Wednesday, 19 February 2014

#Craftblogclub Q & A

So, what an exciting and enjoyable evening. Just as a quick recap tonight was the Q & A session, hosted by me on Twitter (very ably assisted by #craftblogclub founder Emma from Frugally Peachy) and as always everyone at #Craftblogclub got involved and we even managed to Trend!! 

So, for those who prefer their answers in more than 140 characters I've expanded here and there will be some more posts coming up in the week to deal with some of the more complicated issues. 

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Q: What preparation does wood need before painting?

A: I don't prep many things at all. A quick dusting a prehaps a small sand if there are some really obvious splinters, old paint splodges but pretty much you are ready to go with Annie sloan Chalk Paint! but there are a couple of exceptions:

(i) Teak - I appears that Teak doesn't take very well to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I'm not sure why but the wood tends to really suck it up and it can take layer after layer and still look lime washed. (I know from bitter experience). This isn't necessarily a problem, but something worth remembering if you have a specific idea for a piece in mind.

Pic from Second Life Sally (via Pinterest)
If you want a solid, block colour finish like this cabinet, then I would suggest using a couple of layers of paint and then both a dark and clear wax to finish (more on next blog post).

But you have a piece made of Teak, then even if you did 5 layers, it might look like the table and chair below.  
Pic from Annie Sloan

It still looks fabulous, but it is a very different finish to the cabinet. This is far more rustic (although I'm not 100% sure I think its likely that this table is teak. 

(ii) MDF - or any untreated wood. Obviously you can just apply an ASCP undercoat, but this can become unnecessarily pricey, so I suggest just buying a cheap undercoat and using this as a base for untreated wood and then paint as normal. 

Q: I've just waxed our table but has left a strange feel to it, I'm presuming I've not rubbed it in right?

A: I tend to think of waxing a piece as a whole separate task to the painting. With ASCP people tend to find the waxing the hardest part, but its not too tricky, there are some simple tips that I find really help with the clear wax:

(i) Try applying wax using a brush, rather than a cloth. You get a more even layer and its easier on the arms.

(ii) Try and leave it at least 24 hours before you buff.

(iii) Get a really soft cloth for buffing, and most importantly make sure it is lint free. An ideal item for buffing is a high thread count old pillow slip. Or a good quality, old shirt.

(iv) Buff quickly in small circles. This is amazing for the bingo wings.

iv) If you can bare it a second waxing makes the world of difference and really protects your piece. So I would recommend repeating (i) to (iv) if you can. (Just think about getting those arms summer ready!)

(Photo from Cottage Instincts Blog)

Q: I applied AS clear wax to a piece I'd just painted, but it took some of the paint off. User Error?

A: If you rub the wax in using the same pressure on an edge as you do on the flat surfaces you will find that the edges will more than likely rub away the paint as well as buff the wax.You get a lovely finish but it can be frustrated if you didn't want a distressed look. 

That said the solution is to not rub too hard on corners and edges or to simply make it part of your design. It can be useful as it only comes away where the piece would naturally get bashed anyway. It also enhances the shape and can bring out detail.

If you really don't want any of the paint removed though you can try and build up the paint on these area, so that when you buff it merely sands down the extra paint, rather than rubbing it away!

This piece the customer did NOT want distressed at all.

But this piece looks far better with edges distressed.

I could literally spend all evening talking about wax, so this week I will be dedicating a whole post ( with pics) to waxing and varnishing pieces with how I do it - I'll add the link when its up.

Q: I want to write on my upcycling project - freehand pen, any suggestions on the best way to achieve this?

A: There are loads of different ways you can apply text or pictures to your upcycled pieces. If you have a tremendously steady hand (and possibly a degree in fine art) you could get a tester pot of ASCP in Graphite, a thin brush and just go for it. But for the rest of us mere mortals here are some other suggestions:

(i) Utilising Printables: A brilliant website called The Graphic's Fairy has every possible vintage/antique image you can ever want and even better than that loads of tutorials about how to use the free printables. You can use any of the images on your projects you simply have to credit image back to The Graphics Fairy.

(ii) You can either use the printables like decoupage and stick directly onto furniture - sounds awful, but with the right wax and finish looks entirely lovely. 

(iii) Stencils: You can use the printed images on card and then cut around image to make your own stencil. If this sounds far too complicated The Royal Design Studio Stencils have some gorgeous stencils that work brilliantly and can be bought from their Etsy store.

(iv) Stickers are another option. There are lots around and these are fail safe and rarely look like stickers if they "fit the piece". This may be my recommendation if you wanted script and were unsure.

(v) If you were really brave though and not too maverick you could have a go in pencil and then decide if you wanted to go over it in paint with a thin brush or with a permanent marker. The downside of using the marker is I have found it smudges when you wax it so you need to varnish rather than wax. Here's a link to my post about using Varnish on your pieces

Table with decoupage Image from Graphic's fairy and waxed top. 

Amazing stencils from Royal Design Studio

Ok, so hopefully thats a quick taster for you guys to get started at the very least. I'm very excited about seeing everyone's projects. Remember please just drop me a line on here, Twitter or Facebook if you've got anymore questions and I'll do my best to help! 

Verity x

PS: While we are here- all these answers are from my personal experience. I do a lot of upcycling, but I wouldn't claim to be The Oracle! I don't work for or get any kick backs from Annie Sloan, so I don't think I am bias, but I do love using her paints! So rest assured this is not just me plugging all her products, its just I genuinely do think they are great! The same goes for any other products I mention. 


  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up :) I really enjoyed chatting to you on Twitter last night — and am really looking forward to putting your advice into practice ;) I'll let you know how I get on!! Caro X

    1. Caro,

      I had a wonderful evening too! Looking forward to seeing your finished piece, make sure you keep us posted.

      Verity x

  2. This was a really useful post! Hopefully I'll be able to have a go at some of this!

    1. Icy,

      Glad it was helpful, hopefully it will give you an idea of how to start anyway-although my best advice is just get going! It doesn't matter how it goes, as you can always change it again if you don't like it!

      Thanks for popping by.

      Verity x