Behind The Scenes - Creating My Weathered Blue Slate Finish
Sep 19, 2019 | By: Refurbished Gentleman
Sometimes pieces I get from the Ministry aren't in the best of shape, but have great bones... This piece was one of those times. And incredible antique from Wolverine MFG. Co. Detroit. But unfortunately time hadn't been nice to the outside finish and it was in dire need of some RG love. So we'll walk through the process of how I created a new finish I'm calling "Weathered Blue Slate" from the ugly start to the beautiful finish. And to truly understand what i was working with to start... here's the Before...
This is an all Wise Owl Paint & Products finish, so if at the end of this blog you'd like to give it a try yourself, you find all the products here;
As I said, age has taken its toll on this poor table, so it was time to breathe new life into it. To start I decided to strip the top down to the wood to give me a nice clean even surface to start from. Honestly I was thinking I might re-stain it, but as you'll see when it's all clean the red was just to deeply into the wood... which wasn't a look I wanted.
I stripped the top using my usual method. I applied an even coat of stripper and laid the plastic wrap overtop to keep it wet and activated. This time around I tried a new brand which worked good. After allowing the stripper to sit overnight, I scrapped it off and cleaned it with TSP and Hot Water using some 0000 steel wool. But in the end the red of the wood was just not what I wanted... so the work was worth it to clean up the surface, but not to re-stain.
AND SO IT BEGINS... WISE OWL PAINT, SALTWASH & REDESIGN
Then came everything but the kitchen sink! LOL! I decided on a finish that included all kinds of goodies including Wise Owl Paints, Saltwash and a couple fun things from ReDesign with Prima Marketing.
First, I knew the rounded edges of the legs and the front of the drawer needed a lil something extra. And I'd just received some of ReDesign's new Modeling Material so I thought why not some molds. I used one of the molds from the Regal Filaments set and another from the Regal Trimmings set. The Modeling Material is just like Play-Doh, so just take enough out that you need and mush down into the molds. Then scrape away the excess and slowly pull the mold out. As you'll see in the pic, I used Blue Tape to hold them down as when they dry, it'll want to move a lil. In this case, long thin strips would end up bowing if you didn't tape them down. Since these were going on a curved edge, I needed to keep an eye on them and apply them to the piece BEFORE they dried all the way. I applied them using wood glue which worked great.
WISE OWL PRIMER
After the molds dried in place, it was time for primer... and trust me this piece needed it. This old mahogany is a terrible bleeder and without the proper prep, the bleed through would be bad. So of course I went with my favorite, Wise Owl Primer in White. Always do two solid coats, at least two hours apart, then wait at least 24 hours for it to dry before painting. This is key to allow the primer to seal the stain underneath. So don't rush these steps or you will have problems later, especially on an old wood like this.
WISE OWL & SALTWASH
And as you'll see, Saltwash with a lil Wise Owl Sea Salt did just kinda makes sense. So I mixed some up, ensuring it wasn't too thick, just enough to add the texture I wanted here and there. If you're new to Saltwash, it's simply a powder that you mix in with paint, and then that paint will be thicker and allow you to add texture. That texture can be used in all sorts of ways. For this piece I simply wanted brush strokes and added spots of texture to match what was already happening in spots on the legs and bottom shelf and give it a stone like look.
WISE OWL - SEA SALT
Next I painted on a full coat of the Wise Owl Sea Salt with my favorite brush of ALL-TIME, the Clingon S50, but this time just the paint to fill-in the holes and completely cover the primer, and this became my base for the finish.
WISE OWL - DRIED THYME
Next up... Wise Owl Dried Thyme. I used this much darker color as my shadowing, painting it into the cracks and crevices and strategically placing it where I thought would show shading once we get to the next layer of paint cus nope... that's not it...
WISE OWL - VINTAGE DUCK EGG
And last but not least, for painting anyway, one full, but wash-like coat of Wise Owl Vintage Duck Egg. I do this thin coat to allow the layers from below to peek through. The base coat of Sea Salt, the shadowing from Dried Thyme and now all three together. The best way to do this is paint straight from the can, but use a mister to mist and paint and mist and paint. To allow a full coat but thin enough for to see through... just a lil.
REDESIGN WITH PRIMA - IMPERIAL GARDEN TRANSFER
Then came the fun... the top! This was my first time using a ReDesign Transfer and I knew this one was the one for this finish. It's called Imperial Garden and fit almost perfectly across the top with only a little that got cut off. Transfer are very easy to use, simply peel the backing, expose the sticky side, lay it in place and rub, rub and rub some more. The biggest thing is to ensure you have it in place perfectly before starting to rub. The rubbing will pull the transfer off the front plastic and adhere it to the surface, that's it. After you have it in place you may want to double check to ensure all areas are adhering as they need to. In this case I actually decided to use 600 grit sandpaper to both ensure it's adhered and distress it ever so slightly across those raised brush strokes I'd created with the Saltwash.
WISE OWL VARNISH - SATIN & CLINGON F50
After all that work it's time to put some protection on it with Wise Owl Varnish. I decided to go with Satin to give a lil more sheen to the overall look. I used my Clingon F50 to paint it one going in random directions to keep that roughly painted look even up to the top coat.
WISE OWL GLAZE - BLACK WALNUT
And then to add a lil age to the whole piece, some Wise Owl Black Walnut Glaze. This was brushed on in small sections and wiped off using Blue Shop Towels and baby wipes. Yes baby wipes... If you're new to my site, I like to use both wet and dry clothes to wipe back the Glaze after its been brushed on. The wet baby wipes allow for a lil more time of maneuverability as the longer the Glaze stays wet, the longer you can move it around. I always have some laying around the shop here and there along with the Blue Shop Towels.
And that's it, my Weathered Blue Slate finish is complete. Layers of Wise Owl paint, Saltwash, Varnish and Glaze with a lil help from ReDesign. Here's some final pictures to show the final results.
If you choose to try this finish out yourself, you can get all your Wise Owl & Clingon products here