I just finished this beautiful buffet for a client. She specifically asked for it to be painted in a dark gray so we went with graphite. This was originally a beautiful piece but there was damage on the sides and the top so it needed to be painted. Also, the original look did not go with her decor in her new home.
You can't tell but the bottom sides had the veneer peeling really badly. So all that needed to be pulled off and filled. There were also water marks on the top. But isn't she a beauty with all those curves and vintage hardware?
When working with wood that is this dark and with so much shine to it, I always shellac. So this got a really good cleaning and then I applied 2 coats of shellac. The shellac helps with preventing bleed through and also helps the paint to grip. I always shellac when I am painting a dark wood piece, a piece that is that red wood color. I use shellac often. I was planning on doing a little bit of distressing so another reason to use shellac. If you are not going to distress then you could also use an oil primer that is tinted. You can read this article on prepping furniture.
After the shellac dried I painted with Annie Sloan graphite. This got 2 coats of paint. I did a little bit of distressing along the edges. And then I sealed it with Annie Sloan dark wax. It was actually a mix of clear and dark wax together. I added extra wax to the edges. When you work with wax you have to use it a certain way. Wax is very durable and tough but some people find it finicky to work with. Once you know how to apply it and how to work with it, you will love the finish. You will see in the photos below how it has a shimmer. That is the wax doing that. When you buff, it gives it that shimmer. A trick with working with the waxes: if you find that it is looking too 'streaky' for your taste, you can apply some mineral spirits to your piece and it will take off the wax. Let that sit and dry for a bit. Then you can reapply the wax right over the mineral spirits. On the tops of pieces it is good to work in long strokes, from one end to another. Here is a blog post on how to work with AS paint and waxes.
For the hardware my client wanted the hardware painted with the graphite too as she did not want it to be the original brass. She wanted the hardware to blend in more. So I painted it all and then added just a bit of the shimmer, not too bold but just enough for them to be noticed.
The shimmer was done with silver gilding wax. The wax I used is from France. I bought mine from an Annie Sloan stockist. You can also use Rub n buff or Annie Sloan also sells gilding wax now.
I have lots of how to videos on my YouTube channel.
More photo's of my work are in the Gallery.