Hello, my creative friend! Today’s blog post is all about how to salvage damaged Mother of Pearl furniture. While I’m not a fan of the Asian furniture style, I believe in salvaging these pieces. Okay, before you read any further, I want to clarify something. The Mother of Pearl on this piece was badly damaged and could not be repaired. It was discolored and broken. Many of the tiny pieces were missing from the design, and the only option was to paint over them. Yes, you can paint over the Mother of Pearl.
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Before Painting Over Mother Of Pearl Furniture
This project starts with a “friend” wanting to know if I can paint this cool piece she found. The top part of the chest was a cedar chest for storage, while the lower half was shelves. Cool! My first thought was… NO WAY! I can’t paint over that mother of the pearl furniture piece. After careful inspection and several discussions later (with my “friend”), we came up with a plan. She really is my friend, and I wouldn’t take on this project for just anyone. 🙂
Shop these products now! CLICK HERE to see all of the amazing products for your furniture makeovers. Supply list for this project:
- Asian Furniture with Mother of Pearl Inlay (damaged and non-repairable)
- White Lightning (cleaner)
- Slick Stick (bonding primer)
- BOSS clear (stain and odor blocker)
- Hurricane Gray (Chalk Mineral Paint)
- Driftwood (Chalk Mineral Paint)
- Sand Bar (Chalk Mineral Paint)
- Putty Knife
- Patina Paint (Iron)
- Patina Spray (Green)
- Modern Masters Clear Coat (to seal the raw wood)
Removing Veneer From The Chest
We decided that the top of the mother of the cedar chest would be beautiful if we could preserve the wood. One problem… veneer! OMG! Seriously? I thought this part would be a walk in the park. Right! Well, it turns out that it wasn’t too bad after all. Only the very center of the top had veneer, and it wasn’t too hard to remove. After sanding all the old finish off, the beauty of the wood was a hit. This one was going to be amazing!
Painting Over The Mother Of Pearl Furniture Inlay
Here’s the scary part… painting over the mother of pearl furniture inlay. I said it was scary because I can only imagine the time, dedication, and skill of the artisan that created this piece. Because the mother of pearl has a slick surface, I used a product called SLICK STICK by the Dixie Belle Paint Co. All it took was one coat of the slick stick to create the bond so that my paint adhered properly.
Painting The Cedar Chest
My base color of paint was Hurricane Gray chalk mineral paint. One coat was all I needed to paint over the lower part of the chest quickly. I blended a second color over the mother of pearl furniture inlay with Driftwood.
Highlighting With A Putty Knife
After the paint had dried, I used a 1-inch putty knife to add highlights to the mother of pearl furniture inlay. After a short dry time, I applied this amazing paint called IRON Paint over the mother of pearl. The paint was applied with the putty knife as well and in the same fashion. I didn’t want a perfect look, and this was exactly what I wanted. While the Iron paint was still wet, I sprayed the Green Patina Spray activator over all the pieces with iron paint. Be sure to use the activator when the paint is wet, or it will not activate. In about 4 hours, I had the rustiest, crusty beautiful look that made me smile. 🙂 I wasn’t sure during this whole process how I would feel about covering up the mother of pearl, but the design was intact and visible.
I Didn’t Seal the Paint!
There was no need to seal this piece because Dixie Belle Paints are super hard after they cure and do not require sealing. I know… It still feels weird to me not to have to seal the chalk mineral paint. But seriously. it’s not required. Habits are hard to break.
Holy Mother of Pearl!
I love what I do but every now, and then something special comes along like this piece, and I smile. 🙂 Thanks for hanging out with me today. I hope this inspires you to look beyond the perfect paintable pieces out there and gives some of the lonely old outcasts like this mother of pearl furniture piece a chance. It just might surprise you.
Until the next project… xo, Do