This post shares how a few outdated furniture pieces create a wall unit makeover using homemade chalk-type paint, glaze and wax.
Wall Unit Makeover Using Paint, Glaze and Wax
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fusion Mineral Paint, but all projects and opinions are 100% my own.
In our basement, most of the furniture has to do double or triple duty. So when the plan for the office/dining space was being developed, it needed a system that could manage three main functions.
House the computer printer and office materials.
House the components and wires for the sound system.
And, have a space to act as a dining table side board.
Aside: This candle came from HomeGoods and totally smells like Fierce by Abercrombie & Fitch. Just FYI, in case you need a space to smell a bit manly, but not like a man…if you get my drift.
Building a unit attached to the wall wasn’t an option because the walls are built with special thick plastic moisture barriers and internal drains behind them. So piercing through any of these moisture barriers with nails for a built-in unit wasn’t necessarily a something I was willing to do. Plus, I always like furniture to be mobile in case the space needs to be reconfigured for another use.
With this taken into consideration, I ended up piecing together and refinishing an outdated Hooker wall unit system with a discarded desk top. The pieces aren’t vintage, but are solid hardwood with amazing joinery. Such quality craftsmanship deserves a second life.
To make the inside of the unit more useable, the racks for VHS tapes had to be removed from the sliding shelves. Yes….this unit is that old (about 25 years). Otherwise, the shelves are absolutely perfect. I didn’t even refinish the inside.
And so, the office items will go in the left unit and the sound system will go in the right. Two shelves for all the pretties will join the two units together. And a discarded desk top will be added as an office credenza top/buffet sideboard.
Ready to see how it comes together?
How to Prep for a Wall Unit Makeover
Step One: Clean
Always, always, always clean the pieces to remove dirt, grit and grime.
One of my favorite products is a TSP-like cleaner by Fusion Mineral Paint. It’s all natural so harsh chemicals aren’t left on the wood.
For more info, there’s a link in resources at the bottom of this post.
Step Two: Sand
Once the pieces are dry, give the outside a light sanding with a 120-grit sandpaper. This will smooth down any rough places and create a “tooth” so that the paint adheres better.
Then wipe away sanding dust with a sticky tack cloth. You can find tack cloths in the paint section of the home improvement store.
How to Finish a Wall Unit Makeover
Step Three: Paint
Because I was so uncertain about which color to use, I wanted to use latex so that I could keep mixing samples until I found the color I wanted. In the end, I made chalk-type paint using BM Caramel Latte in flat latex.
Three light coats were applied to the unit pieces, allowing each piece to completely dry between coats.
Each piece was also inspected between coats and lightly sanded with 220-grit sandpaper if the area was grainy, rough or bumpy.
Step Four: Glaze
My hope was that Fusion’s Antiquing Glaze would provide the final coat. It has darkening pigments inside a sealer that are applied with a brush, cloth or sprayer and then wiped back (usually into crevices) to create an aged look.
I applied the glaze with a chip brush and wiped it back over the entire surface of each piece with a damp cloth.
How much to wipe back is totally trial and error. So much so, I suggest to set up a few boards and try several applications and wipes before moving to the real piece.
The key issues with glaze are:
One, it looks pretty translucent while wet, but will dry dark, darker or darkest.
And two, you absolutely HAVE to work across the entire surface maintaining a wet edge.
Wax can be moved by adding additional wax, but glaze cannot.
For these reasons, it is good to take the time to work on some practice boards and let them completely dry.
The top portion of the cabinet (see below) is the color of the plain chalk paint. Notice how it is significantly more orange (and less brown) than the paint sample. But this didn’t bother me because I knew the glaze would darken the color.
The bottom portion of the cabinet has one coat of glaze.
At this point, I planned to leave the color and only add another a light coat of glaze to the crevices.
But in truth, the glaze was reading a tad yellow and the guys complained that the unit was still “too orange.”
And note that the lights are super white (5000K) so there is no yellowing coming from the overhead lights.
Step Five: Wax
So the unit was completely glazed and then left to dry and cure.
I left it about a week because I had the time and wanted to give the glaze time to not just dry, but to harden (cure).
Then an application of wax was used on the front to soak up the yellow and further deepen the brown color.
Yes, the sides and shelf tops were left with glaze only.
Note: HomeStead House is the parent company of Fusion Mineral Paint. There’s a link in the resource list.
I brushed the wax on in sections about 18 inches square.
Two things had to happen when applying the wax for the look I wanted.
One, coverage across the entire piece needed to remain consistent.
And two, it was easier to make this happen if I worked with a wet edge (of wax) across the piece.
If an edge did begin to dry out, clear wax can be added to loosen it up so that it blends, but it is easier to get consistent coverage by working completely left-to-right, top-to-bottom on a unit with a wet edge. At least it is for me.
So I brushed up and down to apply the wax, not the usual circular. And I had a clean, cotton rag handy to smooth and blend, but primarily used the brush to move the wax.
I wanted a crisp, tailored look, but one that hinted rustic industrial.
Remember, this is, after all, a man cave. I threw in as much girl glam as possible, but bottom line…. the space needed to have a bit of ruggedness to it.
And covering the entire unit with Espresso wax mixed with a tad of black wax is the combo that makes this happen.
The dining table and chairs are vintage Drexel Heritage and also refinished for this space. A post explaining this process will follow very soon.
And the furniture for the empty TV area will finally be delivered this week. Then we can start learning about sound technology, wiring and DIY projection TV screens. And, of course, there will also be more furniture refinished. Isn’t there always?
I hope you will stay tuned for all this goodness.
But for now, a celebration that the wall unit makeover is finally finished. Oh Hallelujah…
To save this post for later or share with friends, please PIN the image below.