“It’s a real beauty,
A Mexican cutie,
how it got here I haven’t a clue.
Wasted away again in Margaritaville,
Searching’ for my lost shaker of salt…”
I have had that song stuck in my head since I first saw this little “made in Mexico” cabinet on one of my Facebook up-cycling groups. Feeling guilty about an impulse buy of turquoise milk paint at Home Goods a few weeks ago, I saw this cabinet as my road to redemption. I could see it transformed into a little turquoise and silver jewel. I had to have it.
The seller left it out on her front porch, with nothing more than my promise to pick it up and slip $30 under the doormat. As soon as I got it home I set about giving it a much-needed facelift. I started by removing the doors and most of the hardware. The hinges were nailed on. While trying to pry them off, they started to bend so I just left them alone. With the drawer out and the door off, I started sanding and filling in the dents and dings with Redi-Patch.
Then, I tested the milk paint color on the drawer. (I really need that emoticon right now with they eyes bugging out of the head.) It was shocking, to say the least. I hurried into the house to ask Michael to stay out of my workspace. I had just convinced him a few days ago that I could make a few extra bucks a month painting and refinishing furniture. “If he sees this,” I thought, “my workspace will become his drum room and my Facebook account will be closed.” This became a top-secret project.
“Wasted away again in Margaritaville…”
I locked myself in and kept painting into the evening until two coats were done. I used a blow dryer on high heat held close to the paint in a few areas. This makes the paint dry too quickly resulting in a little crazing and cracking. It was just jus the look I was going for. I crept silently back into the house, leaving the little Mexican cutie to dry overnight.
“But there’s booze in the blender,
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on…”
By morning the milk paint had lightened in color and took on a chalky, hazy finish. Still, the color was shocking for me, a lover of neutral colors.
I gave the cabinet a light sanding before moving on to the fun part, distressing and waxing. Milk paint has a gritty finish and I wanted most of that off, so I sanded the piece all over with a fine girt sandpaper. I used a rough grit sandpaper to remove the paint completely in areas where the cabinet would normally wear. I am not a fan of the overall distressed look that people get by random application of a sander or heavy dry brushing of a different color paint. My obsession with making it look as if it aged naturally will be my undoing. I worked on distressing and waxing for an entire day!
After all the sanding and distressing, I applied a coat of clear wax followed by aging dust and a second coat of clear wax. I used a little dark wax in the area where the raw wood was exposed. It looked just as I had pictured it in my mind, but still I felt it needed a little something more. The perfect little touch was a final coat of silver wax. It filled in the cracks and left a subtle silvery sheen over the turquoise.
I finally felt as if my transformation of the little Mexican cabinet was complete. It reminded me of a beautiful piece of turquoise and silver jewelry.
To my surprise, Michael loved the way the cabinet turned out, so much so that he moved his stuff out of the big workshop area to give me more room to paint!
My little cabinet has been listed for sale, hopefully the first of many.
If it doesn’t sell, I guess I’ll just have to keep it.
“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame,
But I know, it’s my own damn fault…”