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The Elmer’s Glue Technique

A friend of mine recently brought me this all-white armoire to paint for her toddler son’s bedroom. She wanted to make it more masculine.

At first, we contemplated an antique blue color, and were going to decoupage old Sports Illustrated’s pages on the doors. She’s going for a vintage football theme – so cool! Then while she was getting her daily dose of eye-candy at HomeGoods (wait, doesn’t everyone go to HomeGoods daily?) she spied this vintage looking cabinet.

She brought it to me, and said, “let’s do this to the armoire.” Okay I said, while thinking, “geeze louise how will I distress down the blue, without going past the black and showing the armoire’s original white color?”

So, I consulted a Facebook group of painting gals that I belong to, who are real pro’s. Most of them run retail shops, or furniture restoration businesses. I knew someone there could help me. And a great person, named Meghan Cobb did. You can check out her business page here.

She advised me to use Elmer’s Glue to get that lifted off, chippy edge look on the blue paint. You can use Elmer’s Glue to crackle paint, and there’s a lot of YouTube videos out there that can show you the basics. Here’s one I watched.

I wish I had taken step-by-step photos of this process, but its very messy and I didn’t have someone who could shoot photos for me. Stopping to wash my hands was impossible. You’ll understand in a minute.

So here’s how this project went down:

1) I painted almost 3 coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint decorative paint in Graphite over the entire armoire. Then to give the grey color a deeper/blacker hue, I dark waxed the entire thing. I did not clear wax this piece.

2) Next I used Zinnser clear shellac to seal the graphite on the doors and drawer fronts, where I planned to do the glue/blue paint trick. Why this step? Because it allowed the blue to be lifted off without taking any of the black with it. We did not want to see any of the original white.

3) When the shellac dried, I thinned down some regular old white school glue. I used Elmer’s All Purpose glue. I just added water and mixed it to a thin consistency. Next I spread that on the doors and drawer-fronts, working on one at a time.

4) I did not let the glue dry at all. I immediately painted Annie Sloan’s Napoleonic Blue over the wet glue. Once it got tacky (in a couple of minutes), I used a paper towel to blot away the glue and paint around the edges. It worked perfectly and did not even begin to lift any of the black away.

5) To get some crackle, I pulled out my hair dryer and ran it over the wet blue concoction.

6) Once it was completely dried, I dark waxed over the entire surface again.

So here is how it turned out:

I hope she likes it!

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