Friday, May 13, 2011

The Mantel Piece: The Conclusion!

Finally, it is done!

The mantel piece that has taken me months to complete is finished!  Behold!

mantel piece before2      … and …

mantel piece after

Here’s how I did it:

1. I had to start by getting as much of the old paint off as possible using and extremely pungent substance called “Kutzit.” (Pronounced cuts-it)  This stuff makes the old paint extremely pliable and slimy so you can scrape it off.  It’s a mess.

2. Once all that was done and everything was dry I began sanding.  I started out sanding by hand using a sandpaper block, which seemed like it would take forever, until my father discovered an electric hand sander he had forgotten he owned.  Best discovery ever!

3.  After I had gotten 90% of the paint off I had to pick and scrape the rest of it out of every crack and off every remaining surface.  This part was tedious and seemed like it would never end, but it also kind of felt like an excavation.  Whoever had painted this mantel piece last really laid it on thick.  There was a lot of really nice detail on this mantel piece that I hadn’t seen in all those months of sanding because they were obscured by random globs of paint.  These little discoveries helped to keep me going.

4. Finally, the hard part was done.  I had originally planned to repaint the mantel piece some lovely, delicate color, but after all the time and effort it took to get the last color off, and after seeing how nice the natural wood of the piece looked, I changed my mind.  I coated it with linseed oil instead, which gave the wood and darker, richer hue.  I only did one coat of linseed oil because I liked the color immediately. 
      I had a problem, though.  I wanted the mantel piece to add color to my living room, but that wouldn’t happen now, so I painted the section of the wall in my apartment that the mantel piece was going to be mounted on a shade of blue called “Picture Perfect.”  And after I securing the mantel piece on the wall using invisible wall mounts, that is exactly how it looks.  I could not be happier with how it came out!

Now comes the really fun part – decorating!  I’ve already started with a few things:

012 011

My grandmother made that owl back in the seventies during her ceramics phase.   The other three items I found at a local flea market.  Any suggestions on what I should do with it next?

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