I thought I was ready to just jump right in and transform my vintage buffet. All that it would take is a couple of jars of chalk paint, some gel stain, and some P
It is always good when we are actually able to learn from someone else’s mistakes. If you pay attention to this post I think I may be able to save you a little bit of frustration!!!
When I decided that it was time to update my vintage buffet, I had no idea that it would take twice as long as I thought it would. This project turned out to be not so cheap, not so fast, and not so easy.
I want to share a few very important things I learned about chalk paint. Now, this is certainly not the first piece that I have revived using chalk paint. But it is the first time that I have encountered the issue that I ran into.
I am hoping that if you take the time to read this post that I might be able to save you some time and trouble. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes.
Buffet Transformation With Chalk Paint and Gel Stain -Part 1 Video
This buffet has been in our family for 3 generations. It has lived in the den for years. I love that it works as a divider/practical piece of furniture between my sewing area and the rest of the room. It is low enough that if I decide to glance at the TV while I am at the sewing machine, I can.
After I painted the den a soft gray, I decided that it was time for little Vintage Buffet Transformation. Mrs. Baby Bird (my daughter-in-law) needed to earn a few extra dollars so I hired her to paint the beloved family buffet. So, you might ask, “What is a buffet?” Here is the Wikipedia description: A buffet or sideboard is an item of furniture traditionally used in the dining room for serving food, for displaying serving dishes, and for storage.
This buffet is used for storage.
To protect the floors, we propped the legs of the buffet on disposable plates on top of furniture sliders made for wood floors.
I purchased a couple of bottles of Waverly Chalk Paint – Plaster. That’s the color name. Plaster is not quite white and it is not exactly cream. Maybe it is just off white. Anyway, it is the same color as my Dining Room Table and Chairs. My thought was that 2 jars would be plenty. I was wrong.
See the label? It says NO PREP!!!
As Mrs. Baby Bird was painting, we noticed that the drawer fronts were crackling. I had never seen this with any of my other chalk paint projects:
But I decided that the crackling would really be okay. The doors also crackled a little bit, too.
To give my vintage buffet a really distressed look she sanded it with some 100-grit sandpaper and a sanding block. buffet And I loved the way that looked.
Then it was time to apply the wax.
Be Sure to Follow the Directions Concerning Drying Time Between Coats
We followed the directions about the drying time in between coats and then waited overnight before applying a thin coat of the Waverly Clear Wax. I noticed that after a couple of hours the buffet had yellow streaks in several places. I thought that was strange. After waiting the allotted drying time specified on the label, I took a soft cloth and began to buff the wax. To my surprise and dismay, the chalk paint peeled up. I touched several places with my thumbnail and I was able to easily remove the new finish.
There was only one thing that we could do – remove the wax and chalk paint. My hairdryer and a dulled scraper made the job a little easier. It was still a pain in the you-know-what! We only removed the paint from the doors, drawers, and sides. The carved decorative pieces didn’t seem to be affected so we left those alone.
After the paint mess was removed, I sanded the surface and then cleaned it with TSP. My thought was that this vintage buffet had been polished many times with Pledge and Liquid Gold. Possibly, an oily surface caused the crackling and then the wax either pulled the oily reside up or the wax soaked through the crackling. It doesn’t really matter how it happened. It just happened and we were determined to make the best of the situation.
research I discovered that, yes indeed, oil (furniture polish) can cause chalk paint to crackle. With hindsight being 20/20 here is what I recommend BEFORE YOU START. This will save you time and money. I had to buy 2 more jars of chalk paint.
Important – Before You Start:
- TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate Cleaner) to clean with – available at lumber yards
- An abrasive pad like Scotch Brite or steel wool (wear latex or vinyl gloves)
- Scrub the piece with TSP using an abrasive pad
- Use a soft cloth or old t-shirt and Denatured Alcohol to wipe the piece to remove any residue.
After it was sanded and cleaned, I applied 2 more coats of chalk paint. Again, I followed the manufacturer’s directions and allowed the correct amount of drying time between coats. This time I decided not to wax the buffet. The buffet is not in a high traffic area and doesn’t get a lot of use. Mostly, it stores some family treasures.
While I was watching the paint dry – not really – I was waiting for the paint to dry, I decided to go ahead and start prepping the top.
The top had a good-sized place that had been water damaged years ago. I really didn’t think I could get it to the place where that wouldn’t show through using regular stain. My friend, Jackie at Hacki Shack uses Java Gel. That is what she used on my dining table. Our town doesn’t have a vendor for Java Gel so I decided to try Rustoleum Gel Stain. The nice dark color that I selected is called Kona.
Buffet Transformation With Chalk Paint and Gel Stain -Part 2
To Prep the Top of the Buffet:
Sand in the direction of the grain of wood.
Wipe off dust particles
Use a tack cloth to make sure ALL of the dust is removed
I applied one good coat of Gel Stain brushing in the direction of the wood grain and I wiped the excess off to the desired color using an old t-shirt.
Again, I waited the recommended drying time and then applied 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic – Water Based.
I absolutely love the way that this vintage buffet transformation turned out. Kitty No likes it, too.
It looks so different in this space. And I think that there are a couple more pieces in the den that I want to paint. But I will make sure that I clean them first just in case there might be some mystery substance that will cause some frustration in the transformation process.
Bonus: This might just preach! Although we can NOT clean ourselves up, we can submit ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cleanses us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:7-10
Transform definition is to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
He cleans us and transforms us from the inside out.
‘til next time,
Have you ever thought that maybe the two top drawers of this buffet table were, at one tine, switched? They look like maybe their design was meant to arch from the outside in, rather than the middle out…
That’s sure is a possibility. It was that way when my mother-in-law gave it to me 30+ years ago. I might just give that a try. I never thought about switching them.
Thanks for the suggestion.