Vintage Refurbishment – Indian Wooden Letter Rack And Key Hanger

I found this little gem at an auction and knew instantly what I wanted to do with it. Refurbishing smaller items is just as enjoyable as working on those bigger pieces and for this little project I decided on a two colour theme and the addition of some crystals to really shabby it up to its full potential.

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This vintage letter rack and key hanger is beautifully made from thick wood and features a stunning carved out leaf pattern. Its stickers indicate that the product was handmade in India, though these stickers were somewhat difficult to remove so have now been painted over in Annie Sloan chalk paint. As this rack is made from real wood, certain areas have been untreated (areas between the wood carving) so as to ensure the product was splint free I gave it a quick firm sanding over.

The wood was then wiped with warm soapy water and then covered in a coat of Annie Sloan Paris Grey chalk paint, with the carved cut out areas being left untouched because to these areas of the rack, I would be applying a second colour paint! For this project I decided upon Farrow and Ball ‘Pale Hound’ a lovely cream colour with hints of yellow.

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I wanted to achieve a real shabby appearance so wasn’t too careful with my painting, only taking more care where the two colours met to avoid overlap. Some areas received two thin coats of paint where other areas were left with one to help produce that old shabby hand-painted effect. It was important that the cut out areas really stood out and remained the racks main focal point. I think the cream contrasts really well with the grey and by making the cut out areas this colour it has helped me to achieve that.

Before applying my white flat backed 4mm crystals I gave the entire piece a good wax using Annie Sloan clear wax and then slightly distressed areas of the rack with 100 grit sand paper before giving it a final coat of wax.

The crystals were then applied to areas of the cut out carved wood, being placed randomly on corners and tips of each leaf.

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I’m really pleased with the end result and feel that although this was pretty before the refurb, its now more fresh and interesting and will have little problems getting noticed, making a statement on any hallway wall.

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This piece is now for sale. Remember you can email me to see where I’ll be selling each weekend or buy online using PayPal. Plus I’ve opened an esty shop called “Chic Collective” and I’m in the process of listing all items so be sure to browse whenever desired. Remember refurbished furniture makes each piece a one of a kind, making it truly unique to you, your personal taste and personality.

Note: I’m in the process of displaying my items including vintage jewellery and nicknacks on their own pages within the blog too. These should be ready soon. You can visit my instagram which currently displays images of some of my items.

Email clairelouise.tss@gmail.com for more info.

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Little Vintage Refurbs And Upcycles

I’ve currently been working on a few smaller scale refurb projects. These include yet another vintage spice rack complete with lidded jars and a vintage wooden letter rack which I’ll show you in a later post.

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Well, as for the spice rack which was a plain wall mountable small shelf in a rose wood colour, I simply reprinted the shelf using farrow and ball in the colour Pale Hound. First my shelf was sanded and primed before giving it a total of two coats of the paint. I then applied some clear Annie Sloan wax before giving the entire piece a light quick sanding only applying light pressure with a piece of 100 grit sandpaper. I then applied a second coat of wax that I buffed and left to dry.

The jars were cleaned and the original labels left on. I removed the lids that were made of the same wood and these were painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in the colour Paris Grey. Two coats were applied before being waxed and sanded in the same way as the shelf they would stand on.

I then used my Annie Sloan paint to paint a small moulding which I brought in the design and shape of a rose from an online source. Once dry I used some extra strong wood glue to apply the painted moulding to the centre of the shelf, before finally adding my jar lids and standing them on their newly painted shelf.

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Simple… Its complete and now ready to be mounted on someone’s kitchen wall, where just a few hours ago this was just about ready for the bin! The difference a little shabby chic makes is amazing & very easy to create.

This will now be sold and is available now. You can find me at vintage fairs, bootfairs and festivals throughout the summer mainly in London and Kent. But if I’m not at an event near you, those wanting to buy any of the vintage furniture and nicknacks I sell (including vintage jewellery and textiles) can do so by contacting me directly (email address in side bar or contact tab). I often display some of my items here on the blog or via Instagram (Claire Louise Parkinson). I’m in the process of creating a few pages on the blog to display such items and this should be ready shortly so please look out for this.

How Too Create Vintage Inspired Crackled Crystal Drawer Knobs

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I love to make things that bit different by adding my own unique touch to them. As I needed some new drawer knobs for some refurbished vintage furniture. I decided I’ll hand paint my own, while trying some new techniques at the same time.

For this project I brought some plain white ceramic drawer knobs to paint. Here’s what I used…

Plain White Ceramic Knobs (Homebase but brought mine from a bootfair)

Ceramic Paint (I used Pink)

Tiny White Flat Backed Crystals (real not acrylic)

Decopatch Glossy Glue

PVA (glue)

Water (to dilute glue)

Acrilex Tinta Craquelex – Number 810 (basically a crackle paint in baby blue)

There are also some tools required…

4 Brushes (for glue/paint)

1 Sponge Applicator (small)

Jar/Bowl (to mix PVA with water)

Stick (to mix PVA and water)

Heat Tool/Hair Dryer

I wanted my drawer knobs to have a vintage, shabby chic feel about them, so they would nicely match our current furnishings that I have been refurbishing with Annie Sloan chalk paint.

To start I gave the knobs two coats of pink ceramic paint (20 minutes drying time between coats).

I then took my PVA glue and added 4 big dollops to a preserving jar and mixed in some water. I added around one part more glue then water. This made a fair amount, nowhere near what I needed for this project, but given I’ve used a preserving jar, it will keep for later crafts. Remember you really don’t need to buy an expensive crackle medium as this really does do the very same thing for much less.

I then took a small tip paint brush and painted the glue over the tops of my drawer knobs, being careful to avoid drips. I was creating a total of 4 knobs so worked in groups of twos. This is so your knobs don’t have time to completely air dry.

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Once your glue is applied, take either a hair dryer or heat tool and give each knob some help to dry with a blast of heat (only, don’t dry fully)! You need your glue to be almost dry (the tacky stage).

Now take your Acrilex Tinta Craquelex (aka crackle paint) and with a clean brush apply directly over the top of the glue.

IMPORTANT… Do not go over the same painted surface more than once or this will stop the crackling effect from appearing altogether.

TIP… Dab on at speed adding texture as you go for a sharper effect.

As soon as the tops of your knobs are covered again use a heat tool/hair dryer and you should start to see the cracks begin to appear before your very eyes.

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Use the heat source till your knob tops are almost completely dry to touch. Then leave for 30-40 minutes to air dry.

At this stage you can work on the remaining 2 knobs in the same way.

Once the tops have dried, apply the PVA solution to the remaining areas of your knobs. Do this in the same way as before (using heat source till glue is tacky). Then again apply the crackle to the remaining areas only this time sponge it on. Don’t forget.. Never go over the same area more than once.

Once more apply the heat source to each knob to help cracks develop and speed up the drying process.

Leave to air dry as before.

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Once these are dry, take your white flat back crystals, a clean small brush and some Decopatch glue.

Mod podge is to thick for this project and PVA won’t give it the protection it will require, Decopatch glossy glue seals these perfectly!

Gently apply the Decopatch glue to each knob. Only apply 1 thin layer and always go in the same direction as you started, avoiding unsightly brush marks.

One by one as you’re applying the glue, put in place your flat back crystals (a column of three down the middle).

Be sure to cover each drawer knob entirely in a thin layer of Decopatch glue, including over the top of each crystal to completely seal them in place. Be carefully you don’t leave any drips or overly wet areas before leaving to dry for at least an hour maybe even more (depends on the conditions your working in).

The effect is wonderful, the crackling gives them a very pretty vintage feel and I think the effect actually resembles that of lace a little.

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The images I’ve included fail to really show the true gorgeousness of these drawer knobs. The crystals sparkle beautifully which sadly was very had to capture in a photograph.

So… What do you think?

This isn’t particularly difficult to do, yet its a technique that still manages to produce such beautiful effects.

I’ll be sure to snap a few pictures of the drawer knobs once I’ve fitted them.

Thanks again for reading.

Homemade Sweetie Jars For Any Occasion

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I just thought I’d share some of my latest sweetie jars I’ve put together.

I love these round jars that almost look like fish bowls (a little bigger and these would be perfect for punch).

The round jars have been decorated with pretty self adhesive transfers. One is decorated in a pretty rose design making them the perfect gift for Mother’s Day or a girly birthday gift. This jar is filled with blue and pink Bon bons as well as the classic love hearts. The jar is finished of with the tying of a pretty pink ribbon

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20130309-043543.jpgThe Love Tape is used to secure the lid

The second round jar is decorated with pretty little butterflies and then filled with layers of retro flying saucers, shrimps and bananas and dolly mixtures, making this ideal for the 80’s sweet fan.

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Round jars also make perfect table centre pieces for weddings and christening. Once your jar is empty these make ideal storage solutions. I have one or two housing cotton pads and one for beads.

I’ll soon be setting up a site where I’ll be selling a variety of jars filled with sweets and other gifts (pampering goodies, craft kits etc). I’m also planning on making a selection of party bags and Wedding favours.

If that wasn’t enough I’m also thinking about selling items of furniture I refurbish using mostly Annie Sloan paints, as well as other vintage items.

Check out the fantastic jar bottles I’m planning on selling! Absolutely perfect for baby showers. Fantastic don’t you think?

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If anyone has any tips on the whole online vintage shop idea, I’d love to hear from you.

This Weeks Vintage Finds

Saturday I had an awesome time bargain hunting over at a newly discovered Rummage Sale that took place at “Foal Farm” located in Biggin hill Kent.

The rummage sale is a cross between a bootfair and jumble sale. There is absolutely loads of bric a brac to look through, plus toys and collectables.

Foal Farm is actually an animal rescue sanitary so they also have there own pet shop on site selling reasonably priced items.

There is both stalls inside and outside to explore. I really did found some great vintage treasure for very little money at all.

Here’s a round up of just some of the items I brought…

Stunning silver plated candle stick holder Marked “E.P Zinc Silver Plated Made in England”

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Sadly I only got the one, though I’m sure I spotted two of these when I first approached the stall. I didn’t buy this right away and that’s why I probably missed out on bagging the set. However this didn’t cost much at all. At the end of the sale we were told to fill a bag for a £1… Yes £1! This was one of the many items I added to my pound bag.

Crystal tray and miniature crystal bottles…

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I’m unsure if this crystal dish is meant for serving snacks etc. I however thought it would be great for my dresser. Different items of makeup or jewellery can be placed in the different dividers.

The two glass bottles I brought in my bag for a £1 bargain, where the dish cost me 70p.

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Vintage Hand Mirror For Dresser…

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This mirror is really pretty and I was only charged a £1 by the stall holder.

Paris Style Sweet Tin…

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This cute paris style sweet tin was a steal at 30p. Its great for sewing materials or simply just storage for all them little odds and ends.

Tiny Vintage Trinket

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I don’t know why but I love this very tiny little trinket. Its big enough to fit just one ring but its beautifully designed and was one of my favourite buys of the day.

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Shabby Chic Oil Burner…

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A very cute little oil burner that I again loaded into my a bag for a quid.

Small Crystal Decanter…

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I don’t know what it is about decanters and glass bottles but I’m really ending up with a tidy collection. I think its all down to a book I own on creating Vintage gifts. One section has this great idea on using pretty decanters to store bubble baths and scented powders. Again this came in my bag for a pound stash.

Shabby Cream Box…

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Not like I haven’t got enough already, I couldn’t resist this cream wooden box that I brought for 50p. The lid lifts up for storage, plus it has a spacious drawer. A perfect jewellery box painted or left as it is.

Vintage Bone China Soap Dish…

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What can I say, it was 25p and its very pretty indeed. Its bone china and has all the markings on the back.

Book Plates…

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I’m unsure why I brought these as I’ve been trying to downsize my book collection. I just found them really sweet. Simply full in your name and stick to the inner cover of your book. They are old, though I’m not to sure just how old. Anybody else seen these before? These were added to my bag for a pound (I actually ended up filling 3 bags for a £1, hence the reason why I can’t share all my items here today)!

Small Decorative Porcelain Perfume Bottle…

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This is a miniature perfume bottle that’s really decorative and looks great on a dresser. It was just 50p and I love it! Not to sure what the last part of the markings indicate but like it all the same.

I also got a beautiful shabby chic wooden chair and a lovely little shelf unit for £4, that I plan to refurbish with some Annie Sloan chalk paint. I will be sure to share once I get started.

Vintage Bedroom Furniture Refurbishment Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

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As some of you may have guessed I’m really into everything vintage and shabby chic so decided to refurbish some old furniture pieces to create a shabby chic inspired bedroom set.

I brought the pieces of furniture I wanted to use from a British Heart foundation store that only specialise in furniture and electrical goods.

I brought a dresser that looks 50’s to me. It was dark wood with lots of drawers and a huge mirror! The dresser was priced at just £25

I also brought a chest of drawers that somebody had painted white. These again are rather spacious with 3 really large drawers. The chest of drawers was also a steal at £25

I also brought for the bedroom some white bedside drawers. These had some pretty mouldings on the front but one or two were missing. It also had some pretty porcelain handles. The bedside drawers were an amazing bargain at just £5.

The last item I brought was a vintage French Mahogany Side/Lamp table that used to form part of a nest of tables. This again cost me just £5.

Feeling inspired by the mouldings on the bedside drawers I went on a hunt for some French inspired mouldings on the net. I found some lovely ones being sold by Chic mouldings via eBay. With this I purchased 4 floral corners for £3.49, 3 Rose and Ornate Scrolls for £6.99 and finally 2 large Rose and Ornate Scrolls for £12.99.

My next decision was what paint to use. Having done a lot of research on the net I finally decided on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the colour Paris Grey. Luckily for me there is a store close by who sells the paint as these are only sold in selected stores. I also purchased Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

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I’ve heard many people state how expensive Annie Sloan paint is, and at £17 per litre at first I would have agreed. However I’ve used just over half a litre tin on all four of my items. All but the lamp table received 2 coats of paint. The wax was priced at around £7.99 and again I’ve used about half a tin. I really can’t believe how far this paint goes!

The best thing about Annie Sloan paint, that I’m sure anyone would tell you, is there is no prep work, the paint sticks to any surface even those that are highly varnished.

The one thing I needed to do was brush and wash down all my furniture to remove dust and marks.

As this was my first time working with this paint I first tried it out on the smallest item… The side/lamp table. I used a big brush from the Harris range at homebase and a smaller brush that I use when using acrylic for the hard to reach areas, then I got going. Chalk paint is really thick and you can add a little water. I didn’t really need to this for the side table but the longer I had the paint the thicker it became so on some of the other items I just added a little water to my brush.

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The paint went on really easily and gave good coverage. If your using this paint for the first time you will discover just how amazingly fast this stuff dries. This is why its important to ensure you haven’t got any drip marks, keep checking as you paint each section. I loved how the table looked with just the one coat of chalk paint and wanted a lot of dark wood to show through once distressed.

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A lot of people wax there wood, distress then wax again. I only needed to use this technique for the small bedside drawers as I found these harder to work with. The paint came of more easily so I decided to wax before distressing then wax again. Nonetheless I didn’t need to do this for the table, dresser or chest of drawers. So once my table was dry I used some 100 grit sandpaper to distress. I paid particular attention to the corners of the table, the feet and sides.

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Once distressed to my satisfaction I used an antique soft dresser brush (that I found in a charity shop) to remove any dust. I then used a cloth to apply my wax working section by section. I applied the wax with the cloth and then used an old washed body power puff to buff where I had waxed.

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Its easy to tell when your wax is fully dried as it looks patchy as certain areas dry ahead of others. The darker areas are those that are still wet.

Before painting my bedside drawers I used the side of a wallpaper scrapper to remove the mouldings. I then took four of the removed mouldings and with some mod podge I stuck 2 to the top corners of the first drawer and 2 to the bottom corners of the second drawer. These were dry and strong within about 30 minutes.

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As mentioned my bedside drawers were much harder to paint simply because the wood wasn’t of such good quality. Despite the fact I liked the handles I removed them and replaced with some lovely floral handles I brought from eBay. The bedside drawers were painted with two coats of paint and I added a little water to my brush as the paint had become quite thick. The bedside drawers got waxed both before and after distressing.

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As for the dresser I removed the mirror and then using mod podge to stuck the 4 floral corners onto the dresser and then I took my large rose and ornate scrolls sticking one each in the centre of both my large drawers. I applied two coats of paint to my dresser letting them dry for around 40 minutes in between coats. I didn’t remove the hardware as despite ordering some 8 beautiful crystal handles from eBay I was still unfortunately waiting on them arriving. Instead I just painted over the handles it already had attached.

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I had a lot of fun distressing this piece and was really pleased with the final result. I found this one took quite a bit of waxing but it was worth it.

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As for my drawers I added my 3 small rose and ornate scrolls to the centre of each draw but decided to paint them first. I worked in the same way as I did my dresser only I was more gentle when sanding as I discovered the previous owners had painted these lilic before they painted them white and wanted to ensure it was only the white that was visible when distressed.

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I painted over the metal Crome handles, distressing lightly as to allow some of the Crome to show through.

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I had so much fun working on this project. I absolutely love the results and now want to paint all that I own and more. I’ve brought a stunning mahogany magazine rack that I want to refurbish. I’m also planning on using some dark wax for this one… I’m getting brave!