Ever since I started painting furniture I have been enamoured with French Provincial style pieces, especially bedroom furniture. I picked up this jewelry armoire along with a matching step out dresser. I always intended to refinish them seperately, starting with the jewelry armoire. Honestly, that dresser is a beast, and I won’t do it, until I have a fully formed idea in my head.
Here is what she looked like before her makeover. This piece was in excellent shape. Nothing was broken, all the original pieces were there. Unfortunately, when I removed the 2 lower drawer pulls they both broke!! I think the reason why is because they were too tightly fitted.
Choosing a Palette
I find choosing colours to be one of the most difficult parts of a furniture makeover project. I find it agonizing at times.
I knew right away that I wanted to do stripes on the sides. But I did not know what colour palette to go with. I also wanted to have some French lettering on the front. In my early planning sessions, I was going to use a stencil for the lettering, but then I decided to go with a transfer. Since I was going to use a transfer, I chose the one I wanted, and ordered that, and then pulled my colours from there.
I used fat paint for the project, because I have good access to it locally. Here are the colours that I used:
Here is a listing of the supplies that I used for this jewelry armoire makeover project
Fat Paint in Zuzu’s petals
Fat Paint in Warm White
Fat Paint in Pewter
Clean and repair
As always the first step with any furniture makeover project is to clean the piece and make any repairs. This piece was in excellent condition. Only 2 very small flaws. A tiny little chip in the finish on one of the inside drawers, and one of the legs had a crack in it. I filled the chip with wood filler and sanded it down. To repair the cracked leg, I first removed it from the armoire and applied glue, then when dry wood filler, and then sanded.
This type of finish is very glossy and doesn’t really sand well, I believe it is a baked-on melamine. I did give the whole piece a light scuff sanding first, but honestly sanding did very little. So, I applied fusion ultra grip, so that the paint would stick to it. This was the first time I have used this product and I was very very pleased with it. It took very little product to coat the entire piece, and it went on very thin and clear and dried fast. I barely put a dent in the bottle that I purchased.
And as a side note: I actually forgot to coat the very front bottom section in bonding agent and when I applied my stripes to that section and then removed the painter’s tape… THEY PEELED OFF! And I did not have that problem with anywhere else that I did striping or any other taping. Thank goodness, it was only a super small area!! So, it was a good thing that I used a gripping agent on the whole piece. Because you don’t want to sell furniture to someone and then have the finish scraper or peel off later.
To start with I gave the entire piece a coat of warm white. I was careful to mask off the inside of the drawers as they were finished in a pink velvet, which I deinatley wanted to retain. I used a really good quality paint brush and sanded lightly in beween coats.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do stripes on the sides of this French provincial jewelry armoire. I watched quite a few videos on how to properly do stripping, and personally I think I nailed it!I did my stripes in a blended finish using my pink and grey colours. I absolutely love the way the colours blended. The main trick to getting good clean stripes is to do a coat of your base colour over your tape, before adding your contrast colour, so that if it bleeds, it is the same colour as the base coat and you won’t see it. Then when it’s completely dry add your contrast colour. Peel of the tape while it is still a bit wet.
I love a blended paint finish. I wanted to keep this piece feminine and light. I coated the area to be blended in white, then added in a bit of the pink around the edges, and just a touch of the grey at the very outside edge, and blended it using a mister and an oval brush. I toyed with the idea of using a stencil on the bottom section of the armoire, but in the end I opted to leave it plain. though I did darken it up a bit.
The transfer that I used is from Redesign by Prima, it’s called Overflowing Love. It came in two sheets, one mainly in French and the other in English. I loved the French writing and it was my plan from the beginning to put it on the front door of the jewelry armoire. I also placed florals from the transfer on both sides and the top. This was actually the first time I have used a furniture transfer, and I loved it. Although there were definitely a few things to learn. Like, that it’s very easy to end up sticking the transfers to themselves, if you aren’t careful. And you need to be careful not to let it move, before it’s fully adhered. Every piece is a learning opportunity:)
Tissue Paper Decoupage
Luckily for me the insides of the drawers were all in excellent shape and I really like the nice pink colour. A lot of these armoires have dark green interiors, so I’m happy to have gotten pink. I decided to amp up the drawers a bit more with some decoupage, using a couple different tissue papers that I bough on Zazzle.com. I used the iron-on method to do these. I have a video that shows this method.
I was so happy that this piece had all of the original hardware. And then when I was removing the handles on the bottom drawers both handles broke when they were removed. I was so sad. I even attempted to glue the pieces back together, but it wouldn’t hold. Luckily, I had purchased these handles when I did my zebra bombay chest, and I had one left over, so I knew that they would work. Yay – Amazon!! The handles were not quite the same shade as the other hardware on the piece, so I gave them a bit of a paint job, using the same gold decor wax that I used for the edges. I didn’t cover them completely, I wanted the white that was on them to continue to show through. Now I think they work really well with the jewelry armoire.
The legs were another area where I struggled. I left them in warm white to start, and then I did a bit of an ombre effect from dark to light. But I didn’t like that and painted over it again. Then I decided to add the decor wax, and now I just love the legs! It’s one of my favourite parts of this entire jewelry armoire.
As always everything gets 2 coats of top coat. I used general finishes high performance satin top coat, and applied it with a foam brush to cut down on streaks. I think all of the colours really start to come to life once the top coat is applied.
The last pieces are putting everything back together and cleaning the mirror. And then we put this French Provincial beauty on display and let her pose for the camera. Here are a few of her best angles.
And here is a shot of her with my favourite model #sagethepapillon
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