With Transfers, Fusion Mineral Paint and Gel Stain
The buffet re-do involved many steps to achieve this look, but none of them are too difficult and I have all the products in stock for you at Frame and Frills. I’ll make an easy shopping list of links for you at the end of this post.
This was the vintage, (1980’s) Thomasville buffet when it was first in my possession. It was basically in brand new condition, barring a few nicks and scratches on the top. To me the traditional wood finish was a blank canvas to create something full of personality.
Like I do with every piece before I start painting, I washed it with Fusion TSP Alternative. It’s a no rinse cleaner that cuts through grease and grime.
The surface of the buffet was still super slick after I washed it, so I wiped on a thin coat of Ultra Grip primer to ensure excellent paint adhesion.
Next, to tackle the top…
I didn’t want to sand the top down to bare wood, which would be necessary to apply a penetrating stain and finish on it. Instead, I opted for Fusion Gel Stain. This is a product we stock in the shop, but was the first time I used it.
Fusion Gel stain is a stain and finish in one. It is not a wipe on/wipe off product. It is a pigmented urethane top coat, (think: colored varnish). It is intended to go right on top of the existing finish. It will even adhere to laminate. This is a very durable finish.
After stirring, (never shake or you’ll introduce little bubbles that will stay in the finish) using a very good quality synthetic Staalmeester brush, I brushed it on the top and front edge of the buffet.
It’s self leveling, to a point… Like all varnish finishes, there is a bit of a learning curve to use this product.
The first coat was quite translucent. Looking back, I should have touched up that scuffed corner with some paint ahead of time to darken it.
This was the top after the first coat dried. I felt it looked a bit streaky and I could clearly see where I had lifted my brush in the middle of the top. Next project I’m going to try to use one of our Staalmeester premium quality rollers and see if that changes the results of the first coat.
Meanwhile, I started painting the sides…
I had a vision to paint the buffet a 2-tone black and white. For this I used the whitest Fusion Mineral Paint color: Casement, and the blackest black color: Coal Black.
Because of how I planned to apply the transfers, I left the hardware on and painted it with the cabinet.
Back to the second, and final coat of Fusion Gel stain…
As you can clearly see, the second coat of gel stain was way more opaque than the first.
The end of the day,
3 coats of Casement and 1-2 coats of Coal Black with the 2nd coat of gel stain to dry overnight.
A couple days later, I got back to my project.
The 2nd coat of gel stain looked a bit too opaque for me, so I decided to distress it with a super fine grit sanding sponge and hemp oil. I poured a bit of hemp oil directly on the surface and with light to medium pressure sanded the top in long straight strokes, creating a woodgrain plank look to the surface.
On the edges I purposely sanded more to distress it a bit.
When I was done wet-sanding with the hemp oil. I went back and thoroughly wiped the excess oil off the surface, leaving a beautiful buttery smooth finished top.
Now to the personality of this piece, Transfers!
I used a single package of rub-on transfers for this project. This is a large transfer and the artwork is simply stunning.
For this particular transfer, which is a large one, it comes on 2 rolls and lined up correctly the top and bottom of the rolls match for the large design. The actual transfer, the part that will eventually stick to the piece of furniture, is sandwiched between a white waxed paper and a top plastic sheet.
I cut apart each element separately to be able to place them how I wanted on the line between the black and white. My overall goal was to cover the transition line between black and white with transfers. the only part that was going to not be covered with transfers was the front center where the drawer offers a beautiful clean edge between the two colors.
When placing the transfers, I considered things like balancing the extra large florals around the piece, layering front and back, (yes, you can layer one transfer over another one), placing the widest part of the transfer on the transition line, working around the curves of the furniture piece etc.
Using painter’s tape I taped the pieces up on the buffet for a rough idea of placement. Then working one piece at a time I applied the transfer to the piece. This takes a bit of time. For a transfer of this size on this piece, I’m talking a few hours!
The little wooden rubbing stick tool that comes in the package works great for applying the transfers, it is just slow going, especially around corners and curves.
For the cracks in the drawers, once I applied the transfer to the piece, they’re very easy to cut through. I just use my thumbnail and then open the drawer and burnish the edges down.
Transfers are super duper thin and super duper sticky! They will permanently adhere to basically whatever they touch, so take care when peeling them off the waxed paper.
They easily adhered to the hardware of this piece, where I didn’t snip it away ahead of time.
These transfers need to be top coated with a water based finish. I sanded the applied transfers very lightly, purposely distressing and aging them. I then wiped off the buffet with a lint free rag, removing all dust and then applied a couple of coats of Fusion Tough Coat in matte finish using the applicator pad method I showed you in this video post.
To give the hardware just a little pizzazz
Using my favorite tool, I wiped on a tiny bit of Fusion Bronze metallic to the bumps of the hardware.
This is a close up of the top. It is a beautiful finish and so buttery soft.
This buffet is done and it really is a stunner! The transfers are just gorgeous and changed this ho-hum buffet into a masterpiece.
I have it for sale in the Frame and Frills shop, but I have to admit, I’ll miss it when it goes. I’ll for sure be applying this 2-tone design with transfers to another piece in the future!
Shopping List Links: (Frame and Frills ships nationwide, USA lower 48)
Sanding tools and brushes:
Want to Skip the process and buy it done? Here is the link for this buffet for sale in the shop. (sorry, no shipping on this piece, unless you want to arrange it yourself)
Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.
You can also find me at my shop, Frame and Frills, stocked with amazing DIY products like Fusion Mineral Paint, Stencils, Mint by Michelle decoupage papers and ReDesign with Prima Rub-on Transfers in the shop. You can shop in person or online.
For more reading fun, here are some more painting tips I’ve written about: