Tuesday, 16 September 2014

White Kitchen Pantry Piece

I had a very large number of emails asking how I did this particular piece. 
Let's see it from start to finish and the trials and errors along the way!

 Here is the before shot of this piece. Quite a few people were talking about how they prefer the before. To each there own, however with this large number of holes in the sides, gouges and scratches and warps, I prefer to fill, sand and paint.
Notice the top drawer is  missing hardware to be able to open it whatsoever. Is this a new thing? Am I missing a design trend here?

Skipping the ugly stages.... I chose to not take time to photograph it covered in woodfill, primer and paint. There is always that ugly stage before the beauty turns out right?

I also chose to swap the top molding for something I liked a bit more.

Now the fun begins.

The cupboard doors.

People were suggesting it was a stencil, or it was a chalkboard.
What I chose for this piece was actually an ink transfer.

I used a graphic from the Graphics Fairy.
She has many fabulous free images to browse and after a lot of decision making,
I chose this particular design.

She also has a page dedicated solely to image transfer How-To's

You can find those tutorials here:
12 Easy Image Transfer Processes

It is a lot of trial and error with these. A lot depends on what types of artwork or printers you have access to i.e inkjet, toner, laser, 4 colour process etc.
Also what mediums you choose to use or have access to.
She covers methods such as mod podge, acetone, heat transfers etc.
I chose the gesso route.

As you will see in the following photos, I also chose to experiment with a homemade gesso recipe following a few Youtube tutorials from some artisans. NOTE that these homemade recipes do NOT work for this type of project haha. In fact it was a huge disaster. I pouted for about a minute before moving on and taking the loss with chuckle as I saw how much of a mess I was.
Coated in this semi sticky goo and paper shreds. ICK.

Step one. Measure the space you need to get the measurements for the printout. 
 Step 2: After you have your reverse image print out, cut it to size. Apply a nice healthy coat of Gesso to the surface.
 Step 3: Immediately lay your image face down in the gesso

Step 3 cont'd : I chose to begin at the top of the image and slowly lay it down using the angle and pressure method. I used an old credit card and as the image touched the gesso surface, i ran the credit card across the paper to immediately remove any air bubbles and ensure the image was saturated via pressure.

This is the Gesso I chose to use.

Below is the result when I tried using the homemade gesso.
Soooo........... yaaaaaa......... Fail.

What you want to do now is wait a minute or two after your image has been applied to the gesso. Start from any corner and lift the paper off the surface and if you did it right, the ink should remain on your piece.
There will be places where the ink did not adhere, and that is ok. You will end up with a nice vintage, or distressed look. If you see any paper particles on the piece still, wait until the gesso has completely dried, then lightly dampen your fingers or a cloth and rub those particles off using very gentle pressure. This takes a lot of trial and error. Do not be shocked if you rub off ink.
Either go with the extreme aged look and continue with that pressure or apply less pressure and cross fingers no more ink is removed.
For this piece, I wanted a well loved look.
I chose to apply pretty moderate pressure and remove a fair bit of ink.
Wait 24 hours before clear coating. I chose to clear coat the door images with a polyurethane.
*Only the image area. The rest of the doors surfaces were done in a wax.* 
I'll get to that step next.

Moving Forward
We now have the piece painted and the doors are ready.
Before reattaching the doors, I chose to clear coat. The look I wanted here was more of a primitive well loved look. I wanted it to look like it came straight from a fabulous shabby country kitchen.
For this look, I opted to use a mixture of clear and dark brown waxes.
I first clear waxed the piece, then went over in areas with a dark wax. I only work in small 1 foot by 1 foot spaces at a time. The was dries fairly quickly and you don't want to be rubbing it back off for hours on end.

 Wax on, Wax off.

There are a lot of youtube tutorials from some amazing refinishers that will teach you how to use dark waxes in this manner. It would take a fair chunk of time for me to explain, and if you are like me, you would likely rather see it being done to better understand the process.

Now the piece is waxed and images transferred, it's time to re attach your cupboard doors.
Add the hardware you chose to match and if you are like me at this point and needing hardware on a blank drawer front, here is what you do.

Now this is geared towards someone that has no clue how to read drill bits or 
measure depths and so on.

First things first, your hardware should have the machine screws to attach. If not, measure the thickness of the drawer it is going through and add a little extra so it can properly poke through the holes you drill and find it's way into the hardware.

Here is a good way to look at the screws and drill bits.

1 - the top drill bit is the same size as or a smidge larger than the screw you plan to use to attach your hardware.
2 -if your screws aren't long enough to get through the hole you drill and sink into the hardware to attach, then you may need to bore the hole out a little so the screw sinks into the hole to reach the pull. If this is the case, or you simply want the screw head sunk in as opposed to sticking out, then find a drill bit that is slightly larger than the top of the screw as seen in the bottom example.
Actually, I do believe I had to go up a drill bit size for that one.

Here are the looks you will achieve when deciding on leaving them out or sinking them in.
Personal preference really. It's inside your drawer where no one is going to see.

The next step is marking where you are going to  add your hardware. You will want a level, tape measure and a chalk line, or simply a piece of chalk. Pencil will be harder to remove once you have your marks.

To mark the exact place for the holes to be drilled, I tend to add a small dab of paint to the hardware and press it in place leaving behind the exact marker holes as to the location of the drill holes to be made.

You are also going to want a drill bit that matches the hardwares stems that are going to sink into the drawer front so that it lies flat. You will be drilling from the front into the piece. If you drill from the back out to make your initial holes, the wood may split where the drill bit pops through, such as it has in the image below.


Now that all of your holes are done, attach your new hardware and you should have yourself a beautiful new piece for your home!

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