When I first mentioned refinishing my china hutch, I asked you lovely readers for your opinions on color.

But first let’s take a look at the before…

If you’re new to LCH, you can read about where I got the hutch here.

More than a few of you liked my tentative yellow plan, so I picked up a quart of SW White Raisin to give it a go…conservatively. As in, I only painted the top half. Well I didn’t want to waste time or paint!

I left it like that for a few days, trying to decide if yellow was working for me. It was totally awesome, the yellow and wood two-tone look, that is.

While initially I thought I wanted the hutch to be lighter (hence the yellow plan), I decided that I really needed that contrast against the wall color. Womp womp. Guess there was only one way to find that out. So the White Raisin got a big fat “Meh.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s the perfect buttery yellow- it just wasn’t working in this application.

Moving on to the next highest vote: metallic! I confess I actually thought about going glam with this hutch about 6 months ago after first seeing the Zinc Collection at Restoration Hardware. So when I saw the Aged Iron finish on a few pieces recently online, I really wanted to go for it.

On Day 3 of split personality hutch, I set out on a quest for Rub n’ Buff (I heard that stuff is the JAM), but I couldn’t find it in any local retailer. #craftfail

Maybe some people would have just ordered it online and waited for it to come in. I’m way too impatient for that. So I set out to create my own version of the finish using metallic craft paint.

I figured I better start out with something grey-ish if I wanted this to work, so I got out my quart of SW Dovetail (I would imagine you could use any gray you like, this is just what I had on hand) and mixed it up with some Plaster of Paris and water to make it a chalk-ish. There are several chalk paint “recipes” online, I recommend trying a few to see what you like working with.

Whenever I use chalk paint these days, instead of sanding I just wipe down the whole piece with some TSP (de-greaser).  You’re really getting to know all the best sides of me here: impatient, lazy, and way too casual with measurements.

I slapped the hutch out of its funk with a couple of coats of Dovetail, just until the top (yellow) and bottom (wood-ish) were about the same color. The base coat doesn’t have to be perfect!

Then I laid out my metallics: Folk Art’s Silver Sterling, Gunmetal Gray, and Sequin Black.

The next part may sound complicated, but trust me I’m sure anyone could re-create this technique. I used the black and gunmetal to make a medium gray and chalkified it with some PofP. Why? Well I figured that I wanted it to be metallic, but not shiny. I was looking for a deep matte finish in areas, to simulate age (versus new polished metal) you know. Faux sho.

There really is no science to my mixes. I just wanted to create several layers of color to get the most realistic look possible. The great thing about paint is that you can just keep applying it until you like what you see :)

To re-cap, so far I have painted my whole piece Dovetail, taken a detour into self-deprecation-ville, and now…we’re ready to get glam.

Through a series of trial and error experiments (are you surprised?), I developed this not-so-patented method. Working in small areas here is what I did:

It’s a little hectic, but it works :) After I got a good blend, I would add some darker and lighter spots in addition to applying a bit more of the medium metallic/chalk glaze. The stencil dabbers are KEY, I would not use any other tool…but be prepared to get your arm workout. The application method is fast dabbing motion, rather than a brushing motion. I encourage you to let each set of steps dry before adding anymore paint because I found the colors/shading to change a lot from wet to dry.

You didn’t think you’d get to see a picture of the finished hutch at the end of this post, did you?!?!

Ok, well actually I don’t want to ruin the other half of the makeover- the interior! Stay tuned :)

 

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