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Fanshawe Designer Cupboard

I received an interesting email from Jenny Cuyler, the Retail Promotions Coordinator/GM Buyer at Fanshawe College last week and she gave me an interesting proposition.

photo 1 original displaysm
Original Cabinet

Jenny said, “We are starting a program in the Clothing Store called, Fanshawe Artisans. It will enable Fanshawe Alumni, Staff, Students, and Community members to sell their handmade items (on consignment) in the Clothing Store. They will be selecting limited items, and displaying the artisan’s information with their item(s), so that customers can inquire further. We would like to set up the smaller items on a large shelving unit that we have in the Clothing Store, but would like to have it painted, first.” So I said yes we will do it and here is the story of its transformation.

Cabinet 1st step
Primed Cabinet

To start they delivered it right to the door which is very handy to have someone do. Jenny came by the same day and we discussed various options and I presented to her some ideas that I had.

It was decided to give me some artistic licence so here we go. I started by preparing the piece. I moved the shelf hardware and the knobs. The knobs we discarded as I replaced them with ones of a larger size to go more into the scale of the unit.

As there were some very prominent knots on the piece I sprayed those with a shellac based sealer. Normally with van Gogh chalk paint we do not sand or prime and other than sealing the knots this is what we did here. Choosing the correct colours was next. Red, White and Gray were the colours we choose. They specifically are van Gogh Fossil Paint “Lipstick”, Stan Portleys signature series van Gogh Fossil Paint “Dragon’s Gray” and van Gogh Fossil Paint “Chalk” which is an off-white. Also used was van Gogh Liquid Metals “True Love” which is a metallic red.

Grey colour coat of cabinet
Grey colour coat of cabinet

I painted the entire unit with our signature colour “Dragons Gray. This was for a number of reasons.

First, when I go to distress my thoughts would be if I distressed too hard there would still be gray showing through.

Second, because the next coat of paint would be the van Gogh Liquid Metals “True Love” which is a metallic red we do need a base coat of it.

Third, I planned on leaving the inside and the shelves the Dragon’s Gray so it was just as easy to paint the whole thing.


Cabinet Second Stage
Front View
Second Stage Side View
Side View

I then paint the inside back and the outside of the cabinet including 2 of the drawers the van Gogh Liquid Metals “True Love”, metallic red.

What a wonderful colour! Bright and warm. Look at the shimmer.

I also did our van Gogh Tye Dye technique to give a flair to the middle drawer and the new knobs on the upper and lower

The knobs on the middle drawer where done in van Gogh Liquid Metals, “True Love” metallic red and van Gogh Liquid Metals, “To The Bride” which is a metallic white.

Finished Front View
Front View

Tye Dye Drawer Front

The “Tye Dye” technique is probably the messiest of an technique I do. For this
drawer front I used a plastic drop sheet and made a curb around the top of my work table with the drop sheet draped over the curb.

The “Tye Dye” effect is using a special acrylic medium from the van Gogh Paintology Collection.

We add this to the chalk paint and the metallic paint and then vary the amount of water we mix in to vary the specific gravity of the paint or “thickness” of the paint.

LHS View Finished
LHS View

Now we take the various paints and randomly pour, drizzle, throw etc. them over our work piece.

We then picked up the drawer, and moved it around. In doing so we see the different colours of paint move across the surface of the drawer front at different speeds.

The “thicker” paint running slower than the “thinner” paint. When we have the coverage and look that we want we set the drawer down so that the drawer front is horizontal and parallel to the table. It then takes over night to dry and up to 36 hours to cure to where we can apply our wax finish to the surface.

RHS Finished Cabinet
RHS View

There are two more things we had to do and that is; distress the outside of the cabinet to reveal some of the beautiful, van Gogh Liquid Metals, “True Love”, metallic red. Knobs were installed and then the final thing before waxing was putting the graphics on the side.

I have to thank my friend Joanne Mudd of Muddarittaville fame for doing such a great job on the stencils for the project. Now I have to wax but that can wait a few days. Next project is an art deco cabinet we picked up recently. Stay tuned for more.