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How to Create French Elegant Style

IMG_5496 The Inspiration Photo: inspiration image For the perfectly imperfect antiqued look that remains en vogue with furniture, finding just the right piece done the way you want can be a challenge of time, funds, and patience. However, creating your ideal piece is easier than you think and the best--and most fun--way of ensuring you end up with exactly what you want. Now combing antique markets or furniture sales isn’t limited to the finish; falling in love with a piece of furniture can be all about the bones of a piece. With the right supplies and a little bit of technique, you’ll be finishing it to perfect imperfection in no time. The Before Photo: Image 1 We suggest starting with an inspiration image, and your choice of  Annie Sloan paint colour. We went with one coat of Louis Blue, using Annie’s brush, for a French-inspired
final product. Apply one coat of paint to the entire piece. Quality brushes truly make a difference and, if kept clean and taken care of, will accompany you through many painting projects. Don’t be afraid of the brush: use it with gusto and in differing strokes to encourage texture. As most of Annie’s colours are one-coat coverage, we covered the entire piece with one, fairly thick coat of the Louis Blue. Once dry, we followed up with  a second coat on the top and used a blow dryer to create a cracked appearance. Image 2 Next, we highlighted the piece’s detail with Pure White to match our inspiration photo. Dragging your brush through the carved detail gives that extra hint of colour and depth. Don’t be too concerned with coverage in this step. IMG 3
IMG_5Using a fine sanding block, 220 grit is ideal, we distressed and exposed some of the natural wood. Always go with the grain of the wood, and hit the high points of the design where “natural wear-and-tear” would happen with age to give it that faux-antique finish.

We then applied Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax to the entire piece as it is the perfect partner to Chalk Paint, developed to work together and used for protection and to give a beautiful mellow finish. Next we added gold gilding wax here and there for a IMG_6dash of sparkle and elegance. Using only a very little bit on your finger, smooth it in the grooves to create a patina. Again, we’re not overly concerned with being exact or coverage; it’s all about highlighting beauty. Next we add Annie Sloan Dark Wax to highlight all of the texture we’ve created and the carved details, and take down the gold gilding. It’s our preference to use a  Wax Brush here, and one for each colour: a dark wax is applied with a dark wax brush and another for the clear wax as you do not want to cross-contaminate your wax brush! :) Once we love our finish, leave it overnight to cure and buff with a clean, soft cloth in the morning, and then attach your hardware.The soft wax produces a shine that is lasting and lustrous. Beware: this process can get addicting, especially with the world of colour Annie Sloan paints opens up, it’s easy to change up the entire feel of your space with one piece of furniture. We’d love to see your “Before” and “After” shots! Feel free to leave them in the comments below. The entire piece can be a intense day project for the seasoned DIYer, or a comfortable weekend project. If you’re looking for further guidance, sign up to take one of our Basics + More workshop!

 

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