Smash Hit! Did I really do this?

Have you ever had a moment when the stars were aligned and the world seamlessly fell in place? In one simple moment there were no problems. Dinner did not burn. The basement did not flood. No construction detours altered your vacation route. Nod your head if you get what I am saying. In my experience these droplets of pure astonishment are as rare as my students returning their library books on time. Oh happy dance when those stars align in the night sky and do not fall. Instead, they illuminate the darkness and give way to a single voice (mine) that shrieks to anyone within hearing distance, “Well I’ll be. Did I really do this? Put down that remote control and come look now!” 

Painting furniture is my jam. It is easy to take a piece of discarded furniture and turn it into a piece of beauty. Wandering in a thrift shop one afternoon I came across a white and scruffy looking, rolling cabinet. I thought it would make an interesting side table or tv stand with some tender loving care. Forty dollars later I had the piece in the back of my Toyota Four Runner and then unloaded into the garage on my side. Yes, my side of the garage. Heaven forbid to put it on the hubby’s side. Secretly though, he shares pretty easily when I take over with a paint project. I think he thinks it is simply better to get out of my way so I can finish sooner than later. He even popped off the wheels for me because I wanted the cabinet to sit flush on the floor. With a dremel we evened up the four corners so it did not wobble. Time to paint.

I am kind of indecisive. Choosing a paint color can keep my mind second guessing. Junk Monkey Paint is my go to cans when I want to paint with a chalky style design. Buttercream made the cut and with a cheap chip brush the first coat went on without a hitch. Using a chip brush helped me paint in my favorite shabby style. I don’t mind the brush strokes left in the wet paint which a chip brush leaves. Find these inexpensive paint brushes at your local hardware store. If you want a smooth surface use a roller. One helpful tip about painting with chalk paint is that it dries quickly and within fifteen minutes I was using another color called Raisin’ The Bar to add a dark distressed look around the edges. Another tip to file away is that purple is a great color option to use for shadows to define the unique shapes carved into wood. Look at the photo to the right and see the added depth the purple shadow gives to the door, drawers, and edges. In addition to using a chip brush to make the piece look chic shabby, I used a sandblock and sanded here and there to add more of a worn out and timeless look.

Now for the part I like the best.  Time to decorate with the fun stuff. I decided to take the handles and spray paint them in a pewter color and then dab with the chip brush a light coat of Buttercream which highlighted the metallic look.  Notice the words on the handle. Easy! I cut out a transparent quote, stuck it on, and then applied a light polyacrylic sealer. If you want a sealer that does not yellow over time. Checkout Junk Monkey Paint and their variety of sealers. My favorite is champagne. It is the perfect choice between gold and silver. Finally, I grabbed my scissors and patiently did a little ‘fussy cutting” around a set of rub on transfers I had on hand in my art studio. The colors and size of the flowers matched perfectly with the Buttercream color. It took more time than I thought to apply the transfers because I am indecisive like I mentioned, but when I was done my time was well spent. Rub on transfers are easy to use. All that is needed is a tool with a flat surface to rub over the transfer on the surface it is being adhered to. I used a popsicle stick and a paint stick. I purchased my rub on transfers online from a company called Redesign By Prima. Their transfers can be found by sellers on Etsy and Amazon as well. Of course there are other companies to choose from so take your time and window shop.

I finished the project with a coat of matte sealer on the bottom and a glossy coat on the top. One last tip. When you finish sealing a piece of furniture, resist the temptation to set anything on top of it for at least a month. It takes paint and sealers about three weeks to cure. I leave my refurbished furniture clutter free for four weeks to be on the safe side. You will cry if you decorate with your grandmother’s favorite vase only to lift it up to dust and see an impression of the bottom of the vace. I’m impressed with this cabinet. My husband took back control of the garage and complemented me as he walked back into the house to pick up the remote control and resume his movie on Netflix. I did put the cabinet up for sale, but decided I needed it more in my home and currently it is being used as  a tv stand. It stores my Halloween decoorations as well.  Next time you see a discarded piece of furniture that catches your eye on the side of the road, or maybe even in a thrift shop, don’t be afraid to take it home to paint and play.  You could end up with a  smash hit on your hands too.

Laura Miller is a teacher librarian and self proclaimed “Art Jack”–A Jack-Of-Trades of all things artsy. Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, or at                         Contact at