Thursday, May 29, 2014

Painting Questions and Answers

I've received some similar questions recently about painting and refinishing furniture so I thought I'd answer them in one post.

How come I see so many brush strokes in my ASCP?
There could be several reasons to your problem here.  Sometimes the ASCP can be a little thick.  You may have left the top off for awhile or it could be a little thick to begin with. Take some paint and put it in another container and add "a little bit of water" to your paint.  A little bit means a tablespoon or two at a time - no more.  Don't stick your can under the faucet and let the water run into your can!  Too much water will ruin your paint.

Another reason for your brush strokes could be due to your brush.  You don't have to use an ASCP brush, but I recommend using a good quality brush.  I use a Purdy brush with long bristles.

Brush strokes can also be seen based on how you are "laying" your paint.  Your "finishing stroke", meaning your last stroke with your paint brush on a row should go from left to right (or right to left), all the way from one side to the other. All strokes should start on the same side. On the sides you should be going top to bottom.  If you pick up your brush in the middle of the stroke, you are going to see this.  You also can't go back over an last time, after it has started to dry.  This can be in just a few minutes.  Lay your paint. Do one clean sweep from left to right and then move to the next section.

How much wax is too much wax?
You don't want a lot of wax on your brush.  Just enough to rub into your wood and then rub off.  I work in very small sections when waxing.  I am very specific in where the wax is going.  I wax like I paint.  I work from left to right and when taking off my wax my last stroke goes completely from one end to the other.  Don't overwork your wax or you will get streaks. When you take your wax off, let it dry before you go back and buff.  If you wipe too start buffing.  Then it looks like you have some shiny areas and some not so shiny areas.  Make sense?  Practice on a small piece of furniture before you do a big piece.

How do you clean your wax brushes?
You can use hot soapy water right after you finish a project but this doesn't always get all the wax off. Trust me, you want it off. If you don't, the next time you use your brush, it is going to be flaky and those flakes will end up on your next piece which is not good.  Lye soap, which can be found in hardware stores is very good in getting the wax off. But the best thing to use is Mineral Spirits.  The plain spirits in the blue and aluminum can.  Put a little in a plastic cup enough to come up a 1/4 of the way on your brush.  Dip your brush in the spirits.  It will soak up through the bristles and then squeeze the wax out of your brush and rinse with warm water.  Your bristles will be super soft!

How do you get the streaks out of the Annie Sloan wax?
In my personal opinion, ASCP and waxes are meant to be used for a vintage look.  Vintage meaning, old, worn and distressed.  Now don't get me wrong, you can get a good shiny look with your wax but if you are looking for a glossy finish with no streaks or brush strokes - use a polyurethane!  There is a technique to get a nice glossy finish but if you want perfectly smooth wax and no streaks showing you don't want a wax.  You can use a poly on ASCP so if that is what you want - try it.  I like the wax.  I like imperfect pieces. You can add a little bit of mineral spirits to your wax too.  Put some wax in a cup, add a few drops of mineral spirits and mix.  This will help the wax spread smoother and evenly.

You can also use 0000 steel wool or a buffing brush after your wax has dried and this helps get a smoother finish.

What is one and a half layers of Annie Sloan paint?
This means, one coat of ASCP and then after this has dried, on your next coat, dip your brush in the paint and then in a "little bit of water" and do your next coat.  Be careful with this.  If you are not consistent, you will be able to see the differences in paint on your piece.  I like to do a full coat first.  Then, pour some paint in a cup, add a little water and mix and then do your next coat a little thinner.  Thinning your paint out will also give a smoother appearance to your brush strokes.  But remember - not too much! A little water goes a long way.

What are your favorite colors to use?
I am a neutral person.  I like Old White, French Linen, Country Grey and Paris Grey.  I like colors that I know can be used in all rooms.  For pops of color I like Duck Egg and my new favorite is Antoinette.

Is Graphite grey or black?
Graphite is not a true black.  It has grey tones in it.  I used it here with Paris Grey and Old White and it looks black as a top but it's not a true black.  In the sunlight, it can take on a softer shade so look at where you are putting your piece before you cover it in graphite.  An all graphite piece may look a little more grey than you want.

Do you have to use the dark wax?
You do not have to use the dark wax.  If you like your piece with just the clear wax, then leave it.  If you want to use a little dark wax - use a little.  See my Dark Wax tutorial here.  I add a little mineral spirits to my dark wax.  Just a little bit will make it smoother and give you time to play with it versus using the dark wax out of the can.  Use it in areas that you have distressed and follow it immediately with 0000 steel wool.

Do you distress before or after you wax?
I distress before I wax.  I like to see my piece distressed before I start the waxing process.  There have been many a times, when I've done too much distressing and I need to go back and touch up.  I don't want to wax and then go back and re-wax.

How do you clean your pieces once they are done?  
Once your piece is fully cured, about 30 days, I just use a soft cloth with water or dust the old fashioned way with a soft cloth.  Stay away from harsh cleaners.

Hopefully these answer some of your questions.  If you have others, let me know!  You can reach me at