A few weeks ago a client asked me to paint a large French sideboard for her. It had been previously painted and I had just a picture to go off. There was some distressing on the piece from what I could see and I thought I’d be able to prep and smooth out the distressing and repaint.
My client had sent me some images from Pinterest of the finish she wanted for this piece, and I was excited to get it started. I have lots of furniture on my Inspiration Board on my Pinterest account, you can check it out here.
No prep is not a good idea!
When the 7ft+ piece arrived I quickly saw that the paint was not going to be easily smoothed out, it was heavily distressed and the paint was thick! It would need stipping! That wasn’t going to be any small feat but I applied some chemical paint stripper to one of the drawers to see how well it would work. While I was waiting ( impatiently ) I grabbed my heat gun to see if I could get it off that way.
The Heat gun worked well but I very quickly realized that there had been zero prep done on this sideboard because the paint was coming off in strips! It seemed that the heat was warming up the original wax enabling the paint to just slide right off! I have a Facebook Live video showing a little bit of that process.
When I had stripped off all the old paint I used white spirits and some steel wool to remove the wax. I did a very quick video on removing wax on FB you can see that here. The white spirits breaks down the wax and the steel wool removes it. When it was dry I used Fusion Tsp to clean it and a wire brush to scuff it. The surface was now wax-free cleaned and scuff sanded. The perfect surface for your paint!
“Your paint job is only as good as the surface its going on”
Some very wise woman once said
It was ready for the good stuff now and I got started using Fusions Coal Black and a good quality Staalmeester brush and it went on like a dream! The first coat looked amazing already and I knew it was gonna be a knockout!
The second coat went on just as smooth and I used some steel wool to buff up the hardware. It turned out great and the client is happy! I enjoyed painting this one despite the extra work. It has a wonderful classic timeless look and I am more than confident that this will last for many years to come.
In the Clients home.
I Don’t often get to see the pieces I paint in their forever homes so I love it when the client sends me pictures. It now takes pride of place in her home and what a statement piece it is!
I have had such great feedback from the last guest blog post we are having a little run of them! I’m so pleased to be able to highlight some of the talent we have here in the UK and Laura Downes is no exception!
Laura’s business is Cherbubs Chalk Interiors, you should pop over to her Facebook Page a give her a like! Laura is currently renovating her home office space and has kindly shared this brilliant filing cabinet makeover.
My filing cabinet transformation:
Let me give you a little backstory…
When I started my business, I soon realised that there are many rules and regulations to adhere to, including the all-important data protection. We must keep all documents containing customers details in a locked cabinet, so I started looking into lockable filing cabinets. I found that these can be expensive! And money can be tight in the early stages of building a business. There are a lot of outgoings, as you buy in materials, equipment, marketing etc and there is not so much money coming in! With this in mind, I started hunting for a second-hand filing cabinet, who knew this would be so difficult? The majority of them don’t lock, and the ones that do, don’t come with a key, as it has been lost long ago. Still, after a few weeks of looking, I snatched this one up for £20. Bargain! But boy is it ugly 😳
Luckily, painting things pretty is what I do, so here I will show you how this filing cabinet went from drab to fab, and now fits in with my office.
Looking for inspiration
I started off, not quite sure how I wanted my office to look. I admire so many different styles, and there are so many colours to choose from. Decision making isn’t always my strong point. So I headed over to Pinterest, seeking inspiration from others who had transformed their workspace into a homely, environment. Here, I was able to see what I did and didn’t like, decide what I wanted to include, and then I made a mood board.
I don’t know about you, but, paperwork isn’t my thing. It’s boring, complicated and I just struggle to find time for it. I’m a creative and I just want to be playing about getting my hands dirty. What I’m trying to say is, I find office work uninspiring and I do everything I can to avoid it, which means I leave everything to the last minute and then I turn into a total stress head, trying to get the invoices sent out, the finances to add up, and the tax return in on time. SO, the plan = to create a gorgeous cosy workspace to encourage me to spend time and actually enjoy this really important aspect of my business.
For a while now, I’ve been totally in love with Fusion Mineral Paint, it’s smooth, it’s creamy, it’s a dream to work with and it’s oh so durable. Their colours are just divine, but there are so many to choose from! I knew I wanted pink, but which pink? I grabbed the different shades I had to hand and started testing them out.
For my project, I chose Damask and Metallic Copper.
Your finish is only ever as good as your prep. Cleaning is always the first step. This is a second-hand piece, I don’t know where it has been, or what it endured before I got my hands on it. Now, it looked pretty clean, but don’t let that fool you. I’ve come across pieces that appear clean until you start scrubbing, and the cleaning cloth turns black. 🤢 I took all of the drawers out, and all of the hardware I could remove, to ensure I got into every single nook and cranny. I use grime cutter, spray it on, wipe with warm water, let dry and then wipe again with a wet cloth.
I’d never painted metal before, so this was something I wanted to research, to ensure a long-lasting finish. As metal is such a smooth, shiny, non-porous surface, it needs a bit of help and priming to make sure that the paint is going to stick. Fusion sells a product called Ultra Grip, by applying this to smooth surfaces, it gives the paint something to grab onto. I applied ultra grip all over, using a roller and a brush in the hard to reach areas, and let dry overnight. Always make sure to clean your brush as soon as you’ve finished, if you leave it to dry out you will find it very hard to bring the brush back to life.
Now for the exciting bit!
First I apply masking tape around the edges of the drawers, to ensure smooth clean lines. I don’t want any paint to run down the sides of the drawers.
Once that’s done, I can start painting. I applied 2 coats of Damask, again using a roller and brush, leaving a few hours in between each coat. Then I painted the hardware copper. Once all was dry I fitted it all back together and TADAAAA! She’s ready to go back in my office.
The Fliprunway award show was this weekend just gone and I’m happy to say I won Fusion Mineral Paint Technical Refinisher of the year. I’m really chuffed about that and I wanted to say a thank you to the judges.
It was a fantastic weekend spent with talented business owners from up and down the UK. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel and had a great time. Meeting the other Ladies and a few fellas was the best part for me and can’t wait till we all meet up again!
Guest Blog Post.
I have been wanting to showcase some of the talented refinishers we have here in the UK for a while and asked a few of my lovely friends if they’d like to do a guest blog post.
So first on the list is Jackie, she is the sweetest most humble woman and such a sweetheart, so without further ado ….
Introducing Jackie Millington
The most magical paint in the world
My name is Jackie, my furniture refinishing business is called ‘A Cupboard Less Ordinary’ and I’m based in beautiful Lichfield, pretty much right in the centre of the UK.
My friend Sarah has asked me to write a blog post (I think she knows I like to talk paint) so here goes, bear with me and I’ll do my best not to ramble on too much.
I’d like to talk to you about Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.
Have you ever heard of it?
I hadn’t either until 2013.
I’d followed a US Vlogger called Marian for ages, her videos were fun and her painted furniture was to die for. I’d never seen anything quite like them here in the UK, they were authentic and the finish was so genuine. They looked like they’d been painted decades ago and I was mystified how that could be done.
Then one day she announced she was bringing out her very OWN milk paint range.
I fired off an email there and then, I wanted to get my hands on some of this magical mystery paint that could achieve such a beautiful finish.
Long story short, 6 years later, I’m a stockist for Marian’s range, called Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and I LOVE it as much today as I did when it first appeared on my computer screen.
Milk paint is different from every other paint on the market. Other paints are formulated to give a solid coat, if a distressed finish is required, sandpaper, a sander, whatever type of distressing technique we prefer is used to achieve it.
But Milk Paint? Milk paint distresses itself.
Yes, I did just say that!!
I describe the science bit to my customers like this….
Milk Paint wants to absorb, like a wood stain. If it can’t, say, because of a pre-existing finish, then it may start to lift and chip. It doesn’t wait years to do this, it does it pretty much straight away, usually from the second coat. Therein lies the magic. The distress that appears is so authentic, so genuine, that your piece could have come straight from a French chateau or long-forgotten old barn.
My first sample delivery appeared in little packets on my kitchen table.
I was beside myself.
It didn’t look like the paint I was used to. It was powder, I had to add water…. Could it really be that easy?
YES – truly, it is that easy.
Equal parts powder and water, mix and hey presto, the most magical, all natural paint product appear. It is thinner than most paints on the market, the consistency of single cream is just about perfect.
Then all you do is paint.
The first coat is sheer. It’s the coat I like to call the “I’ve made a terrible mistake here” coat.
You haven’t made a mistake, it’s fine, it’s honestly supposed to look like that.
The second coat goes on and PHEW the coverage is great!!
At this point, that wonderful, chippy finish may start to occur. It won’t happen on all pieces, it depends on and works with the historical finish of each piece.
If you’re a creative at heart, this will light your soul up like a Christmas tree. If you’d prefer more control over the distress, add bonding agent to your mix before painting and you’re back in the driving seat, no chipping will happen unless you distress by hand.
There are so many things I could tell you about this magical product – the soft butter-like finish, the layering that you can do to simulate decades of peeling paint, the ability to mix custom shades, to blend. The magic bit of thickened paint that settles at the bottom of your cup that allows you to contour and add shading and texture. The super subtle shimmer that appears due to the natural ingredients in the blend.
There is so much it can do.
But I won’t bamboozle you, I can be guilty of getting over-excited about this product range!! If you’d like to know more, we have stockists up and down the UK who would be more than happy to show you, or you could even get onto one of our many workshops to try out this fantastic range for yourself.
Come along and see the magic happen. We would love to share it with you.
The Fliprunway awards have been set up to recognize and reward exceptional talent here in the UK and Ireland in the professional decorative painting and refinishing market.
It’s a welcome addition to our little industry as there is no formal or otherwise, recognition of the outstanding work that’s achieved by the very talented artisan we have here.
There are many categories and many of the talented ladies I know have been nominated and got through to the finals! The winners will be announced at the award ceremony on Friday 20th September at Fliprunway HQ…. How Exciting!
Having the hard job of judging is, I don’t envy them at all.
I was blown away when I found out my lovely community had nominated me for lots of the categories and made it to the finals for 12 of them!! 12 … I thanked all my page follows on Facebook and wanted to take the opportunity to thank you too!
I’m chuffed about them all but especially the Best Interior Blog and Best use of Social Media. I work really hard on both of those so it’s fab-tastic to be recognized for it. Gotta say a big THANK YOU for all you who nominated me. 🏆 I already feel like a winner ….. so Thank You X
Meet some of the Talent in the UK
This little corner of the market is growing in talent! serious talent so I thought I’d highlight a few of the others who made it through to the finals
There are many many more talented finalists and lots more categories, too many to mention them all here but I’d like to congratulate them all. We have a great community in the upcycling industry and we all support and help each other… it’s a beautiful thing y’all.
Having that community to help support our small businesses is essential to us growing and flourishing. We help each other out, pick each other up encourage and even laugh at each other. You lot are the best!
I was excited as many of you were when Fusion’s new Lisa Holmes colour collection came out, I could hardly wait to get my hands on them. I was attracted to the Darkest colour Twilight Geranium and decided to do a special piece for a blog post.
Well, the colours have been out a little while and this post is late because the piece seemed to take on a life of its own! I had to search for a plain piece as I knew I wanted to try a new product that was out called Woodubends. They have all the properties of wood and can be moulded to any contour once heated. They come in over 3000 designs.
I also trialled another new ( to me ) product called Unicorn Spit. It’s a water-based highly pigmented gel stain and Glaze. I wanted something shimmery and glittery to add to the design I had in mind and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I enjoyed working with it and love the easy clean up and the variety of colours to choose from. It did need to be sealed with an Oil-based varnish, and gloss is suggested to bring the colours to life.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a nice Stag 3 door 3 drawer sideboard, which is plain, Perfect! I painted the entire piece in Twilight Geranium and decided I wanted a mermaid design on the front. I used my 15yr old overhead projector to outline the design. Once that was in place I filled in the design with all different Woodubends. It was fun! I used a heat gun ( although ) a hairdryer works, to heat them to fold the design around the side and up over the top.
When the design was completely filled I painted over them with the same colour and used the Unicorn Spit straight over the paint. The stains were more vivid than I thought they were going to be but I loved the effect they gave and they blended to create other colours! I did a Facebook Live showing the process on the tail if you’d like to see. Click here to see the FB LIVE
Once the entire Mermaid had been finished I sealed with Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil all in one in the natural to seal in the Spit and make it waterproof. I also used a little Gilding wax in Gold to highlight the mouldings adding another dimension. This project from start to end has taken around 2 weeks. I think I’ll be a little less ambitious the next time! 😉
Over all I’m really pleased with how she turned out. I love the colours and the slight shimmer and think she will make an amazing statement piece. The Background of Twilight Geranium is perfect to showcase all the details and sure to be one of my favourite colours. Using the Woodubends was fun and I think I should have a workshop soon. Let me know if you’d like to come along. SHOP ALL THE COLOURS IN THE FUSION RANGE HERE
So what do you think? Do you love her as much as I do? Leave me a comment and let me know
I often listen to podcasts while I’m working as I know many of you do too. So I was really thrilled to be asked to be a guest on The Workshop Podcast by my lovely friend Jacquline D’ath.
Jacqueline is the founder and owner of Homeworks Etc, a creative lifestyle store. She has an online coaching programme a course and membership forum for DIY workshop entrepreneurs.
I meet Jacqueline at the Fusion Conference and retreat a few years ago. She is dynamic, positive and Professional, but don’t let that fool you, she is really good fun to be around……. all I’m going to say is Air guitar, Niagra Falls and Limo! … we’ll leave the rest to your imagination!
On the Podcast, we talk about building a community and why it’s essential and rewarding if you have a business. Tips to grow your Facebook community and lots more. Check it out below.
So, you have been painting furniture and flipping it for a while, you are earning money and even have your Facebook page set up. You are sharing your stuff to the world on your socials but you’re just not growing as fast as you’d like? You are in the right place I have been helping other paint pros grow their Facebook reach and likes, getting more people looking at their stuff!
Top 10 tips for growing your biz on Facebook.
There are many features on a business page that sometimes gets neglected or overlooked, check yours and make sure you are getting the most out of your Facebook page. Facebook is THE best free tool for your business and with 2 Billion people on Facebook, can you afford not to be on there?
1. PROFILE AND HEADER.
If I landed on your page, would I know within seconds ( cause that’s all you have) what you do, sell, offer? Does your picture tell a story about you and your biz? You haven’t got much time before your potential customer moves on so grab their attention with a quick flash of what you offer. Consider making your header in a photo editing program such as Canva to make a professional impact. My other top tip is to make sure your header is optimized for mobile, most people use their phone to make sure you can see all the important stuff on mobile view.
2. LINK TO PERSONAL PROFILE AND CONTACT DETAILS.
Having set up your business page, one can assume you want business right? Well if your business isn’t attached to your personal profile and you post on Facebook and in groups about your services and/or products, how will they find you? Most groups only allow you to post as a person so how will potential customers know what your biz is called or how to find you if you haven’t linked your personal profile to your biz page? Your contact details including website phone numbers and email addresses need to be up to date. Including your other socials.
3. BUSINESS HOURS AND LOCATION.
If you have a physical location like a shop or workshop maybe even a warehouse. Use the map feature that FB has provided in the about section of your FB page. Make sure your opening hours and any other relevant info is clear and updated regularly.
4. STORY AND ABOUT SECTION.
Let people know the story of your business, share how you evolved and make sure you list your services and products. Add a picture and maybe something personal ( if appropriate for your biz) Use this as a resume page let your audience know your skill set. Brag a little.
5. CUSTOM TEMPLATE
Did you know in settings you can change the template your page is built on to best suit your biz? You can choose different templates including restaurants, shopping, services video format and lots more. You can find it in settings under templates and tabs. You can also add and delete tabs which appear on the left-hand side of your Facebook page on a PC view or across the top of the page under your biz name in mobile view. These tabs include which order you viewers see your page info like pictures, your shop or even your email sign up.
6. CALL TO ACTION BUTTON.
A call to action button usually sits on the top of the page right under your page header. You can set it to say message us or shop or even direct them to book an appointment with you. Maybe you have a group? it can direct them to your community and a few other options too. Having a Call to Action button is asking your audience to take action on the things that are important to you. To change the CTA hover over it and the options will pop up.
7. SET UP YOUR MESSENGER.
There are a few messenger services including the one FB provides us with. I use ManyChat and it’s one of the best tools for growing your audience on FB. It collects subscribers and gives me instant access to my audience. I broadcast to my subscribers 1/2 times a month giving them interesting updates painting tips, tricks, and tutorials. ManyChat does so much more than that but as a tool for collecting your audience, it is the best! I have a bigger ManyChat subscriber list than I do email and I have had my email account for 5 years. Setting up even the FB messenger service lets your audience know you are a serious biz and that you value them contacting you.
8. CUSTOMISED USERNAME
Having a unique username makes it easier for people to find you. It will appear below your page name and makes it easier for people to tag you ( @ your business username ) To create a username for your Page: Click Create Page @Username on the left side of your Page Enter a username If the username is available, click Create Username If the username you want is not available or not approved, you’ll need to choose a different one.
9. POSTING ON YOUR PAGE.
You need to show up! you should decide on a schedule of times thats best to post on your page. You can find when your audience is most active the insights of your page. It shows you in graph form when your people are active on FB, giving you the optimal times to post. When posting on your page you should try to vary your content. FB offers options to make this easier for you, from a status update, a picture adding a video and even going LIVE.
10. BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY.
Your page should be your stage to build your community. FB values connections between people. We sometimes forget because we are running a business that FB is a SOCIAL network, so be social and work towards building connections with the people who follow and like your page. Have fun!
Want to grow your Facebook Page?
It can be tough to get your page in front of new people and doing all the steps above sends signals to FaceBook that you are serious. There are numerous different tips and trick to grow your reach and page numbers and you can find a lot of them for free online in groups and other communities.
The problem we have as small businesses is that we are time poor, so getting all the free tips in the order you need them and using them can be time-consuming and frustrating. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get it all in one place?
I also had this problem when I wanted to take my business to the next level so I got help, If I’m sure of anything, it is that you can only take your biz to a certain point before you need help. I joined a tonne of free groups and read everything I can find but all the info was messy and there was no step by step out there.
I took the plunge and got professional coaching .. lots of it! I did a select few courses and learned all the skills I needed to grow my biz online and it paid off! My page numbers grew my reach grew A LOT. I grew my page by 8 thousand like and increased my reach to 2 times the amount of page likes in a very short time. Now it isn’t all about the likes it about reaching your people with content they want and marketing your business.
The coaching and training I have been doing for the last 2 and a half years have given me lots of opportunities. I have built messenger Bots for over a dozen businesses big and small, I have taught breakout sessions at an industry conference on Social Media for small businesses for 2 years running. I have a group where I help other furniture painting business owners just like me grow their reach and page and I LOVE it. Here is what a few of them have said about the group.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and even set the group up so I could practice my skills. I have loved every minute of helping these fab ladies grow on social. I have a real passion for helping others and igniting that spark we need to move to the next level! it’s invigorating. So I’m taking the plunge and opening up a membership group where I will help you continue to make a positive impact on Social Media and grow your business!
So how will it work?
You’ll join the private Facebook group where you will get bite-sized weekly training, including optimization, content creation, and content strategy, actions that can be taken with quick results.
You will learn what Facebook wants and how you can implement that to see quick results. We will learn all about page insights and how to use them to grow your business.
I will do a monthly live call where you can get your questions answered in real time and we will have regular Hot Seats with you about what’s next for your business.
There will be a resource section with helpful tools all online businesses need. Most importantly of all, you will be surrounded by like-minded creative biz owners all working towards the same goals.
Almost a year ago I painted the outside of the shop in a custom mix of Fusion’s Midnight and Liberty Blue. It was a straight 50/50 mix. Fusion mixes so well together that making a custom colour is simple and easy. The colour turned out beautiful and it looks great with the Signage.
Did I use a conversion primer?
I get asked this often, as the shop was originally painted in an oil base paint. Firstly lets just quickly and simply go over what a conversion primer is. When painting over oil base the best practice is to use a primer that will help the water base adhere to the oil-based paint. To do this conversion primers usually have an acrylic base for best adhesion and the great news is that Fusion is made with industrial grade acrylic and so there is no need for the extra product. #winning
The prep to get the exterior ready to paint was simple and quick. The paint was in good condition, flake-free and all intact so all we did was wash really well and let it dry. The custom mix covered in 2 coats and was dry to the touch quickly. The project from beginning to end took a whole day.
So how has well has Fusion held up?
My front door has a few marks on it but it is the only way we can bring furniture in and out and I wouldn’t be able to guess and how many pieces have been through that door over the year! I often line furniture up outside the shop in good weather so it gets some wear but the paint is still in tack with no chips or dings in the finish. Fusion Mineral Paint is UV stable so it doesn’t fade in the sun making it perfect for outdoor projects such as garden sheds or maybe your front and back door. Even your plant pots could get the Fusion treatment.
Using Fusion Outdoors.
All in all, I would highly recommend using Fusion for your outdoor projects. The exterior of the shop took less than 2 pots so that’s £43.98. This makes it much more economical than traditional exterior paint. It also was a quick project. Just imagine, If you were painting a front and back door you would only need 1 pot for that price you could change the colour every year 😉
Mixing Fusion Mineral Paint to make custom colours is simple! they blend so well together that a few stirs of a paint stick or a quick shake of the pot and you are done. Really it’s that simple, and to make your life easier Fusion have come up with 32 recipes to help you decide. HERE.
Deciding when to paint ‘good wood’
All the furniture items we sell in the shop comes from France, my dealer is a fantastic picker and always comes back with great pieces. When they arrive they are all brown and unpainted and we often get people in the shop saying “are you really going to paint that?’
Now if they are in great condition and functional I will leave them for a few weeks in the hopes that someone will snatch them up, but more often than not, they are almost ignored. It’s a strange thing because as soon as it’s painted people see it as if for the first time. If I had to guess I would say 99% of the pieces I sell are painted, but when you consider the alternative of being thrown in landfill I’m happy to get my paintbrush out.
I mixed Fusion’s Ash and Coal Black in equal measures, I wanted it darker than Ash but not quite black. It’s a colour I will definitely use again it is rich and just scrummy! I poured mine into a little paint pale/bucket and just mixed with a stir stick, it mixed like a dream. I also added in some Fresco as I knew I wanted this piece to have some distress on it. Using the Fresco keeps the paint real flat/matt and actually makes the paint super hard.
This piece had no wax and the varnish was intact and good, so I cleaned using TSP and lightly sanded using Sandi Hands. Two coats of paint were applied with my favorite Staalmeester brush and I added a little Gold Leaf to the front of the spindles on the doors. I then used Help Oil to sand the piece all over and cause a little distress here and there. ( you can see a quick video demonstration here of Hemp Oil sanding )
This piece had been on the shop floor for weeks maybe even months and no one had looked at her. After I took these picture I positioned it in the window at the shop and it sold the same weekend! The customer was very happy as she had been looking for the perfect piece for a while. I also had 3 request for this custom colour too, so a great weekend all in all.
Have you tried a custom colour? I’d love to see your pictures