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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mantel Redo - Adding Character and Old Charm

Welcome to my first post at "From the Old InkWell"! 

I played at a different blog a few years ago and now I'm at it again at the beginning of this brand new year with a brand new blog.  I've never stopped drooling over other "home" blogs.  I've enjoyed all your décor ideas, recipes, and DIY projects.  Now that I'm retired, I have more time to spend on the things I love; creating, decorating, baking, and simply making my home uniquely me. 
Of course, when you are retired, money is harder to come by so the challenge is to do what you love on a budget.  That's exactly what I'd like to do with this blog.  Having a blog to share my projects with other like-minds gives me incentive, makes me try harder, do a better job, and in the end makes me a happier person.  If you already have a blog, I don't have to tell you this, you know what I mean...which brings me to the subject of this post.  
While taking down Christmas decorations from my mantel and thinking about what to put there next, I had an impulse to paint my humdrum, builder's "spec home" mantel shown here.

Of course, the next decision is what to paint it.  I'd read about Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint and liked the look from some of your blogs like Kim's gorgeous work at Savvy Southern Style.  So after reading different sources and watching a few how-to videos, I took off, for better or worse. 

 First step was to tape off around the mantle with blue painters' tape.  Just to be honest I hate this step on any project and many times bypass it, but on this type of painting, I think it would be difficult to keep it off the walls.

 Since I was looking for an old distressed look with underlying wood tones, I painted the entire mantel two coats of Annie Sloan's Primer Red to cover the white existing paint.  This paint dries really fast which is one thing I love about it.  So by the time I had finished painting one coat of Primer Red, it had dried enough to allow me to start another coat.  Another plus is that you don't have to prime with this paint.

After allowing the second coat of Primer Red to dry, about an hour, I painted a third coat of Old Ochre.  (Love this color!) 

I wasn't too particular about totally covering since I wanted some of the red to show through.

Next, I have to be honest, I was prepared to rub the mantle with Annie Sloan's Clear and Dark Wax to age, but I had trouble getting the dark wax off to my satisfaction.  Luckily, I had Valspar Mocha Glaze in my paint supply from another project so I tried it and love it.

First, I tore up an old t-shirt into rags.  I rubbed the glaze on a small portion at a time with one of the rags and then wiped it off to my satisfaction with a clean tee shirt rag working each portion into the next blending it as I worked.  If you want more or less glaze left on your project, you simply redo that portion till you receive the results you want.  It's very forgiving, which is another thing I love!

After letting this dry, I waited till the next day to wax because I was tired.  (Let's just be real.)  Then I waxed with Annie Sloan's Clear Wax, putting the wax on with a brush that I already had and taking off with my clean t-shirt rags.

I used the following for this project:
Annie Sloan's Primer Red, Old Ochre, and Clear Soft Wax
Valspar's Translucent Color Glaze in Mocha

Here's my finished project. 
It consisted of a few steps, but I'm proud of the outcome. 
See my post on decorating the mantel, here.
Joining the following link parties:
Wow Us Wednesdays, Savvy Southern Style
Treasure Hunt Thursday, From My Front Porch to Yours
Home and Garden Thursday, A Delightsome Life
Feathered Nest Friday, French Country Cottage


  1. That looks nice. Glad I helped inspire you with my painted mantel that I have painted more than once. Always use the clear wax before the dark and then you can control how much dark you want. You can use clear to take the dark back off if you put too much.Welcome to blogging again.

    1. Thanks Kim. Appreciate advice from a well seasoned painter like yourself. I did try the clear wax first, but preferred the glaze to wax this time. That's not to say I want try it again.

  2. Looks great, I love ASCP, so forgiving and makes everything look great! I agree with Kim, you have to be a little careful with the dark wax~

  3. Welcome back to blogging. I am your first (I think) official follower on GFC. I look forward to seeing what you have to share. Love your mantel - you did a great job!
    Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

  4. I love how our mantel turned out, Marsha! You definitely gave it charm, making it a lovely focal point in your room. Looks like you styled it to perfection as well.
    A new follower,
    Mary Alice

  5. Your mantel looks really great! I think a lot of people have a problem working with the dark AS wax. I haven't tried that one yet.

    Welcome back to blogging! I'm on my 3rd incarnation as a blogger :)

  6. You did a wonderful job. It looks so natural!

    I am inspired!

    White Spray Paint

  7. Hi Marsha--I'm visiting from Home and Garden Thursday (A Delightsome Life) and I just became your 3rd follower. I'm new to blogging myself and am enjoying learning lots of new things and meeting new people. Your mantel is lovely; you did such a super job. I'm eyeballing my plain old white one and thinking--hard! I hope you stop by and visit me sometime :)
    Adirondack Girl @ Heart

    1. Hi Diana, thanks for following. If you decide to paint your mantle and need someone to hold your hand let me know. :)

  8. Thank you so much for stopping by to visit my blog! I love the way you mantle looks now...your paint finish is just gorgeous! I tried to follow you thru Google friend connect, but couldn't get it to work...I'll be back later and try again...hugs, Penny

  9. Penny, thanks for your kind comment. Don't know why Google friend wouldn't work. Please try again, though.

  10. Your mantel turned out beautifully, Marsha! I have that same builder's white, only it works with the black and white I've done in our living room, so I'll be leaving it for now. I need to do that ~ store some things and not get rid of them. You never know when you will want to pull them back out for a change. I do try to shop what I've got before I buy new though.

  11. Your drapes are beautiful! Love your mantel too. That was probably a lot of work but worth it.

  12. I love annie sloan chalk paint! We bought a furnished beach house a few years ago and have used it to paint all of the tropical/Caribbean looking furniture in the house. It was just the thing to transform it. I now have a cottage! Your mantel is beautiful. Welcome to blogging! Come by and visit me.

  13. Hi Marsha, I just found your lovely blog today and am a new follower. Your mantel is stunning. What an amazing job you did with the makeover. I'd love it if you'd share it at Every Room In The House, my monthly blog party. We're partying in The Living Room this month and I know your mantel would be a great inspiration for all who see it. Here's the link:
    I hope you'll come and join the party. Have a great weekend ~ Nancy

  14. Hi Marsha, I am now your 33rd follower. First of all congratulations on retiring. God bless your little heart. Now it is time for you. I love your fireplace, the Annie Sloan paint is very popular out there in blogland and I am really encouraged by your project to go ahead and try it. Thank you for the inspiration. I have the worlds plainest and homely looking fireplace ever. I really need an infusion of inspiration to deal with it. I know all to much about budgeting, I shop my house for all my projects, it is amazing what you accumulate over forty or so years. Have a wonderful week!!


  15. Hi Marsha. I'm featuring your lovely mantel makeover at Every Room In The House. Please stop by and pick up a Featured button. Thanks so much for sharing your decorating talent! ~ Nancy @ A Joyful Cottage.


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