Bohemian French Provincial Chest - A Painted Furniture Tutorial
French Provincial furniture has always been a favorite style of mine. I love the curves and fancy handles that accompany this style. When I saw a listing on Facebook Marketplace for four pieces I messaged the seller immediately! I was able to get the pieces, with a fight to remove them from a old attic... and was so excited to start!
The chests are tall and curvy. I knew I needed to paint something dramatic and worthy of this style! Boho or bohemian is a trendy but interesting style to paint. The colors are usually more muted, but I chose a ombre Aubergine into a Copper Patina. Let's begin this transformation!
Overall the piece was in fairly good condition! Solid wood, and not too many damages. It was however very, very dirty! Never skimp on your prep work when upcycling furniture, it's the most important step I find! Let's begin with a very good clean. I use White Lightning by Dixie Belle. This is a powder based cleaner that you disperse into water. I cleaned the piece, removing old stickers in the process and rinsed with water. Rinsing the cleaner off is important to do so your paint does not resist the cleaner.
After cleaning was completed it was to to fix any missing pieces of wood, chips or missing veneer. I used Dixie Belle's Mud to repair these small scratches. I apply with my finger or a spatula and then when dry sand back to flat.
Did you notice anything about the before picture? This piece is not solid wood on the top surface. It is very common in this style of furniture to have a plastic type of surface on the top. It is shiny and will not take the paint well. This means a extra step in my process. I need to use Slick Stick. Slick Stick is a gripping primer for slick or shiny surfaces and this means plastic. For a video on Slick Stick please click here. I apply a coat of Slick Stick with a chip brush to the entire piece. This helps prepare the whole piece for paint. After two hours I applied another coat of Slick Stick. You must wait 24 hours for this product to dry before you paint on top of it.
Finally! It's been 24 hours and I'm ready to begin. Colors used on this piece? Aubergine and Copper Patina Paint. This Copper Patina paint is actually able to be activated with a spray to patina and change! I left this not activated for this piece. If you would like to learn more about Patina Paint, click here! I applied one even coat of each color down using my Flat Medium Brush. Using a synthetic brush helps keep you strokes smooth and even. Using a spray misting bottle filled with water helps minimize brush strokes and allows our paint to go further. Separate brushes for each color, touching the paint where it will join.
Wait for this first coat to dry. Since I paint indoors this is a fairly fast time frame, less than 2 hours at most. Once my first coat is dry I'm ready to "ombre" the colors together. I apply the second coat of paint onto the chest using the same separate brushes. Once I work my way to the middle I blend the two colors together. It helps to have a light hand, spraying the brush to keep it damp. Blend the two colors of paint until the transition line smooths and becomes less noticeable.
Ready to make this piece a little boho? Let's add some Silkscreen stencils from Dixie Belle! Silkscreen stencils are easy to apply. They are reusable and you can cut them up to apply. Each set of stencils has four sheets inside as well as a applicator tool. The stencil used today is called Mosaic. Since my paint is now dry I will apply the stencil to the chest. They are sticky on one side and smooth on the other, with a fine netting where the paint is deposited though onto the furniture. I cut the stencil and peeled back the sheet. Save the white backing, when you wash your stencil you can reuse this backing to keep it fresh and sticky. After applying the stencil to the desired area I smoothed it down with my hand. I like to apply my paint onto the stencil using a foam brush. It let's me control the application and push the paint through that fine net. I used the Copper Patina paint and applied a minimal amount to the foam applicator brush. I then gently pushed the paint to cover the design on the stencil. When the area has been covered I peel it off the furniture. I then repositioned the same stencil to the areas and kept moving around the blended line. I used smaller and larger stencils to create a lace effect. As soon as I completed the whole piece I washed my stencils in warm soapy water. I used my Scrubby Soap to help remove the paint from the silkscreen. Lay them flat to dry , sticky side up and re use again and again! Making sure to clean your stencils well will ensure that they are fresh and reusable for next time!
When the paint has dried from the stencil application I wanted to protect my work. I used Dixie Belle Clear Coat in Satin and applied two even coats using the Blue Sponge. After a couple hours of dry time I re installed the original hardware. This hardware was cleaned with White Lightning and spray painted Copper spray paint to match the piece. I used Dixie Belle's Gilding Wax in Copper to highlight the detail on the hardware. Since this is a oil based product I was able to let it cure with no need to seal. I also applied a touch of Gilding Wax in Copper to the edges of the drawers. This will add some highlights to the piece!
My boho blended beauty is now complete! I love how she shimmers and shines. This turned out to be a very popular piece, in color and style. She went from dirty and boring to beautiful with the help of some Dixie Belle paint and a little imagination! The best part? I have the exact same piece waiting a new look in the she shed. I'm letting my imagination run wild! Stay tuned for another look soon on the exact same piece of French Provincial furniture. I can't wait.
Thanks for joining me on this painting journey!
The Top Drawer RVA
Want to watch a Tik Tok video of this process? Click here!
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