In this week’s furniture flip, I got to makeover an old church pew for my client. It was already in excellent condition and I knew that I wanted to keep the old world style and add some chipped paint and wax layers to give it some extra dimension and an aged look. I achieved that look by adding some paint, decoupage and sea spray texture. Let’s get started and I’ll go through the process of how I turned this church pew into a furniture flip!
Here’s the before – a gorgeous old church pew with some cool design details on the side and a back that opens (where the Bibles used to be stored). Love it!
Some of the detail on the side of the pew.
Step 1: Supply List for Painted Furniture Church Pew
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Step 2: Cleaning the Church Pew
As always, I’m starting off this furniture painting flip by prepping the piece and making sure that it’s clean before I start painting. I’m using White Lightening and I used 2 buckets of water because this pew was particularly. I put White Lightening in 1 buckets and just warm water in the other bucket. That way I could rinse the dirty cloth out in the bucket of plain water and not have to keep making up a new batch of White Lightening when the water got too dirty. Using a clean cloth, I washed the church pew from top to bottom.
Got my 2 buckets – one with water + White Lightening and the other with just water only.
Step 3: Adding Decoupage to the Church Pew
Rice Paper decoupage papers are fantastic for people who are new to decoupage or who aren’t great at it (like me!). These are really simple to use and because they are very fibrous they will not be completely smooth on your furniture so just keep that in mind when you’re applying them.
After cutting the sheets to the right size using scissors, I applied my Clear Coat to act as a glue on the pew and then placed the rice paper right where I wanted it.
I cut the rice paper decoupage to size and then adhered it.
When it was in the right place, I used my foam brush to smooth it out a little bit and then applied another layer of Clear Coat on top of the rice paper and waited for it to dry.
This is the Satin Clear Coat going on top of the decoupage and then I waited for it to dry.
Step 4: Painting the Church Pew
I already knew that I was going to add some color to the pew because my plan was to do some sanding at the very end to have some of the color peek through the layers.
I started with Antebellum Blue and did one coat all over the piece, but I did not apply it overtop of the rice paper decoupage. You can see in the image below that I painted around the decoupage and not over it.
I applied a coat of Antebellum Blue and was careful not to go over top of the rice paper decoupage.
Here is the pew with the single coat of Antebellum
Step 5: Time to Add Texture
This is one of my favorite things to do and I couldn’t wait to add lots of texture to this church pew. I love to add texture because when you start to scrape it off it really gives your piece that “chipped” look like it’s been this way for a while and has lots of years of layers underneath. I had already planned out how I wanted this painted furniture flip church pew to look and I knew exactly what colors to use and how thick I was going to apply them.
I did 2 colors on this piece and repeated the process for each color. I started with the Muscadine Wine and mixed that with the Sea Spray Texture. The key is to add the Sea Spray a little at a time until you get a brownie batter like consistency. Don’t add too much when you’re first measuring it out.
You want the mixture to have a brownie batter like consistency.
I applied this in small areas on the pew where I wanted to color to be exposed after it had been sanded a little bit. So for me, that was the corners of the back, and the corners of the bench. I used my synthetic brush to stipple it on – thick but not too thick.
I stippled it onto the bench in small areas.
I repeated the process with the next color called French Linen but this one I put on thicker, again with a synthetic brush. I had planned that these areas would be the places that I would pick away at them with my metal scraper to expose the painted areas underneath.
You can see I put the French Linen on much thicker than I did the Muscadine Wine color.
And then finally, when those textured areas were dry, I applied one single coat of Drop Cloth to the entire piece.
One coat of Drop Cloth overtop of the textured areas, covering the whole piece.
Step 6: Chipping Away to Add a Distressed Look
This is one of my favorite things to do on a piece! You just get in there with your metal scrapers and you can control how much you want to remove. Start small and you can work up to larger areas to expose the paint colors that you applied underneath.
See how the Sea Spray and paint mixture adds beautiful vintage distressed layers like they had been there forever?
Once you’ve removed the areas where you applied the textured paint, you’ll want to use your sander (I used my Surf Prep Sanding Kit) to smooth it all out and expose the colored paint underneath. You can see in the image below, where I applied the Muscadine Wine, it’s coming through subtly which is exactly what I wanted.
The Muscadine Wine paint is showing through subtly after sanding.
Step 7: Applying Grunge Grey Wax
The Grunge Grey Wax gets into the nooks and crannies when you’re applying it to your wooden furniture and it goes on really smoothly and creates a nice depth. You can put it on as dark or as light as you like. Just use a brush (the brush I used is the Best Dang Brush and it’s coming soon) and apply the wax and then you can wipe it off with a clean microfiber cloth if it’s too dark or too heavy.
I applied the Grunge Grey Wax all over the pew.
The key here is that you want to apply it and get it exactly how you like, then let it sit for 15-20 minutes and come back with a clean microfiber cloth to buff it in. You don’t want the wax just sitting on top of your piece.
This is after I had wiped away the excess with a cloth. It’s not too dark but definitely adds some warmth to the pew.
As always, this entire painted furniture flip church pew makeover is documented for you in a video tutorial so please watch it if you want to see the piece from start to finish.
Step 8: Watch How to Video
Finished Painted Furniture Flip Church Pew
The finished product!
Love all this detail! It really looks like we found it this way and it didn’t just get a makeover.
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