My friend Anne-Marie has been given a piano, and although it is in tune and plays well, it was a bit battered around the casing and woodwork. It is also very dark brown and stood out like a sore thumb in their living room which is very calm in design. So she asked me to have a go at painting it to make it blend better into the room. The room has pale creams, greys and a sage green in it, so I took those colours and used them on the piano. We ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about using decoupage, but as the piano will be situated next to curtains with a strong and graphic pattern, so we felt it better to leave it simple.
A lovely, but very dark piano
The piano was sanded back to get a really good key, especially on the lids and music stand which would get heavy use. Then a base of Country Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloane was applied all over the piano:
Base of Country Grey
Certain areas were picked out in Olive chalk paint, such any as rims and edges with horizontal lines on the lids and legs:
Horizontal mouldings in Olive
Finally two coats of clear wax were applied and buffed heavily to create a soft sheen, and then the original candlesticks were re-attached. They have an aged patina which works very well against the new colours:
Here is the finished piano, which now looks great against the colours of the room and lifts the piano into becoming a stylish piece of furniture in its own right:
A tired pair of silver plate candlesticks had seen better days, and to re-plate them is expensive. So here is a DIY refurbishment to make them look like old verdegris versions, and they look very realistic. It is really simple to do, and these took about 40 minutes start to finish, (with cups of coffee included!).
Before and after:
You will need acrylic paint in black, green, turquoise, white and bronze. Also a really scruffy old paintbrush (ie. a tatty one such as an old child’s school paintbrush), and a wider household brush. Varnish is optional at the end, and if you do use it you will need a clear matt one. This is a fast process once the base coat is done, as there is so little paint in each stage that it dries really fast between layers.
Cover the entire candlestick with black acrylic paint using the household paintbrush, amazingly it sticks to metal well and I did not prime it. You could also use a paint formula like milk or chalk paint if you have it in black Leave to dry completely.
Starting with turquoise, dip the scruffy brush into the paint and then wipe off most of the paint onto some kitchen towel. Very gently start stippling the paint randomly over the candlestick so that the black undercoat is still visible, leave to dry when finished. In the picture you can see how dry the brush needs to be:
Repeat the process with the green acrylic paint all over the candlestick using the same technique. Leave to dry. Then with the white paint, and again using the same technique, gently brush over just 3 or 4 areas on the candlestick, it will look a bit like dust. If you think you are lacking any of the colours in areas or they are too dense, you can repeat the stippling with all of the paints until you are happy with the results. You can also work it with the brush when it is dry to blend the colours a little.
Finally, using the dry brush technique again, take some of the bronze metallic paint and almost gently tickle and lightly run the brush over the raised areas of pattern so that paint just highlights certain areas. For flat areas gently brush on, and using your fingers smooth it into the surrounding paintwork.
That is all there is, and it looks extremely realistic and antique. Brilliant!