January 23, 2013 by twinoaksstudio
Happy January everyone!
I hope you are staying warm! It was in the single digits here in Maryland this morning. Brrr! Even the cat does not want to venture outside!
Part of the fun of painting furniture is trying out new techniques, products and ideas. I am a tinker-er at heart!
I have been using Annie Sloan paints since last summer and enjoy the ease of application, colors and the look and feel of the finished product. The one thing that is really inconvenient for me is actually getting the paints. The Washington DC area is notorious for its awful traffic, and the closest retailer is in northern Virginia. Without any traffic I can make it to the retailer in half an hour. It usually takes longer than that. I would love it if a retailer would open up closer to where I live but that does not seem to be the case at the moment.
I have heard many good things about another paint company CeCe Caldwell paints, but again, didn’t find any retailers close to where I live. Until recently 🙂
Cabin Fever is an antique store in Oakland MD, located very close to our cabin in West Virginia, and they recently started carrying CeCe Caldwell paints. I picked up sample sizes of Alaskan Tundra Green, Memphis Blue, and CeCe’s Clear and Dark waxes to test out. The great thing about sample sizes is that it limits your expense while trying out a new product. I used CeCe’s paints on an old window that I up-cycled into a rustic mirror and wanted to share my experiences.
CeCe Caldwell’s paint applies similar to Annie Sloan – they both boast no sanding or priming before painting, although I generally wash my pieces with TSP first. CeCe’s paint is not quite as thick as Annie Sloan, but appears to have similar coverage. I painted 2 coats of Alaskan Tundra then one coat of Memphis Blue on my old window. I then tried a technique called wet sanding – rubbing a cloth to create a dust-free distressing. It required a lot of “elbow grease” but it worked really well. It’s nice not to have to take something outside (in this frigid weather!) to distress it. The smell of the paint is different too – it smells like wet earth. The drying time of the paints was similar to Annie Sloan. It might sit a little smoother than Annie Sloan, but I can still see some brush strokes in my finish, which for a rustic piece is what I wanted. Also the wet-distressing technique does not seem to flatten the paint quite as much as sand paper/block sanding.
The biggest difference between the products for me was the waxes. My 14 year old daughter has mild asthma and is sensitive to certain odors (but not nail polish! lol) I asked her to smell the CeCe Caldwell Clear Wax and she thought it smelled like honey, and it does. It has a mildly sweet smell to it which is refreshing, and its consistency is like room temperature butter cream frosting. Applying it was very easy. I applied it using a wax brush, but you can also use a lint-free cloth. One thing I liked with the application is that the color of the paint darkened noticeably when you waxed it, so it was easy to tell what areas were waxed, and what were not. After a few hours I buffed it using an old (but clean!) sock.
Next I tried out CeCe’s dark wax, which is also called a dark cream, and I can understand why. This product smells a lot like the paints and has the consistency of chocolate frosting (I know, I need to stop comparing things to sweets! Sorry!) When I took it out of the jar it looked a little grainy, but it smooths out nicely when it gets applied. Most of the time when I use Annie Sloan dark wax I need to dilute it with clear wax because it can be a little hard to manage. I started off diluting CeCe’s dark wax but found that I could barely see it on the Memphis Blue, so I stopped and applied it straight from the jar. The dark wax/cream is like a cross between a wax and a traditional painters glaze. It has a creamy texture and is very workable. If you find you’ve applied too much just wipe it off. You don’t need to use the clear wax to “erase” it. Again, its very easy to apply. If you want the look of a very darkly applied wax you might need an additional coat after the first coat dries. If I had one compliant with the waxes its the amount of time it takes the dark wax to dry until its not tacky. It took my project over a day before I could buff it and not take off a lot of the wax. I did not test out CeCe’s clear satin finish topcoat, but like that it is available an option for more high traffic pieces.
Overall I really enjoyed working with CeCe Caldwell’s products and will use them again. Certain pieces I’m doing may look better with Annie Sloan’s color palette, which uses more muted greys, and certain pieces may be more suited for CeCe Caldwell’s, which uses a lot of earth tones and bright colors. Some more modern pieces I may do in good ol’ latex. I may switch back and forth a bit, but that’s part of the fun of tinkering around!
Thanks for stopping by! Keep WARM!
PS – While I’m writing about Western Maryland here is a little travel recommendation from me! If you live in the DC, Baltimore or Pittsburgh areas and have never been to Garrett County, MD – just book a trip and go! It is beautifully scenic and relaxing, and can be equally full of adventure. Here is a great link to start your trip planning. In Garrett County you can visit quaint shops like Cabin Fever antiques, the Oakland Farmers market in warmer months (its the real deal folks!) Penn Alps artisan village, Deep Creek Lake, WISP resort, and Swallow Falls State Park. Alpine Lake Resort in WV is very close to all of the action too and worth a look for recreation or accommodations. These are a few of my favorite things! 🙂 Have fun!