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Create a Primitive Patina on Your Funky Junk
By: A Cat Eye Girl  -  9/8/2011

Here is a little insider painting secret that Agent 99 learned from Wendy Christie, her picker long ago, in a far away land . . . before "funky junk."

Use acrylic craft paint on "primitive" cabinets and funky junk furniture instead of latex paint.  Here's why:

  • Acrylic craft paint will not gum up your sand paper.
  • It's easy to mimic the patina that only time and pressure can create with acrylic paint. Your cabinet will not look like it's been "sanded back," rather the patina will look old and worn over time.
  • The primitive acrylic paint colors are true to the "primitive" palette.
  • Once you have experienced the coverage of a 2 ounce bottle of acrylic paint, you will never again have leftover paint that you have to store.

Wendy's home was filled withfunky junk, funky junk show, vintage, vintage show, antique store, Spokane, Kennewick, Portland, Yakima, Prosser, Pasco, Tri-Cities, Monroe, Puyallup, Hillsboro, Washington, Oregon new and old cabinets that she prepped for paint -- sanding, setting nails, filling holes . . . -- and then painted with tiny bottles of acrylic paint.  Two of her favorite colors were "Teddy Bear Tan" and "Barn Red." 

After she painted the entire cabinet, inside and out, she would hit it with a sanding block or her orbital disc sander being mindful to sand back the paint in logical "wear" locations . . . near the handles or pulls and on the door's face frame, toe kick . . . .

When she was satisfied with the "wear" that she had sanded away, she applied several coats of a Minwax or Varathane - both of which allow you to apply both a stain and a polyurethane topcoat in one application.  The effect was amazing!  Everyone who entered Wendy's "primitive" suburban home was dazzled by her "primitive cabinets" and wanted to know, "where did you find all of these fabulous cabinets?"

The topcoat added depth and breadth to the color and aged the paint and gave it a patina that was the next best thing to what only time and pressure can create.  It also protected her efforts and made her cabinet's user friendly and easy to care for and clean. 

When she painted with a color new to her, she tested her combination of paint colors with stain / polyurethane colors on a scrap of wood of the same species of wood that the cabinet she was working on was made out of . . . before she applied the topcoat.  Different colors of Minwax and Varathane topcoats affect the "finished" color of the paint.

This technique works on any wooden furniture, funky junk made out of wood that you want to age and coordinate with your home's palette.

Sorry we don't have a picture of one of Wendy's amazing cabinets to share, it was afterall long ago, in a far away land . . . maybe you could send us a picture of your funky junk project after you give it a primitive patina? 


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Less is usually more, though when you are recycling and repurposing, more is, well, actually more!

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