I know that there are many diehards who believe that hand painting is the only acceptable method for finishing any piece in the shabby chic style. It is not my intent to change the minds of those of you who are followers of this line of thought. However, I would like for you to at least examine the virtues of painting using the spray method. I thoroughly enjoy repairing and building furniture and wholeheartedly advocate both methods of painting. But, there are conditions where spraying the paint, to render a cottage or shabby style, is the method of preference. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why spraying may be the better alternative.
If the piece is an older piece, hand painting with a brush will most likely camouflage and diminish the very details that give the piece its aged appearance. For example, pieces from the ’40s and ’50s were finished with shellac. One of the wonderful characteristics that shellac produces on older pieces is what is known as an alligator effect…by that I mean cracking and crazing of the surface finish. That, in my opinion, is part of the very character of an older piece of furniture that contributes to a great looking shabby or cottage style! A piece that has developed those cracks and crazes over time presents personality and depth that only age itself can produce. Much of that type of character is lost when the piece is hand painted, because the paint goes on much heavier. This is one of the main reasons why I choose to spray on most of my painted finishes. Spraying provides a lighter mist of paint, which can be layered to the desired depth of color and thickness, permitting the original character of the piece to be seen and the old texture to be felt through the paint. To me, both characteristics are more desirable in shabby or cottage pieces.
So, the next time you find a diamond in the rough that you want to transform to a shabby chic or cottage style, consider spraying the paint on. You will preserve, rather than destroy or cover up, the characteristics than only age can produce, and in so doing, will allow the attributes that have developed over time to shine through. diamond painting