Friday, February 21, 2014

Painting Old Books: Yes, It's OKAY!

Today I am working with only one arm. Well, mostly. I somehow managed to injure my right wrist about a week ago, but I thought I could get away with using it lightly. After shoveling snow, lifting a dresser and numerous painting, prying, scraping, sanding, mixing, etc., I realize I have no concept of what it means to use it "lightly." And I'm in throbbing pain if I so much as use a computer mouse. So, today I am blogging (mostly left-handed)! 

Here is a project that did further injury to my wrist yesterday (but thankfully not too much).

I bought these vintage books at a secondhand store. They are not exactly classics of literature, so I didn't feel guilty about painting them. I've seen other bloggers paint books and wanted to give it a try. After all, most of my "vintage" (AKA old) books are not the kind I read. They are for decorating. They make pretty shelf displays or bases for candles and other knick-knacks.These were adorable in red and green, but not really the look I wanted. I felt a tiny twinge of guilt about painting them, but since there were about a dozen other colored books at the store, I didn't feel all that bad.

So, I began with a coat of country white satin latex paint on the outside cover, followed by another. I found I could paint the whole thing at once, front and back, if I set the book upright to dry, using the inside pages as a kind of handle to hold while I painted. Afterwards, I realized I could still see the red and green covers that folded around to the inside of the books. So, I painted just a little inside the covers, too.

When they were dry, I added a teensy bit of black to make a dove-gray paint shade. I dipped in my sponge brush, dried most of the paint off by wiping it on a paper towel, then lightly brushed the gray over the white to bring out the linen texture on the cover and embellish the edges.

I think they turned out beautiful! The perfect gray-white base for my little ceramic bird. Very shabby chic!

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