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May 08, 2009


Valarie Kraft

I love how the cabinet looks finished. I have a couple of old pieces that need a facelift, and I think I have the nerve to do it now. Love your blog, and your sweet little helper. Have a wonderful day.


First of all, Happy Birthday!! So glad to hear it all went just as YOU wanted it to! I like your style...Make your own dreams come true!
Thanks for the tutorial. I will pick up some of that kind of primer for my next project. The last time I did over my bookcases, the existing finish gave me WAY too much grief! Have a great weekend and I hope you don't get too many storm warnings!
Blessings~ LillySue
P.S. Pop over to my blog today to see the red hutch I painted!


Thanks for the tutorial, I have some pieces I want to do if I ever get a free moment to do what I want. I love your assistants, much more helpful than mine!

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Tonya D

This is so cool and great info to know...actually, I'm thinking about painting some metal desks..any hints on painting metal? I've got a couple of old Steelcase desks that are that muddy/puddy color and I'd like to freshen them up!
Blessings...as always...love your blog!


Very cool! And I adore your assistants!

Anything Goes Here

I have some pretty quick shortcuts myself, but yours are even shorter. I am still painting some furniture so I'm going to borrow some of your hints. Since I have a link on my blog to yours, it will be helpful for my readers, too. Can I rent your assistants? So cute! xo Joan


I love your lessons! And just in time for yard sale season. Happy Birthday to you - a bit belated. I loved the take-charge way you handled your celebration. 2 years ago I bought a Canon Rebel xti for myself as my "I have to move to Iowa" gift. I still love it - one of the best gifts I ever got.


The cabinet looks so good!! Poor Twinkles. Hope she is feeling better and she got to see one of her babies!! Too cute! Happy Birthday....sounds like you had a ball and planned things to a T. That is the best kind of birthday....you always get what you want! I don't know if we stopped at your sisters or not on 38..


Sweet Karla...thanks for the great tutorial, esp. including the brand names as sometimes that helps a lot. Glad that poor Twinks is getting well, I told the kids about her and they all looked suitably concerned. Poor Old Betsie had a sore foot at the same time so she was esp. sympathetic. (she is much better, too) And Happy Belated Birthday! You did, indeed, do it right! Your Friend, Bobbi

Zita - Mlle Magpie

Thanks for the handy tutorial, Karla. You're such a pro!


that cabinet is beautiful! I have one just like it in storage....may have to get that out and paint it white! Tonight I painted my thrifted side board (before I read this post) and I'm not thrilled with it...because it looks too new. Can I do the glaze thing even if I've used latex paint on top of primer?!


Hi Karla.

Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving your kind comment. I'll let you in on a little secret...that was the FIRST piece that I've ever given a makeover. I had no idea what I was doing, but the guy at Ace Hardware in Olathe was such a help!

By the way...we are neighbors of sorts! We live in DeSoto! So excited to have discovered your blog and I am definitely going to be back for frequent visits. I am going to use your tutorial hints to refinish a desk that I have that will look lovely in shabby chic!


Bonding primer, huh? I will never buy sandpaper again.

Rose Brier Studio

Thanks so much for the hint on using glaze with paint. I'm gonna use that to add some color and oomph to a piece of mine that has an incised design. I'll take pictures if I do a good job!


Great tutorial Karla. Wow, has your little one grown!!!


Thanks for the tutorial. I have a ugly antiqued green bedroom set in my guest bedroom and hadn't gotten around to doing it because I thought it would be so much work. Now I can just sand the chipped spots and use the bonding primer. Thanks.


Joanne  Kennedy

I've been playing catch up on your blog as I have not had much time to get to everyone's blogs lately.

So first of all I wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! But girl, you sure are OLD! I don't turn 51 until the 22nd. LOL It's a great age isn't it.

I was so sad to hear about your one getting hurt and having to have stitches. Poor thing but I was happy to hear she is doing better.

How fun you got to see one of her little girls again! Wow! Bella sure has grown. It's nice to see she is doing well and has a great home...thanks to you picking out the perfect people!

Thanks for this quick painting lesson. I have an old potting table I've been meaning to get to so I'm going to try it your way.

Big hugs,

Elaine L.

Great tutorial, Karla! Do you ever have problems with the sealer yellowing your finish?



Thank you for the tutorial! That was great.
Karla, I read this recently and wanted to pass it on.. the writer says..SAVE YOUR BRAIN..ALWAYS use a good quality spray mask (the kind with the 2 screw on canisters) when using spray paint, and ALWAYS do it outside (not in the garage) Exposure to even small amounts of the fumes from spray paint causes instant brain damage. The writers husband is a mental health therapist and he learned it at a continuing educaton seminar. no joke. She says..do a google search for "spray paint and brain damage". can you say DEMENTIA? It's quite sobering. Tell your friends. I was glad to learn this. Couldn't hurt to pass it on.


This is such good advice. I'm glad to hear someone else admit to spray-painting primer. I got so sick of painting painting painting that I've gone over to the dark side with spray-painting primer. Haven't tried glazing yet, but now I will!



You have the best little helper....

Have a very Happy Mother's Day!



Love your two darling assistants. I'll have to try your way to paint some furniture.
Happy mother's/Grandmother's Day to you!


Cool, love the way the cabinet turned out. And all of the tips are great! Wish my stuff looked as good as yours does when it was finished!! But I will keep trying!

Nancy ~ Fete et Fleur

I love this method. It seems simple and you don't have all the successive coats of hand painting to do. I love the finished look.



Karla, I love your tutorials; they're so clear and easy to understand and you show pictures of the products you use - SOOOO helpful. Thanks for making it look easy!


Oh Karla, I love how you refurbished the
cabinet and just love sweet Twinkle in
it! : )
Sugarwings and Twinkle are wonderful helpers
I'm sure!
Have a nice Mother's Day


I looks amazing. How impressive.


Oh my! This little painting tutorial couldn't have come at a better time. I've painted a ton of furniture, but I'm looking for a re-do for a very crazed French door that I'm planning to use as a divider. I didn't want to strip it and lose all that charm, but the old gal is pretty yukky and needs a re-fresher......thanks ever so much. This is the PERFECT solution.

Your team is adorable!


PS.......thanks for your visit....I really appreciated it.

Nancy Stone

Karla: Thanks for your tutorial. I have a lot of things that need painting and this will help so much. Great little helpers you have.

Dede Warren

Karla thanks for sharing all these tips and tricks on painting furniture! I've been online looking for a specific blog post about using spray paint and can't find it... little did I know that all I had to do was pop in here and find exactly what I was looking for. I'm headed out back to paint while my husband naps, yippee!!

Happy Mother's day, and enjoy your week with the little one,

ann at  greenoak

what a great post....i put it on my blog, hope thats ok....ann


Thanks for the great turorial! I have tons of old furniture, and I'm always looking for ways to brighten it up!


Thanks for the great post!!!! I have a cupboard similar to that and I've been wanting to paint my cupboard..Your's looks amazing...

tiffany ~ shabby scraps

oh thank you thank you thank you for this tutorial! It sounds so much easier than what I have been doing, and I have a huge pile of furniture just waiting to be done for a show! You posted this at just the right time to save me!
see you in 4days!!! EEK~
xoxo, Tiffany


Great tips and tutorial today. I have a couple of metal baker's racks that are both green, one is glossy finish and the other one is flat finish, and I want to paint them a cream color. Would the bonding primer work on both of these finishes the same as on wood, do you think?

Amy of Bunny Rose Cottage

Happy Mother's Day Karla!!!!!
I hope you had a wonderful day!! Love the pictures of you and Sugarwings :)

Thank you so much for these tips! I know they will be useful to me :)



Great tutorial! And I love the way the cabinet looks finished!

lee w.

so you can use acrylic paint and glaze over the OIL primer? No problems with lifting or peeling?

Rochelle Gaukel

Lovely piece! Thanks for the tutorial - I have my mom's hutch that is dark brown and I have been wanting to paint it ivory and antique it too! Now I know how thanks to you! :)

Bucket Trucks

Yeah, really good. thanks for showing up.

Barbara Jean

This is great!!!
What a help this will be to me in painting my little tables i buy!!

Are these die bar instructions posts you have done and we are linking to them?

Barbara Jean

Antique cabinets

You are definitely a professional, bbut this post will help me a lot as i am preparing to paint my black cabinets.

Bill Weaver

Karkie..this is really neat and awsome..your so talented...Linda is just in awe..guess I'll have to bring her out there..

Linda Weaver

I love this Karla. Been reading for over an hour now. Thanks for all the tips. And that Sugarwings is the cutest little girl around!!! I subscribed to your blog. Linda


Thank you Karla for easy steps no sanding thats awesome.What do you recommend for old vintage knotty pine wood paneling,has shelac coating would knots bleed thru?


anyone know what the UK equivelent to Glaze is? Went to the shop and they had no clue?? Thank you in advance...x

Amanda Palmer

Thanks for this tutorial, I found it very helpful! I am planning to paint an old, worn and very crazed table to donate for a charity auction and don't want to spend all my time prepping the thing! I want my time spent on the design of the top, and your method will help free me up to be creative...

Helpful photos too, thanks!


Pat Spone

I am soo excited to try your method !!! I have always wanted to know how to get that look !!
Your piece turned out so pretty !!
You have such talent and I love everything you do !!
Thank You Thank You Thank You


Barbara Tabb. Wolverine Lake Michigan

I have never done the shabby cottage look before and can't wait to try it! I picked up 2 (dining room) chairs and a couple side tables (at various yard sales), and have an old small wardrobe downstairs...won't they be fun to transform?!! This will change the look of my Guest Room for when company comes!! :)

Janet Gardner

I love your idea about the bonding spray. Do you know if there is a similar product that can be brushed on? I have a built in desk/cabinets. It is all oak with a pale wood stain and lots of glossy topcoat that has worn very well considering all my kids use the desk to study. I want to put a dark walnut glaze on it. Can you suggest a non-spray bonding product? Also,does it matter if I use a water base glaze or an oil? Thank you so much for your help. Your wonderful!!!! Janet

Sarah Jones

This is a great tutorial! I was googling paint techniques. Want to do my dining room chairs a light turquoise with a glaze. Thanks!

Kathy Link

Thank you for telling about how to refinish furniture in this white antique style. I am so glad I bookmarked your blog, because I am going back to it to help me as I refinish a sewing cabinet. You gave so many nice details and I love the photo version. Many thanks for all the helpful tips.


Just found you web site and can't wait to try the glazing technique! Always looking for a short cut to painting and more painting. I appreciate the pictures and all the helpful hints. What other colors turn out as nice as the brown you used in the pictures? Thanks again for the hints. Love your web site.


Fantastic - I love what you have done to this wardrobe! I love the shabby chic look and have just bought an old wooden folding table with bags of character. However, it is currently dark wood and is varnished. I'd like to transform it in the same way that you have. I understand that I can use bonding primer to save me hours of sanding! I'd like to use a duck egg blue in the cracks and crevices (in the same way that you used brown on the wardrobe). I'm a bit confused - if I were to paint on blue acrylic/glaze do I need to wipe off all the glaze and only leave the blue glaze in the cracks? I hope that you can help!! Thanks for the tutorial!

Sheryl Jones

Thanks so much for sharing this knowledge and the pictures are fantastic - I am attempting my first project - 4 nesting tables that I got for free!!! I'll let you know how they turn out. I'm going to do grey with a black glaze. Thanks again!


Hello i hope you could help me with this question as i have been asking a lot of people but no one knows.

do you know what paint you can use on the outside of a rabbit hutch as i have been to many paint shops and they all recon that most paints will soak threw and if the rabbit chews the paint it could kill the rabbit, i want it a light woody colour like oak?

natalie g

Hello. Great tutorial! I used that primer on my first project. I found that the finish of the primer was kind of "sandpaperish"....not smooth. Is that how it comes out for you? i'm working on my 2nd project, and i've had to sand so much! does the glaze smooth the surface out? help!
~a newbie :)


I stumbled here in a search on painting with glaze. Thank you so very much for the tutorial and musts. So much easier than painting and getting it all perfect.

furniture wardrobes

I like what you have done to this wardrobe! I have some pretty quick shortcuts myself, but yours are even shorter. These are good hints to borrow. Thanks for the tips!

Woodley Cottage Finds & Designs

What a great post. Thanks for the valuable information. I am in the midst of transforming our breakfast room table and chairs and found your information to be extremely helpful in my process. I can't wait to finish up and reveal on my blog!


I have never painted furniture but have a hutch I would like to paint. It is quite large so I am thrilled with your short cuts. I did not want to strip the stain off of it. Your project shows you have sprayed on the primer then brush painted with a mix of glaze and paint. I was hoping to spray paint a solid color after the primer stage. Then apply a top coat. Can you tell me if I am on the right track or if need to do anything else?

Gerry Bossier

I can see your project turned out well. I liked how you carefully worked on the engraving. Great tips, and you've carefully pointed out important details in your tutorial. And may I say, that's one adorable dog. =)

Marie L. Dubeck

Dear Karla, Please ignore the idiots that have blogged! You sound like such a nice person! I can not find that Mccloskey's anywhere! Help!

Karla Nathan

That is just the brand that I happened to have. You can use whatever brand of clear glaze that you like.

Sent from my iPad


If your primer coat is sand paperish and rough, that means you have not shaken the can well.

Gina Borges

I tried this process on an old chair and the spray primer ( same brand you suggested) was bumpy after applied as if it needed to be sanded down, I tried to lightly sand the rough areas and it came off. Am I applying it incorrectly?

Diane Walters

Thanks for the information. I have spent countless hours in paint stores trying to figure this out.

Have you ever done wicker? I have some white wicker that's too stark-looking in my room and I would like to tone it down with glaze. It's painted with acrylic paint. Do you think I would need to prime it before I glaze it?


Karla Nathan

Since acrylic is water based, it would not need primed before glazing.

I would use a rough brush, so you can get the glaze down into the wicker, paint small areas at a time, wiping the glaze off with a soft, damp rag as you go.

Sent from my iPad

Diane Walters

So, like oil painting, you can use oil over water-based paint/primer, but not vice-versa.

Thanks for your prompt response and helpful tips. I'm eager to get started, now that I know how to do it.

furniture wardrobes

Renovating your old closet was a very great idea. Aside from the fact that you can spent lesser money, you can also apply your creativity. Congrats for the great result.

plumbing supplies

Styling your old furniture is really cool. I have never done anything like this my whole life and I do envy you for having such great skills in this field.

cassie larson

What I want to know is --- how many "coats" of spray paint did you put on the piece (for photo 6)--- I never know if I'm doing it correctly? It doesn't seem to cover very quickly --- so I think I speed up the process and end up with uneven coats and dripping......

Karla Nathan

This is not spray paint, it is spray primer, which is more opaque and covers better. Make sure you shake it well, dont spray too heavy or too close in one spot. Cover the who.e piece then go over it again with touch ups until it is covered completely.

Sent from my iPad


I'm hoping you're still monitoring comments on this tutorial.

Would this same product work on laminated shelving? I have some nice bookcases from Ikea and am moving and want to paint them.

Thank you.

Karla Nathan

You can paint laminate with a good bonding primer. When I was at ace hardware just a couple days ago there was a chart showing which primers were good for which surfaces. Check with your local paint salesperson to know which to buy. You might want to consider an alkyd primer instead of water based.

Sent from my iPad

Inessa Stewart

Water based primer..never heard of it but gave out a terrific result. The coating looks rich and the cabinet is completely transformed!The paint looks great too..It gels so well with the mirror..On and a special mention for your assistant:)

Crystal @ Mobile Home Living

Hello, my name is Crystal and I am new to the blogging world. I am so hesitant to distress my fireplace but I think with this tutorial as a basis I think I can do it. I want to add some warmth to my living room and I think distressing the fp will work. My assistant (she's 8) can fix it for me if I mess it up! Thanks for the info!


Where exactly do you buy the glaze at? I went to home depot and the paint guy had no idea what I was talking about. I went to wal mart afterward and all I could find was a "gloss" - not sure what that is either. The gloss came in a color too... but I was not sure if it was the same thing. Please help! BTW I love your work

Karla Nathan

Ask for a faux finish glaze. Im surprised home depot didnt know, it was probably just an ignorant sales person. And yes, the walmart stuff is too shiny. Try sherwin Williams or ace hardware.

Sent from my iPad


Ive just sanded down and paint primed my coffee table and it took me 2 days to do, all the time thinking to myself there must be a better way :0 - had i but read this first!

marcus lightowler

Wondered if you can confirm the paint process for no sending.
As I understand 1st use oil based primer either spray or paint. 2 colour glaze translucent which is water based to seal. Then if you wish to add colours acrylic paint mixed with latex paint on and rub off with damp rag. 3 add finish coat i.e minwaxv polycrylic. Is this correct or have I got it wrong
Ps I have found your site. Extremely useful.


You have made this look so easy...thank you for sharing! It is lovely.

Rosie Rose

Thank you for the tips! We started sanding a table but it has become too hard to finish because of the intricate grooves and crevices. Can we still use the bonding stuff on our table that is half sanded and half not?

Karla Nathan

Yes, you can use the primer over half sanded furniture.

Sent from my iPad

Rosie Rose

Thank you Karla! I am a novice at this, so please e-smack me for this stupid question.

I will need the following, correct? (We don't want to wipe the glaze off):
bonding primer
dye for glaze
top coat
(of course paint brushes)


Thanks for the helpful tips as I prepare to embark on my very first furniture painting project.

QUESTION: you note that I should be careful to NOT paint the sides of drawers; do I need to tape them off? Would a little primer overspray be devasating?

Thank you!

Brenda Freeman

Hi Karla,
I'm getting ready to glace a writing table/desk. It's currently a factory-done white-wash finish from a while ago:) I already lightly sanded it (before finding you!)And now I bought the Glidden bonding primer to brush on. This is the correct primer, right? Thank you!

Brenda Freeman

That's "glaze" not "glace!"

Peter Laseau


Rebecca Hoptowit

Thanks for information. I'm "retired" now and have more time for projects ... unfortunately, I didn't do my research first and have a "tacky" chair which I need to correct. With the information ... I'll have time to do other things!


Taking the "shortcuts", do you have any idea about how many hours you spent on this piece? Do you plan to paint inside? I've never mixed glaze and latex. It's probably time. Great info! Thanks!


A very informative and detailed post on how to paint furniture.I have been looking for tips but didn't found anywhere but now I got what I have been searching for. Really thankful.

car paint

you are fine with using bright white as your base color under the glaze. Spray primer doesn't come in tinted colors.

Charles ODonnell

If you can use the primer and not strip, is it possible to prime the piece then use spray cans....... I am only doing a gold/white headboard from 1962.....So, it has 50 years of wear. How do you "clean" the headboard? What do you use. Another site someone used Krylon gloss to finish her piece instead of brushing. Can this work?

So (1) clean...how? (2) prime as per your suggestion then
(3) spray paint

Carol Shirley

I have an old dresser that I would like to try this technique on. It has pieces of laminate that have popped off on the design. Should I try to glue these pieces back on or take it all off? There are still grooves around the pattern where the laminate is. Thank you.


I always paint furniture I don't really care that much about. That way if I screw up I don't feel to bad.


Hi,I have antique chairs painted cream,very elaborate and with lots of carvings.They are already painted,do I need to use a primer still?I just want to do the crevices.Thanks

Karla Nathan

If you know what kind of paint it is, that helps. If its oil based, latex wont adhere. If you know for sure its already latex on there, then you are fine. Dont gamble on it with guessing. If you are not positive about the existing paint, be careful. Painting latex over oil will result in peeling which is a mess and you often end up needing to strip it all.

Sent from my iPad


Ok I'm confused. The primer is oil based and my paint is oil based

Now i can't use latex glaze?

I'm confused any advice would be appreciated.

Karla Nathan

You can for some odd reason, use water based paint and glaze over oil based primer. Read the label to be sure. I use Zinsser Bullseye spray, bonding primer or Glidden Gripper, so can only speak for those two.

You can not use water based products over oil based paint, shellac, stain, varnish, etc. it will peel right off and is an awful mess.

Sent from my iPad

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About Karla Nathan

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