If you like a good old-fashioned Miss Mustard Seed makeover, well, I think it’s safe to say that you will like this post.
Today was a great day in the studio. It was busy, but I was able to finish two pieces and photograph a third. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when a piece is finished and the process of styling and taking pictures is one of my favorite things about my business. So, I was in my element.
The piece I’m sharing today is this antique dresser I found on craigslist. It had a sloppy coat of black paint on it, but I knew I could work with that. I usually like to buy pieces that are wood, so I have a “clean slate” so to speak, but black can look almost like dark wood when it peeks under a coat of distressed milk paint.
It had a bit of a shine to it, so we gave it a light sanding and also removed the glass knobs to prep it for painting…
This dresser is so nondescript that I didn’t have a clear vision for it, so I decided to just start with a pretty color and take it from there. I have really been into custom blue/greens lately, so I mixed one up for this piece. It’s equal parts Eulalie’s Sky and Shutter Gray from the MMS Milk Paint line.
I don’t think I’ve ever mixed up that exact ratio before, but it made the prettiest robin’s egg blue.
It sat in my studio just like that for a few days and I had to think about where to take it from there. The longer it sat, the more I knew that it needed something, so I chalked out a design, mixed up some white artist acrylic paint with some matte medium, and went for it.
And I’m glad I did…
It’s very similar to a piece I painted several years ago and it’s always been one of my favorites.
The key to decorative painting in this style is to keep the brush strokes loose and add lots of them! Having the strokes and designs bunched together makes the eye focus on the design as a whole, not on each individual brush stroke. That prevents the eye from resting on imperfections. For that reason, this style is very forgiving.
I distressed the edges of this piece with 120 grit paper to allow the hints of the black to show through. It’s just enough to add a bit of dimension. I then sealed it with a coat of Tough Coat.
I had a great time styling this piece, humming to music, scooting furniture around, picking accessories from my stash…
I added a small collection of victorian ink bottles, which were the perfect color and added a little sparkle.
I made the chalkboard out of a large antique frame I purchased a few weeks ago. I happened to have a piece of luan in the basement that was a perfect fit for the frame and I painted it in the custom chalkboard mix I used for Lucketts last year. (You can find details on that HERE.)
It really is the perfect “vintage chalkboard” color once it is seasoned with chalk. It is a little bit large for the small dresser, but I still like the way they paired together and decided to let the scale mis-match slide.
It was the perfect place to write a little quote and to hang this sweet baby dress…
One of the cast iron bunnies holds extra pieces of chalk.
And those flowers! Those were clipped from the snowball bush I planted in my yard a couple of years ago. It is weighed down with blooms now and I decided to help myself. I’m a bit in love with them, so they are making their way into a lot of pictures until they wilt.
You have been warned.
This custom blue is a pretty simple recipe, but here it is in a handy. dandy little graphic in case you want to file it away for future reference…
And, if you want to get a similar hand-painted look, but don’t feel like you can paint it freehand, I created a stencil that can help you out! You can find more information about this one and other designs HERE.