You know, I don’t give the Hubs enough credit.
When it comes to trash-to-treasure pieces, he has a pretty good eye. Seriously, he does.
Take this bookcase, for example. It is a 1980’s oak piece that used to hang on the wall at his office. During the office refresh, they just tossed it away. Yep, they surely did —and being the ever-alert Hubs that he is, he snagged it for our basement.
We planned to use it for backend storage. You know, for things like paint, tools, and seasonal decorations —until the man cave refresh got underway.
Here’s a peek at the before. You won’t believe how it looks now.
Bookcase Makeover: From 80’s Oak to Modern Rustic Industrial
Welcome to the bottom of the stairs and the third post in the “Basement Landing” trilogy.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fusion Mineral Paint, but all projects and opinions are 100% my own.
In case you haven’t been following, in the first post, the gold wall went bye-bye when the Hubs and I installed these nifty peel and stick planks.
Then — the second post explains how the design plan came together.
And now, the third (and last) post in this series will share how the bookcase got its new suit of clothes.
So let’s get started.
The Bookcase Makeover
Step 1: Prep for Paint
The bookcase —every square inch —was wiped down, lightly sanded, and then wiped down again. Honestly, as a trash-to-treasure, it wasn’t really dirty and required zero repairs. Every joint is as solid as a rock and it is as heavy as a tank. Oh joy! What could be better?
Step 2: Apply the Basecoat
When this makeover started, I wasn’t planning to put Fusion’s Chocolate to the test. And truthfully, I had ordered the paint for a different project, but when the bookcase rolled into my life —so did a Chocolate-coated ah-ha moment.
I wondered if, by using the chocolate as a basecoat, I could somehow lessen the impact of the oak grain and incorporate what remained into the final finish.
I painted one coat of chocolate over the entire piece. When this coat was dry, I painted a second coat over most of the piece. Yes, it sounds strange, I know. But I was hoping that different depths of color would naturally appear. And look — they did!
Step 3: Why Beeswax?
For this piece, I wanted that delicious chocolate color to forever bury all traces of the 80’s golden oak. And because of this, I did not want to sand in order to create layers of color. So once the chocolate was good and dry (I waited 24 hours), the piece was rubbed with beeswax in places where I did NOT want the topcoat to adhere.
Step 4: Apply the Topcoat
Algonquin was chosen as a topcoat because it is the great taupe chameleon in the Fusion family. I call it this because it changes its color with the surrounding lighting. It can look “yellow-beige, brownish-grey, or grey-sage,” depending on the situation. And with so much color in the basement that I couldn’t change at the moment AND with the landing part of the transition from the upstairs, this was absolutely the kind of color flexibility I needed.
So one coat of Algonquin was applied and allowed to dry.
Step 5: Color Layer Without Sanding
Once the topcoat was dry (about an hour), the surface was wiped with a clean cloth. This will produce the same result as applying the topcoat and then sanding back the topcoat to reveal the basecoat, but is accomplished in a slightly different way. To review:
The beeswax is applied to the dry basecoat where you want the piece to look layered or distressed. In other words, where you want the chocolate to peek through.
Then paint on the topcoat.
Allow the topcoat to dry.
Then wipe the paint that is over the beeswax away with a soft, clean cloth.
And that’s all there is to it.
But the guys kinda whined about the color. They wanted it richer, a little darker, more manly.
Step 6: Enrich the Color with Black Wax
So the guys may not know much about decorating, but they surely do know what they want in their man cave. Just when I thought I had the perfect transition color ready for accessories, the vote was in.
“It’s too traditional looking.”
Oh geez. Will I be so glad to have this man cave done. **rolls eyes and sighs**
But I digress.
Actually their request for a slight adjustment could be accommodated in two shakes. Here’s how:
Start with a Tester
I wasn’t sure how much depth or added color was needed so I did a little tester. On the far left is the example with the paint colors. In the middle, a layer of clear wax popped the color, but didn’t satisfy the guys. To the far right is the magic combo.
The guys called it “metalled.” They said the black wax made the piece look more industrial —which is the look they wanted.
With their approval, black wax was layered to create a mottled effect.
It only took a couple of hours to achieve an industrial-worn-with-a-little-grunge look. This is not the usual effect when using black wax. It is usually smooth with super-even coverage, but I added clear wax in places to lift off some of the black wax. The mottled grunge look was created by technique, not by product.
Two links that detail how to work with colored waxes are at the bottom of the post.
And for the second time, I can say —that’s all there is to it.
With the application of the black wax, I now have two happy campers in the man cave and one amazing new bookcase.
If you would like to save this idea…
Thank you so much for spending a few minutes of your day with me,