Part IV: Carolyn Conquers All!

Finished Hutch

Alright, here’s the happy ending you’ve all been waiting for… I think there’s some true love at the end. ~Ali

PART IV: Carolyn Conquers the Hutch

Phase 5: Applying undercoat.

For the undercoat, I used one, count em’ one, coat of Benjamin Moore latex enamel (slate blue) to cover the exterior of the top section of the hutch as well as the cabinet top, sides and doors. The enamel went on easily and didn’t bleed due to the coat of shellac I applied early in the process.

It was at this point that I began to see the hutch as a thing of beauty and not an eyesore, but we’re not done yet!

Hutch in Progress

Phase 6: Crackle Paint

The transformation from eyesore to beauty wasn’t enough for me. I wanted the hutch to be something special, something I would like in my home and something I hope you would like in yours.

If you have never used crackle paint you are in for a treat. The effect is lovely, and can be really dramatic depending on how much you use and the colors used for base coat and contrast. I used Martha Stewart’s fine crackle paint over the blue enamel.

You need to apply a liberal amount of crackle paint to achieve even minimal crackle effect. Brush it on in smooth, even strokes and do not go back over areas you have already painted. Crackle paint is the consistency of watered-down Elmer’s Glue and like glue, “begins” to dry quickly. Attempting to paint over spots will make the paint clump and ruin the crackle potential. Apply a second coat only after waiting for the initial coat to dry and know that it can take up to 24 hours to fully dry, so don’t rush it. Another thing you need to know about crackle paint is that when applied anywhere but on an even, horizontal surface, it drips and drips and drips.

Crackle for Hutch

The only thing that passed for a flat surface on the hutch was the top of the cabinet. Applying liberal amounts of crackle paint to that surface was easy, what wasn’t was keeping up with the drips forming off the edges and, later on the sides of the cabinet. You can clean up “crackle” drips and return an hour later and find more. Clean those up and four hours later you’ll find more. Clean those up and the next morning you’ll find more drips that solidified in the night. Argggggggghhh! You can scream or you can lightly sand the drips and touch up the paint in the areas where the drips marred the original paint job. Don’t give up, you’re almost there! Just deal with it.

If, after the crackle paint dries, you find the crackle effect isn’t as pronounced as you had hoped, apply (liberally) another crackle coat and let dry at least 24 hours. Two coats later, and assuming you are happy with the amount of crackle, apply the top contrast coat. Apply the contrast coat in small amounts and wipe it away immediately with a soft cloth. If you leave the top coat on the crackle paint too long, the top coat will soak in and obliterate the crackle paint and back to square one it is. The effect you want is to simply color the “cracks” for contrast.

Crackle Up Close

I diluted two cups of the ivory latex paint (I originally used this in the chalk paint), as my contrast coat over the crackle. The effect was just what I wanted. The overall look is subtle crackle with a whitewash finish.

Don’t expect the world from crackle paint. The effect you love in one area with one color may not work so great in another. I tried the inverse of the blue base with white on one of the hutch door inserts and hated the result. That meant I had to repaint the door… two additional coats of chalk paint later, I switched gears and decided to use an unobtrusive stencil on both doors to break up the ivory. I mixed the blue enamel with a little of the ivory chalk paint for a tone that complemented the rest of the cabinet and used it on the doors with a delicate rope pattern stencil. Turns out this was a good choice.

Phase 7: Sealing the paint.

I used Howard Feed-N-Wax wood polish and conditioner to seal the paint on the interior and exterior of the hutch. Apply the wax with a soft cloth, working in small in circles for complete coverage. Wax adds a wonderful look and feel to painted furniture that you cannot achieve with other products (polyurethane or shellac). Plus, the wax has a lemony smell that is similar to furniture polish rather than the overwhelming odor of urethane. It also cures faster — typically in 48 hours.

Phase 8: To Market.

 The ivory doors? The owner of the shop helped us move the hutch into our space and as we positioned the cabinet section on a cart he said, “This looks great and I really like the decoration on the doors. Is that some kind of rope stencil?” Validation – I love it.

Finished Hutch

I want a hutch.

Well, that’s it for Carolyn’s fantastic hutch transformation series! Thanks, C, for helping me out. I wish I could tell you all where to buy this fabulous hutch… but it sold as soon as it hit shop, if you’re interested in our other up-cycled goods visit our shop in Lewes, Delaware at Practically Yours.

~Ali

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