How To Paint Damaged Mother Of Pearl Furniture With Rust Paint

Posted in Furniture Makeover
How To Paint Damaged Mother Of Pearl Furniture With Rust Paint

Hello, my creative friend! Today’s blog post is about salvaging damaged Mother of Pearl furniture. While I’m not a fan of the Asian furniture style, I believe in salvaging almost all 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 tiny pieces were missing from the design; the only option was to paint over them. Wait until you see what I did to make this unique piece even more unique.

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Before Painting Over Mother Of Pearl Furniture

This project starts with a “friend” asking 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 shelved. 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 devised a plan. She is my friend, and I wouldn’t take on this project for just anyone. 🙂 It was a doozy!

Did you know you can paint over mother of pearl furniture inlays? I have passed these pieces up for years until I discovered how to paint over it. The beauty of the design is still there but the color change now matches my home. I LOVE it! #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

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Supply list for this project:

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.

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 piece was going to be amazing!

I removed all the veneer to reveal beautiful wood. This will look great with the painted mother of pearl furniture inlay. #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

Painting Over The Mother Of Pearl Furniture Inlay

I admit it concerned me, but only because of the time, dedication, and skill of the artisan who created this piece. But, it was beyond repair.

Mother of Pearl has a slick surface. To prepare it for paint, I used Bonding Boss (formerly Slick Stick) by the Dixie Belle Paint Co. and painted one coat of the bonding agent over the mother of pearl to prepare the surface for my paint.

I applied slick stick which is a bonding primer over the mother of pearl furniture inlay. This allowed my paint to bond properly that allowed me to create a unique look on this piece. You gotta see it! #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

Painting The Cedar Chest

For the base color, I used Hurricane Gray chalk mineral paint. All it took was one coat to paint over the lower part of the chest. Quick and easy!

Next, I blended a second color of Driftwood over the mother-of-pearl.

After applying the slick stick to the mother of pearl furniture inlay, I painted over the whole piece with Dixie Belle's chalk mineral paint. I love this color and it will look lovely with the raw wood top. #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

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 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 how I would feel about covering up the mother of pearl during this process, but the design was intact and visible.

 I applied a third color over the mother of pearl furniture inlay with a lighter color to create highlights. #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

NO Paint Sealer Needed!

Sealing the paint on this piece was unnecessary because Dixie Belle Paints are super hard after they cure and do not require sealing. Of course, if you want extra protection, you can always use their Gator Hide top coat for extra durability.

It still feels weird not to seal Dixie Belle’s chalk mineral paint because all other chalky-based paints require one. But seriously, it’s not required.

Painting over the mother of pearl furniture inlay was a great choice and I would do it again in a heartbeat. #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

 Holy Mother of Pearl!

Isn’t she GORGEOUS?! Check out all that rust patina over the mother of pearl. I would say that

Adding the patina paint to the mother of pearl furniture piece was so easy, Just gotta have the right products. #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl
The BEST Way To Paint Over Mother Of Pearl Furniture #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl
The BEST Way To Paint Over Mother Of Pearl Furniture #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl
The BEST Way To Paint Over Mother Of Pearl Furniture #furnitureartist #dododsondesigns #paintedfurniture #furnituremakeover #diyproject #diyhomedecor #motherofpearl

Every now and then, something special comes along, like this piece, and I smile. 🙂 I love how it turned out and can’t wait to show my friend. I’m certain she will love it too.

*Update… as of May 2024, she’s still using it in her bedroom and has vowed never to part with it. Happy ending!

Thanks for joining me today. I hope this furniture makeover inspires you to look beyond the perfect paintable pieces and gives lonely old outcasts like this mother-of-pearl piece a chance.

Until the next project… xo, Do