you are working on. Would you want it, wear it, use it, eat it? Would you represent it in your own space? If not, then don’t sell it. Use materials that are of the highest quality if you plan on selling your product. Buyers are smart and will know if you’ve cut corners or are not selling something worth even looking at. If it means selling less because it’s expensive or more time consuming to put out quality, then sell less. Your name & your business are only as good as what you are putting out there.

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