Craigslist has been very kind to me lately. I haven’t been able to make it out to as many flea markets and estate sales as I usually like to hit, so I have been having to make up for it by hunting down finds on CL.
Two weeks ago, this great antique gentleman’s chest showed up as a listing for really cheap.
My husband was kind enough to drive 2 hours round-trip to get it for me, and once he got it back home it became apparent why it was priced so cheaply!
I couldn’t tell from the listing photos, but it was obvious in person that the upper doors were not original to the piece. Darn.
Also, there was a good bit of veneer damage, which isn’t a huge problem, but needs to be fixed when it’s big spots like this on the top (this is a great example of why it’s good to keep that wood filler on hand like I talked about in my last post!)
Structurally though, it was a sturdy piece. Once the repairs were made, I decided to try a new finish on it. I was hoping to give it weathered look, sort of Scandinavian-inspired, so I went for the dry brush technique.
I have walked through this technique before, but here’s another quick recap of the process.
THE DRY BRUSH MAKEOVER TECHNIQUE
When dry brushing, you use very little paint. Dab just the tip of your brush into a small bit of paint (this is a mixture of some chalk paint I had on hand, watered down a little).
NOTE: Although I now almost exclusively use Fusion Mineral Paint, the dry brush technique works the same.
Dab just the tip of your brush into a small bit of paint (this is a mixture of some chalk paint I had on hand, watered down a little).
You can see how little paint is actually on the brush, and that’s key! Next, blot the brush on a rag or paper towel.
Then you’re ready to brush the piece.
This process takes a little while because the little bit of paint on your brush doesn’t go far!
You spend a good bit more time dipping and blotting your brush, but here is the look you’re going for:
See how much of the wood is still coming through? If you get too much paint on the piece, keep your rag handy and wipe it off immediately.
After dry-brushing the whole piece in a gray, I added on a little white it strategic places, using the dry brush technique again.
I wanted to produce a very subtle layering of color. It’s hard to even tell the difference, but the edge of the chest has been painted with the white also, while the drawer and bottom trim have not.
Even though dry brushing itself may take a little longer than regular painting, your paint dries super fast and you can move through the project quicker because you don’t have to worry about your paint strokes being a little messy.
I was finished dry brushing the two colors on this whole piece in about an hour.
It was hard to find a good spot to photograph this in my house, so bear with me on these photos!
The chest really needs a cool colored background to show it off well, and unfortunately, my yellow walls wouldn’t provide that.
But hopefully, you can get the general idea of how it turned out!
I’m so happy with it! I know it may not be everyone’s taste, but it really does make for a neat and unique finish.
All of that lovely detail can still be seen so well, and the piece has so much visual depth to it now.
Original hardware, always a score!
And a little surprise for the inside top:
The drawers also needed some veneer repair, so I decided to patch the spots and give the drawer fronts a coat of creamy white with a little dark wax.
I hope you like it! And I hope you decide to try the dry brush technique yourself to create a great weathered look.
It’s easy, quick, and best of all uses only a tiny bit of that expensive paint!
This piece will be up at my ACM space for sale next week for $285.