Do It Yourself Projects

A challenging yet impressive sideboard

When painting furniture I would like to say that it is all smooth sailing but that would be wishful thinking. Some pieces are challenging while others are down right frustrating!!

Enter … this beautiful ball and claw foot sideboard!!

sideboard 4

This piece is big (and heavy) the kind that gives me a sore back just looking at it but that I am dying to paint. It did sit in storage for a while till I had the room for it to be displayed once painted. I decided for this piece to break the mold a little and paint it with milk paint but with no distressing, so I would be adding full strength extra bond to my paint.

(Photos courtesy of Sweet Pickins Furniture)

The colour I decided on was Zinc in Sweet Pickins Milk Paint .. its a lovely steely grey that can cast to the blue side depending on its surroundings. So I go to it. I started by removing the broken veneer off the bottom drawer using an iron, wet towel and chisel. Then I got to prepping my piece by giving it a good sand all over (not to the point of stripping it back but dulling all the shine off). The top I decided to sand back to raw timber as I felt that this piece really would look best with a stained wood top to break it up.

Once sanded I wiped my piece back to clean off any dust dirt and grime. Then I mixed my paint. When doing larger projects I love using a cheap bullet blender to mix my paint, it turns out so creamy and absolutely smooth, no lumps at all. Then I added the bond to the smooth paint and buzzed it in the blender some more. I only mixed up enough for the first coat with bond and got painting. (To learn more about what extra bond is and how to use it please click HERE)..

I painted the piece in a solid base coat, the coverage with this colour is excellent and I could tell that I would only need 2 coats. I let the first coat with the bond dry completely and left it for a few hours. Then I got to painting my second coat (without any bond added). Technically you only should have to add the bond to the first coat. My second coat was nice and thick, not runny and gave me full coverage. So far so good, so I decided to crack out some white paint and highlight all the ornate trim and carving..

sideboard 2

At this point it was looking awesome and I was super excited about how it was all turning out!! The white highlighting was just what I was after, all that was left was to stain the top and wax over the painted areas. I chose a Minwax stain in a shade called Provincial – a lovely mid tone warm brown stain – and then waxed the painted areas. The finished result was awesome.

Then disaster struck, and when I say disaster I don’t mean the kind that makes you feel frustrated but the kind of disaster that makes you want to punch dance out your rage around a bonfire that consists mainly of the piece of furniture you have wasted invested hours working on. Despite the prep and sanding and full strength bond the paint was not just chipping but falling off everywhere. I have had something similar happen right back when I first started using milk paint that you can read about HERE … but never have I had this happen with prep and using the extra bond. To be honest I have no idea what caused the paint to fall off or why the bond didn’t work but I do know that with milk paint you will get the occasional piece that breaks all the rules and this was one of them.

At this point you might wonder ‘why use milk paint if this happens’ and the short answer is because there is no paint out there like milk  paint, once you get the hang of using it most pieces will turn out amazing. The way the milk paint takes to the wood, the way the pigments in the paint catch the light, the smooth finish it gives and the variations in finish and distressing that you can achieve are so worth the extra work caused by the occasional piece that breaks the mold.

Here are some examples of what only milk paint can do:


So after I stared at the piece in disgust, stormed around the house for a good half hour and then sat feeling miserable for the rest of the day I decided it would be best to tackle the beast of a piece with a fresh face so I decided to come back in a day. The next day came around and I got to work. I grabbed out my trusty orbital sander and a big pile of sanding pads and began sanding off all of the previous finish (bar the white trim which was fine). This took a while but I figured that the best option would be to start fresh. I sanded and sanded and sanded till I had taken off not only the paint but pretty much all of the original finish on the piece. Then to be safe I mixed up a big batch of paint with full strength bond and then some, just to make sure there was no chance of chipping.

I did 2 full coats with plenty of bond in each and let them dry, then I went over any areas of the white that needed touching up and let it dry fully. To be extra safe I grabbed a can of hard setting solvent based wax called Stucco wax by Porters (yes very stinky I know) and sealed all the painted areas with it. I sealed the wooden top with an oil wax and then packed up and went home. I must admit that I wasn’t feeling very confident and I avoided looking at the piece for the next 3 days. Finally I worked up the strength to go and see how it turned out. And the persistence paid off. The new coats had gone on perfectly and looked amazing.

Here is the finished piece..


How nice is that!! The wood top creates such a lovely focal point that is both tactile and adds so much warmth to the piece. This beauty has plenty of storage space and is both decorative and functional. I have to say that despite our differences I think we turned out friends, after all all’s well that ends well right??!

Adriana 🙂 xx

NOTE: This piece is for sale from our shop located at 42 Brooke Street, SMYTHESDALE VIC 3351




1 reply »

  1. Hi I love this piece of furniture, just wondering if this is still available and if so how much? Thank you so much look forward to hearing from you soon, kind regards Angela

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