If you're looking for project inspiration for an old armoire or chifforobe, or some other plain piece of furniture, look no further. Click through for a step-by-step tutorial how I took on an easy way to makeover furniture with the IOD - Iron Orchid Designs Transfers, Stamps, and Moulds. Quickly upcycle painted furniture into vintage, shabby chic home decor How about that before and after? It was a labor of love, but, it truly didn't take long to transform this poor chifforobe. I found this lil lady at a local thrift store for $20. It was so sad, all the way in the back...next step landfill. It had made it's way to the back because it was quite literally falling apart. The small door panel was missing and was locked and of course there was no key. Some trim was missing, and the hardware was either missing or broken. The large mirrored door joints were all loose, and the latch was broken, the mirror was very scratched, every drawer was falling apart.
My guess, is this piece is 1930's piece because of the Bakalite hardware. The glue holding the drawers and joints together, had turned to powder long ago.
I said to myself, "If I can't save it, I am only out $20!" These are the pieces I love the most!
To make things worse, or maybe better as it turned out, as we were unloading the chifforobe, the door fell open and the mirror shattered.
The first thing to do with any piece is a good cleaning after removing the old hardware. Surprisingly, I was able to open the locked door with a flat-head screwdriver by pushing the latch back from the inside. You will see the condition issues more clearly as you clean. I usually start with Krud Cutter. I clean before I sand because I do not want to push dirt or wax into my finish, I want to have a clean smooth, paintable surface when I'm finished prepping.
Before sanding, I glued and clamped any loose dove tails on drawers or joints. I wipe the excess off, but if I don't get it all I can sand it later.
Every piece is different and this one had some kind of a paper veneer that I have not encountered before. It was lifting and quite brittle so I had to sand it all off.
After I have sanded everything I did a quick cleaning with Fusion Mineral Paint's TSP Alternative Furniture Cleaner - no rinsing required!
I planned to use this piece as a display and demonstration piece, as well as to hold some of my Iron Orchid Designs inventory in my retail booth, so the broken mirror will be replaced with 1/4 inch plywood, as well is the missing panel. A blank canvas with endless possibilities!
I'm pretty sure this old finish will bleed through any water based paint I use so it is necessary to prime the piece before I paint. I use exclusively Fusion Mineral Paint and normally I would not have to prime, but an old finish definitely needs to be sealed in first. I use Zinsser Shellac Based primer for this. It's stinky and my piece always looks terrible after I paint with this primer. It's very thin and runs. have no fear, after you get the Fusion Mineral Paint on top, it will be a gorgeous finish!
Painting the Chifforobe.
I know I want this piece to have an airy outside garden-like feel. So, for the top half, I created a custom mix of Fusion Mineral Paint using Laurentian, Azure and Picket Fence. Through trial and error, I finally got just the color I wanted. The bottom half of the chifforobe is Lamp White.
There was a missing trim piece on one side so I took the front piece off and used it on the side. I made my own moulding using IOD Air Dry Clay and IOD Trimmings 2 Mould by Iron Orchid Designs. It's so much prettier with this moulding!
This is a tall piece and the IOD Botanist Journal Transfer's height is 24". I wanted a little more height for a tall sunflower from Botanist Journal. This is how the idea of a picket fence was born. I made a template from cardboard.
I drew my design out using the template, then painted my fence in Fusion's Lamp White. I dry-brushed with Fusion's Pebble. I used IOD Barnwood Planks stamp to make my fence look more like real wood and give it some character.
Now time for the fun! I added my Iron Orchid Designs Botanist Journal Decor Transfer. I used two of the transfers, and placed one sunflower to make it appear to grow up behind the picket fence to get some height and balance the overall look.
Then I cut my transfer in the obvious breaks in the design to make it easier to work with. An Exacto knife is a great help for working in areas where there are drawers or moulding. The "Smiths Annual Farm & Garden" at the top was taken from the IOD Catalogue of Roses Paintable Decor Transfer. After applying the transfer, you should make sure all the areas a firmly adhered by gently pressing down with your fingers. Then "burnish" over every inch with a shop towel. I sealed with 2 coats of Fusion's Tough Coat Wipe-on Poly.
I tied all my hardware together by making new knobs using the 1.5" Hardwood Knobs by I.O.D, IOD Knob Toppers stamp set, IOD Flexi-Stamper and IOD Air Dry Clay using the IOD Gilded Knob method - see video below.
I L-O-V-E the final product! I painted my knobs with Fusion's Pale Gold Metallic, used Fusion's Ash to bring up the details and finished with Gilders Paste Wax in Inca Gold. I also used the Inca Gold on the trim moulding I made earlier.
I wanted the rest of my hardware to match so I made a backplate and keyhole with the IOD Lock and Key Mould. Because I figured they'd get some use, I used Amazing Casting Resin for these two castings, and glued them on with epoxy. This also serves to cover the holes from previous hardware and pulls this project together!
Since this is a display piece, I painted the inside of the doors with chalkboard paint and stamped them with IOD Erasable Liquid Chalk using the new IOD Butterflies stamp set and the new IOD Pavo stamp set.
Items used in this project.
Iron Orchid Designs