Monday, March 21, 2011

Rags To Riches

After finding a plethora (I got to use "plethora" in a sentence!  High Five!) of ormolu in the garage I decided to attempt to use it.  I found a table on Craigslist that was in sad, sad shape.  The table is rather large, at 52" wide, 20" deep and 32" tall. It had dents and dings all over it.
This was the Craigslist ad.

I went to Home Depot last night to buy paint but they were closed.  I suppose that is due to the poor economy, they close earlier on Sundays. Not to be deterred, I went to Walmart, which is open 24 hours...but not the paint department.  Gah!
I went over to the craft section and found some grey paint I liked. Really, really liked, actually. Plaid Granite Gray.  I also purchased a bottle of  Plaid FolkArt Metallic Antique Gold.
This morning I sanded the table in the driveway as Gracie created fairies and flowers on the pavement with her new chalk. I hoola-hooped and made chalk butterflies with Gracie in between coats! It was such a beautiful day here in the Chicago suburbs!  I applied several coats of paint then painstakingly painted the trim with Antique Gold.  There must be an easier way?!
When the paint dried I rubbed the entire piece with aluminum foil to give it an aged look.  I love that stuff!
The hardest part was choosing which ormolu to apply.  Finally I chose two angels from an ugly 1970's lamp I disassembled. I drilled two holes on each corner of the table and screwed the angels in.  I then applied a bronze French ormolu from my collection to the front.
I need to age the angels but other than that, I am finished!
I must say...I LOVE IT!

This antique Corpus was salvaged from a church in Wisconsin...Craigslist!  Under the table is a replica of the Arch De Triumph.

I carefully bent the bronze ormolu over my knee to match the curve of the table...

I'll be dagnabbed if this cat toy isn't in every photogaraph and I didn't even notice it!  See the little leopard print catnip mouse by the back leg?  And, yes, that is a cat hair dust bunny right next to it!  This is technically the living room but I use it as a staging area.

Many people have inquired about the use of aluminum foil so I decided to add this.  Following are quasi-step-by-step instructions as to how I painted and patinaed the table.  Remember, as with all "art",  each person will have similar, yet not identical, results.
The table was mahogany and very dirty.  I sanded it then wiped it down to remove the dust and simply painted.  There are two coats of paint on it.  I recommend using the best quality brush you can afford.  It makes all the difference in the world! (I learned this as a makeup artist.  You can use cheap makeup if you have really good brushes.  I even sent my clients to the craft store for good quality brushes that are way less expensive than department store prices...but I digress!)

I applied the Antique Gold after the grey dried.  A good trim brush helps.  I found that painting sideways, in small (tiny) strokes, rather than up and down, makes for a straighter line.  You can clean up mistakes with the grey paint after the gold dries.
I wanted the table to look as if it had stood in a room that had no electricity for decades and decades, so soot  from candles and a fireplace would have stained it a bit...

When all the paint is dry you can then proceed to the aluminum foil step...

I came upon the aluminum foil trick quite by coincidence. It was born of a need for something abrasive as a substitute for sandpaper on another project. I scrunched it up and it did an excellent job of abrading the piece and it also left the best grey-black patina! Be careful, though! The reason aluminum is so exceptional for cooking is that it conducts heat extraordinarily well! When you are burnishing a piece of furniture wear gloves! The friction generates a geat deal of heat!

 I scrunch it up so it acts as sand paper on the edges. You can scrub the base of the feet. If it were an actual antique,  years of mopping, moving and accidental contact with shoes would have taken its toll.  Be careful on the top and sides, though, it can be too abrasive.  Wait until it is worn a bit then use it on the flat surfaces. When you have finished take a damp paper towel and gently buff the striations left by the foil, after that take a flat piece of foil and burnish the piece.  Don't clean it for several days because you could actually wash the patina off! I use pure shea butter over the top to seal it.
I also suggest using foil as soon as the piece dries.  If you wait too long it doesn't have the same effect.

The cheaper the foil, the better. It is thinner and less abrasive when scrunched up.  I save aluminum foil from leftovers and such to use for my projects.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask!  I have what can be called a passion for antique patinas.  I can spend hours at the museum just studying the way furniture ages.  That's normal, right?

I am participating in Wow Us Wednesdays over at Savvy Southern Style!
I am also participating in Feathered Nest Fridays at French Country Cottage, the DIY Showoff Project Parade, Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday and Between Naps On the Porch, Metamorphosis Monday!

How was your day?


  1. Oh Most Divine One! This is gorgeous! What a fantastic job you did! I love the color and the little angels you added! I'm glad there were fairies in the midst! :)
    Be a sweetie,

  2. Andie this is to die for!!! I love love it!!
    It would look perfect with my china cabinet I just painted french blue...did you see that post?
    Anyways I love how you added the angels what a great idea!!!
    I love these french ormolu!

    Pamela ox

  3. WHat a marvelous job you did, it is beautiful! The added ornaments were a perfect touch.
    Thank you for your visit, your daughter says it right about 'happy-sad'. That was the way I felt when i saw the origami birds spread out over the sidewalk.
    Enjoy your masterpiece/table,

  4. Stunning--and I thought I was the only one who used acrylic craft paint for furniture. Your use of foil is intriguing--how did you discover its magic--does it distress it, or leave gray aged wood? Love the angels, you're a delight.

  5. Oh my Gosh!!! I had to go back to the before picture several times as I couldn't believe that this was the same piece of furniture!!!! It is an absolutely amazing transformation and hope you will let me share it this Saturday on my Discovering Beauty post!! Please pretty please!

    bee blessed

  6. It looks like it has come straight out of a French chateau. Vraiment magnifique! x

  7. OMG!!!!!!!!!! YOU are FAR more talented than I! Foil? Who knew? I LOVE IT!!! What a great piece! Enjoy my friend!

  8. OMG!! I can't believe that is the same table, WOW!

  9. Beautiful my friend. I like how you find the diamond in the raw. xo

  10. Great transformation. Looks like a Scandinavian antique.

  11. Jeez Andie I can’t believe how amazing you made that cheap looking table! You’re a wonder you know that? As for the mouse toy your cat is probably wondering where it crawled off!

  12. Ms. Divine, Your table turned out wonderful. You have such a vision. I love the painting behind it. I can't waite till you get your home together more so you cab show us more pictures. Keep up the good work.RC and S. Thanks for stopping by, I am always excited to hear from you.

  13. This is super inspiring- well done Andie! I enjoy seeing the transformations you share with us. more! more!Colx ~ Afrique du Sud

  14. Now I've learned a new word... Ormolu! *winks* Highly doubt I'll be able to use it in a sentence anytime soon though?!? *LOL* LOVE your restoration of this table, its more like a resurrection actually, amazing! Still smiling about the cat toy and dust bunny... you can't believe how many times I'm happily photographing something and after I see the enlarged pix on a Post I'm like, crap... look at the dust... or something I didn't notice was there! *One time it was a lacy bra draped over a chair!!! Winks, had to edit that one...*

    So, you were snacking at 3 AM were ya!?! Now...take a good long look at the size of The Man and I... that is what too many years of snacking in the wee hours of the mornin' will do to ya! *Smiles*

    Dawn... The Bohemian

  15. It turned out great Andie. I'll have to try that foil trick. Amazing stuff that...did you know that if you wet it (and rub) it will remove rust from metal? Vanna

  16. This is really a fantastic transformation! You're really talented .. congratulations!You were able to turn it into something really chic!

  17. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    that is absolutely gorgeous!
    if you hadn't told the whole st i would have thought you paid 100000000000 of dollars for it!
    thanks for the how to! i will try it for sure one of this days!
    gorgeous photos!
    happy night, :)

  18. You are the real deal. Look up good old Tony Duquette, he could create stunning from nothing!! I'm subscribing. I even listen to your music. Promise again, no more late night slumming!

  19. Do you not have a subscription link, or am I blind?

  20. Oh Andie, This table turned out gorgeous! Love the two colors and the patina. Great tip about the aluminum foil!

  21. Oh my what took us so long to find eachother LOL? Love that piece, all the pieces..and the tin foil tip is awesome too. Thanks, I am signing on as a new friend and adding you on my side bar, you look like you have some fun over here!

  22. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my!!!! Now that is DIVINE!!!

    m ^..^

  23. Andie, that looks so good. Great explanation of how to use the aluminum foil. thanks for joining WUW!

  24. Absolutely stunning! I have just become a friend and follower.

  25. Beautiful Andie...well done!!! And the fact that fairies, hoola-hooping, and butterflies were part of the process makes it even more beautiful!
    xo J~

  26. Love the finished product - very professional! your colour choice was just perfect.

  27. Love your touch! You made it sing!

  28. This is an amazing transformation! You took that piece and made it your own. Wait, I sound like Randy on American Idol. No seriously, it is a masterpiece.

    The pictures on craigslist sometimes look like they aren't even trying to sell the item, no?

  29. I can't believe your 'after.' what a wonderful job. and the foil tip is terrific; I hadn't heard of that one.

    love your religious figures. I have several myself and love them.


  30. This turned out so gorgeous! Wow.
    I need to take lessons from you. Do you charge by the hour for painting techniques?
    I know a few gals who would pay for classes for sure!

    BTW... just gave you a little blog award on my site. Will send some traffic your way.

    Come by and grab the image....then pass it on.

  31. Oh wow, Andie,
    This is so gorgeous! And I love your method--the results are stellar!
    And I love the Corpus and your exquisite chair--WOW, this is a beautiful post!


  32. Wow! The table turned out great! You are becoming quit the antique patina distresser. I could see you doing this and selling your pieces at high end Decorator Antique shows.

  33. Love your table.....I've been 'flipping' furniture for years now and am always hungry for new ideas.....Lamp parts, and aluminum foil--can't wait to try these!!

  34. Wow, that table turned out gorgeous! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. love the angels on the side.the best part of the blog was the dang mouse and dust bunnies.thanks for the laugh. Over from WUW and your newest follower.

  35. Absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks you for the step by step tutorial.

    I used craft paint on a bench a few years ago. The paint is still good, has worn well, however it's time for a redo.

    Thanks so much for your visits to the Back Porch!

  36. Thank you for your sweet words of wisdom and encouragement. Gracie is one Blessed little Girl and what you shared made me smile and realize why I've switched priorities as Life goes on and am Driven more now by personal reasons and not professional ones. Everyone weighing in certainly helped me decide to follow my Heart and Fly... because truly it is as it should be.

    Happy Spring my Friend... Dawn... The Bohemian

  37. Hi there ~ This is gorgeous! I love the color of paint you chose and the accents you added ~ how charming!! It really turned out beautiful! Thanks for sharing the aluminum foil trick too- had no idea!! Would love if you came by and shared this lovliness at Feathered Nest Friday! Hugs, Courtney

  38. What a beautiful redo! I would have never guessed it was the same table.
    Thanks for sharing the info.
    I need to check some of your other posts - I am so far behind in visiting around blog land.
    Enjoy your evening.

  39. Hey you!! Loving this all over again- just stopping back to say thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

  40. That piece is stunning. Love it. Who would have ever thought of using foil. Great tutorial. Hugs, Marty

  41. What a gorgeous table! You have created a masterpiece!

  42. Her makeover looks stunning!!!!


  43. Fantastic, I love it! I'm your newest follower!

  44. You did a beautiful job on this table. It definitely needs a special place in your home. I'm your newest follower.
    Marianne :)


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