This piece is a 50+ year old family heirloom that was built by my grandfather, with walnut that was felled on our ancestral farm probably around 1965. He called it the “credenza”, and while he built dozens of beautiful pieces of furniture over the years, the credenza was one of four larger, more paramount pieces of his body of work as a very gifted, yet hobbyist, carpenter. It is truly a treasure.
I inherited the credenza, in a manner of speaking, back in 2006, and have used it in a few different ways over the years. Incidentally, what inspired me to think of painting it (my grandfather would most likely NOT approve of covering up this beautiful walnut…ever) was when a very close friend of mine gifted me the commission of a painting by an incredible artist, Caroline Crawford Riddle. She gave it to me last year, and I finally got around to painting the credenza this spring. Life gets in the way of fun projects a lot of the time, doesn’t it? This is that painting… .
The credenza was beautiful just as it was. The stained walnut. But I wanted a more edgy look where my new, beloved painting hung. I wanted some more colour in the room instead of another brown stained piece of furniture.
I had seen this piece on some website – I forget where – and I was instantly inspired.
It was fresh looking to me, but possessed the aged, weathered, textured feel. I was hopeful I could achieve the same thing. Keep in mind I am in no way an experienced furniture painter!
Originally, I intended to do this project with a wet technique. The process of mixing water with the paint, brushing it on, and then using a cloth to wipe the paint off in certain areas to create the textured, distressed look. What ended up happening, though, is I began unloading almost as much paint off my brush as I seemed to load, and used broad strokes, and I was all the sudden using a dry brush technique.
Now, if you’re using Velvet Finishes paint in a typical fashion – painting a piece a solid colour – you will find that as you apply the paint, it truly does not matter which direction you are painting in. The strokes literally disappear. However, using a dry brush technique, it is more important to pay attention to your strokes. I wanted it to look rough-hewn, but not sloppy. The strokes needed to all go in basically the same direction.
I have to pause here for a second and sing ALLLLLL the praises for Velvet Finishes paint. I have painted furniture before, but this was the first time I had used any Velvet Finishes products. And HALLELUJAH!!!!! The best way I can describe it is this: Velvet Finishes is the “happiest” paint I’ve ever used. What I mean is, you start laying colour down “here” in this area of your piece, but then maybe you want some of it to go over “there”. I’m telling you, this paint is so obliging that it will literally load itself back on your brush and go somewhere else if you ask it to. It made the process of transforming my credenza incredibly quick! And that’s not a bad thing! It SHOULDN’T have to take days and days. This project was such a pleasure to complete, and I can’t wait for the next one. Velvet Finishes is seriously the FUN furniture paint!
Okay, so back to the process. All I did to prep the credenza was use Ready – I sprayed it pretty liberally all over, waited five or so minutes, then used a lint-free cloth to wipe it away. YEARS of gunk and whatever else: GONE. I did not sand or do any other prep.