Quite often we’re asked to create a Shabby Chic distressed “finish” on our iron beds. But what many people don’t realize is that the “finish” they’re trying to create is hidden underneath the years of yellowing white paint and rust.
So what’s the best way to find that fresh Shabby Chic finish on your antique iron beds ? Our little secret is Acetone. Great stuff for cleaning old finishes and getting down to the real white or original color the bed started it’s life with. Take a old terry cloth towel or wash cloth and dip it in a bowl of Acetone. Don’t wring it out all the way. Leave it wet…….then star rubbing. It works almost instantaneously. If it starts getting cloudy, use a cleaner rag. You’re going to want a high definition between the existing wite that is still on the bed and the dark parks where the paint has fallen off. That’s why a clean rag is so important after the initial cleaning is done.
You can also touch up some of the larger sections that may have lost it’s paint over the years. Get a tube of Raw Umber acrylics, so when you do touch up with white paint , you can then wait until it drys and apply the acrylic with a damp rag. Rub it into the white until it starts looking like the rest of the paint that has remained on the bed. Sometimes a little more …. sometimes a little less, is needed to achieve you desired look.
After you successfully cleaning of the aged layers on the paint, you should now seal the finish that you’ve “exposed”, with a clear sealant . This will protect what you’ve just exposed, so it won’t continue to age at the same rate. We use Krylon “Clear” #1301. It’s a great product.
One thing to keep in mind…….. there is a 99% chance your bed has lead base paint on it. Now unless you have supper sensitive skin or allergies I wouldn’t be concerned.This is another good reason to use the clear spray to seal everything in. It will also “perk-up” the drab finish. You’re going to love the outcome.
Be sure and wear rubber gloves when you handle Acetone. just a good practice.
You’ve now given yourself something most refinishers would charge you hundreds of dollars to re-create.
I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website
to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.
I also invite you to take a look at our company Face Book page for multiple photo albums on Custom Finishes, Canopy Conversions and a comprehensive “Before & After” King Conversions album.