Ages and ages ago I bought this old chest through Ebay. I can’t remember what I paid for it, but it wasn’t much at all, I think around £25-£30. Yes it looked totally ugly, but to my untrained eye it appeared to be rather old and old trunks and chests usually sell for quite a high price. I think the brown paint and the visible damage perhaps put other bidders off and obscured the fact that basically, underneath it all was a big, sturdy and potentially nice old chest.
See the old looking handles and broken clasp, it also has dovetail joints so I’m thinking it could be Victorian?
The owner had been using it in her office to store folders and files for years. It had quite a musty ‘shed’ smell, so I cleaned it out with a solution of Zoflora disinfectant which I think is always pretty good at removing odours (a good one to have around if you have pets prone to little accidents, too).
Then I pushed it to one side, filled it with crapola and did nothing about it for months and months and in the end thought I should probably just sell it on. But, having mentioned the other day (when I painted our desk purple) that I’d like to disguise the fact our front room is used as playroom, by utilising storage furniture to conceal the toys, this chest is ideal for that.
It contains all the big bulky toys really well, so yesterday as I was nursing a cold and just pottering around the house, I thought I’d tackle it with some paint I bought a while back. If you are familiar with chalk paint and the famous Annie Sloan one, maybe you haven’t tried the other, Autentico?
I saw this shade, Nearly Black, used on some lovely furniture transformations at The Barrister’s Horse and knew I had to order some, it is such a gorgeous navy/black kind of shade.
I sanded the trunk lightly to give it a key, wiped it down with slightly soapy water and allowed it to dry before painting on the Autentico. It is thinner and smoother than Annie Sloan. The brush strokes are less noticeable and its not as ‘draggy’. But it looked thin and obviously needed another coat.
This was after the second coat went on and dried:
I let it dry well overnight and the next day wiped on a thin layer of wax with a soft cloth.
A little buffing later on and this is the finished article:
The wax gives the colour more depth and a slight sheen, plus it feels silky smooth to the touch and of course offers some protection to the surface of the paint. I didn’t do anything with the handles other than give them a little buff with the clear wax, too.
So a quick before and after just to recap:
Again my camera is not quite capturing the shade, it looks a little darker in real life. I didn’t sand out all the scratches and dings and only used a touch of woodfiller in that damaged part above the keyhole to smooth it out a bit, but I never wanted to completely lose the old, battered look. I could have distressed it with a sanding block after, but I’m not sure it needs any more aging and I’m just happy to be using it and it doesn’t look like it should belong in the shed anymore!