Falling In Love with Neglected Furniture, AGAIN.

Falling In Love with Neglected Furniture, AGAIN.

I suspect that, to most people, the formidable radio cabinet is now viewed as obsolete; long gone are the days when these little cabinets were the focal point of any self-respecting home.

These days, most have had their radio innards removed (oh the shame, the shame), in the hopes that the cabinet can be used again. But for what? It’s sole identity has been ripped from it – now it’s just a small, dark (often the space inside isn’t very useful in today’s lifestyle) piece of furniture. If I had to guess, I’m sure there have been many of these cabinets discarded at the local landfill (gulp). And I get it, times change, style changes and people move on to the next ‘best’ thing. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.

I personally love these little pieces. Admittedly, the overall storage area isn’t optimal, BUT, they are so very quaint. They’re small enough that they really don’t take up that much floor space – but they can offer such a BIG input to the room. This is one that I bought a few months ago on Facebook marketplace. I used to religiously shop on Craigslist, but man, FB marketplace is the place to shop these days! I actually bought it from a woman who had every intention of refinishing it herself – but, reality had set it and she realized she just wasn’t going to get around to doing it. So it came to me!

So stinking cute!

Clearly, it was well past its prime. But, the nice thing about ‘scary’ looking peeling veneer, is that it’s not really difficult to remove. These are the types of pieces that I love to paint; they’re usually made with low quality wood and cheap veneer – so painting them isn’t a cardinal sin. Over the years, I’m showing greater restraint over the pieces I paint: If it’s a beautiful wood, or a finish that I know I can’t improve on – I typically leave well alone. But, look at that sad little piece – it desperately needed painting.

I’ve done several radio cabinets over the years, and I’ve loved every single one of them. One was used as a drinks cabinet, one was used in a bathroom for toiletries – there are so many different uses for these little gems. Here are a few of the one’s I’ve finished. The Cupid image on the first two is actually a postcard that I bought online! The beauty of image transfer is that you can use ANY image as long as you photocopy it with a laser printer.

There really is just an endless amount of options for these things. So my advice to you is: If you see one for sale – GRAB IT!!!!!

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’ll probably know that I love Cupid and Psyche. I can’t quite put my finger on why I love them so much, but I just do. I think it’s just the whole romantic notion of having to fight for love “I’ll overcome any obstacle to find you, my sweet” (said in my broadest Yorkshire accent), I should probably add a ‘by gum’ just for good measure. And did you know that if you put Cupid, Psyche and William-Adolphe Bourguereau together, you come up with pure magic? And magic is want I needed to this little neglected cabinet.

Even though, technically, you don’t need to prime furniture when using chalk paint (any brand), I’ve started to. I just think of it as putting on good undergarments – there’s no downside – it can only help. I think, for me, it’s about ‘removing’ the wood grain – I like to start with a completely blank canvas, and so primer is my friend. Today’s primers are water-based and fast drying. Plus, to prime a piece probably takes 30 mins – it’s worth that little extra effort.

There she is in all her naked glory (and yes, you’re correct – that is indeed a black velvet Elvis – Thank you, thank you very much). Because I only work with image transfer, it’s a slow process. Like embarrassingly slow. I can’t even admit to you, how long these pieces take me. But, at the end, it seems so worthwhile for me. I’m not a crazy color person, I don’t like using a lot of color on my pieces because it makes my eyes go crazy. And if it makes my eyes go cray-cray, chances are it’s going to make yours go that way too. I prefer soft, subtle finishes. Nothing dramatic.

This is how it starts. The really ‘cool’ thing about how these images matched up, is that they were almost identical to how the original veneer matched up. For that reason, I decided not to try and ‘hide’ the joins. It actually worked out really well. This is the first attempt at removing the backing pulp. If you’re not familiar with image transfer, it’s basically a process of using a reverse image and then removing all of the paper so that only the actual image is transferred; there’s no harsh lines etc to try and camouflage, like there are with decoupage and transfers. I’m 100% biased. I love the process, and I think once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back to decoupage/transfers again (my honest opinion).

I used two main paint colors, both. And with literally every single piece I work on, I use several different colored glazes. Glazes give you an almost watercolor effect, just very soft and fluid; I’d truly be lost without them. The detail work was copper leaf, because copper leaf is just sexy and opulent, and gorgeous – should I continue? And to seal the piece I used Pure & Original Italian wax. Honestly, I’ve no idea why I don’t talk about this product more, because it’s a beautiful product. I’ll surmise that I’m a bad business woman, and leave it at that. But, if you want a soft, liquid wax (water-based), that you wipe on with a rag and then can buff to a nice shine, this is the product to use. But less of the sales talk (SEE! Clearly, I’m not a sales person!!). Let’s see the end result.

Just so stinking beautful.

This is the finish that you can get by using glazes.Lots and lots of thin layers, gradually you build and create movement in the paint.

This is the first piece that I’ve finished this year (and it’s super scary to think that it’s almost the end of March – how did that happen!!!). I had a little talk to myself at the beginning of the year (as you do) and ‘we’ agreed that ‘we’ will only paint furniture that speak to us. This from the get-go was one such piece. Neglected, ready to be cast aside – but so, so much potential. This piece was a perfect way to start the New Year off.

So again, if you see a small radio cabinet crying out for help on Facebook marketplace or craigslist etc, please rescue them. They will love you back <3

{Insert catchy ending phrase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory

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