A friend found this rocking chair in pieces in a dumpster and told me "Do what ever you want" so of course I wanted to try something different.
On many blogs and pages from the US about up-cycling furniture they write about milk paint. Milk paint is probably the oldest painting technique in the world. It has been used in cave paintings and apparently the ancient Egyptians used it in their tombs. Now it is used mostly on furniture to create an antique look or as some call it - "shabby chic".
Now I do not really like "shabby chic" painting, I mean I do like an old piece of furniture with old paint peeling off it, but I want it real, a real old piece of furniture with a story and five layers of paint that have been put on by different owners over the years. The stuff one can buy today, that has been painted and then sand papered to look old, does not feel real to me. But that is just me, I know a lot of people love the style - or else you wouldn't be able to buy it in any furniture store. Besides, I am still experimenting with different techniques and styles and I want to learn more about all kinds of paints so this rocking chair became my "shabby chic" victim.
Milk paint is a very very cool paint. I like that it is nearly completely environmental friendly (depending on what pigment you use) and that one can make unusual effects with it like spidery cracks and flaky paint. My problem was that one cannot buy ready mixed milk paint powder in this country, of course. So I would have to make it from scratch.
It is the protein in milk, casein, which binds pigments to wood and creates the texture of paint and to get casein from milk one can curdle it by using lemon or vinegar which will concentrate the protein. However I was lucky enough to find casein in powdered form in my favorite paint store (www.pigmentim.co.il) so I avoided one messy step. I mixed the casein powder with water, borax and pigments in a 2 day process that I won't describe here. Then I painted two layers of different blues and "erased" paint in certain areas with a damp cloth to create a weathered worn-out look. I wasn't very scientific about it so the end result is perhaps not so "real" - just a nice rocking chair with fake old fading paint.
Whilst painting the chair I found a very faded stamp underneath, I traced it onto paper and looked up the word "Malinche, Monterrey" on the wonderful all knowing internet. I found that the chair was from one of the pioneering furniture manufacturers in Mexico which specialized in rocking chairs and chairs of all kinds of woods (pine, mahogany, elm, ceder and beech). They closed down in the early 1970’s but the furniture is still very popular among collectors. After that I found the same rocking chair on a Mexican auction site price: $2,500.
Hmm... I had already painted the chair by then and probably lowered the value by doing so, but if the new owner wants, I can restore it back to its former brown glory another day.
Click on one picture to make it larger and see the before and after pictures.
Linnea & Caroline
2 foreigners in Israel trying to find their space. Up-cycling furniture and clothes for a better environment and future.
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