Posted by on Jun 28, 2015 in Blog, Faux Finishes Blog, Hand Painted Furniture Blog, Paint Effects Blog

Hand Painted Wardrobes with Specialist Paint Effect

First published on Traditonal Painter.


The new look wardrobes, repaired, re-glazed, 'clouded' with a darker blue and varnished

The new look wardrobes, repaired, re-glazed, ‘clouded’ with a darker blue and varnished

Recently I returned to the home of a long standing client in Harrogate. Over the years I’ve created a variety of different specialist paint effects throughout their home, giving them bespoke wall finishes in their kitchen, lounge, snug, dining room, master bedroom & the en-suite. Painting these wardrobes originally was actually the first ever paid project I did entirely on my own whilst working for Nicola Creasey, over 15 years ago!

This time I was called back to create a paint effect on the walls of the en-suite and also update and change the look of the wardrobes.

Even though it had been more than 15 years the wardrobes were still in incredibly good condition with only a few clips and a little wear around the handles. All in all it was pretty amazing how well they looked and a testament to quality cabinetry, good painting practice and top notch materials. Back then I had used a blue oil glaze sealed with Dulux clearcoat. This time I would be doing exactly the same – if it ain’t broke …..

Rather than a dramatic and bold change which would involve a complete repaint I was going to subtly tweak the existing effect and just deepen the colour. This kind of ‘upgrade’ is a very cost effective way of updating your previously decoratively painted furniture. This time, instead of  the slightly ‘rag rolled’ finish I did all those years ago I was going to do a more subtle and cloudy effect, one that was more refined and up to date.


The original blue wardrobes - painted 15yrs ago

The original blue wardrobes – painted 15yrs ago

Preparation –

As I mentioned there was the odd chip and area of discolouration around the handles so these would need to be touched up and repaired first, prior to any painting. This is because the top glazes I would be using are by their very nature transparent and wouldn’t cover up/fix the areas in question.

But before any painting would be done I first had to gently clean and lightly sand the wardrobes to create a suitable key. For the cleaning all I used was fairy liquid and water, with some of the scuff marks carefully being removed using white spirit.

It should be noted that the Dulux Clearcoat I used 15+ years ago has a different formula that the Clearcoat of today. With the old Clearcoat you can happily attack it with white spirit and there would be no problem at all but with the new Clearcoat this is not an option. It simply breaks down into a million little bits of goo, something to do with the VOC laws I would imagine.

Anywho, once cleaned I very lightly sanded all areas with a very well used 120 grit sanding pad and ready for painting time!

The Repairs –

The chips and discolouration were repaired using oil paint which I mixed to an accurate  match to the ‘old’ colour in oil eggshell and applied using small artist brushes and a Purdy Monarch Elite, blending it out where necessary. Once everything was looking as ‘good as old’ I set about mixing up my new oil glazes to apply for the new colour.


The original 'ragged' effect

The original ‘ragged’ effect

The Glazing –

The original finish I created was a type of ‘ragging’ which was very popular in the late nineties but is a out of date now. This time I was going to set about creating a more contemporary and subtle effect, darkening the colour and ‘clouding’ or blending the glazes together rather than ragging them.

I mixed up up four colours using a combination of Lamp Black, Titanium White, Cobalt Violet and Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue and Paynes Grey  – creating one light colour, one medium and one dark. I then mixed them as I went along with Windsor & Newton’s Liquin so I could change the opacity levels to suit the area I was working on at the time.

The effect after the 1st new coat of glaze

The effect after the 1st new coat of glaze

I applied the glazes with a quarter inch acrylic artist brush and then moved it about using a large stippler, a hog hair brush, butter muslin and a well used Purdy Monarch Elite – blending and tinkering until I was happy.

The glazing had to be done in 2 stages to ensure just the right depth of colour and that the ‘ragging’ effect was subtly covered and blended away.

This picture shows the effect I achieved after the first layer of glazing. The new cloudier effect is nicely on its way 🙂






2nd layer of glaze with more blending and dark blue detailing

2nd layer of glaze with more blending and dark blue detailing

Once the first layer of glaze was complete I left it to dry and returned the next day to apply the second layer. This second layer was applied in pretty much the same way as the first though I used more of the darkest glaze and concentrated this around the edges of the door, the handles and the inside edge of the beaded detailing. It’s just a little thing but it makes all the difference to the balance and overall effect of the pieces.



Varnishing –

Once I was happy with the way everything looked I again left it to dry, returning the next day to finish off. All that was left was the varnishing, which exactly like the first time round I was going to do using Dulux Matt Clearcoat. This is a great acrylic varnish that’s just perfect for this kind of work and paint effects on walls. I applied 2-3 coats using a high density foam roller and a couple of brushes, being careful to add additional protection to the kick boards and around the handles. I then removed the tape, the paper, tickety booed and voila, a thoroughly fun job to do and not nearly as scary and stressful as it was many moons ago 🙂

The finished wardrobe and chest of drawers

The finished wardrobe and chest of drawers

The client, as always, was over the moon and looking forward to the next project. For me it was time to head into her en-suite and continue the prep work for the second part of the project, a cloudy colourwash paint effect on the walls. This had last been done around 16 years ago and was only now needing a re-paint!

If you would like to see more information and pictures of this project, please click here.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The finished effect

The finished effect













Close up of the 'cloudy effect'

Close up of the ‘cloudy effect’









Close up of the 'cloudy effect'

Close up of the ‘cloudy effect’