Only Temporary

On the surface, this looked like a quick and easy project. Mid-century, no major damage, solid wood, nice details and a reasonable price at a thrift shop. I think (not sure), it is a former phonograph/record player cabinet, as it is vented on the sides and has a sliding base shelf.  After I put on the first coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Pure White, I noticed spots of red and orange. Known as bleeding, it is common with raw or unfinished wood or as in this case, dark, mahogany red furniture from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

The best solution is to stop painting (it has nothing to do with brand of paint) and seal the finish. More coats of paint alone, will not work. There are several finishes available that will prevent the stain from seeping into the paint, but my favorite it shellac. It can be brushed on or sprayed, dries quickly and almost always works. I brushed on two coats and let it dry overnight. It bled through my next coat of paint. Another two coats of shellac, another coat of paint….. this happened again and again. After I ran out of Pure White, I used Old White, and when that was gone I used Old Ochre. 

This is how it looks now. After too many cans of shellac and paint, too many hours of work, after photographing, writing this post and thinking this project was finally finished, it continues to bleed. It is still in process. I don’t know what it will look like next time you see it, but it will not look like this. To be continued…

6 Comments

Leslie Stocker

Thanks Immi,
I liked the square shape and fretwork but it is absolutely not worth all the hours I have put into it. But I have a hard time giving up on something. Eventually I will work it out. I appreciate your comments,
Leslie

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RPK Interiors

Oh Leslie, so sorry to hear of a nightmare project. I’ve painted a lot of those reddish mahogany pieces from the 1940s – 1950s in Old White and always had good luck with shellac preventing any bleed through. I can’t imagine what could be causing the issue except that maybe the shelf life of your shellac has expired? The Purple Painted Lady posted a short piece here explaining how to read the expiration code on a can of shellac. http://www.thepurplepaintedlady.com/2014/06/shellac-it-has-a-shelf-life/
I hope this helps…
Robin

Reply
Leslie Stocker

Robin,
Thank so much for letting me know about Tricia’s post about shellac expiration date. This is the first time Zinssers Shellac has not worked for me . I did know there was a shelf life once you opened a can but didn’t know how to read the code for unopened cans. Lesson learned. I appreciate it,
Leslie

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Mary

I just painted my first project, a small mahogany table from the 1930s that my grandmother gave me. I followed the purple painted lady’s instructions for reading the date on the can (returned the first can because it was 7 months old). I sprayed the table with three light coats of shellac and then put on two coats of 50/50 old white and coco. I had a small amount of bleed through. I was disappointed but chalked it up to no prior experience with shellac or chalk paint. My next project is two children’s mahogany chairs that belonged to my mother when she was a toddler. I plan on putting three heavier coats of shellac.

I guess I am surprised that the shellac is not a cure all. The spray on zinsser shellac is supposed to have a three year shelf life.

Reply
Leslie Stocker

Mary, I am completely baffled by this. I have been using Zinsser Shellac for over 10 years and never had a problem. It may have been an expired can. But actually I used three different cans so that would surprise me. If you start painting without sealing first and there is a bleed problem, it is much harder to seal it in once you have already started painting. Best policy is if you suspect a possible problem with bleeding, seal it first.. Any time I have done that I have had no subsequent problems. It is always a risk to skip that step.. Thanks for letting me know your experience and opinion.
Leslie

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