Yep, I said it. Painting antique furniture is something I do and if you want to paint your antiques…..go ahead. My project piece today is 100+ years old and I painted it.
You guys know I don’t restore wood furniture if it needs a lot of work. This wardrobe was missing veneer in places and I don’t do replacement veneer. I did question whether I wanted to paint this piece or just clean it up and oil the wood but in the end, I decided to paint.
Paint Antique Furniture
Today is Furniture Fixer Upper Day and we lost another of our furniture painters this month. As time goes along some of us go in different directions with our DIY’s and that’s okay. I know I’m painting less furniture than I used to. At one time I was painting a couple of pieces a week or more. Now it's a couple of pieces a month.
Anyway, we have a good tour coming up so be sure and click on the tour links at the bottom of the post. Also, I have a short video showing how I distressed and waxed this antique piece.
If You don't Have any Antique Furniture then Buy a Piece
I bought the antique wardrobe at an online auction. I think I paid $55 plus a %10 buyers premium. Not a bad price. The auction description said this piece was made about 1910. There was a tag on the back and I could read some of it. The wardrobe was made by Rome Cabinet Company, Rome Georgia. I tried to research the company and only found a bit of information. The company was started in 1908.
Ckean and Repair The Furniture
I took the drawers out of the wardrobe and vacuumed everything inside and out. Then I cleaned the wood with Simple Green, again, inside and out. Don't forget to turn furniture on it's back and clean the bottom. There are usually a lot of cobwebs and dust in that area.
The original key and keyhole insides (?) were missing so the door wouldn’t stay closed and I needed to come up with a plan for a door latch.
I filled the keyhole and the other hole with wood putty thinking I would need to drill new holes for the new latch.
Decide On Type Of Paint For Antiques
The paint color I decided on is a custom mix by me. I used Miss Lillian’s No-Wax Chock paint and combined two colors. The Industrial paint color I painted the sewing machine cabinet was definitely black and I wanted to give the black paint just a hint of brown to cut the blue/black color.
I added French Roast Chock Paint to the Industrial color and I can’t tell you the ratio of French Roast to Industrial because as usual, I didn’t measure anything. Mixing the French Roast color bit by bit into the jar of the Industrial color was the best way for me to get the color I was looking for. I wiped a sample of the paint onto a paint stick as I mixed the colors together until I had the perfect color.
Paint The Furniture
Before I could start painting, I had to wait for the putty to dry. Yes, I should have puttied the holes earlier but I forgot.
I applied two coats of paint and waited for it to dry. Usually one coat of paint covers well, especially this Chock Paint. But, I always miss a few areas around the corners and details so that second coat usually covers everything.
Distress the Paint
Then I sanded the wood wardrobe all over working heavily on the edges and any areas with missing veneer using my battery-powered sander. If I'm distressing paint lightly or want to have more control over the distressed finish I sand by hand using 150 grit sandpaper.
I always use a paintbrush to brush away the bits of paint and wood from the sanding.
Then I use a tack cloth to wipe the remaining loose paint from the furniture.
The tack cloth does a good job. You should have a supply of tack cloth in your DIY tool kit.
Wax Your Painted Antique
For the finish I applied a coat of Howard’s Wax in Golden Oak to the wardrobe because it adds color to the raw wood and covers the hazy look of the paint after it is distressed. Once the wax is dry it just needs to be buffed by hand with a lint-free rag.
The painted wardrobe sat in the workshop for 3 weeks until I could decide on knobs and a latch. I don’t know why I was so indecisive on the knobs.
Select The Proper Hardware or Drawer Pulls
bought the dark gray almost black knobs at Hobby Lobby thinking I would use those but there was not enough contrast with the dark paint. Sometimes it’s nice to go with the same color as the furniture but not this time. Next, I pulled knobs from my stash and tried those. The mercury glass knobs were a definite no.
I tried two different kinds of large glass knobs and they didn’t work either. I finally pulled out all the small antique clear knobs I could find in my stash and had just enough of those to do the trick. All of the knobs are not identical but close enough.
Now it was time to work on the latch. I tried all kinds of things then decided on a key-type drawer pull. The back plate for the key was too ornate and I found a plain, no-frills plate to use instead.
Spray Paint The Drawer Pulls or Knobs
Drill Holes For Pulls or any Necessary Hardware
Next, I drilled holes in the wardrobe door and attached the knob. Then on the wardrobe body, I added a simple hook that hooks into the open part of the knob. Of course, the latch needed a bit of distressing too.
The feet are my favorite part! I’ve always been told that rounded feet like this mean it's an Empire-style furniture piece.
I’m happy with the new look and....... I painted an antique. You guys know it’s not the first time. If you have an antique piece of furniture or just a pretty piece still in good condition and you want to paint it……just do it.
This piece is one of my best auction buys but if you want to see some really awesome box lots of stuff I got one time click here.
The wardrobe is on wheels and they work wonderfully. That's not always the case with these old pieces.
View The Video - Painting Antique Furniture
How To Distress And Wax Painted Furniture
What do you think of the new look? Would you paint an antique? If you don’t like it painted just tell me. Even if you disagree with me you can always express your opinion here as long as you do it in a thoughtful manner. It would be a dull world if we all liked the same things. Leave a note if you have the time.
If you liked this piece you will love this one! Pottery Barn Knock Off | Themed Furniture Makeovers
Time to take the Furniture Fixer Upper Tour. Just click the text links below the “before” makeovers collage….
Antique Dressing Table Makeover from Confessions of a Serial DIY'er
Chalk Paint Desk from Girl In The Garage
Spring Meadow Painted Dresser from Salvaged Inspirations
Painting Antique Wood Furniture from Petticoat Junktion (You are here)
As always, thanks for being here, Kathy
Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com