SHELLAC – when to use it! What To Do About Water Stains or Wood Grain Bleeding Through Paint? Raw wood? Or musty smelling pieces too. VIDEO

Painting and having issues with:

Water stains bleeding through
Wood grain showing
Wood tannins bleeding
Painting with a “white” or light colored paint over Mahogany or Pine

Painting kitchen cabinets that have a lot of grain and it is causing tannin to bleed through?  Or, even though you cleaned the cabinets well and rinsed off any cleaning products, you are still getting “grease” stains coming thru?  Keep in mid, we promote Chalk Paint® as a minimal prep paint, but you have to be realistic and it is not a miracle.  Especially when it comes to kitchen cabinets- where – personally I like to say, some people use their cabinets and some people abuse their cabinets.  If the doors have a heavy grain, or are oak, or perhaps the pre-existing top coat has worn away …….especially on doors near the kitchen sink, or the cooking area near the stove or above it, next to the dishwasher where the door opens and hot steam is released or doors that get handled a lot like where you keep your drinking glasses – the pre-existing top coat may have been worn away.  Keep in mind too, if using “white” colored paints…all of these issues above are a concern, but even more so – because again, “white” does not contain as much color blocking pigment.

Painting RAW WOOD and the paint is getting sucked up
Issues with the paint cracking or not adhering in a certain spot?
Painting a piece that you have sanded and now have different finishes visible
Planning on painting Pure White or Old White over a wood piece and concerned with stain or wood grain bleeding?
You used wood filler on a section and the paint is taking to it differently?

The piece stinks really bad of either cigarette smoke, a musty basement…or who knows what!

Painting kitchen cabinets and you are concerned of bleed through?  Personally, I do not apply shellac – UNLESS I have to. It is extra work. If I get bleed through after my 1st coat of paint dries- then I will apply my 2 coats of shellac based on my instructions below. Shellac can be applied over chalk paint but not wax. So, wait and see what happens. And – you may only have bleed through on a couple of doors.

Please read this post:


Real quick- if you need to use shellac- typically you would do it in this order:
1.Apply Shellac  …..Most importantly- remember with this solution – that you cannot “spot treat” a water mark or “issue” areas- rather you must do the whole section. For example- water marks from a glass on top? Shellac the whole top, not just the water mark.  Have a section on a kitchen cabinet door that keeps getting a stain bleeding though?  Shellac the whole door!


Apply TWO uniform thin COATS of Shellac

2. Lightly sand after using to prevent paint from crackling.

3. Paint with Chalk Paint®

4. Wax

If you realize you need to shellac after applying Chalk Paint®- that is okay…go ahead and apply the shellac. Just remember you cannot shellac directly over wax!

If you have applied wax already, then you will need to lift the wax using mineral spirits.

Lightly moisten a rag and wipe your furniture. Wipe edge to edge- not circular. Also- make sure to NOT drip mineral spirits on to your floor. The rag should be moist, not dripping wet. The piece should feel almost like it did prior to waxing after removing the wax.


I prefer to use shellac in a container. Reason being- even with two applications using an aerosol can- I cannot guarantee that your coverage (thickness) is adequate.

Do not shake the shellac but rather stir it or roll the container in your hands prior or use a stir stick.

I use a lint free, cotton rag to apply the shellac. I usually take a rag and fold it into four’s. The I dip an edge into the shellac and wipe it on the piece in the same direction that I will be applying the paint. (usually the same direction as the wood grain.)  By using a lint free rag- folding it like a hankerchief, then dipping the edge in- and wiping the shellac on – starting the farthest away from you. and wiping from one edge to the opposite side- you should have better coverage.  The analogy I use – is that this is similar to washing your kitchen table.  But always wipe in linear lines- not circular.

You will need two coats.  And note- too thick of an application of shellac can lead to other problems also- so a uniformed thinned application is best.
Once done applying the two coats- waiting 15 to 20 minutes in between applications- then you will lightly sand!
Never shake the shellac in the can, but rather use a stir stick and mix well and note that shellac has a shelf life of about a year to 18 months.

I prefer to use THESE RAGS (click here to link to the “better Than Cheesecloth” rags.)

Give the surface about 15 minutes to dry, and then repeat with a second, (uniform and thin) coat of shellac. Never apply it thick. That can lead to problems too. But – I often use the analogy, “Measure twice, cut once.” So, two uniform coats is best.

Having to apply shellac when painting with a “white” Chalk Paint® is sometimes necessary over certain surfaces – like raw wood, mahogany, heavily exposed grain.


Ahh- the dreaded problem when you finally decide to paint a piece of furniture or even worse yet….kitchen cabinets and then……stains are bleeding through the primer and paint you have painstakingly applied. Or- what about that amazing piece you picked up at a garage sale for next to nothing- but OH BOY! It stinks! Either that musty smell from sitting in a damp basement, or the owner was a cigarette smoker. Or, did you use wood filler to “fix” some damage or did you decide to go from a “handle” to just a knob in regards to hardware and – you filled in the holes on the drawer fronts? Or, you have a hutch that your hubby built for you out of raw wood that has not been top coated? (that one is for you Laura!!) OR…you painted your piece with Chalk Paint™ and you now see bleeding coming through. Now what do you do?

Here is a story true story of the progression of this issue with a trestle table that I recently painted for my shop, The Purple Painted Lady. A photo of her is below. Doesn’t she have great lines? I saw her and was in love and knew immediately how much potential she would have once she received a little TLC.:

First of all, at my shop I use and prefer specific products. Yes…I have used many products over the last decade, but just like make-up or soda pop, we are creatures of habit and usually stick to the brand that we like the most and that does the job for what our needs are. Now before I go on…here is a little disclaimer I wanted to add regarding this post. I am not endorsed or sponsored by this particular brand/company I am going to write about. But I can say that I always have a bunch of cans of this product in my shop for sale and for my personal inventory because it has been a life saver…and also a money and time saver for me. I do sell Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paint Products, and that is because I love it and believe in all that it can do. I am passionate about what I do and will never link my name to a product that I don’t use myself and love! So AMEN to all of that!!!

OK…with that out of the way- let me get back on track! So, you can see in the photo above a beautiful trestle table- but look close at the top if it. Now check out the image below and you can sadly see the water stains that bled through after beginning painting it. Foolish me…even “experts” (and I use that term very loosely) make mistakes. Again- if you look closely at the top of the unpainted table- it was quite obvious this was going to be an issue!

I totally knew I should have taken precautionary steps – but perhaps I was in denial. I don’t know, but either way- after that first coat of paint- reality hit me quickly and I did what I needed to do.

Ok, are you ready? Here it is…my secret to covering up water stains, that red stain wood that was popular in the 1930’s &, 1940’s , Mahogany colored stains or preventing wood tannins from bleeding through my painted pieces of furniture or cabinets. This is especially important if using a light hued color of paint…like white! It is…ta-dah…..using a spray shellac. Just like the one I have shown here.


Please click here to watch a video about Zinsser Shellac.
This “miracle in can …or quart” also works great when dealing with knotty pine or if painting kitchen cabinets that were manufactured and installed in the 1980’s or 1990’s that have that yellow maple look to them or if you are painting a red stained piece and want it to be white. I typically recommend only getting the CLEAR shellac versus the white. This is especially important if you want to distress your piece after being painted and would not want a white sealer being revealed. And- sometimes we start a project thinking it is going to be painted in one color- and then change our minds. Once you use the white sealer- you have sort of committed yourself to a white paint if you are going to distress the piece.


As for the cabinets I referenced- you know the ones that have that yellowish wood stain color and you can see the grain of the wood. The wood tannins bleed through your paint like the photo above shows. To prevent the bleeding some people approach this problem by using multiple (meaning many!!!!) coats of a serious excellent covering primer (adding more expense to their project.) And keep in mind- that primer is NOT needed with Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan products! Lastly- just want to clarify- there is a functional difference between sealers and primers. So….here is something you can consider- my secret weapon using Zinsser.
Make sure when using any product to read the manufacturer’s usage and safety directions first. Like most spray paint, polyurethane or shellac – this stuff has some serious smell to it. I always recommend- when possible to use this in an outside area or ventilated garage. Wear a mask and even safety glasses. (do I wear safety glasses? NO! But I should probably tell you due to some legal mumbo-jumbo!) But you do not want any wind or dust happening when using this stuff- or any spray paint, shellac or polyurethane. Because – like Murphy’s Law- if there is a breeze and dust….the dust or dog’s hair will end up on your piece. Also, (and I do this) …remember to take off that sparkly diamond ring you might be wearing or any other jewelry or watches, so you do not accidentally over spray them. When you spray your piece – use common sense “Spray Painting” techniques. Meaning- don’t hold the aerosol can in one place- you will get drips. Don’t hold the can too close to your piece either. Even movement, uniform coverage – and you will be just fine! After you have sprayed the piece (or brushed on the shellac) ….once the piece is dry – which is very quickly (like 5 minutes)- reopen the front and back garage door to get a cross breeze to air out your work space. It doesn’t take much time and the smell dissipates quickly and in the end- this will be all worth it!!

When you have stains and need to spray your piece, always spray the whole surface that contains the stain- do not just spot treat. Just to reiterate some important points: Get uniform coverage – do not just target the stain section. You wouldn’t think just a quick spot treat spray of shellac in only a small targeted area could be visible once painted, but it is! I am going to repeat that because this is important! Make sure when you spray the whole area of the piece! So in my example- I sprayed the whole top of the table. And feel free to do this twice. First, spray it once and let it dry which only takes 5 minutes. And I love the quick drying time because even the most impatient people will be impressed with this stuff! Next- spray another full second coat! When done using spray paint or a spray shellac- go outside and holding the can, flip it upside down and spray. You will see the spray in a few seconds will disappear and this ensures you that you cleaned out the nozzle and won’t have a clogged can next time you need to use it. Always do this before placing your spray paint or spray shellac away and you will never have a plugged nozzle!

Again, play it safe! Do this step outside if using the spray shellac since the shellac has a serious strong odor- but the smell goes away quick and dries in minutes.

And just to reiterate this- when you have a piece of furniture made out of different types of wood- keep in mind – that when you paint- the color can appear differently. For instance… a wonderful customer of mine, Laura McGarrahan Koppelmann has a husband who is very skilled. he built her – from scratch a hutch! He used bead board and pine, and some other types of wood when constructing it. When she began painting it she had two issues:

1. The raw wood was just sucking up the paint!!

2. There was an obvious difference in the shade of the paint depending on which surface you looked at. The pine sides took the paint differently than the back bead board.

So, I emailed her this post regarding shellac. Laura applied the shellac right over her existing Chalk Paint® and repainted- and loved the outcome. She wrote to me, “My beautiful, finally complete hutch! I LOVE IT! Shew, it was a lot of work, but so worth it…thanks for all your help to make this work. I learned a lot in the process. It is now “priceless” hutch ; )”

Lauras Hutch


And although- I am mentioning this near the end here- this stuff is amazing for blocking out odors that may be coming from a piece of furniture. It seems when I spot the most amazing piece of furniture with incredible detailing at a garage sale, it always happens when I get next to it- IT STINKS! LIKE, “make you gag” stink. Either that musty smell from sitting in a damp basement, or the owner was a HEAVY cigarette smoker. I like to use the analogy that spraying the piece with Zinsser is like laminating a piece of paper. Water cannot penetrate through and get the paper- and that smelly odor – will be totally contained. ***Just make sure to spray inside the drawers and any surface you can…like underneath, inside drawer pockets, and inside cabinets.

I don’t think it matters what you use to clean or air out something that has been permeated with nicotine….. On a damp day- it will smell all over again. The only thing I have found to really work- is encapsulating the entire piece of furniture with Shellac. If it is a dresser- spray the Shellac in the cavities. Smoke gets everywhere!

Below is the same table after one coat of Zinsser Spray Shellac and a coat of Old White- which is a paint that does not require a primer to stick to the shellac. Doesn’t it look better? Again- what I did was spray it with the Zinsser. Then repainted using Chalk Paint®. And then – waxed.

Whenever I have to sand a piece of furniture due to damage of some sort. It could be due to a scratch, a dent, chipping. After sanding, the piece will have a variation of materials on one surface- like the dresser shown below. You can see the raw wood where we sanded. In this case- I also always spray that whole section with Zinsser Shellac. So in the example below- I would spray the whole top.:<br?

Again, this is wonderful stuff and if you paint lots of furniture… I recommend always having a can on hand. Or two, or three….!

Imagine when you go to paint those old kitchen cabinets that you cannot stand the color of. Save yourself time- just take the precautionary step and spray shellac all the doors after a good cleaning- and spray them twice. And don’t forget to brush on the shellac to your kitchen cabinet frames too.

The Purple Painted Lady just completed painting 40 cabinet doors for a home in Penfield, New York. We sprayed the cabinets outside prior to using Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan. Sometimes with kitchen cabinets- even though they have a top coat of their own from the factory – after over 20 years of use…that breaks down. The stain from the cabinets in certain places can then bleed through. (It is interesting to paint cabinets- as an experiment prior to shellac. You will notice the stain that bleeds through is in a shape of a streak as if something splattered on the cabinets and then dripped down the front and it is the shape of a splatter or spot) You will often find this most near cabinet doors located near the dishwasher or kitchen sink where there is more water movement from washing dishes or emptying the dishwasher.

Another reason to use shellac: Painting Chalk Paint® over a previously painted surface that has some type of effect – will most likely pass through to the Chalk Paint®. This would happen no matter what type of paint you were using.

So for example—–

If you paint Chalk Paint® over a previously crackled surface- it will cause the Chalk Paint® to crackle.

If you are painting Chalk Paint® over chipping Milk Paint- that will still cause the Chalk Paint® to chip since the foundation beneath …the “Milk Paint” is still chipping since it has not “bonded” with the base surface.

In this case- I recommend that you sand back the milk paint or crackle lightly to accelerate any loose paint to come off or to remove the crackled surface. Then- blow off the surface of all dust and use Zinsser Clear Shellac (again, I like the aerosol cans- but you have to use it outside) and applit in a thorough coat over the whole piece. Possibly two coats. Shellac is very inexpensive and can be a life saver depending on the piece you are working on. I have a post on my website noted below you may want to read.

Anyway- I think this trestle table looks lovely now! Tomorrow this gorgeous table will receive a mix of Dark & Clear wax to showcase the “crocodile” textured surface around the front and sides.

Okay- now here is a spin to all of this information! I personally think that I use shellac on about 20% of my jobs. If I am painting cabinets in a kitchen a=or a bath- they almost always get shellac. But using shellac is a necessity for many jobs and something to consider- is what color Chalk Paint® are you using in your project. Reason being – colors with more pigment will have better coverage. Below is a bunch of photos that are an example of that!

I picked up an old dining table for free. But it had a large burn mark on the top of it.

I thought I would need to apply Zinsser Shellac over it as so the paint would cover it, but thought I would experiment first and just try the Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint® directly over the burn mark to see how it covered.


shop table TLC cover burn mark Duck Egg Blue

After rolling one coat over the table with a foam/sponge roller I knew that I did NOT need to use shellac since the Chalk Paint® covered the burn mark 100%. I am pretty sure though, if I had used Old White Chalk Paint® or Pure White Chalk Paint® this would not of been the case.

After I painted the table it looked so much better, but I thought it was a little plain. So I played around with a large stencil.





I think the table looks so much better now and learned quite a bit regarding coverage when using Chalk Paint® on this little project!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this not-so-little article- but isn’t that typical of me? Please write to me, “Dear Purple Painted Lady” with questions and you may be featured right here online! Any painting questions, color selection issues, or even design issues- send them on in. Please just write me at and note in your subject, “Dear Purple Painted Lady.”

Until next week…. in the words of St. Francis of Assisi:

A woman who works with her hands
is a laborer.
A woman who works with her hands
and her head is a craftsperson.
A woman who works with her hands.
her head and her heart
is an artist.

Stay well!

Tricia Migliore Kuntz ~ aka…The Purple Painted Lady

<= SHOP FOR ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT® on my daughter's photo to the LEFT <=

My on-line store is always OPEN and we offer LOW FLAT RATE SHIPPING inside the USA!

The best part of purchasing your paint through The Purple Painted Lady…is that I become your personal Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® consultant! No joke!

You have a question about what color would be best for your project? CALL ME! 585-750-6056
Have a question about the application of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®? CALL ME! 585-750-6056
Not sure the appropriate way to wax your Chalk Paint® or the order to do things? CALL ME! 585-750-6056

I think you are getting the picture!

Always leave a message – on the off chance I cannot answer. Please leave your phone number twice and speak slowly- I guarantee I will call you back! Or feel free to email me! Email is great when a photo would be helpful related to your issue!

Thanks so much and Happy Shopping!

ps I ship EVERY day – except for Sunday! (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)

Typography! How does she do it?!

Decorative painting ….transferring Typography! How does she do it?!

Many people wonder, some ask. I respond, …”it is not hard! And let me help you.” (and by the way- we do sell Chalk Paint® on line HERE for $37.99 per quart and SHIP YOUR ORDER OUT THE SAME DAY YOU PLACE IT- if placed by 3pm Eastern Time!)

Yes, I get asked that often with pieces that I do. So, although this post is all over the place when it comes to topics, I am sharing with you:

1. a great website source for getting free images and typography from. (yes, I wrote FREE!)
2. my typical approach to doing image projects like this.
3. information on applying Dark Wax (there are many ways to use Dark Wax by the way!)
4. And a new product called Transfer Gel by Artisan Enhancements® that we sell – which is another option to help you make amazing pieces also. Click HERE to see this product.

coco dresser with white emailI am always scheming and thinking about how I want to paint my next piece, but sometimes I need inspiration. So, what’s a girl to do, except for to call on her Fairy Godmother! Well, who I actually am referring to is The Graphics Fairy LLC ! She has never let me down! (ps if you visit her Facebook page- please let her know The Purple Painted Lady sent you!)

Below I will share with you the steps took to create this funky painted dresser.

Here is what the dresser looked like before anything was done to it. Not too pretty- but it had the perfect front surface for something fun to be painted on it! Not to mention it is all wood and well made. So…of course it was first painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Decorative Paints. The color used was Coco- which is a beautiful color – especially with Dark Wax applied to it!

Coco Sample Board
If interested in purchasing Coco Chalk Paint®- click HERE.

This dresser was already painted with white Latex paint when I found it.  I chose the color Coco for this project and it took 1 1/2 coats of Coco Chalk Pant®. NO sanding or priming prior either and did I mention I sell Chalk Paint® on-line? Click HERE if interested in shopping. And oh, what do I mean by 1/2 coats?

Well, after your first coat of Chalk Paint® dries- if you are applying a second coat with a brush (which you almost always need 2 coats of paint!) – often I will thin the paint by placing only a ¼ inch of water in a plastic cup with some paint. A good rule of thumb, is no more than 20% water added to the whatever amount of paint you have. And do this in a separate container, other than the actual paint can.

By adding some water- it allows the paint to be a little thinner and smoother and it will glide on easier and you will use less paint. (I will sometimes refer to it as a 1/2 coat.) Also, this is great if you are looking for more of a traditional “smooth” look with minimal brush strokes in regards to texture.

Once finished painting the dresser with Coco- it was time to jazz it up. I did not want to use a stencil and actually could not find one the size or in the style I wanted. But when it comes to stencils- some are a necessity when doing a replicating pattern. But in general I have found that they can be quite expensive and often- I do not do the same detailed painting more than once or twice, so I do not need one. And to have a custom stencil created- FORGET IT…very expensive$$$.

More importantly- I want to have a variety in the pieces I do, versus doing the same design again and again. I like to personalize an image and if you are savvy with using Paint Shop Pro (or some image editing software) you can.

So for the project I am going to step through below what I did. But just to share- if I was to purchase a big stencil to accommodate my design in this size- it would easily run a minimum of $100 to perhaps $200 retail- that is, if you could find one that matched this type of design. So instead, I suggest that you buy a projector off of Craigslist and print your transparencies on a laser printer. You will not regret it! And that is what I did….I just made a transparency and pushed the image up and traced it.

I used Graphite Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan to color within the lines. What makes Chalk Paint® so awesome is that it is very forgiving. Meaning when I paint in the traced lettering on the piece below – I am not concerned about uniform coverage of paint since I am going to “age” this piece by distressing it with sand paper and use Dark Wax once done. With a little 200 to 400 grit sandpaper…I will make the front of this piece as smooth as glass! And ….make the uneven paint – work to my advantage!

1. So, where do I go to get inspiration? Please allow me to introduce you to my Fairy Godmother! Visit The Graphics Fairy LLC website and browse. Karen – my Fairy Godmother (although she is probably much younger than me!) always has an infinite supply of the most incredible – inspirational images for me to choose from. And get this…all of her site- IS FREE! Crazy right?!

Search for whatever you might have in mind. If you have no ideas, just browse some of the folders she has on her main menu. I guarantee, something will appeal to you!


2. Once the perfect image is found (which there will be 100’s of!) Make a screen shot of the image and then create a PowerPoint image and save it to your hard drive. Print that image on to a transparency from my laser printer. If you have a basic ink jet – make sure to buy transparencies specifically for your printer type. Otherwise your ink will stay wet and will just smear. Kinkos or Copy Max can make transparencies for you if you cannot. (Note that I did not go into specifics from a technical perspective, because depending on if you have a mac or use Micorsoft and what revision you have- the instructions will vary!)

3. Using my ancient and inexpensive overhead projector, I push the image onto my furniture piece. Make sure to only begin this step when you have ample time to do the whole layout. Don’t plan on starting the lay out on one day and finishing it another because if you move your piece by accident or the projector gets shifted – nothing will line up and you will have a fun time (sarcasm) trying to align it all again!

Using painter’s tape- tape the transparency in place to your projector once you have it aligned, otherwise a nice breeze will come by and blow it off (Murphy’s Law.)
I align my design by eye.
Always step back a good few feet and look at your piece from a distance.
Make sure to leave ample room between your piece and the projector so that you can comfortably stretch out or lay down on the ground without touching either, or you risk moving one! For this image, I gauged the distance from the top of the letters from a drawer seam to make sure that it looks uniformed before I start to trace my projection. As for the projector- find one on Craigslist for a minimal amount of money. Unless a projector was relatively new or came with a large inventory of bulbs- I would not pay more than $60 for one. (and for $60, I am looking for a top of the line projector) The most expensive part of a projector is the bulbs. Make sure to ask the current owner if they have any extra bulbs that they will give you with the purchase or confirm that the bulbs are still available to buy!

Another idea- I like to use this method for wall designs. At my 2000 sq ft shop in the village of Macedon- I have started to work on my Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint display. Customizing your space is always cool, in my opinion. I used my projector to do this too.

Milk Paint Logo over cow

I still need to add “miss mustard seed” in an arc over my cute cow’s head, but I really like how it looks already!

4. Using a WATERCOLOR pencil– trace your image in a coordinated water colored pencil. Since I knew I was going to paint the lettering with the color Graphite, another gorgeous Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan- I used a dark colored pencil. However, if I was going to use Annie Sloan’s Old White or Pure White, I would have selected the white or lighter colored watercolor pencil. The difference between regular “traditional” pencils that your kids use in school versus a water-soluble pencil is
what the material inside the pencil is made of. Typically when an artist who paints with watercolors (which I think you all understand what I mean by watercolor) …the person sketches out a drawing with a special kind of pencil as so when they apply water and paint – the outline from the watercolor pencil blends in versus just being an outline. Regular lead or graphite pencils just smear and contaminate your watercolor paint- or for that matter any type of paint. Even Latex! So- when I, The Purple Painted Lady paints a mural on a wall- I ALWAYS use a pencil made for watercolor art. Again the lead – have a water soluble material that blends when painting. Here is a LINK to some available. Color pencil leads are either wax or oil based, whereas watercolor pencils have a water soluble base. Again- (apologizing for the redundancy here) do not use a traditional lead pencil. The lead will only smear and depending on the color of paint you will be using- the lead will bleed through. Some people may suggest using a piece of chalk, but I do NOT. Do NOT use a Sharpie either. A customer of mine tried that, and the Sharpie seemed to smear when she applied the wax top coat. So, I like watercolor pencils and they must have a tight tip to make fine detailed lines, which is why I also have an electric sharpener that I use a lot! I have found that a piece of chalk is too bulky to draw in details. (and I like the details!)

When you begin to trace, be strategic. Meaning start on the top of the image and work your way down. This will prevent you from smearing your lines. This is especially important if working on a project when it is hot and humid. The moisture on your skin will smudge the water color lines.


The Purple Painted Lady has projectors available for RENTING from her Macedon location. If local, give her a call. 585.750.6057


5. Once your layout is done- celebrate! Now the fun part begins…painting it all in!

I use artist’s paint brushes that I purchase at Hobby Lobby or Michaels Stores. For this project, I used a straight top brush that was about 1/3 of an inch wide and then two other fine tipped brushes for detailing and making whimsical lines. I also have a bunch of styrofoam plates around that I use to hold a little water and to remove some paint from my brushes when I get too much on them.

Some people will use paint markers, but be careful. Make sure to test whatever type of marker you are using prior with the wax or top coat you will be using. Some will smear or smudge- and you do not want that happening after investing time and energy in creating your design.
Begin painting in a strategic way. Since I am right handed, I always start applying paint on the top left of the image. That way- I can rest my hand that is holding the paint brush on the piece without worry of laying it in wet paint. This is important since you will create a nicer, straighter – more controlled brush stroke when your hand is resting on the surface, versus floating in mid-air.

6. I will share that the amount of time to complete what I have done so far is relative to your experience as a painter. The more you paint- the faster you will be. The old saying- practice makes perfect is very true! I completed what you see done in the photo ABOVE in about one hour and 15 minutes, and that includes painting the dresser (it does exclude drying time.) But don’t worry about the time if you are slower than me because it is not a race and in the end- what matters is you creating a beautiful piece. Painting, detailing, waxing…in the end I will have about 2 hours vested in this. Again- the more you paint- the faster you will be. I have been professionally painting pieces and murals for about 10 years now.

I then completed the application of clear wax as a base, and then the dark wax. Here is a photo of the front of the dresser with one drawer still waiting for dark wax. You can see where I have applied the dark wax.

When I apply the dark wax- sometimes I will wear plastic gloves so the stain doesn’t transfer to my hands. I can share (almost 2 years from when I wrote this post originally) that I never wear gloves any more because I am pretty darn neat at doing this. : ) So, like I shared, there is a layer of clear wax on the dresser first and I did this for two reasons. One, it prevents the dark wax from “staining ” the paint directly. This is really important if using Old White or a lighter color of paint and you do not want that much intensity of darkness. (just a side note- that there are other application ways to apply dark wax. And two- the additional layer of clear wax adds more protection. I like to think of Dark Wax and the result of it as being very artistic.)



Check out THIS video of Annie Sloan painting a little cabinet and using both clear and dark wax.


To read more information about applying Dark Wax, please click HERE.)

I brushed on the Dark Wax over to give an aged effect. I let the Dark Wax sit for about 30 seconds…literally almost applying it – then wiped it off in linear strokes. I took my lint free rag (use an old t-shirt cutting it up in pieces…you will go through a few rags for this project) Using your rag, remove the excess dark wax. We are not icing a cake and I only wanted the residual staining effect. I did leave a larger amount of the Dark Wax in the side grooves though. (again – feel free to visit this other post HERE to learn more about Dark Wax)

I made sure to push Dark Wax into the little cracks and dents of the dresser so to really gave the dresser that “Pottery Barn” aged look.

Now before you tackle a sacred piece of furniture that you inherited from your favorite great aunt with Dark Wax, I suggest you “practice” with Dark Wax on a small piece or a cheap garage sale find. This way you can get some experience and understand the approach on how to make your piece look aged, and not dirty. : ) Please make sure to read my post HERE to learn more about Dark Wax.

Below is a photo of the dresser finished and with the hardware installed. What do you think?

If you try this idea at home – please email me some BEFORE & AFTER images of what you did.

coco dresser with white email Here are a few more examples of pieces we have completed using a projector:


Typography LOVE quote The purple Painted Lady Chalk Paint annie sloan dresser

In the photo I have below with the quote, ”

Life Moves Pretty Fast. If you don’t stop & look around once in a while, you could miss it!”

– I used a white water color pencil. I will typically take the drawers out to paint the design, and then- using sandpaper- I distress my painted letters. This will create a super smooth finish. Note the white dust on the Graphite paint from sanding over the white letters. Do not worry about that because once I go over this with my Annie Sloan Clear Wax- the residual dust will disappear.

Typography Life Moves Fast quote The purple Painted Lady Chalk Paint annie sloan dresser


Old Violet Annie Sloan dresser





Transfer Gel by Artisan Enhancements® AVAILABLE at The Purple Painted Lady


Now, if you are not into purchasing a projector and sketching out your image- here is a another amazing option that streamlines this process. It is a product called product called Transfer Gel by Artisan Enhancements® that I am retailing at my Macedon store and here on-line – which is another option to help you make amazing pieces also. Click HERE to see this product.

So what is Transfer Gel by Artisan Enhancements®?
artisan enhancement close up

Transfer Gel by Artisan Enhancements® is a product that enables you to make funky pieces that others have done by hand in the past. It is a transparent fibrous gel that you apply over an image that you printed from either a laser jet printer or professional printed image from your local CopyMax or copying store. Both black & white images and color images work perfectly with this gel.

Transfer Gel So, how does the Transfer Gel work?

Well, first you find an image you love, print it to the correct size and remember to make it in the reverse that you want to see it. This is especially important if transferring lettering otherwise the wording will be backwards! Then, you lay your printed image onto your painted piece.

If you can lay your furniture down so the image is facing up ~ for example, if doing a dresser front- consider laying the dresser on its back. This is not necessary, but if you have a small piece- do it.

Apply the Transfer Gel by brush and use quite a bit of it covering the whole image in a uniform way.

Again, your image is face down so the printed image is facing the furniture, not you. And one last reminder- make sure print is mirror imaged.

Use a smoothing tool to adhere paper evenly to surface. I like the plastic scraper that I received with my Pamper Chef baking stone, but even an old plastic library card works.

Allow your printed paper to dry to assure the image has transferred. It is best to leave it overnight- or even 24 hours depending on the temperature and moisture in your area. (Don’t try to rush this – otherwise it will be like taking a cake out of the over after half the time it needs.) Some have shared that you can rush it by using a hairdryer- but I suggest you be patient and only use a hair dryer at the very end.

Ok, now comes the best part…I like to say, “the Christmas Morning moment!”

Mist the paper with water quite generously, then using a sponge or cloth remove/rub away paper the image. Now it is VERY IMPORTANT that you do not over work the removal of the paper since you could start to remove the transfer image. So, approach this carefully and slowly. (that means, you need to be patient!)

As always, it is best to test a small spot to make sure that the drying was totally completed.

Some have shared that if you get a funny outside haze circle- that is referred to a “halo” effect – after you have removed the paper- just lightly sand the edges of the image with a fine grit paper like 300 or 400 grit. Just like dark cars show more dirt, dings and scratches- this halo effect seems more evident on darker colored painted pieces.

Last, use the Artisan Enhancements® Clear Topcoat to seal. To access the Clear Topcoat in our on-line store click HERE.

I hope what I have shared has been helpful. Please feel free to email me questions if there is something you do not understand.
Thanks so much for reading my post and hopefully liking by Facebook page. And a BIG thank you to Karen at The Graphics Fairy LLC

Please visit our website if interested in ordering Chalk Paint®. We have it available for $34.95 per quart, we offer low/flat rate shipping and it always ships same day (as long as Pete, our UPS guy has not come already!)

In fact- there are many reasons we think buying through us is the best. Read THIS little post about what sets The Purple Painted Lady apart from the rest.

To visit our on-line store- click HERE.

Lastly, we share a lot more information to help you get the most functionality out of your Chalk Paint® on our Facebook page. Consider checking it out by clicking HERE. While there- kindly consider LIKING us.

Thanks again,
Tricia Migliore Kuntz ~The Purple Painted Lady ~
Design/Consulting, Kitchen Cabinet Refurbishing, Custom Painted Furniture, Chalk Paint® & Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint Retailer & herRochester Blogger

PHONE: 585-750-6056

Come visit us:

At our MAIN STORE at 77 West Main Street in Macedon, NY 14502 OR
77 Main street with phone number

3200 West Ridge Road in Rochester, NY 14626 (The Shops On West Ridge) OR

Our Syracuse, NY location as of July 1, 2014 at 1 West Genesee Street, Baldwinsville, NY 13027
Click HERE for Store hours and information.
Moving from Solvay to Baldwinsville ASU The Purple Painted Lady