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Martha Leone Design: The blog is where I share thoughts on the creative process and share lots of pictures of each finished piece of painted furniture. Critiques are always welcome!

Two French Gray and White Pieces and Lessons Learned

Martha Leone

French Gray and white 5 by Martha Leone DesignFrench Gray and white 1 by Martha Leone Design French Gray and white 2 by Martha Leone Design French Gray and white 3 by Martha Leone Design French Gray and white 4 by Martha Leone DesignFrench Gray and White 3French Gray and White 2

Meet my latest french provencal pieces. They were painted for a customer who lives in Washington, DC and will be placed adjacent to a bold stenciled wall in the master bedroom. Mixing the classic lines of a french piece with a contemporary stencil pattern will create lots of drama.


Primer: Zinsser oil based primer tinted gray

Colors on dresser: Sherwinn Williams Cityscape and Nebulous White

Colors on drawer pulls: metallic silver and black paint

Sealer: Howard's wax on frame and drawers; Varathane water-based Polyurethane on top


Lesson learned

The long dresser had been previously painted by someone else and my customer bought it with the intention of having it repainted by me. In order to prepare it for the new paint, I stripped the top and sanded the entire piece. Here's a list of problems I noticed in the green/yellow paint job and suggested remedies. Feel free to add to my suggestions! It's great to learn from fellow painters!

Problem: The green and gold paint were applied in very thick layers.

Remedy: Whether you use a roller or paint brush, always apply thin coats rather than one thick coat and allow paint to dry between coats. Sometimes I use Floetrol which is an additive to latex paint that slows down the drying process and thus allows the paint to flow more smoothly and keeps it wet so that you can avoid those unsightly pull marks you get from paint that dries too quickly during application.

Problem: Paint was applied on the inside and outside of the dresser frame and to the drawers' edges.

Remedy: Don't do this unless absolutely necessary! I've found that many drawers in dressers built during the mid 1940s-1970s slide into their dresser frame without much wiggle room. So painting the sides and top edges of drawer fronts can be tricky and cause sticking, etc. If I paint those parts, I tend to paint in very thin layers or not at all.

Problem: The green/yellow paint didn't cure although the piece had been painted weeks before I received it.

Remedy: Oh my goodness people, we really need to take care to properly prep our pieces. I'm guilty of taking short cuts in the past and they almost never pay off. I sand almost every piece I paint, even if I'm using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint although her paint is amazing and doesn't really need that extra step.

So, what solutions have your found to common painting problems?

French Gray and White


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