Give-A-Way Time!

We hit 1,000 hits on our blog yesterday, so it is time to show our gratitude!!!!

All The Juicy Details:    Enter to win either a Private Painting Workshop ($135 value!)  OR a CeCe Caldwell’s Clay and Chalk Paint 4 oz. Color Sample 4-Pack (in colors of your choice).

 

There will be one winner for each prize! We will choose the two winners on 5/6/12, giving you a whole week to head on over and comment away!  You can also have your friends comment that you sent them and we’ll enter both them AND your name again! Winners will be chosen via random.org just to keep it fair!

There are two ways you can win (and you can do both!)

1.  Like your favorite post on our blog and leave a comment saying you did so.

2.  Follow my blog and leave a comment saying you did so.

Thank you all so much for supporting this Southern girl in her quest for Re-Finishing Dominance…okay, maybe not THAT dramatic, but that is what it feels like getting to do what I love every day!  Happy Painting!

 

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Project of the Day…Refinishing Picture Frames

One of my favorite, quick projects is to redo a picture or mirror frame.  It is simple, quick, and takes few materials (for solid wood frames that is)…if you are working with plastic or metal, there are a few steps I would do differently and I will cover that at the bottom of the post.

First, pick your frame.  To me, the more detailed, the better! I start with a solid wood frame, as shown below, and I lightly sand it. If your frame has knobs like this one, be gentle sanding over them or it will sand off their “roundness.”  If you are using CECE CALDWELL’s paint, you can skip the sanding step. Her paint will stick without the sanding (SCORE)!!!

Next, I applied one coat of CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk Paint in Vintage White using my Purdy Little Chubby paint brush (perfect size for the sample container). I put on a good, thick coat, not worrying about direction, etc as this will add texture when I apply the second coat of color and wax.  Just a reminder that chalk paint is much thicker than Latex paint, so it will cover a bit differently (a.k.a. better).  See image below:

You’ll notice my small little CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk Paint  paint sample container at the top of the picture.   I am also posting a picture of the sample below. This is the BEST deal for small projects. This 4 oz. container is $6.95 and it is enough to paint an entire chair!! I used this on two frames and I still had 3/4 a jar left.

For the third and fourth steps, I painted the first and second coat of its main color, CeCe Caldwell’s Santa Fe Turqoise.  First coat, same thing as above, just slap it on. I let that coat dry completely. For chalk paint, the dry time for a project this small is less than an hour.   Second coat, I was a bit more controlled with my brush so that my strokes were more even.  I let this coat dry completely.

Next, I distressed the frame.  Again, I did this with a light hand and just 120 grit sand paper held in my hand.  I used more force, or what I call a heavy hand, around the edges and outside frame section because I wanted the raw wood to peek through.

Final step is sealing the paint. Now here is where it gets fun! You can see in the images below what a difference in color the that wax creates.  Both frames were painted with Santa Fe Turqoise, however, the  frame on the left is the one shown in the above posts and is covered in CeCe Caldwell’s clear wax, tinted in Hershey Brown.  You can see the drastic change in the Santa Fe Turqoise color after applying the wax.

After the wax dries, your frame is ready to go! This project took a total of 2 hours, and probably could have even been done in less time, but I wanted to ensure each coat was completely dry before going on to the next step.  My total cost was around $4.00 as I paid $1.00 for the frame, then used a fraction of the sample paint jar, sand paper,  and wax.  I had plenty of these supplies left to do a chair and another frame (I buy the wax in bulk, so I barely used any of it on this small project).

Here is the finished project and its matching table. When I do an open frame like this, I always have people ask “But what do I do with it?”  and to this I say “The possibilities are endless!!”   You can hang wire on the back (most of mine come with this anyway) and hang pictures or artwork inside it, you can use it as traditional frame, insert your picture, and just cover the back with card board or foam board, again, there are so many possibilities!

Now for metal or plastic, you can use any time of latex or chalk paint, or you can also use spray paint. Spray paint is just so unpredictable because it runs, it is temperamental dependent on weather conditions, and it is messy . However, sometimes brush strokes are harder to even out when painting metal or plastic, so spray paint feels like the easiest choice 🙂 This is something to play with and find what works for you!  That is the best part…there is no right or wrong!  When panting metal or plastic, I lightly rough the item up with sand paper, really concentrating on cracks or details because the paint does not like to stick as much to these materials.  I then follow the exact same steps as above, EXCEPT when distressing, I do so with care. These materials scrape up easily and are not as smooth to finish out. Start out gentle and you can always use more force as you go along.  You can use wax to seal these materials as well, however, I normally use Laquer just to give it more shine.  Again, it mainly depends on the desired look I am aiming for.

Hope you find this helpful and happy painting!!!

Why I share…

Today’s post was going to be about refinishing picture frames, but after some interesting questions and  much thought into this process, I thought I’d answer questions as to why I share tutorials, or tips I find useful.  So all of you interested in refinishing picture frames, come back and read all about the process on Wednesday 🙂

First, I must be honest and say I was never intending to share my deep, dark, painting secrets.  I really just wanted a way to “publicize” my business and what I had to offer beyond just the walls of my booths.  However, I have had some really amazing role models as I’ve built my business and each one has been so amazing to share their steps to success along the way.  In any type of creative business, it is very easy to spend an unbelievable amount of time and money on steps or products that just don’t benefit you or your project goals.  It is easy to go out and buy a ton of supplies you don’t really need, sign up for shows that aren’t truly beneficial to  your particular business, and invest in services you don’t truly understand.  When I began Southern Charm Designs, it was not for the purpose of making money or creating a financial venture.  It was to heal a broken place inside of me and to take my mind to peaceful, even calm, place (nothing says calm like a power sander!) This leads me to the question I hear most often:

1.  How do you make money if you teach people how to do re-finish items themselves?   I always have to let out a little laugh when I hear this question. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had the same thought a time or two when I first started, or read other’s blogs.  However, as you grow and develope your craft, it becomes a part of you and all you do.  When I first decided to start selling my work, I was actually surprised when people bought it!  I knew this was something I loved doing, but people would ACTUALLY PAY for my work??? HOLY SMOKES! Then as I grew, it just seemed natural to want to share this experience with others.  I can honestly say, and yes I know how cheesy it sounds, but painting literally saved a part of me…gave me an outlet to release so many emotions and it gave me back a part of myself I had not seen in a long time.  With sunshine and roses like that…who wouldn’t want to share??? Also, bottom line, as with any art, there are always customers out there. Not everyone is a DIYer and they would rather pay for an item than go out and search for a piece, buy the supplies, and try to do it themselves.  That is just reality…I would much rather buy my clothes than learn how to make them 🙂

2.  Aren’t you afraid someone will copy your work?  Ahhh…the wonderful world of sharing a part of yourself on the World Wide Web!  I have learned to become confident in what I do. I know my aesthetic, I know my level of skill,  and I know what I like to design and create (for example, I quickly learned wreaths are NOT  my “thing”).  Here is where it also gets complicated though. I am not the first person to refurbish furniture…there were millions before me, and there are only so many takes on a turquoise/white distressed dresser. However, no two pieces will ever be the same when done by hand; not even I can do two pieces of my own style exactly the same…that is the beauty of the shabby chic design.   It is somewhat flattering that someone wants to re-create something you’ve done, yet it is infuriating when someone  takes credit for your work. I have actually had someone buy a dresser of mine, move it 20 miles, and mark it up $100, and tried to re-sell it as their own. Now, that,  I did not take so lightly and I did voice my concern to the mall’s owner.    Had they put “by SDC” or something on the tag, I probably would have lived with it.  At the end of the day, I really hope people are honest enough to do their own thing, be confident enough to create their own designs,  and just flat treat my work as they would want someone to treat theirs. A little naive?  Maybe. The honest truth is they have to live with their decisions and actions…as I do my own!

3.  Love to see the light in their eyes! I love watching someone learn a new skill…that “Ah Ha!” moment when it all comes together for them.  It is something I learned early on in life and has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I just love teaching others.  It is an amazing feeling to have something to offer to someone else. We all have a skill or trait that could be valuable to others…why not share it and learn more about ourselves along the way???

4. The need to continue to learn…I have a blog roll that I follow daily.  I learn so much from these amazing bloggers every day. The only way we grow is to continue to learn and educate ourselves.  There is and always will be someone better than you out there…why not learn from them and better yourself? I had been painting for about 3 years  when I decided to take a class from Allison with Refunk My Junk (www.refunkmyjunk.com) and I learned so much! I learned new techniques, learned about different products, and had a blast networking with other women eager to learn as well.  Allison and her work have become such an inspiration to me and it is FABULOUS to have someone like her to bounce ideas off of.  So my hope is that refurbishers, new and experienced, can visit my blog and find some helpful information or at least a common place to share ideas.  Networking, meeting new people, and gathering new ideas everyday  is the best part of what I do!! !

Thank you for visiting and happy painting!

Stenciling…My “Ah Ha” Moment

For years, I have looked at people’s beautiful stencil  work and am so envious! I have tried and tried to stencil numerous things over the years and it has always ended in epic failure for me.  Either it would be smudgy after I removed the stencil or it would be globby…I tried more paint, less paint, spray paint….taping stencil, spray adhesive on the stencil…read every article I could find on the subject.  No improvement.  My first ah ha moment came after visiting one of my favorite blogs, The Handmade Home.  Ashley had created a beautiful wall art piece using a stencil she had been given from a company. I headed to that company’s website and WOW were the stencils awesome! The one I REALLY, REALLY wanted was $49.95…I just could not make myself fork over that kind of money when I was not even  good at it (yes, I am thrifty…$49.95 is probably very reasonable…just not in my world)! However, it got me thinking that maybe I needed to invest in a better stencil instead of the small, cheapo, flimsy ones.  So I headed to Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon in hand (you can also use the electronic one via your cell phone, iPad, etc while checking out) and found very large wall stencils ($16.99 before coupon).  I really liked the Moroccan Theme stencil shown below:

It is thick and large enough to easily use on a table top.  Here is the biggest Ah Ha! moment…I ACTUALLY READ THE INSTRUCTIONS and bought the re-positional spray adhesive it recommended in the instructions.  Hobby Lobby carried it as well and I believe it was around $5.  I already had some stencil paint on hand in the brand it recommended, so I decided to just give  it another try with this stencil (Both items are shown below, along with a  tub of stencil paint as just another option; it is a thick cream. I chose to use the bottled paint).

I lightly sprayed the back of the stencil with the adhesive spray and it was so nice to be able to pick it up and move it without any nasty residue! It really was very easy to reposition and yet it still stuck really well once I got it where I wanted it.  Now here is where I veered from the instructions a bit.  I had given up on stencils…I was done, right? So I gave my roller to my oldest daughter for her arts and crafts adventures.  I wasn’t going to buy another one until I knew I could nail this stencil thing. So, I just used a foam sponge I had in my bucket of supplies. I put the stencil paint on a paper plate, lightly dipped the sponge in the paint, dabbed it again on plate just to get any excess off, and then rubbed it across stencil lightly. I don’t usually “dab” it on the stencil as I don’t like that sponge painted look it sometimes leaves.  So I basically just wiped it across the stencil with a light hand.  The nice thing about stencil paint is that it dries pretty quick, so once I was done with one section, I just removed the stencil, moved it onto the next section and repeated the  process until the table top was covered.  Easy! Here is a picture of what it looked like right after I was done with the stencil.

I wanted a really distressed, worn look, so this white was too white and too “Hey, I just stenciled this piece!”

So I distressed it:  

Covered it in CeCe’s clear wax: 

Then finished it off with a coat of CeCe’s clear wax tinted with Hershey Brown:  

Now, I must admit, I am not used to taking step by step pictures to share with others. I seriously did not even remember to turn the garage light on!! DUH! So, please understand you are looking at pictures taken in my dirty garage with the only light coming from the open garage door.  None of this is rocket science, and most of you that are pros are probably thinking “Really? This is basics lady”, but as I like to say, everyone starts somewhere, and this is my somewhere! I love working at something until I get it how I imagined it (expect wreaths and that is a whole other story)!!!   As I say in all my tutorial tips, this is just what worked for me. There are thousands of ways to do this, thousands of techniques that work for others, and a million and one ways to achieve the look you want. Just imagine and play!

Here are a few quick tips:

1.  You don’t have to go out and buy stencil paint! Regular Latex or Chalk Paint will work just fine. However, keep in mind Latex paint is a bit runnier, so go easy with how much you put on your roller.  Plus,  it is going to be harder to get off of your stencil afterwards.

2. Use re-positional spray adhesive to adhere stencil to your surface. So much quicker than taping and sticks great!

3.  Wash stencil immediately after use. Do not let the paint dry on it (Trust me on this one…learned why they tell you this in the instructions…the hard way).

4. If you are nervous or not sure what look you want, practice! This stencil came with a practice board and you can try it on that first, saving you some time and work if you don’t like the finished look.

I am now headed to Hobby Lobby for a more difficult stencil to try. Eventually I hope to learn to free hand…maybe even master the harlequin pattern as my fellow painter and friend Allison has, but, until then, I am happy to stencil away!  Hope everyone has a great week and Happy Stenciling!!

The Finishing Touch

My last post on distressing led to more questions on how to finish out a piece, so what to post next  was a given.  Finishing a piece is what gives a piece its timeless quality and really “seals” the piece.  As with all my tips, this is just what I do…my opinion…there are so many options out there and you honestly need to play with them all and determine what works best FOR YOU! I do 7-10 pieces a week, so it makes more sense for me to invest in pricier products, supplies, etc. If you are only working  on a single piece, you may not choose to invest in a full can of wax, etc.

First, you need to consider WHAT you have painted, take into account what type of paint you used, is your piece going indoors or outdoors, and what look is desired for your piece. Since I typically work with vintage furniture, that is what I am going to focus on for this post (I do promise a little blurb on other items).

I currently only paint with CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk and Clay paint. I paint my piece in desired color(s), distress it (which some do AFTER waxing), and then I apply CeCe Caldwell’s Clear Wax (which you can tint if you want a darker finish).  CeCe’s WILL BE RELEASING A DARK WAX and I am pumped!!!  You apply a coat of clear wax, then a coat of tinted wax (or the Dark Wax).  If you get too much, no problem! Add a bit more clear wax and the heavier spots will work right out….are you now seeing why this stuff is so ideal??? It seriously makes it SO EASY! Once the wax cures, it seals the piece and hardens the paint, therefore protecting your piece. Wax and distressing help give your piece that worn, antiqued look.  Please see example below:

When I used Latex paint, I would cure with MinWax or good ole’ fashioned Lacquer.  MinWax is the same principle as CeCe’s or ASCP wax, it is just consists of  strong chemicals (a.k.a. STRONG ODOR), and is a thicker base, making it a tad harder to work and blend in. I never tried tinting it, so I honestly have NO idea if that is possible or not. Sorry,this is where I have to admit that I don’t know everything! Also, please note that you can use CeCe and ASCP waxes on latex pieces!!!  I have done this many times and it works great! Again,the options are endless!!!

With lacquer, it is important to note that lacquer will always have its place in refinishing!! It is a hard  sealant and will seal anything!  I no longer use it regularly, but if  a piece that is going outdoors or for a piece done in latex paint, I just feel better when I finish it out with Lacquer.  I use spray lacquer as I found the brush on lacquer always had a streaky finish.  NOTE that lacquer gives your piece a shinier finish, so if you are going to more of an antiqued, worn look, this may not be your best option.  Spray lacquer is fairly inexpensive and a good option if you are on a one-piece budget or if you have stained a piece instead of painted it.   Word of Warning…it is a strong chemical so the odor is awful. You need to use it in a well ventilated space and I recommend wearing a mask.  I DO NOT USE LACQUER WHILE PREGNANT…I know some refinishers do, but I highly recommend you don’t.  Here is an example of Latex paint with a coat of lacquer as the sealant.

For pieces like metal, outdoor furniture, etc. I only have experience with latex or spray paint and lacquer. I have not yet done an outdoor piece with Chalk paint, nor have I used wax on anything other than my solid wood furniture.  I promise to research this for you, try a few pieces, and let you know what I think.  For now, I will say that I normally spray paint these types of furniture, allow dry time, then spray with lacquer.  Now that I am addicted to CeCe’s paint, I am  going to have to find me some outdoor pieces and get busy! 🙂

Finishing your piece really is an important step as it is like adding the bow to the top of a present! It will not only protect your piece from chips, scratches, etc, but will also complete the look you want for your project. Good luck and happy finishing!

Distressing…not worth stressing over!

I received a panicked email the other day from a friend who had “over distressed” a piece she said. Now, to me, you can never over distress…that is like having hair that is too big…just not possible in Oklahoma!  Once she sent me a picture though, I fully understood why she felt this way as she used multiple methods and it had ended up looking as though she had “tried too hard” instead of that natural, aged look we want our pieces to have.  This gave me the idea for my next post as I think we forget to mention this aspect of refinishing. Here are my simple tips for distressing. Again, please note these are just my opinions and what I find works for me!

First, pick your method.  There are as many ways to distress a piece as there are brands of paint. There is not necessarily a right or wrong here, it is just your preference.  You can use sand paper and sand by hand, you can use an electric sander, you can use a razor, wax method, paint remover, or with some paint, you can simply use a rag and water! Each method requires a bit of work and some planning!!!

1. Sanding by hand:  I often prefer this method as I feel it gives me more control on where and how much I am sanding.  I normally use 220 grit sand paper and I hit all the edges and corners first. Then I’ll move to the “heart” of the piece-the top and drawers or doors.  I honestly do not draw out a plan of where and how much I am sanding….I just start on edges and go from there.  I like to hit any flaws a little heavier so that it really draws out that aged look.  If I want the bare wood to stand out in a spot, I sand that spot with a heavier hand. If I have a color underneath the top coat I want to show through, I sand with a delicate hand and do not over press.

2. Sanding with Electric Sander: First, let me say that electric sanders are expensive. So only consider this method if you a. already have an electric sander or b. you plan on going into the furniture refinishing business and will get your use out of it ( or c. if you just have a whole lot of money sitting around and are looking for ways to spend it….in this case, CALL ME!!)  I do use my sander quite often…at the beginning of a piece if using Latex paint, and at the end of a piece if I want it to look HEAVILY distressed.  Now, I do not at all claim to be a pro at this…this is just what I have learned from experience.  I have almost NO control over my sander….it tends to lead me around, so this is why I say I prefer to hand sand 🙂 Please see picture below of a heavily sanded piece. I wanted it to look really worn, aged, and wanted the raw dark wood to have a presence on the dresser.

This can also be accomplished by hand, it just takes more muscle and patience.

3. Razor Method: Honestly, I have never been a big fan of this method. You have to have a very steady hand for this method as a razor will actually cut through the wood you are distressing and leave permanent cut marks and scratches in the wood.  If you choose to use this method, I only recommend doing so on edges and corners; doing so only with light pressure. I normally have 2 small kiddos with me while I work, so having a razor blade lying around is not an option for me 🙂

4.  Wax:  Here is another method I tend to steer away from.  I just never could get it to work how I had planned and the finish never worked out.  The basic idea is that you apply the wax UNDER the paint and then when paint is dry, wipe it off over the spots you applied the wax, giving it a distressed look. However, this takes major planning and sketching as you need to know exactly where you applied the wax.  It will bubble a bit or look streaky where you applied the wax, but it is easy to miss a few and then you lacquer over a place that you missed and you have a mess.

5.  Paint Remover:  Third method I stay away from.  Fist off, there is nothing worse than the smell of paint remover. YUCK! It is such potent stuff and you need to wear gloves, etc.  Chemicals are not my thing, so I stay away as much as possible.  Secondly, this actually wipes the paint off, so if you aren’t careful,you get a spot that screams “hey, I just wiped some paint off this spot” versus a jagged, rubbed, worn spot that sanding leaves.  I can tell when remover has been used 99.9% of the time, it just looks obvious and like you took a cloth and wiped it off. This is definitely not the ideal method if you have glazed a piece. It just wipes the glaze off and ruins the look of a glazed piece.

6.  For Chalk Paint, you can simply use a rag and water!!! This is another reason I love the Chalk Paint so much. You can simply wet a rag (not dripping wet, just damp) and rub it across the areas you want to distress.  Using your hands allows you get into the corners, cracks, etc and still looks worn and rubbed through versus just wiped off as mentioned in the above post.  Once you apply the wax over your piece, it really brings out that area that you distressed.  No sanding saves a lot of time, dust, and muscle power.  For me, the biggest plus is no dust.  Here is a piece that I simply used the rag/water method.  Please note, this ONLY WORKS WITH CHALK PAINT!! I use CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk Paint and love how it finishes out after I distress it.

Hope this is helpful! Happy Distressing!

Glaze or Wax ???

I promised a post on finishing out a refurbished piece, and there will be lots more to come, however, I wanted to give a quick tutorial (since it is 11:41 p.m. and this pregnant lady is exhausted!!) on using glaze or wax.

First, let’s talk about wax. Dark wax or wax you can tint was a refurbishers dream come true! It is very easy to apply, you can either rub in on with a cloth or you can work it in with a wax brush. I use both methods…I use the brush if there are a lot of grooves, like the table below.  However, if the majority of the piece is  a flat surface, I tend to just rub it in with a cloth as I feel I have more control of how much is applied. The best part of wax is that it dries quickly and it seals the  project piece just as polyurathane, etc. would.  Really simplifies the process while still giving the piece a worn, antiqued finish (the darker tinted wax is what gives that antiqued look).

Glaze…I am still a big fan of glazing! It is a long process, it can be tricky, and I’m not gonna lie…I have had a few “glazing” hissy fits! Glaze can sometimes give a piece more definition than wax and I use it 85% of the time I use latex paint.  I paint the piece, distress it, glaze it, let it cure, then seal.  GLAZE HAS TO HAVE TIME TO CURE!!! Oil based glazes take 24-48 hours to dry and harden, however, I feel it is the easiest type of glaze to work with. Since the drying time is longer, it gives you more time to work it in and correct mistakes or places that maybe were applied to heavy handed.  My best tips when working with glazes are:  work in small areas and use it sparingly.  You don’t need a brush full of wax!!! Just barely dip the tip of the brush into the glaze, then apply to your piece, and work it in really well moving in one direction.  The piece below was glazed and you can see the stroke lines, where with wax, you don’t have that. It just depends on the look you are striving for!

Good Luck and Happy Waxing/Glazing!

What to look for (and avoid) when buying furniture to refinish

I have had many people send me pictures of items they’ve purchased to refinsh and ask if I had any advice for them or asking me what I think they should do to their new treasure. To be honest, there has been more than once I’ve wanted to say “TAKE IT BACK”, but just didn’t have the heart to do so.  But in all seriousness, there are pieces you should walk away from and cut your losses before you sink money into a piece that is going to 1. fall apart 2. be a nightmare to refinish  3.  end up costing you more to fix than buying new.   Please trust me on this one. I learned this lesson the good old-fashioned way…trial and error and lots of $$$ later! So here are a few tips:

1.  Always make sure your piece is solid wood! Particle  board is a fancy word for “almost like cardboard” and not all particle board can be painted.  You want a solid, sturdy piece…it can be ugly as sin, but it  needs to be solid! Some things to look for: heaviness, grain of wood,  and the quality of drawers (dove tail, etc.).

2.  Evaluate the piece’s condition:  Scrapes and bruises can be sanded out if they are mild, so don’t let that deter you.  However, if half of a corner is gone, a drawer is obviously warped, etc.,  walk away as these items are not easy to fix.  If veneer is slightly chipped in small place, you can fix that with wood putty. However, if it is missing in chunks, peeling off throughout a large area of piece,  and in more than one area, walk  away as this is not an inexpensive or quick fix.   That is a job for a professional!!!  I don’t care how old or “antiqued” a piece is, if it is falling apart, it is not worth your time!!!  If the piece is metal, make sure you evaluate any rust damage and know when too much is too much!

3.  Antique (a.k.a valuable)…ok, let’s get this out in the open. True Antiques and name brand furniture are fantastic finds. However, once you paint it, you are taking some of the value out of that piece. So, if the piece you are interested in dates back to the late 1800’s,  it either needs to be    1.in good enough condition to display  or 2. in a state that can be repaired and refurbished with the realization that is no longer a true antique. Not that it is no longer of value, it just is not in its original state, so it does lose it’s value to true antique collectors.  Now if you can do professional furniture restoration, IGNORE THIS PART! You are amazing and can charge away!

4.  Know your price, know its worth and don’t be afraid to walk away.  Let’s face it, Goodwill, garage sale owners, and  flea markets have caught on to the “refurbishing phenomena” and are now charging much more for used furniture.  You need to know what a piece is worth before you jump right in.  For example, if I find a dresser I know came from Mathis Brothers (machine-made) in the last 10 years, I won’t pay more than $30 for it…I am a stickler on this because it just isn’t worth much more than that to me.  However, if I come across a retro or antique dresser with wooden wheels in good shape, I may just bid war you all day!!!  It all comes down to the quality of craftsmanship of the piece and  how well it has been maintained. If you know it needs to be sanded, stripped, puttied, glued, re-nailed, primed and painted, know what this is going to cost you and figure that into the price of the piece before buying it.  That type of stuff adds up quickly!!

5. Look beyond the intended purpose of the piece:  A broken chair is not a deal breaker for me…If I can take the frame and make a planter out of it, then YAY! another find is salvaged and saved 🙂  However, I will not pay top dollar for something in that condition.  A dresser with some warped drawers?  No problem, you can use it as an outside planter! Always look beyond it’s current state and determine what it COULD be!  Again, just budget and price accordingly. Which brings me to my next point….

6.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal!!!  Biggest, A#1 rule for this one is you should ALWAYS be wearing smile when asking for a discount or better pricing! A polite, positive attitude will usually get you the deal 99% of the time. Don’t ask “what is your lowest on this?”, but instead “Could you take $25 instead of $30?”  However, if the owner is not willing to negotiate, don’t be afraid to walk away! And, NEVER, EVER argue with a dealer.  Just politely say “ok, thank you”  and go on about your day.