So back a couple of months ago now (sorry for the inefficient blogging), Mum and I spotted in our new local interior shop, they were running a furniture painting course! This was perfect timing as I had started working on upcycling a few pieces of furniture, but felt that I hadn’t been quite getting the technique right. Mum hadn’t done anything like this before, but was up for the challenge even though worried she didn’t have a creative bone in her body.
Intrepid Interiors is a new shop in Leigh-on-Sea that specialises in furniture upcycled by its owner Carla, along side an array of eclectic home furnishings . Their style is bold, quirky with a touch industrial gothic feel to it. It is so refreshing to go into a local shop which stocks gifts, furniture and furnishings which has character and not your same old stock you can pick up anywhere these days.
We started the day with of course tea (as how can you start the day without tea!?) and talking about new unknowns such as colour aging, types of sandpaper, Shellac and types of finishes. My mind boggled as how I was to remember all this, however you’ll be surprised when you get stuck in how it makes sense and sinks in.
When we started our first little painting activity, one of the hardest choices of the day was picking a colour. The Grand Illusions range is so vast and charming, not one of us could pick where to begin. Their range is inspired by a Nordic-French colour palette and designed to recreate the Buttermilk paints of the 18th & 19th century. I stared with Fjord, a beautiful dusty blue as this isn’t a colour I would normally go for at home. Brave, I know. Mum went for Chapel which features in my final piece.
Carla had prepped a few pieces of the wood before hand so we had enough time in the day to try all of these new techniques. We started with a one colour aging on previously untreated wood. One coat of Fjord, a light sand, polish with a cloth and the results amazed us all. I knew where I had been going wrong over the previous months. We varnished the top with their brilliant matt varnish which doesn’t lose the pretty chalky effect of the paint whilst also protecting it.
We moved onto two colour aging next, which used the skills for the final piece. The technique is the use two colours (clue is in the name) to reveal the bottom coat through the top coat. We used creams and greys (I believe Hurricane and Vanille, but don’t quote me on that) to achieve the effect and distressed with coarse sandpaper. At this stage, we were introduced to wax finishes which soon became my favourite. Carla stocks both clear and brown which we all had a go at using. Another lesson learnt, its not just how you paint and distress your piece, the type of finish is going to help bring your piece alive and achieve the look you’re after.
We had a go at a few more techniques, but I won’t spoil all of the secrets from the workshop, you can learn those for yourself.
Our final piece was the upcycle a wooden tray. The perfect accessory for any home. We all went for the two aging process with a wax finished as we were going to use them decoratively rather than practically. I went for the colours Chapel revealing Juniper, two colours I had my eye on during the workshop.
After lots of shellacing (now a word), painting, sanding, polishing and waxing we had four very happy painting students with there new trays…
(mine was second one in, Mum’s furthest on the right)
Look at those cheeky grins!
The day was brilliant. Not only did we learn heaps but we laughed all day during the process. And were served up sandwiches and homemade cake at lunch. (Cake is always a way to my heart) Carla is a brilliant teacher with a real talent for upcycling. The only struggle of the day was trying not to buy the whole contents of the shop while busily painting away.
The most valuable advice I learnt from this session is to understand your furniture before you tackle an upcycle project. Depending if its waxed, stained, pre painted or bare, it will require the right priming before you get cracking.
And also, don’t just slap it on.
If you are interested in taking part in one of Intrepid Interiors Vintage Paint Workshops, check out their Instagram page here. Or take a look round at all there beautiful stock and absoulte candle porn.
So the question is, have I completed any furniture projects since. Ok, I am letting the side down there. However I am sure you can appreciate how busy life has been this year. Nevertheless I have my projects sitting in the garage with a few quieter weeks springing up, so I will share the upcycling love once completed (started).
Happy painting one and all.