Have you experienced mysterious bleed-through spots while you paint? We understand! It’s so common. And here’s how to avoid them forever!
Above is a very bad photo of a 1930ish mahogany buffet I purchased in 1986. In 1986, dark furniture antique furniture was a status symbol. Many of us grew up in a home filled with dark mahogany and cherry furniture, made extremely well and made to last. My first house was in Roswell, Georgia, and there was an area very close to downtown Roswell that was called “The Mill” that was turned into a furniture and antique market. One Sunday afternoon I went there with a couple of friends and spotted the buffet, and just had to have it. Luckily, one of my friends drove a huge Silverado pickup truck and he helped me haul it home.
That mahogany buffet held a prominent spot for 28 years, then last year after my knee began healing from surgery, I realized that I had lost that loving feeling for the look. Because the piece was so well made and fit perfectly and functioned perfectly, I knew what needed to be done. Shellac to the rescue!
My initial plan was to choose a completely opposite paint color, so I used Pure White Chalk Paint®
. Because this piece was made in the 1930s, I suspected that I might encounter spots coming through the paint, but I decided not to shellac before I painted. Big regret!
So, to spare you the misery, time, and expense of making the same mistake, today I am sharing the quick and easy way to prevent these ugly spots that can never be fixed with more coat of any kind of paint!
Here are a couple of spots popping through. Yours could be much worse, and there could be many more darker versions.
HERE’S WHAT’S CAUSING THE PROBLEM
Older mahogany, pine and cedar will often bleed red, pink, or orange from within the wood itself. Adding more coats of paint will never cover the spots. Oil and grease can also leach through paint.
HOW TO FIX BLEED-THROUGH and SAVE TIME AND PAINT!
Even if you begin painting your piece and encounter spots, do like I did and stop right away. Let the coat you are painting dry, then apply Shellac (see below).
Use Dirtex or Simple Green with a damp rag, then thoroughly rinse off the cleaner and let dry.
APPLY SHELLAC: Hint, only shellac will work!
Apply a thin coat of Clear Shellac, using a throw-away brush, since this product is not water-based. If time allows, let the shellac dry overnight. Because shellac has a shelf life of approximately 6 months we recommend always purchasing the smallest can available – that’s why we only sell 1/2 pint sizes in our store. Simply write your purchase date on the can.
Chalk It Up Norcross is your local expert resource for paint and product tips and tricks. Stay tuned here for more to come, including the step-by-step tutorial to create this “torn paint” finish next week!
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– Lynn White