Fireplace Makeover – Slate paint effect

Decorating

Musings occured over the weekend over how to attack the reproduction pine fireplace surround in our dining room, see last week’s post, and I finally stopped procrastinating today and got on with the job.

I used chalk paint as it is really easy to manipulate when watered down in a dark grey and a white, and by wetting it with a damp brush you can work the colour and tones until you are happy with the results, plus I use a clear wax to finish and protect the surface.  Here is the before and after picture:

Slide1The process is really simple, and you can always go back and paint over bits if you are not happy with them.  The gallery here shows you how to paint this slate effect.

  • You will need dark grey chalk paint, white paint, brushes, water and finishing wax.
  • I keyed my mantlepiece top before painting as this will be a heavily used area.
  • Paint the whole mantlepiece in a dark grey.
  • While this dried I had time for a very nice Cappuccino, delicious!
  • I then used a plate as a palette, and put some white and grey either side.  I then dropped water in the centre, and started to work on the mantlepiece using a brush and dabbing/splodging grey, white and water to create a cloudy effect on top of the base coat.  This paint can dry out really quickly on the plate, so keep adding water to keep it liquid.  It should look like mottled, cloudy grey tones, and work the paint in well to avoid brush marks.
  • You can also use a sponge if you want to dab on the paint, again as it dries so fast use small circular movements to blend and hide the initial sponge marks.
  • Cover all areas in this cloudy effect and leave to dry.  It will look quite pale and dusty when it is dry, but do not worry as adding the wax at the end darkens it back down.  Check you have covered all areas, and if you need to touch up do it now.  Leave for an hour or so so the paint really is dry for the next stage.
  • Finally using a brush or old cloth, work clear wax into all areas you have painted.  Brushes are good for getting the wax into nooks and crannies, and I prefer a cloth for large flat areas..  Leave to harden off for 20 minutes, and then buff to a smooth sheen.  I used two coats on the top of the mantlepiece for added protection.

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I am really pleased with the results which are much punchier to the eye, and wonder why I did not do it earlier.  I was not sure about the all gold mirror above when it was finished, so slapped some black acrylic paint on parts of it to bring it into line with the slate look fireplace.  Much better….

IMG_0783paint mirrirfire and mirror

Wallpapering furniture – The Result

Decorating

I had decided to upcycle an old cupboard, and finally settled on a fantastic Colefax and Fowler wallpaper called Snow Tree which has brushstrokes and graduations of tone in the background. As a first attempt I decided just to wallpaper the inset panels and then to do a paint effect to match the background of the paper on the rest of the wood.  I figured that if it went wrong I could remove the paper do a simple repaint…

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Snow Tree by Colefax and Fowler

Here are the results, I am pretty pleased with it.

You will need: Charcoal, Original and Olive Chalk Paints (Annie Sloan) Clear Wax Earthborn wall Glaze Wallpaper paste Wallpaper Scissors Kitchen sponge Paintbushes How to:

  • Apply a coat of base colour over all of the wood that will be visible.  Being chalk paint, I only needed one coat and it adhered straight to the existing varnish without any need for sanding down.  Plus it dries really quickly which is a bonus!
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Base coat applied to all areas that will not be wallpapered

  • Measure your wallpaper for the panel sections, give it an extra inch all over in case the piece is old and not even in its dimensions.  Cut pieces, then one by one put paste on them, wait 5 mins for the paste to soak in well before hanging, and then stick to piece.  Smooth well with a very slightly damp cloth, and cut off excess paper where needed with sharp scissors.  Smooth down well again and allow to dry.  I left mine for about 3 hours as we had the heating on.

Stage 2: Papered and painted with base colour

  • Mix up a separate small pot of a lighter version of the base colour with some white paint and water and start to randomly dry brush and streak it over the base coat using just the tips of the brush.  At this point it looks quite brutal but do not worry.  I did mine in a similar pattern to the wallpaper background.  Allow to dry.
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Rough dry brushing with a lighter tone

  • When dry, dilute some of the original base coat colour with water so it is quite runny and put it onto a plate.  Then dab a kitchen sponge into it so there is just a little on the sponge and start to work it in small smoothing circles on the painted areas of the cupboard.  This softens the highlights you made before without removing them.
  • Work away at the piece until you are happy with the effect.
  • Highlight any mouldings with a complimentary colour, I used Olive as it picked out the green in the leaves of the wallpaper.
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Highlights picked out in complimentary colour

  • Once you are happy with the piece it is time to wax and glaze it.  As the Chalk Paint is totally matt and the wallpaper had a very slight sheen I needed it to all have the same finish.
  • Wax the painted woodwork and buff to a sheen.  This creates protection for the paint, and also very slightly darkens down the paint, even with a clear wax.
  • To protect the wallpaper I used Earthborn clear wall glaze, and roughly brushed it on so the strokes again matched the wallpaper’s background.
  • And voila, the finished cupboard.  The sheen is the same all over and close up it is hard to tell it is wallpaper and not hand painted flowers: