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Monday, 17 March 2014

DIY chalk paint piano make over

Sometimes, as a daycare provider, you walk into the daycare space arms loaded down with plates of food for lunch time and you know something naughty has happened. You can feel the guilty tension. And although you still cannot see what the tribe of children has done, you brace yourself for it.

That was me on Friday. As I carried plates of lunch out of the kitchen where I had been preparing it, into the dining room where the kids eat.

Those little faces looked guilty as they huddled around my piano. Their eyes a little too bright as they tried to tell me nothing was going on.  Then I saw it. One of the children had unscrewed one of the knobs used to lift the cover over the keys.  Inside the knob, of course, was a screw.  And on the sides of my piano there were scratches.  So many scratches.  Too many to have come from one child with one screw.  Closer inspection revealed that EACH child had grabbed something (a pen, the edge of a Batman figurines wings, a plastic fork) and they were all scratching my piano.  Yup, all of them.  They had done such a stellar job of scratching that there was a tiny layer of sawdust at their feet.
You can see some minor scratches on the front  from here.
Most damage was done on the sides. 

I was less than thrilled. MUCH less.

We had got our piano free last summer from someone who was moving and no longer had space for it.  It was pretty beat up in its old age.  I had known for a while that it needed a bit of a face lift, but I was not planning to tackle that project this past weekend.  Then The Great Piano Scratch of 2014 happened and I had to boost my timeline.

I told That Guy I would paint it. He said "You want to do brown like it is now, or should we paint it black?" I said "Actually I was thinking green..." That Guy looked at me.  His look did not communicate "You are sane and I think painting our piano green is a great idea".   I ignored his look.

I went down to Home Depot and bought myself a gallon of green paint.  This green colour was not selected at random.  I brought a scrap from the fabric I used to make our drapes and colour matched the green in the drapes.  I bought Glidden paint in flat.

I also bought Plaster of Paris and a tin of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.   Total cost was less than $40.

When I got home I mixed:
                                       4 tbsp Plaster of Paris
                                       2 tbsp water
I mixed them together well in a bowl with an old fork.  I made sure all the lumps of POP were out.
Then I added that mixture to 2 Cups paint and again mixed well.

Next, I painted! Because I made a DIY version of chalk paint there was not need for me to stand or prep the piano before I started painting. Awesome time saver.
Piano after first coat of chalk paint
 Adding the Plaster of Paris to the paint also helps the paint dry quickly.  Once I was done painting the whole piano with the first coat it was ready for the second coat.  I was really loving how my tired old piano was looking by this point.
Happy, refreshed piano.
 I did not want to ignore the fact that the piano is obviously old. I was not trying to make my piano look new again. I was more trying to liven it back up.  So I decided lightly distressing the paint would be a good choice. Fortunately with chalk paint sanding/distressing is easy peasy. I took some 120 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded some of the edges on the piano.
Lightly sanded
 I wiped the piano down with a dry cloth and was ready to apply my finishing wax.  Finishing wax is nice because it protects your wood.  It gives a barrier between the wood and every day wear and tear. If you distressed your piece like I did the finishing wax will also seal the exposed wood and paint together which will help to resist paint flaking from those spots.  It also adds a slight shine which is just so pretty and finished looking.
Finishing wax
 A little wax goes a long way.  When applying I encourage you to use an old t-shirt or jersey knit rag.  Sacrifice a t shirt if you must but do not buy a brand new one for this or your project will be covered in lint. (Guess how I know).   Wipe the wax on in circular motion.  Let the wax soak into the wood for about 30 minutes. Then, using a different clean part of the sacrificed shirt buff the surface. The buffing will create a really nice light shine to the piece.
Wax on, wax off
 Then stand back and admire your rather bold statement piece. I kind of love it.  That Guy is coming around. Slowly.
Taa - daa!!!

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to let you know that I read your post and I painted my piano electric blue and it came out beautiful. Thanks for sharing-Roxanne