~~DIY French Painting Technique~~

by Edie Wadsworth on July 24, 2009

What you’ll need:

1. An inspiration photo

2. Deep Turquoise paint from the Laura Ashley collection at Lowe’s. I used Latex semi-gloss and did not prime or sand. More on that later.
3. A candle—any candle—even a candle from last year’s Advent wreath.
4. Sponge roller to paint with—so that you won’t have those pesky brush marks—unless you like those, which I sometimes do.
5. Dark brown latex paint if you choose to add a little more distressing to the piece. I did apply the brown paint with a brush.
6. Wet wipes (or damp old rag) used for wiping the paint off the edges and corners.

First, decide if your piece needs sanded. My armoire was 15 years old, dry as a bone virgin wood and was begging for paint. To sand it would have been downright cruel. But if your piece needs it, sand it. I also did not prime it because I wanted to brown wood to show through underneath.
Then take your trusty candle and rub the edges, corners, and wherever on the piece you want the actual wood to show through. You should rub the candle vigorously enough that little flecks of candle wax are hanging onto the furniture. Then take a dry cloth and remove any flecks that are visible. This will allow you to easily wipe off the paint from the corners and edges. I first saw this technique on Censational Girl’s blog, so you might want to check out this post, it’s probably slightly more detailed than mine.
I just turned the candle on it’s side and rubbed the corners. This is my banister—which is in danger of being stained or painted in the next few months.

Now, you’re ready to paint. Use a sponge roller to avoid brush marks and begin painting.
I did small sections at a time—like the one armoire door at a time–because the paint dried so quickly on my parched little armoire. Just as the paint is drying (it took about 10 minutes on this piece), take wet wipes or a damp rag and wipe the paint off the edges where you had previously rub the candle wax. You can wipe the paint off as liberally as you’d like. The more paint you wipe off, the more distressed it looks.
If you mess up and take off too much paint, just paint it again, wait for it to almost dry (usually within 10 minutes) and then wipe again. Continue on until you achieve the look you love.

The next day, I decided that I wanted it to show a little more ‘brown’ so I took dark brown latex paint and painted the edges with the brown paint and then wiped some of that off until it looked like this. Overall, I bet this project took 3 hours. I adore it. I can’t believe I went 15 years without painting it. And although I am completely smitten with this peacock blue, I have to say that when I saw Nester’s beautiful blue armoire, I was a little torn. I want two blue armoires now. Her post on painting her armoire is much more comprehensive than mine, so check it out too. You’ll learn something clever.

Other facts you should know:
1. I didn’t paint the inside doors. I’m a little bit lazy when it comes to details.
2. I left the hardware on while I painted. I’m a little bit lazy when it comes to details.
3. I painted it right where it sits and scooted some craft paper underneath—on one side. I’m a little bit lazy when it comes to details.
4. I did not paint the back yet—-and may never—you can probably guess why.

I hope this answers your questions. Now get busy painting my friends. I’m joining Kimba’s DIY party, so visit here for more DIY inspiration.
Also, thank you so much for your sweetest little messages from my post Wednesday. I’m feeling better and am now 24 hours tear-free. Love and hugs to you all and hope you have a great weekend. I haven’t forgotten that I have one more post to finish my series. I hope to get that done before I leave for vacation!
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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheOldPostRoad July 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Beautiful! Am now looking desperately around my house for something that NEEDS to be that shade of blue.


2 Sheri July 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Lovin' the turquoise so much that I told Mike I may just paint the lighting fixture an aged turquoise in the dining room, rather than black. Hey, I can just paint over it if I hate it right? LOL


3 marty39 July 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Oh, I love it and I love the color. It looks so pretty. You did a fabulous job. Hugs, Marty


4 duchess July 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I just love your attention to detail – it mirrors mine.
The armoire looks terrific.


5 Jen R. July 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Great job! It looks so high end!


6 Brittany July 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm

WOW! So beautiful! I wish I had an old armoire to paint now!


7 amy July 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm

love, love, LURVE it!

that's it–i'm painting my front door peacock blue this weekend! i already have the paint, but i was too scared. (of what, really, i don't know??!!)

you've inspired me. thank you.


8 Kelly July 24, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Love love love this!!! Thanks for sharing your "how-to" on this project. You make it sound less intimidating. Now, when will we get the big reveal? I want to see your new living room all finished. Love what you've shown so far. It's fabulous!!


9 TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo July 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The armoire looks great! The instructions were very helpful. Love it! See, that room will be vintaged up in no time. ;)


10 Sarah July 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Beautiful job Eddie. How'd you know that my husband has a piece of furniture in his "Man Room" that looks like your before?? Oh yes, I do believe I just found my inspiration to recreate it! Now, what color should it be…hhmmmm??? Thanks for a great post. Love you girl! God's blessings, Sarah :D


11 Magic Brush July 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm

You could put me out of business! I couldn't love it more! Great job!!!! Beautiful color!


12 Melissa Stover July 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm

thanks so much for the detailed instructions. i'm going to do it. my first ever painting furniture without oil based paint!


13 Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality July 24, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Oh, that is really pretty, Edie! i love your version too. I bet there are gonna be a lot of aqua pine armoires painted out in blogland.


14 Kimm at Reinvented July 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Edie, that armoire is positively delicious!


15 stefanie July 24, 2009 at 10:03 pm

it turned out gorgeous, i love it, thanks for sharing!!!!


16 Sarah July 24, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Very pretty! I love that color.


17 jskell911 July 25, 2009 at 1:06 am

That is absolutely gorgeous! I would be terrified to attempt that.


18 Megan (Sunshine in the Rain) July 25, 2009 at 1:23 am

I am absolutely in love with the paint job you did on this! The color is stunning. I'm a super big fan of this color and have been for a long time. You did a GREAT job! Def. gave me some inspiration. Thanks!


19 Meredith@MerchantShips July 25, 2009 at 1:54 am

Hey, Edie! (met you at Blissdom)

I painted the exact same armoire a deep garden green, with a pale orange interior. My husband jokes that it looks like a melon, but I love the pop of color (and storage!) it gives to my dining room.


20 Twice Remembered July 25, 2009 at 3:11 am

gorgeous, Gorgeous, GORGEOUS! I love your armoire even better than the one in the inspiration photo! Great job!


21 Kim July 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I have no idea how I just stumbled on your blog, but YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!! Love it the armoir!! And love the color!!


22 Trudi July 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm

It's fantastic. I like the nester's but your's has more character. I wish I had something I could do that color.


23 Sweetwater Baby July 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm

thank you thank you thank you for this post! and thank you for all the reference posts, too! can't wait to try this…may even do my kitchen cabinets. your blog is gorgeous. love your banner – light blue and red is one of my fave color combos!

Maggie :)


24 Karli @ RockyBella July 26, 2009 at 12:26 am

I LOVE this, and the color. Nesters is amazing too. I like your bold choice though. Thanks for the painting tips, I've been contemplating painting my armoire for a while now (I just wrote a blog post about that, needing paint opinions!) Your house is so beautiful and homey.


25 Kim July 26, 2009 at 1:47 am

It turned out fabulicious!!!! I even like the color. Do you want to come over & paint mine? I didn't think so. I'm pretty lazy myself, so I thought I'd at least ask. lol.


26 Me & My House July 26, 2009 at 2:36 am

THIS is the color I have been looking for! OMG! I love it and what a transformation…! Believe it or not, it kills me to get the details on my furniture sometimes too! Ugh! Anyhow, do you have the color codes for this paint?


27 Tera July 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm

OH MY GOODNESS… I visit your blog each and everyday…however, I am not sure if I have ever commented before {I am so sorry}. The amoire looks absolutely amazing! Truly, it looks as if it has been professionally distressed! And, the color is stunning…no need to second guess the color! Anyway, I am from MN and I saw that you are headed to Northern MN for a getaway(?) We are headed up there too, to the shore of Lake Superior {one of my favorite places} either in August or September…it's beautiful up there. Enjoy yourself! I just love your blog! God bless.


28 Chris July 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm

What a great makeover , it is STUNNING , great job.
Just Beachy


29 BlueCastle July 27, 2009 at 11:21 am

Thank you for sharing how you painted your armoire. I just painted my kitchen hutch in a similar manner. Well, really, mine doesn't look like yours – my inspiration – but you gave me the idea. :)


30 Cindy July 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Really gorgeous!! I love the unique color and would love to see the room its in, thanks for sharing! Cindy @ Applestone Cottage


31 Laura Ingalls Gunn July 28, 2009 at 12:43 am

Completely gorgeous! Now excuse me while I go look for something to paint.


32 Jennifer July 28, 2009 at 2:09 am

I copied you tonight.. I LOVE your house, I LOVE your Blog and I love how you have lead me to become a better Mother though Christ. Thank you so much for your blogs… Do me a favor!!! Lets see more of your livingroom with the "New" Piece!


33 Jennifer July 28, 2009 at 2:21 am

Oh, Man. My Mother in Law was here last week and I wasn't able to look at your blog much.. so I scroll down and see the pictures I asked for.. I'm sorry! Argh! lol


34 goddessof4 July 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I just found your blog last week !! I love it !!!! I painted my armoire similar.I have the same inspiration photo!!!! Yours came out great!!!! Sara


35 The Nester July 30, 2009 at 12:35 am

Well, when I saw yours, I wanted two too! Actually I only wanted one.


It's perfectly lovely! Thanks for sharing!


36 Sissy July 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm

You and Nester have the same great taste!


37 Heidi July 31, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I LOVE it!! Thanks for sharing your DIY! And I like your 'other facts' we should know. We're all the same, aren't we?


38 Centsational Girl August 6, 2009 at 6:24 am

Helloooooo Gorgeous !

Oh my Edie, that is simply fantastic ! I am so in love with your piece and just a hint flattered that you used my candle trick. Glad it worked.



39 Jennifer August 22, 2009 at 3:13 pm

That is gorgeous! I'm trying to get that look for an old buffet I found at a garage sale. It is in pretty bad shape and needs some sanding before I paint it and I wasn't sure how much of the paint has to be removed. If I am going to use primer, do I need to sand off all the old paint or just most of it?


40 Kimberly September 17, 2009 at 3:13 am

I'm visiting from Today's Creative Blog. I LOVE your cabinet re-do. I love the color, I love the technique, I love looking at the before compared to the after. It is awesome!!!! Just wanted to tell you! :o)

Hope you're having a great day!!!


41 Playing Sublimely October 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Okay, I cant deal with your blog…I'm in love!


42 Mrs. Jones November 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm

You're awesome! I painted a pine table. Thanks for the inspiration.




43 Magui August 10, 2010 at 1:06 am

Me encanta tu reciclado!!! que bello ese color!, gracias por la técnica… besos


44 Amycanderson28 January 5, 2011 at 1:11 am

umm..i do believe this is about the most gorgeous finish I have seen using the blue/turquoise/teal shades! Perfect color! You did awesome job!!! amy


45 Robert December 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

Great job but I have to say I have been painting everything in my home with CeCe Caldwell’s paint and get the same great look with have the work. Give it a try! I know you will agree it’s much easier.



46 Robert December 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

oppps it should say half the work. Sorry everyone.


47 Desiree January 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

OMG, I had the exact same armoire for at least five years and I loved it so much! I sold it on
Craigslist a few years ago without a second thought and I didn’t miss it until this very second. I need to find something so I can paint it blue and rub it with candle wax. I wonder if my husband will hold still long enough. Ten minutes you say??


48 Debra May 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I find it very interesting the paint cured on this piece. This style of armoire was primarily manufactured in Mexico in the late 90′s and was originally finished with a blend of tar and gasoline mixed to get a natural tent color to the wood. I toured the factory and saw it being done first hand. I tried to refinish one of these Mexican styles and the finish did not adhere or dry well. It always felt tacky.


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52 Edel July 16, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I’m on my way to lowes to get paint for an antique retro armoire. This is exactly the color I needed to get me inspired. Thanks for sharing the color an technique used.


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