How to Create a Vintage Industrial Look on Furniture…using Chalk Paint & Black Wax

DIY: Learn how to give bland new wood an authentic vintage industrial finish using chalk paint and black wax

I love it when the launch of a new product provides the perfect excuse to tackle a well over-due project.

Such was the case with the release of Black Wax by Annie Sloan.

Teamed with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in “Antibes Green” it seemed like the perfect way to jazz-up some blah file drawers I bought years ago.

Used right, Black Wax produces a very authentic-looking vintage patina, which nods to industrial and has lots of grungy character. I know it’s not for everyone, though it was exactly the look I envisioned when I first spied these boring naked drawers. And achieving it was even easier than I thought!

Vintage Effect with Chalk Paint Supplies

Equipment to Paint and Distress Furniture

How to Use Black Wax - Step 1

1 Distress.

Because my wood was so new and bland, I decided to add some imperfections which would better showcase the Black Wax.

The first thing I did was removed the silver label holders and turn the drawers around to hide the finger pulls. This is just a preference thing.

I then used a regular steak knife to create dents and scratches, a meat mallet to randomly indent the wood, a circular leather punch to add some variation and a rivet to form deeper holes.

How to Distress Wood

My wood was super soft, so I didn’t need to use any heavy-duty implements. If your item is made from hardwood, you might need to get a bit more serious with your tools!

Distressing New Wood

Purposely distressed wood looks a little weird and un-natural prior to being finished because it’s so even in colour and shows no other signs of age. Trust me, the antiquing process makes it awesome.

I also rounded the corners of the boxes and drawers to mimic the wear that a genuinely old piece would naturally exhibit.

Round the Corners on New Wood Furniture to Create an Aged Look

To finish, I gave everything a light sand (just to soften any rough or splintered areas) then wiped it all clean.

Note: I wasn’t going to undertake this step initially as I know Chalk Paint can produce lovely texture unto itself. As mentioned above however, I decided I wanted to see how the Black Wax worked with texture in the actual wood. And I’m so glad I did! All of the scratches, dents and holes I produced really do help make this piece look authentically vintage. Of course, if you have a genuinely old piece then you can simply omit this step though it’s great to know that with a bit of distressing newer pieces can look genuinely old too!

How to Use Black Wax - Step 2

2 Paint.

This is the fun bit! Painting with Chalk Paint in this grungy, vintage style is so quick and easy. You can basically be as messy, haphazard and imperfect as you like!

I started by ensuring my paint was extremely well combined. All paint needs a good stir prior to use, though I’ve found that Chalk Paint in particular settles very thickly at the base. You really need to mix it well to ensure even consistency.

Once I was satisfied my paint was thoroughly combined, I simply began slapping it on my drawers.

I cross-hatched, stippled, dripped and dribbled!

Creating Texture with Chalk Paint

Above you can see just how deliberately messy my paint job was!

One of my favourite techniques is to lightly drag a brush over an almost dry area of thicker drops, ridges or dribbles to create, what I like to call, “tears” in the paint. I don’t know if this is a commonly done thing already, however I’ve not seen it demonstrated anywhere before, so I’m claiming ownership :)

Once waxed the “tears”  look really cool and random – very natural.

How to Create "Tears" with Chalk Paint for Authentic Vintage Texture

“Tearing” the paint by lightly dragging a brush over an area of almost dry blobby bits creates really nice random texture.

Once I was happy with the level of texture and amount of coverage I had achieved, I allowed the paint to dry thoroughly. Chalk Paint dries fairly quickly, though if you have super thick patches of paint or simply want to speed-up the process, you can use a hair-dryer.

How to use Chalk Paint

The finish looks a little flat in the above pic though there is plenty of character which you’ll see come to life in the following step!

How to Use Chalk Paint - Step 3

3 Wax.

To begin with I placed a small scoop of both Clear Wax and Black Wax on separate plates.

How to Use Annie Sloan Wax

It’s best not to dip directly into the tins to avoid tinting the wax, especially the clear wax which needs to be kept, well, clear. It’s also simply easier to charge your brush and stipple off any excess wax on a plate.

It’s recommended to apply a coat of Clear Wax prior to Black Wax to avoid the paint taking-on too much stain and to assist with the buffing process. I did a test patch on the rear of one of my boxes first and found that the Black Wax alone was indeed a little too dark for my liking. It was also more difficult to buff evenly.

Rather than Clear Wax my drawers first though, I decided to try a short-cut by combining my waxes. And it worked really well!

I simply picked-up a small amount of both Clear Wax and Black Wax on my brush then rubbed it onto my drawers. I worked in smallish sections and used reasonably forceful sweeping stokes teamed with circular motions, stippling in areas to ensure I got into all the nooks and crannies.

How to Use Annie Sloan Black Wax

If there was a patch which looked too light or too dark, I simply corrected it with a bit more Black Wax or Clear Wax as needed.

Once I had completed a section, I used a lint-free cloth (an old baby swaddle in my case) to buff off the excess wax and even-up the finish.

How to Use Annie Sloan Black Wax

Again, if after buffing I felt there were still un-even patches, I simply applied a bit more wax then buffed again until I was happy with the result. It was super quick and easy.

Below you can see the impact the Black Wax really has.

How to Use Black Wax for an Amazingly Authentic Vintage Patina

How amazing is that “vintage industrial” goodness? It’s almost like magic! Remember, this is actually brand new wood! Can you see the brush strokes, dribbles and “tears”?

Like I mentioned earlier, I know this grungy look isn’t for everyone though I was stoked with the way this was turning out!

Note: You can use a cloth or a regular paint bush to apply the wax if you don’t have a specialty wax brush. This is actually the first time I’ve used a proper wax brush and for a job this size, although it is nicer to handle and does distribute the wax with more ease, it’s certainly not essential. That said, I can imagine the benefits of using a proper wax brush for larger projects.

How to Create a Distressed Look with Chalk Paint and Black Wax - Step 4

To complete my drawers I added some label holders and small brass knobs which I had left-over from this project.

DIY Antiqued Flat File Drawers with Brass Pulls

Antique Style Label Holders

Similar hardware can be found super cheap on the D Lawless Hardware website.

How to Black Wax New Furniture for a Vintage Look

How to Realistically Age Brand New Furniture

How to create an authentic vintage look with paint and wax

I originally bought these drawers on clearance for around $10 each, so naturally they’re not craftsman built items. Though I kinda like the way the slightly wonky drawers, with their uneven gaps, seem to bolster the primitive charade!

DIY Vintage Flat File Drawers with Black Wax

Vintage Industrial Paint Effect

I was going to style these drawers really minimally, though I can never seem to master that!

Learn how to use paint and wax to give bland furniture vintage charm!

You can find further tutorials, product stockists and ALL you need to know about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and her associated lines on the Unfolded website.


Learn how to use paint and wax to give bland furniture vintage charm!

You can also check out my previous tutorial for creating an aged patina on new furniture using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Dark Wax alone (no distressing!).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

How to Create a “Vintage” Wire Basket from a Plastic Coated Caddy

I have a thing for old wire baskets.


Well, if you do too it seems we’re not alone.

Have you noticed how pricey they can be at old-wares stores and antique markets nowadays? Man!

Anyhoo, after I shared this pic of Charlotte’s new bedroom shelves a few weeks back…

DIY Vintage Wire Basket

…I received quite a few comments and questions about the sweet old wire basket I had used.

Wanna know a secret?

It’s actually far from old (as in, it’s completely brand new!).

Though it’s not an expensive vintage replica.

It’s simply one of these…

Plastic Coated Basket Before

…after a few toasty hours in a nice, hot fire!

I bought several of these baskets (for around $5 each) years ago with the intention of experimenting with removing the plastic in some way (I found my baskets at Kmart though it seems they may no longer sell them however they can be found in lots of other stores).

I thought I could probably melt the plastic off using either; a heat gun, a blow torch, an oven or a fire. How hard could it be, right?

Well, our domestic heat gun wasn’t hot enough, nor was our mini blow torch (a commercial grade heat gun or blow torch might do the trick though).

The oven melted the plastic to some extent though not enough before it actually began to “bake”. I don’t know, maybe I had the temperature too high or too low, or maybe I didn’t leave it in for long enough? Regardless, it didn’t seem to be the best method anyway as any melted plastic merely relocated itself elsewhere on the wire.

Note: Just in case you’re wondering, I placed the basket on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper then heated it for around an hour at 150 C (300 F).

As I’d suspected from the start, it seemed a fire would be my best – and easiest – bet!

I was going to wait until we next had a little outdoor bon-fire (I guess you could use a pit or drum fire too) though then decided to simply throw it in my parent’s enclosed wood burner.

How to Remove Plastic From a Wire Basket

Two hours later and my perfectly vintage-afied basket was revealed! And it looked so cool!

DIY Industrial Wire Basket from a Plastic Caddy

Not only had the heat melted away ALL of the plastic it had somehow given the wire a gorgeous, grungy patina.

Industrial Wire Basket DIY

The predominately dark graphite wire is accented by chalky white patches. I don’t know where the white freckles came from though they’re not plastic remnants.

DIY Industrial Style Wire Basket

I was impressed (if I do say so myself).

How awesome is it that any cheap plastic coated wire could receive this treatment and it takes absolutely no effort on our part! The fire does all the work.

Thank you fire.


How to remove the ugly plastic coating from cheap wire baskets to reveal the "vintage" goodness beneath

Note: I did some research and discovered that fumes released from heating most plastics only become toxic if the material burns. Obviously, putting plastic in a hot fire like I did results in the plastic burning which is why I used an enclosed wood burner which vents directly outside. I wouldn’t advise using an indoor open fireplace however any outdoor pit-fire, drum-fire or bon-fire (or similar) located in a well ventilated area should be fine.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

“New” Blue Cane Chairs…plus how to use a paint sprayer

How to Use a Paint Sprayer

Ever since painting my Chippendale desk chair….by hand…with a brush…over the course of several hours…a paint sprayer has been high on my ‘to buy’ list.

Some of you may recall I have sprayed furniture in the past using our air compressor, though that big, noisy, heavy piece of equipment isn’t something I like to reach for too often.

I mean, compressors are great for HUGE jobs or serious furniture refurbishers who churn out piece after piece, however for the occasional dabbler like me they can be over-kill. Call me lazy though lugging it out of the shed to complete a small or one-off project always felt too inconvenient.

My new spray system from Bosch however feels anything but inconvenient.

It’s compact, quiet and light-weight. Perfect for painting large or intricate pieces, like buffets, bookcases, dining chairs, anything carved and everything made of cane.

Just like this tired old outdoor setting of my parents…

Cane Chairs and Table Before

I love natural cane, and don’t mind a bit of weathered charm, though these were bordering on drab. Some love was definitely called for. So, here’s what went down…



Step 1 Prep

I started by giving everything a light sand then a thorough scrub with warm soapy water. This setting was covered in dust and cobwebs and was ideally suited for a good drenching with a pressure washer, though the weather was pretty cold so it would have taken way too long to dry.

Note: Remember, painting furniture with a spray gun isn’t quite the same as using a brush where you almost “push” the paint into the piece. You need to take your time with any prep to ensure the surface is ready to “suck” some paint in otherwise it will merely sit on the surface and scratch off with ease.



First, let’s talk about this spray system.

Basically, it’s a spray gun attached to a portable motor via a flexible hose.

Bosch Spray Gun

It runs off mains power so has plenty of kick and there are only two controls to worry about; paint volume (set by the dial on the side of the gun) and spray orientation (set by the dial around the nozzle of the gun). Trust me, it’s a cinch and soooo good! The motor has a shoulder strap and ergonomic hand hold so is easy to carry (I preferred to hold it in my hand or rest it on the ground).

Bosch Spray Gun Motor

As you can see, it’s very compact and easy to carry in your hand or over your shoulder.

To get started, I laid down a drop cloth (you could use one of those fandangle “spray tents” I’ve been seeing lately) and positioned my furniture so I could work around it with ease.

After giving my paint (see note below) a thorough stir, I decanted some into the provided container using the included sieve to ensure it was free of any large particles which might clog the spray nozzle (this is particularly important if you’re working with older paint which might contain lumps and bumps).

Pouring Paint into Spray Gun

I then added around 10% water (to thin the paint slightly for smooth spraying) and stirred thoroughly again before screwing the container to the spray gun.

Stirring the Paint

Before spraying my furniture, I pumped a small amount of paint into the air just to check spray volume and orientation and get a feel for the gun. Then I simply started painting my pieces!

Painting with a Spray Gun

Painting with a Spray Gun

Excuse the fact I have paint all over my hands and the unit. Aside from the fine over-spray, it’s actually quite a mess-free process though it is tricky to take pictures and paint at the same time! Thanks go out to my mum who stepped in to pose for some of the shots :)

I held the gun around two hand spans away and lightly coated the furniture, taking my finger off the trigger from time-to-time to adjust the controls and re-position myself as needed. I like to work in sweeping motions following the lines of the furniture rather than in random continuous swirls. And I know it goes without saying, though several light coats are much better than a few heavy coats so don’t be too tempted to cover your piece entirely with the first pass.

Once I was satisfied with my coverage on the top side of my pieces, I needed to allow the paint to dry before flipping them over to complete. Rather than risk any paint drying or thickening in the gun, I decided to clean it while I waited.

I must admit, I was dreading the clean-up as I remembered it being a bit of a nightmare with our old compressor spray gun. Fortunately however, this Bosch gun was a breeze to clean! The parts unscrewed with ease and the paint washed straight off the plastic components. And to keep any left-over paint fresh between coats (or jobs), there is a container lid provided.

Once my pieces were dry, I flipped them over, prepared my gun again and then painted the undersides.

How to use a Spray Gun

Thanks for being my hand model again mum!

Granted, it did take a few goes to get into all the nooks and crannies evenly, though it was still heaps quicker and easier than using a brush. All up, this project took me only around one hour (plus drying time). Pretty darn good.

Note: Mum had requested a bold blue so I went with ‘Winner’s Circle’ (by Dulux) in gloss acrylic. I don’t usually go for gloss though do think it works well with cane (something to do with Chinoiserie glam perhaps?).

Tip: I didn’t prime my cane because it was bone dry and I was applying a dark colour. If you’re working with a previously coated item which might repel your paint, or if are attempting to cover something dark or tannin rich with a light colour, a primer is recommended.



Blue Cane Chairs

Seriously, it’s that easy.

How to Spray Furniture | Blue Cane Chairs

I was planning to shoot the finished setting outside (as, well, it is an outdoor setting) though the weather wasn’t on my side so instead I set the chairs up in my parent’s breakfast nook and styled the space like a little library of sorts.

It was fun!

To compliment the chairs my mum made some simple skirted pads using one of our left-over Ikea curtains.

Spray Painted Cane Chairs

The table was a $20 eBay find I bought a year or so ago. Only just discovered last week that it’s actually an original Ercol! Awesome score!

The ceramic garden stool was saved from hard rubbish and the faux fur rug is from Kmart.

All of the books are thrift store finds, as is the artwork, and we shopped mum’s house for the blue and white vases. The roses are simply from the supermarket, bulked-up with some greenery from the garden.

Pretty Vignette with Roses

You may recognise the “coffee sack” cushion which is actually a kitchen tea towel I made into a simple lumbar pillow a few years ago.

Coffee Sack Lumbar Pillow

This was a fast, simple and fun project, though what I really took away from it, and what I hope I can make some of you realise too, is the potential beauty in imperfection.

I’m not talking about the charm of an old scratched dining table or the allure of a wonky primitive dresser, though the fact that things don’t need to be ideal to be lovely.

“Making the most” is something I’m often able to embrace, though at times the niggle of having things “just so” does become a little hurdle.

When my mum first suggested I paint her cane setting, I was skeptical about how I could make it work for my blog.

“It’s pretty generic”. “It’s not very special”. “How am going to make it look great?”.

As the project progressed, my doubt continued.

“The blue’s not quite right”. “The seat pads aren’t tailored enough”. “Is the gloss too glossy?”.

It wasn’t until I paired the chairs with her breakfast table and added a few pretty accessories that I began to appreciate the power in “making the most” again.

No, they’re not stunning designer chairs and the blue’s a touch more grey than I’d have liked and the seat pads aren’t piped, though the chairs look really lovely in that breakfast nook.

In fact, they’ve given the space such a surprising hint of charm that mum is even going to keep them there! Had I not needed to test out my new spray gun I probably wouldn’t even have looked twice at those ordinary chairs. Yet here they are.

Of course, if you have lofty decorating dreams you’re determined to chase down, then by all means, go for it! However, just remember that in the meantime you don’t need to sacrifice your present home happiness.

If, on the other hand, you’re simply pining over the impossible, then consider welcoming the potential beauty a more realistic approach might yield.

You don’t need to think of it as settling, or conceding, or failing. Why can’t it be capitlising, and overcoming, and winning? And, maybe most importantly, choosing contentment?

So, visit a few thrift stores (or shop your own house), pick up a paint brush (or a spray gun!), throw some pretty foliage in a vase and have a go at “making the most” for now.

You might just be surprised!

How to Use a Paint Spray Gun for a Perfect (and easy!) Finish


BTW Do you follow me on Instagram? I’ve just started my very first hashtag series all about made-over home decor! Be sure to check it out and follow along for heaps of inspiration.

  Sharing this project for the Link Party Palooza at I Heart Naptime.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Re-Love Project…before & after

Tribal Sideboard Cabinet

I’m so excited to finally share this!

If you’re not new here, you’re probably aware of my involvement in the Re-Love Project and what it’s all about. For those of you who don’t know, in short it’s a Feast Watson campaign in collaboration with Salvos Stores which sees seven design personalities “re-love” a neglected item of furniture with the resulting pieces being auctioned wholly for charity. Pretty cool, huh? You can read my first post about it here and learn more on the Feast Watson website here.

It’s such a wonderful campaign which I’m thrilled to be involved with.

Anyhoo, as revealed in my previous post about the project, I started with this crappy old sideboard which I picked up for just $5…

Mid Century Sideboard Before

I bought this baby “site unseen” (after a friend sent me a photo) because I loved the clean mid-century lines and generous proportions.

I also really liked the fact it looked so disheveled. I know that might sound weird, however I love “sow’s ear to silk purse” makeovers, and knew I could do something completely transformative with this piece.

And how bad could it be, right?


Turns out…pretty bad.

I mean, it was clear there was a missing drawer and door (I could deal with that) though what wasn’t clear was the fact that the remaining doors and drawers were all constructed from faux wood-grain textured chipboard! And that the top and sides were nothing more than super thin faux marble laminated masonite!


Still, I had a vision and it was going to come to fruition!

Here’s how the whole thing went down…


Step 1 Prep

This basically involved stripping the sideboard down to its frame.

I first removed the drawers and doors. Unfortunately, there was no salvaging their swollen, water-damaged chipboard. Regardless, I wasn’t keen on constructing one, let alone four, new drawers anyway, so for ease I had decided to forgo them completely in favour of installing new full-height doors in their place. Not only was this a simpler solution, it would also give the sideboard a nice, clean look.

Next I removed the internal drawer runners and section dividers (this was a simple matter of prying them off) and all of the old hardware.

Removing Doors and Drawers

The doors, drawers, internal runners and dividers, plus all of the old hardware, were removed.

Initially, I had been hopeful of retaining the exterior panels though they were warped and damaged and just plain inferior. The best solution was to remove them completely.

Removing the Panels

Removing one of the panels. As you can see, it was simply glued and nailed on.

A few decent bangs with a hammer later and my sideboard was down to its (thankfully very solid) birthday suit!

Sideboard Frame Before

The “naked” sideboard. Fortunately the pine frame was nice and solid.

Although the prospect of replacing the panels was a little scary, it actually turned out to be one of the easiest processes in the whole project! Sometimes the seemingly big jobs which appear intimidating are actually the most straight-forward!

To complete my prep I gave the frame a good general clean-up. This involved removing any stray nails, chiseling off areas of glue and sanding everything until it was smoothish and even.

Cleaning the Frame

Cleaning-up the frame.

Note: As touched-on above, it wasn’t my intention to go back to the frame on this sideboard. It does seem pretty extreme and the last thing I wanted to do was make this refurb seem over-the-top or counter-productive, or just plain unappealing to my fellow DIY’ers. It’s easy to look at a project like this and think “Hmmm, she would have been better off just building from scratch” or “It’s basically a brand new piece, what’s the point?”. Well, those are valid arguments however from my perspective I was definitely better off not building from scratch, and for the purpose of this campaign, which sees the finished piece being auctioned for charity (hopefully at a good price), the existing panels simply weren’t good enough to keep. If anything, through replacing them I actually hope to demonstrate just how do-able it is and possibly open-up some eyes to the work-ability of pieces which may otherwise have been discounted.


Step 2

The Doors

To start “dressing” my sideboard again, I first cut four new doors from 12mm (1/2″) plywood using our track saw.

Cutting New Doors (Triton Track Saw)

Cutting the new doors from 12mm (1/2″) plywood.

Now, I’m not gonna lie. This wasn’t the simplest process. I mean, the trimming was easy enough, however creating accurately sized pieces was tricky due to the sideboard frame being out of square and all of the door openings being slightly different. I may have stuffed up a few times and had to cut certain doors more than once – oops! Lucky ply is cheap.

Anyhoo, stuff ups aside, the basic process involved measuring each opening as thoroughly as possible, cutting new doors as accurately as possible then making sure they actually did fit.

Once I had created, and was happy with, all four doors, I went about attaching them to the frame. Although the doors will need to be removed again for subsequent finishing, it’s important to hang them at this stage just to determine whether any further adjustments need to be made as a result of hinge position and swing movement. I decided to fit the doors prior to re-panelling the top and sides for ease of access and better visibility.

I wanted my doors to have a seamless flow so went with concealed hinges – surface mount concealed hinges to be exact. I didn’t even know these babies existed! They are much easier to fit than traditional concealed hinges which need to be embedded. They are also much cheaper.

To install the hinges I first sat my doors in place to determine how deep they needed to be mounted on the frame (because obviously I had to allow room for the doors to sit within the cavity too). I then held each hinge in position and marked the screw points before drilling pilot holes and attaching the hinges to the sideboard carcass.

Installing Concealed Hinges

Attaching the surface mount hinges to the sideboard frame.

Next, with the doors sitting in position once more and propped up on narrow shims (to provide an allowance for swing clearance), I marked the screw points on each door and went about attaching them.

Installing Surface Mount Hinges

The inside of the frame with the doors attached.
The hinges are off-set on either side of this central upright so that their fastening screws didn’t collide.

Once all the doors were mounted, I checked for clearance consistency.

As suspected, some of the doors were now rubbing on the frame in places. To remedy this, I marked the problem areas, removed the doors and trimmed them slightly using our track saw.

Due to the slightly wonky frame, the doors aren’t perfect though they’re pretty darn good.

Installing Doors

The new doors.

Note: I have no doubt there are better ways to fit hardware and mount doors though I also think practice probably plays a huge role in making a job like this easy. And if, like me, you’re not a professional or hobby carpenter, it’s kinda hard to get a heap of practice installing furniture doors! I watched video tutorials and read how-to guides though in the end I just had to tackle the job to the best of my ability. If anything I hope this gives you the confidence to try it too because I’d never done anything quite like this before – and, well, now I have!

The Panels

We cut the new top and sides from one large sheet of 3mm (1/8″) ply using our table saw.

Triton Table Saw

Cutting the new panels from 3mm (1/8″) plywood.

Again, sections of the frame were crooked though rather than try to compensate for this (which isn’t easy to do using a table saw which likes to cut everything square), we based our dimensions off the widest measurement (so, if the bottom of the right side was 50cm wide, yet the top of the right side was only 48cm wide, we cut the panel to a consistent width of 50cm – that way, we could simply sand back any over-hang once the panel was attached).

The new ply was thicker than the previous masonite so sat proud of the existing lip at the top, resulting in an obvious step.

Plywood Panels

The new plywood was thicker than the previous masonite so sat proud of the frame.

I considered simply rounding the edge using an electric sander, which would have worked fine, though decided to route a small bullnose instead.

Triton Router

Routing a bullnose into the top.

It’s just a small detail though it makes the new top look much more integrated.

Routed Ply Top

It’s hard to see properly, though the routed edge creates a nicely rounded step.  

Attaching the panels was pretty straight forward.

I smeared the frame with some wood glue, clamped a panel in position (to save having to hold it) then hammered it on using small finishing nails which I spaced every 5cm (2″) or so.

Attaching the Panels

Attaching the panels.

Once all of the panels were attached, I went about counter-sinking any proud nails, filling holes and gaps then sanding back the over-hanging sections until everything was nice and flush.


Sanding back an over-hanging section of the top to make it flush with the side.

I then did an all-over finishing sand using fine git paper to ensure everything was smooth and ready for painting.

Re-Paneled Sideboard

The complete (well, almost complete) sideboard.
Excuse the wonky doors, I didn’t align them for this shot.

Note: If you don’t have the right tools, or if you aren’t confident with cutting large panels of wood, your hardware store will probably do it for you. Just be sure to have accurate dimensions and stress that you need them to be precise.

Tip: Choose a plywood panel that isn’t bowed or warped and if you intend to stain it, check for imperfection and pay attention to the grain pattern. Some plywood panels are much prettier than others.

Tip: When creating several panels which are similar yet not identical (like my doors) be sure to number and mark them so you know their location and orientation. It saves lots of jigsaw playing later on!


Step 4

The Body

I ensured the entire carcass was nice and clean then gave it two coats of Feast Watson Floor Paint in “Charcoal Edge”.

Feast Watson Floor Paint

Feast Watson Floor Paint in “Charcoal Edge”.

I’ve never used this paint before and I found it fantastic. It has great coverage and a lovely satin sheen. More than that though, it’s incredibly durable. I scratched, scraped and bumped the finish several times with numerous sharp implements and the paint did not chip once! It’s not cheap though if you’re working on a special project I think it’s definitely worth considering.

To keep the finish super smooth I sanded between coats with fine grit paper and buffed the final coat with steel wool.


The Doors

Ahhhh, the doors.

And I don’t mean that in an adoring way (although now I do love them) because these babies gave me some grief!

It was just that I was using products in a way I hadn’t before so things didn’t go to plan from the get-go and lots of subsequent experimentation was called for.

Anyhoo, for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll spare you all the trials and tribulations and keep things simple by explaining the method I did end up using.

First, I sanded each door thoroughly, concluding with fine steel wool for an ultra smooth finish, before cleaning away any residual dust. Ply can be quite rough so it’s important to spend some time on the sanding process.

Sanding the Plywood Doors

Sanding the doors.

Next, I combined some Feast Watson Satin Clear Varnish with 10% Prooftint Traditional Stain in Teak Brown. This essentially created a tinted sealer.

Tinted Sealer

A combination of Feast Watson Clear Varnish and Feast Watson Prooftint creates a tinted sealer.

I then applied two coats to each door (front, back and edges) in the direction of the grain using a brush.

Applying the Stain

Staining the doors.

I sanded lightly between applications with fine grit paper, and also at completion to ensure the ensuing stencil paint had something to grip to.

Once completely dry, I laid the doors down in order on the floor, taking into account the gaps of the sideboard frame.


Laying the doors down in preparation for stenciling.
Pardon the terrible lighting and weird angle – it was tricky to get a shot of this.

Next, I placed my all-over stencil (Tribal Batic Stencil from Royal Design Studio) in position and tacked it in place with some masking tape.

Tribal Stencil

I stenciled multiple doors in one pass.

I then used a small foam roller lightly coated with white acrylic paint to embellish the doors.

Stenciling Doors

I found a foam roller produced the best results (and was also the fastest and easiest stenciling tool for this project).

When I had completed one whole pass, I carefully lifted and accurately re-positioned the stencil (using the in-built register elements – see below), continuing until all the doors were fully covered.

Repositioning the Stencil

I re-positioned the stencil using the built-in register elements (you can see them in the pic on the right – they are over-lapping elements which act as a re-positioning guide).

For an extra special touch, I stenciled both the front and rear of each door.

Once dry, I brushed on one final light coat of Feast Watson Clear Varnish to seal the stencil and protect the paint before reattaching the doors.

Tip: In the course of removing any hinges, take note of their specific location (even better, as you remove a hinge from a door, attach it to the finished frame in the corresponding position – this is what I did). I noticed that the amount of stiffness and movement varied from hinge to hinge. As my doors are all slightly different and customised to accommodate their particular hinges, this disparity could adversely effect their resting position.

Note: As touched on above, I don’t want to burden you all with the woes of this project though I think it’s pertinent to share the core of my misfortune. Basically, I initially had trouble with my stencil yellowing excessively. I think this was caused by two things: 1) stain pick-up – I originally failed to seal the stain prior to applying the stencil so when I did eventually seal the doors too much residual colour was drawn out of the wood by the brush which subsequently tinted the white paint, and 2) acrylic v’s oil – stencils work best with fast drying acrylic paints however the oil-based sealer I originally used (Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil – which I absolutely LOVE ordinarily) seemed to react adversely with the stencil paint.


Step 4 Feet

The feet were just screwed on so I simply removed them.

Next I sanded them lightly, gave them a good clean, taped off the silver tips and hit them with a few coats of Dulux Duramax Bright Finish in Gold.

Gold Feet Tips

Painting the tips gold.

I felt the gold was a little too brilliant so I decided to glaze it to create some richness. I mixed some Feast Watson Clear Varnish with a dash of Feast Watson Prooftint Traditional Stain in Golden Teak then brushed it on each tip. The result is a mellow, and realistic, aged brass patina.

Brass Glaze

Glazing the gold tips to create a rich antique brass look.
Please excuse the poor lighting. I took these pics at night so they’re not the best.

Glazing the tips also gives them a more durable finish so they won’t chip or scratch anywhere near as easily as regular un-coated spray paint might.

Finally I re-stained and sealed the timber portion of the feet using the same mixture of Feast Watson Clear Satin Varnish and Prooftint Stain in Teak Brown I used on the doors.

Staining the Wood Feet

Staining and sealing the feet.
Pardon the awkward look of this. It’s kinda hard to demonstrate a technique and hold a camera at the same time!

Brass Tipped Foot

I love the way the feet look refreshed yet still give a gentle nod to the history of the piece through their evident bumps and scrapes.

Step 5

AKA, the home stretch!

Given I had removed the drawers, I thought I’d better add some new internal dividers.

DIY Tribal Style Sideboard Interior

This was a simple matter of cutting four ply shelves to fit, painting them to match the body then installing some brass shelf stays for them to rest on.

Brass Shelf Stays

The shelves rest on brass stays.

Finally, to complete the unit I attached some brass handles.

I was tossing-up whether to use bold, statement hardware or go with something sophisticated and discreet when I came across these great little tab pulls.

Brass Tab Pulls

I absolutely adore these handles! They could not be more perfect.

They provide a hint of gold which ties-in perfectly with the feet tips and co-ordinates so well with the paint and stain. More than that though, they are ideally positioned so as not to compete with or interrupt the graphic doors.

Brass Tab Pull Handles

Sadly, I couldn’t find any brass ones in Australia so I had to order these from the US (where they thrive in abundance!).

They are super affordable at around $5 each. Sadly though, the international shipping is a bit of a killer at almost $40 – yikes!

Still, this was a special project so I had to have them.



Tribal Stenciled Sideboard Makeover | Before & After

Tribal Buffet DIY

DIY Tribal Style Sideboard Interior

When I took this sideboard on, I thought it was going to be my simplest Re-Love Project make-over to date (you can see my previous contributions here and here).

I must have been partially asleep…or just really, really drunk. LOL!

In all seriousness though, I learned heaps and am so, so proud of the finished piece.

Mid Century Modern Sideboard Makeover

I truly hope this refurb encourages a few of you to tackle something you might otherwise have felt a bit intimidated by. Absolutely everything has potential.

Mid Century Modern Tribal Buffet Makeover

Of course though, you don’t need to start with a piece that’s already got one foot in the dumpster to create something amaze-balls. This basic stencil over stain technique can be used to transform anything with super high-impact results.

DIY Mid Century Modern Buffet Makeover

Tribal Sideboard | Before and After

A huge thank you to Freedom who loaned some of the styling props, including the amazing artwork, the leather ottoman and the radial decor accent.

Tribal Cabinet Buffet Before and After

Remember, along with the pieces of the other awesome designers involved with this campaign, this unique sideboard is being sold for charity!

So, if you love it (or know someone else who might) be sure to stay tuned!

The eBay auctions go live in August and I’ll be sure to post again once they’re up and running (Feast Watson will be covering shipping costs Australia wide!).

C’mon guys, let’s spread the love (free hugs to everyone who shares socially!) and work up some hype for the Salvos!

Mid Century Modern Tribal Buffet Before & After


Be sure to follow along with me and Feast Watson on Instagram to stay updated about the auctions and see the reveals of all the other designers involved!

Tribal Sideboard Buffet

I snapped this pic right at the end of my shoot and thought it was too precious not to share. My little messy-haired Charlotte.

 Sharing this project for the Link Party Palooza at I Heart Naptime.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Acrylic & Brass Wall Shelves

Acrylic and Brass Wall Shelves | The Painted Hive

I’ve been meaning to share this little project for ages.

About six months back, I decided it was finally time to get something up on the blank wall above Charlotte’s desk.

Initially, I’d been toying with the idea of a big chalkboard or over-sized art piece (like a vintage number chart or old world map)…

Charlotte's Room Virtual Plan

Above is my original (very rough) concept rendering from a few years back where I included a massive chalkboard. You can see more of the virtual plan here.

Though as the room progressed it became apparent that some kind of display/storage surface was actually called for.

You see, Charlotte’s room is pretty tiny (2.5 x 2.5 meters/8 x 8 feet). Obviously, this means there’s limited floor space for furniture so the walls need to pick-up some of the slack.

I’d already installed floating bookshelves behind her door to make the most of that dead space…

DIY Narrow Floating Bookshelves

And a second series of little shelves on the wall above her desk seemed like the best use of that area too.

But what style of shelves?

I had a zillion different ideas and had almost settled on using reclaimed wooden floorboards (I even went to a salvage yard to look at some) when I suddenly changed my mind. Something about them just didn’t “feel” right when I imagined them in the space. I think it was their visual heaviness (as Charlotte’s angled doorway means you would basically be looking straight into the side of them) and the fact there was already quite a bit of wood in the room. I mean, I don’t mind an eclectic mix of timbers, and I think they still would have looked nice, I just knew they weren’t the best choice.

So, I went back to the drawing board and eventually decided to step outside my comfort zone and go with something a little bit fun in the form of contemporary acrylic shelves on traditional polished brass brackets!

Sourcing the brackets was easy enough (I bought them online from Discount Brass).

Brass Shelf Brackets

That said, it did take some shopping around to find the best price, and even then they were more costly than I would have liked at around $8 each – still, much better than $15 each which I’d also seen them being sold for (if you’re in the US, I’m sure you’ll be able to find them for much cheaper). I did contemplate saving some money by spray-painting some regular brackets though all the cheap ones I came across weren’t shallow enough (so would extend too far over Charlotte’s little desk – these ones are just 13cm/5″ deep). My husband even made some custom geometric plastic ones using a 3D printer. They were surprisingly cool, though the printer died before he got them all done. Besides, I really did want real brass.

The acrylic shelves were slightly more tricky to get my hands on.

I was open to DIY’ing them so did some research and discovered it would be easy enough. You can cut acrylic sheet with a regular wood saw then polish the sides with standard sandpaper (starting with a coarse paper and graduating down to something fine then finishing with a mild cleaning abrasive, such as Brasso). It would be a lot of polishing, though it was certainly doable.

The problem I had, however, was buying the acrylic sheet. The standard sizes just didn’t suit my needs. They were too thin, too large, too narrow, too long. And they weren’t cheap. I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on a massive sheet of acrylic only to use one quarter of it!

So, I started enquiring about off-cuts. After visiting several factories and encountering numerous head shakes it became apparent that was a dead end. There were bins piled high with generous scraps of thin acrylic sheet, though nothing as thick as I needed. Apparently, the cost of acrylic sheet goes up exponentially with thickness so off-cuts of anything chunky are rarely discarded or on-sold to the general public at a discounted rate. Poo.

It was time to bite the bullet and find someone to make my shelves.

So, once again, I made my enquiries and it wasn’t looking promising. $120 – $150 was the going rate for three small shelves with polished edges! Gah.

And then I came across a small business, not too far from my home, where I received a generous quote for $60 – SOLD!

Acrylic Wall Shelves | The Painted Hive

The edges look frosted in some of the pics though are actually clear and shiny. There also appear to be some imperfections in the acrylic, though it’s just weird photographic reflections. They are perfect.

To hang the shelves I first checked the general area for any wall studs I could attach the brackets to. Although it wasn’t entirely necessary to hang my shelves on studs, it does offer a bit more security (and is easier than messing around with plaster plugs). I located one vertical stud in the required vicinity so used that to attach one column of brackets to. The second column of brackets are attached to the plaster and held in place with small drywall screws.

I didn’t want to screw into my lovely acrylic shelves, so they are simply held in place with a few neat dobs of clear silicone.

Didn’t I just make that mounting process sound super quick and easy?


It wasn’t.

For some weird reason I thought it would be best to attempt hanging these shelves with the help of a second person. Ah, apparently I was wrong.

Here’s what I learned…

1 Don’t attempt to hang shelves, or do anything which requires mathematical accuracy, with the help of your sister (if your sister is my sister).

2 Spirit levels were invented for a reason. Use them.

3 When your husband gets home from work, throw your hands up in the air, make a face resembling “The Scream”, use a few profane words then storm out. He will proceed to fix the crooked shelves.

4 If your sister holds a doctorate in mathematics, or doesn’t come complete with two extra little kids (who, combined with your two existing little kids, create a noise, mess and distraction which neutralises the imagined benefits of a second person), ignore all of the above.

Brass and Acrylic Wall Shelves | The Painted Hive

All up, this wasn’t a cheap project, coming in at just over $100. That’s a splurge for me. Had I used salvaged wood and cheaper brackets I probably could have done it for under $10!

That said, I LOVE these shelves. They are different, and fun, and perfect for Charlotte’s little room. And I’m confident that I did get the best price I possibly could for them (short of going search crazy!).

The shelves are dressed with an assortment of thrifted and found objects along with a few trinkets that are special to Charlotte.

Acrylic and Brass Wall Shelves | The Painted Hive

Vintage Agee Jars | The Painted Hive

Vintage Agee jars house collections of shells and (slightly macabre looking!) Sylvanian Families figurines along with Charlotte’s drawing pencils. Sweet retro artworks work to create layering. Beatrix potter books lend a linking colour and add interest with levels.

Acrylic Shelves with Vintage Vignette | The Painted Hive

The wire basket was actually a cheap plastic coated one from the hardware store. I simply threw it in my parent’s wood burner for a few hours. Voila!

Warrior Horse

The charming wooden giraffe is a super old antique and the ceramic warhorse was bought at the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors in China. Charlotte believes it’s her bedroom’s guardian :)

Vintage Vignette | The Painted Hive

If you’re a regular visitor here, you might also have noticed that I switched out the original desk and chair…

Girl's Farmhouse Bedroom | The Painted Hive

They were both super cute, though it was time for a change.

Charlotte was already out-growing the desk, so I swapped it for this vintage hall table which I found on eBay for just $20.

Vintage Desk

Photo from eBay.

The character-filled wood was lovely and warm so I just gave it a quick refresh with some linseed oil. The legs I simply cut down as required using a hand saw.

Well, when I say “simply”, I really mean “stupidly”. You see, I managed to shorten the same leg twice! Luckily, I’d decided to shrink the table gradually until I was happy with the height so even though I’d stuffed up it was still salvageable. My neighbour and I had a good laugh about it though :)

Mixing Modern and Vintage (Kids Desk and Chair) | The Painted Hive

The original farmhouse-style chair was adorable, though never really practical. Even after trimming the legs it was still too tall, and its tapered feet were always difficult for Charlotte to maneuver on the carpet.

I decided to shop around for a more functional chair, with a playful modern nod to reference the shelves, and soon came across this replica Bertoia chair.

Modern Vintage Girl's Room | The Painted Hive

It was perfect. Not only is it incredibly practical, though its open wire frame and low slung back mean it doesn’t impose on Charlotte’s teeny space – and it compliments the shelves so well! I’m contemplating making a prettier seat pad, or perhaps simply painting the existing one, though for now the white vinyl is totally fine.

Replica Wire Chair | The Painted Hive

So in love with the evolution of this space!

Acrylic Wall Shelves | The Painted Hive


Catch up on all the previous posts about Charlotte’s bedroom here.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone