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A Specialty Furniture Finish That’s Not Paint or Stain

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sky blue towels in towel ring in neutral color bathroom.




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As most of you know I have painted quite a lot of decor and furniture and shared it right here on my blog through the years. From making DIY chalk paint to creating easy faux finishes with craft paint and even painting my kitchen counters using a Giani Counter Painting Kit to look like Carrara Marble.

Recently I shared how I lightened up the dark ruff-hewn frames on mirrors I bought at Hobby Lobby to go above my primary bathroom vanities.

In this post, I am going to show you how I lightened the wood on the mirror frames. I didn’t use a wash of white paint. What I used was even better? I used Plaster!

Amy Howard Home Vintage Wood Mercantile Vintage Plaster

When I got the mirrors I thought about using white paint, but hesitated as I didn’t want them to look too white. Then in the depth of my almost 65 year old brain, I remembered that I had an Amy Howard furniture finishing product called Vintage Plaster in my garage that I had never used.

Why I have never used this product until now, I don’t know. I sure wish I tried it years ago as I could have used it on so many projects. It is so easy to use and created just the look I was after on the mirror frames.

I had to go digging deep in my paint stash to find it. I read the directions and in less than 30 minutes I had both mirrors done.

NOTE: I want to mention, this is not a sponsored post. I just thought it was about time that I shared my experience with you about some of the Amy Howard Home paint and specialty finish products I have used.

I got the Vintage Plaster that is very creatively packaged at a DIY Blogger’s conference back in the earlier days of my blog. At the conference, Amy Howard and her husband, Gene had a booth to showcase their products to all the DIY bloggers in attendance.

I had signed up to attend a hands-on workshop one afternoon with them. It was eye-opening for me. They were so enthusiastic and great teachers.

We learned all about their background in the furniture industry and their product line. At the workshop I got to try out the One Step Paint and three of the many speciality finishes the Amy Howard line carries.

DIY Barn wedding signs

Before using the Vintage Plaster, I have used her Better With Age brush-on solution when I want to take the orange color out of pine as I did for all the wood decor for the table centerpieces and signage at my daughter, Kelly’s wedding.

before and after of a piece of wood that has a specialty paint finish on it called Better With Age and Liming Wax on top
Better With Age layered with a coat of Cerusing Wax then rubbed off.

The first product I got to try while at the workshop was one of the specialty finishes, called, Better With Age. It transforms raw wood to make it look like it has been around for awhile. Better With Age is brushed on to the whole board. Once it is dry, you rub on a product called, Cerusing Wax with a cloth and then rub it off.

The result adds a cast of white over the stain while bringing out the grain of the wood.

back of a piece of wood crown molding

Another of the truly unique specialty finishes is one called Dust of Ages. Here is the back of the sample piece of molding I did using the product. You can see that the piece of crown molding is raw wood, the decorative front is also.

close up of decorative crown molding with an Amy Howard Home speciality finish to make it look old.

Here is the front side after the Better With Age solution dried and I sprinkled Dust of Ages over it. It instantly creates the look of an historic patina found on European antiques.

Rough wood board before and after getting Amy Howard Home specialty finish of Better with Age and Venetian Plaster.

The third product I got to try out was the Venetian Plaster. It is similar to the Vintage Plaster I used on the mirror frames but you don’t scrap it off to reveal the wood. To use you place an even coat on surface using a trowel and let it dry. Then recoat until you get the thickness you want. Once dry you can even burnish it to bring up a little sheen.

decorating with a mix of cool colors.

I have also used Amy Howard Home’s enamel spray paint. It is on the green stool by the bed in the room I call the colorful guest room in my home. The paint produces the shiniest gloss finish, plus the colors are bold and saturated.

All of Amy Howard’s products are quite amazing, not only in how they can instantly transform the look of a piece of furniture, but the ease in using them.

How I Lightened the Wood Frames

Large wall mirror with a rustic wood frame leaning against saw horses.

Here is how the wood frames looked before.

Vintage Wood in a burlap bag with paint tools on worktable.

Using the Vintage Plaster only requires water, a paint brush and a scraping tool. You mix the plaster with water and stir. You want the mix to be thick, not thin or runny.

wood frame mirror with painter's tape

I masked off the border of the mirror with painter’s tape to keep the plaster off the mirror.

brushing on Vintage Plaster finish on raw wood mirror frame.

I brushed a thick coat of the plaster on one section of the frame at a time. I waited about 5 minute until it got tacky.

Applying Amy Howard Vintage plaster over a raw wood frame on a mirror.

Then I scraped it off to bring out the wood grain pattern. That’s it.

close up of Vintage Wood plaster on a rough wood surface mirror frame.

The finish dries fast and whitens as it dries.

I couldn’t be happier with how the finish turned out. I am so glad that after all the years it was forgotten on a shelf in my garage that I remembered I had it.

I was so pleased with the mirrors that I went to the Amy Howard Home website to find it so I could link it to this post, but sadly it looks like they no longer do. I think you could use Plaster of Paris to create the same result. It just won’t come in a cute burlap package.

I did however find out that Amy Howard recently came out with a super shiny brush-on enamel paint that is like nothing I have ever seen in a brush-on enamel… and the colors are great. The paint is called LuxeLacquer. I am going to have to go to the thrift store to find something to paint in one of the high gloss colors.

I am familiarizing myself again with the line of products. If you like to transform furniture or any surface in your home, take a look at the Amy Howard website for inspiration. Or check out all the step-by-step tutorials she shares not only on her website, but also on Facebook. She is such a great teacher. You can also find Amy Howard products on Amazon and Ace Hardware.

Some of the products are pricey, but watching how she mixes, layers and whips up paints, glazes and more might give you a few ideas to experiment with the paint and products you already own. Who knows, maybe you will come up with a great looking and unique finish for something in your home.

How to whiten raw wood without paint. Paint brush on wood frame.

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