To get started, these are the tools and supplies you’ll need.
- Dresser (or any kind of flat surface)
- Stencil (sticker or plastic reusable kind)
- Wood Filler
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Graphite Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan
- Primer Red Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan
- 4″ Velour Roller
- Roller Handle
- 4″ Paint Tray
- Small Annie Sloan Oval Paint Brush
- 2″ Chip Brush
- Metal Effects Iron Reactive Paint
- Metal Effects Rust Activator
- Metal Effects Copper Reactive Paint
- 3 Spray Bottles (one for each Rust Activator, Blue Patina and Green Patina sprays)
- Metal Effects Blue Patina Spray
- Metal Effects Green Patina Spray
- High Performance Top Coat, Flat
- Artisan Enhancements Topcoat Brush
- Metal Effects Permacoat Xtreme Sealer
Let’s get started!
Here’s a before photo, I actually forgot to take a before so I found this image of a dresser that looks just like the one I painted. My drawers are flat and the ones in this photo have a raised center but I’m sure you get the idea. It was bright white to start with a slightly shiny finish. I removed all of the knobs and handles and filled the holes where the hardware was. Use some wood filler and a putty knife to spread the filler over the holes. Let dry about an hour, you may have to reapply another layer of filler if you missed a spot or the filler shrunk. Allow to dry again and then using a 220 grit sand paper, sand smooth.
For this project I wanted the drawers to stand as the focal point with a simple black frame. First I’ll go over the steps for painting the dresser frame and then I’ll go over the steps for painting the drawers.
DRESSER FRAME: To create a solid, smoother finish, I decided to roll on my Graphite Chalk Paint™. With Chalk Paint™ I like to use a Velour roller which is a soft, short nap roller sleeve that doesn’t leave a lot of texture or bubbles. Pour some paint into your 4″ tray and roll on a coat of Graphite to cover the entire surface using a 4″ velour roller and roller handle. Using gentle pressure and rolling all in one direction will help to create a smooth finish. I used my Annie Sloan Small Oval Paint Brush to cut in the areas where my roller couldn’t quite reach, the oval end is useful when getting into corners and tight spaces. When rolling a smooth finish you are applying thinner coats of paint than when brushing so expect to do 2 or even 3 coats in some areas. I left my paint to dry (about an hour) between coats and ended up doing two full coats and a third in some areas that were quite solid.
Typically I would use Soft Wax by Annie Sloan to seal my Chalk Paint™ projects, but because we love to experiment and test all kinds of products I decided to try out one of General Finishes High Performance Topcoats. This polyurethane topcoat is water based so easy to work with and clean up is a breeze. Cool fact: it contains UV Stabilizer to protect it from breaking down in sunlight which protects the underlying stains or paints from fading. And with its pure polyurethane durability, it can even be used on floors which means it is very durable. I applied this top coat with an Artisan Enhancements Top Coat Brush which is a very high quality lightweight brush. This tool is mostly made with natural bristles but has some silky synthetic bristles mixed in. The combination of bristles holds onto just the right amount of product and helps to minimize brushstrokes as it lays down product smoothly. Here’s an example of what this topcoat looks like when you are brushing it onto a stained/painted surface.
Stir the topcoat to mix thoroughly, dip your brush into the topcoat and paint on a thin layer with long linear brush strokes in the same direction the paint was applied. Because Chalk Paint™ is very absorbent your first layer may appear to soak right up or not be perfectly even. Just allow layer one to completely dry, I left mine for a day, and then apply a second coat in the same way. I chose the Flat sheen but noticed that it still has a bit of a shimmer to it, if you’d like to check it out we have this dresser in our studio.
That’s it for the outside frame! Now let’s talk about the fun part, the drawers….
DRAWERS: First step is to apply a base coat to the drawers. You can see in the photo below I started with red. Modern Masters has a primer for their rust system which is a red colour. But this time I didn’t use their primer, again because we love to experiment and test the limits I started with a layer of Primer Red Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan. Red is a good base for a rust finish because it’s similar in colour so if you miss a spot the red will work well with the orange, red, brown tones that are found in rust rather than having a white base that might look a less natural. With my Annie Sloan Small Oval Paint brush I applied a solid coat of the Primer Red Chalk Paint™ keeping my brush strokes all in one direction.
After the red paint was dry, I brushed on a solid layer of Iron Paint using a 2″ chip brush. Iron Paint by Modern Masters is part of the Metal Effects product line which is designed to create rust on your surface. The 2″ chip brush is a great choice for applying this product because it has just the right amount of bristles and not my best quality brush in case the iron paint doesn’t fully wash out. I was wearing gloves for this step just because I find the iron paint really dries my hands as there are actual metal particles in the paint. It is however water based so does clean up with warm water and soap. Allow to completely dry (an hour or so) and then apply a second coat in the same way.
Now that the Iron paint was dry it was time to turn it into rust. Rust Activator spray is what I used. Pour some Rust Activator into a spray bottle and then spray to saturate the Iron Paint, you want to get it pretty wet. Now is the hard part, waiting! Since this is a chemical reaction you can’t do anything but wait for it to happen on it’s own, you will see some rust starting to form within the hour. You are creating real rust on the surface!! Leave to sit until the surface is completely dry, I left this to sit overnight. When I came back the next morning the rust had formed. If you were creating a rust finish only, this is where you would apply a sealer to keep your rust from rubbing off and then your project would be done. Of course I wanted to add more layers!
The next steps will explain how I achieved that gorgeous blue & green patina effect in a pattern over top of the rust.
I began by taping a border around the edge of the drawers to help me line up my stencil. We had some large sticker stencils that were left over from a custom finish, they were perfect for this next step. You could use a Mylar/plastic reusable stencil too. Jen helped me measure and cut the stencils to the size of the drawer and then together we stuck it on top of the dry rust layer. If you were using a plastic reusable stencil you could use some painters tape along the edges to hold it in place. Once the stencils were in place I applied a coat of Copper Paint with my 2″ Chip Brush. The copper paint is a reactive paint just like the iron. With Copper Paint you need to spray with the Blue or Green Patina activators. The Copper Paint gets sprayed while the paint is wet so you have to work fairly quickly. Scroll down a bit to check out a video of the reaction, the time lapse shows the reaction occurring after I have saturated the Copper Paint with Green Patina Spray.
Look how vivid those blues and greens are. It reminds me of a copper roof that has oxidized over time or a copper penny.
I left this to sit about a day to fully dry before removing my stencil. If you were using a plastic reusable stencil you would apply your copper paint through the stencil and then remove the stencil before spraying your patina sprays. The pattern might run a bit but this would also have a really awesome effect. It’s a good idea to apply a sealer to your rust and patina surfaces to protect the layers. Modern Masters has a sealer that goes along with this line of products, so I used the recommended Metal Effects Permacoat Xtreme Sealer and brushed on one layer of this with my Artisan Enhancements top coat brush. Once the sealer has dried you can add an optional second coat if it looks patchy or uneven, you might have missed a spot! And there you have it, all done!
What do you think? I absolutely love how it turned out! Come on by our studio to check it out and see other examples of how you can use these rust and patina systems!
Thanks for following along, I had a lot of fun working on this project and can’t wait for you to share your Rust and Patina projects with us next time you’re in. If you have any questions at all about these techniques and products, please leave us a comment below! We love to help you with your paint projects!