Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Llewellyn here with Worn to Whimsy, and I have to let you know that this is my very first Blog Post! I am very excited to get started on this new venture, I am going to launch this new website at the same time. So I thought I'd start with something fun. 5 things that I have learned to do or look for in my 7 years of refinishing. We all start with the basics and learn along the way, so here we go.
Start with a good base for your furniture art.
To me this means proper prep. I know I always preach proper prep until you are probably tired of hearing it, but every time I think I'm fine and relax a bit I regret it. On a recent piece I sanded and prepped the dresser well, then on the mirror I thought I'd be fine as the paint seemed flat and was not flaking off. Well I'm not sure what they had used but my paint would not stick one bit. I ended up sanding it off and starting it over. Never any fun, but things we all learn, sometimes the hard way. Here are the steps I take for proper prep and a lasting finish. I also did a live recently on how I prep that you can find here: https://fb.watch/3GBu-aGQ-S/
Clean your piece well. I like to use White Lightning cleaner from Dixie Belle.
Make any fixes your piece may need. I put in new drawer bottoms, fix runners, glue and clamp, and add wood filler when needed.
Sand. I sand well with my surf prep sander on pieces that will need it, or scuff sand on pieces that are in better condition.
Prime. I like to use slick stick from Dixie Belle, it is made to adhere and sticks like crazy. After that I will use BOSS over any bleed through that may give me issues later.
2. Finding that perfect piece.
I put a lot of work into finding the right pieces for my art to stand out. I am constantly watching on FB marketplace, going to my local resale shops, and shopping elsewhere online. I can spend hours just looking to find the right one. I look for a piece that is beautiful already in its shape, solid wood (veneer is ok), hopefully not a ton of work needed to fix up, and of course a flat front for my paintings. Because I like solid wood pieces most of my art is done on vintage pieces. Pieces that are not already beautiful in shape and make and hard to get that wow factor out of.
3. Charging for your time and worth.
You are worth it! Your knowledge, training, and skill are worth so much. I try to always budget each piece so that I am paid well for my time, training, knowledge and skill. It is not easy to throw those prices out there, but people who know their worth will pay for it. I have a base pricing list for myself that I try and always stick to. You deserve to be paid, I do not go to my electrician and demand to pay him minimum wage.
4. Using the right products for you.
As I said before we all start somewhere. Many times it is only through trial and error that we find the best products to get us the finish we want. I started painting furniture while pregnant with my second daughter. I was working in the paint department at Lowes at the time and was learning about the paint and different finishes they could offer with it. This is where I got my first real experience of what now is my full time small business. I learned there about proper prep and the tools I would need to get a lasting finish using their 5 dollar miss-tint gallons of paint. Slowly I graduated to using different lines of chalk and mineral paints until I settled on one that I loved, and fortunately they were willing to work with me as well. Dixie Belle is my go to paint, it gets me the look I want, has all the colors I need, and is durable and lasting. The perfect paint for me!
5. Let your fears and inhibitions go.
Or at least ignore them. I was actually terrified to paint my first scene on furniture. Why? Now I can hardly even remember, but mostly what scares me is failure. I can't even imagine if I had let that fear control me and hold me back! I would be missing out on so much joy, so much peace that I find in painting. It really is therapy for the soul. So let it all go, push forward, and even failures become triumphs when you learn something new and find that happiness. Below is my first scene painting. I had no idea I had this in me. It was empowering and thrilling to create this first piece, and there is no going back now. Thank you for being here today, I hope that you have or will find your joy in creating no matter what that may look like.
-Llewellyn, Worn to Whimsy