"Enamel" Tag Tutorial and My First AS Chalk Paint Piece

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As I mentioned in my last post, I got this chest last fall at Nellie's Barn Sale. I've been too chicken waiting for just the right time to paint it.  Sunday evening turned out to be the "right time". Since I had been painting the dining room anyway, I just rinsed the latex paint out of my brushes and brought out the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

At first I wasn't certain what color to paint this gem. It has all four of the original casters, the wood handles on the drawers are still intact and it has the most amazing patina that I've seen on a varnished piece in quite awhile.  Sadly, the veneer is missing  on the bottom of one side, the top had some paint rings on it and I really needed a piece that would help to blend my formal mahogany dining table and chairs with the barn siding shelving that I'm hoping to build. I'm trying to give the room a more casual feel that I like to call "farm girl french". 

The choice actually ended up to be pretty straight-forward once I made up my mind.  I refinished the top using furniture refinisher and steel wool. I kept wiping and changing pads until all of the old finish was dissolved. I finished it with General Finishes Java Gel Stain and Gel Topcoat.

For the body of the piece, I wanted something that would look old and somewhat rustic.  I preserved the original finish on the knobs, the band just below the top, and the bottom valance. On the rest of the piece, I brushed on a very light coat of AS Old White.

Once it was dry, I sanded off  most of the paint, revealing the original alligator pattern in the varnish and highlighting the character of the piece. I then dry brushed AS French Linen followed by just a little gray which was mixed with glazing medium.  I finished the piece by using brown wax on only the darker areas and then giving the whole piece two coats of clear wax.

I looked it the piece this afternoon and,  while I was pleased with how it turned out, it didn't feel "finished" to me. Then I remembered several conversations that I've had with my friend, Ann, about enamel tags that she found on Pinterest.  I read the tutorial when she pinned it and knew that I already had all of the supplies for the project except for the tag blanks.  I called my local hardware store, found out that they had them and went there this afternoon after work.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In February, 2014, I attempted to find the original pin that inspired this post in an attempt to give proper credit and was unable to do so. My friend, Ann, no longer has it. There are SEVERAL enamel tag tutorials on the internet and on Pinterest.

 Here's what you need:
  • Key tag blanks. (I got mine from Ace Hardware, they are steel with a brass finish and are about 1 and 1/2" across)
  • Paint and primer (white..but I'm considering doing some blue  or dark green ones with white numbers)
  • StazOn Stamp Ink (and number stamps)
  • Embossing Enamel (clear)

Prime and paint the tags and stamp the numbers using StazOn. (Ignore the white screws. I thought that I was being brilliant by making matching screws to attach them to the cabinet. I ended up using simple upholstery tacks instead.)

Line a skillet (frying pan) with Foil. (The Pinterest tutorial said to use an electric skillet but I don't own one). Place the tag on the foil and sprinkle with the embossing powder. Turn the heat to medium and watch as the embossing powder turns to liquid. When the embossing powder is completely smooth and transparent, gently remove the foil (with the tag on it) from the pan and place it on a rack to cool. When the tag is partly cool, but before it is completely cool, gently peel the foil from the tag. and return the tag to the rack until it is completely cool. I also used a nail to remove the powder which had filled the hole while the tag was still warm.

Now I think that the cabinet feels complete.  Wouldn't you agree?

I'm officially checking that project off of the list and moving on to the next one. Five days until my deadline, I'd better get going.  Have a glorious week!



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