Monday, August 5, 2013

Blue Painted Piano

When I think back on the first time Bo took me home to meet his parents, I really only have one vivid memory. The memory has nothing at all to do with his parents, but rather it is all about their 1940's Baldwin piano, at which my boyfriend sat and played the first song he ever wrote for me. It is really quite romantic dating a musician. And being married to one...? Better.

...I remember snuggling up next to him on the floral brocade seat of that piano bench, leaning my head against his shoulder and thinking how lucky I was to be having that moment right then. So lucky. The atmosphere was perfect. His parents had long gone to bed, the lights were low, and it was just him and me and his beautiful song (and the ginormous portrait of his mother hanging above the piano, but I try to block that part out).

A few years after that night, Bo's parents down-sized their home and asked us if we would like to have the piano. Without hesitation, my man snatched that thing out of his parents' home and moved it across town to live with us. And that is the story of the first time we moved our piano. In the years following, we moved that big, heavy beauty so many times it is a miracle it still plays a note. But it does. And now there are usually 4 hands tickling the ivories on any given night. Two big, two small.

When we moved to TX last year, I looked at our once lovely instrument, with her curvy legs and swirly feet, and realized that we had accidentally beat her to a pulp. The once shiny finish was dull and lifeless, the wood scratched and chipped. Too many bumps and bruises from too much movin' around. Not to mention the shabby (and not in the "chic" way) floral brocade on the bench. Ick. Our girl was in baaaaaaaaad shape.


So we painted her blue.

DIY Painted Piano Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
This was taken right after we finished the project. It has since been moved to its permanent spot and re-accessorized.

I knew we could never afford to have the piano professionally restored or refinished. That costs thousands of dollars. And since I knew I wasn't willing to use up such a huge percentage of the square feet in our teeeeeeeny apartment on something that was not (in my opinion) beautiful, I started searching for a DIY solution.

Annie Sloan chalk paint was our answer. After reading that it was pretty much fool-proof (a requirement), and that you didn't have to do any sanding or priming (very attractive), AND that you could paint indoors with limited ventilation because there are no fumes and no smell (jackpot!), I was in. Somebody toss me a paintbrush.

We chose Napoleonic Blue. Gutsy for sure. But I figured that since we couldn't afford to bring the piece back to any version of its original self, we may as well go polar opposite. We don't like to take ourselves too seriously around here.

So we painted and painted and painted. Lots of nooks and crannies in our girl. We did NOT take the piano apart. I've seen other bloggers who were way more particular and thorough than we were. But we live in a 3rd floor apartment with no garage, and Marty was starting to walk at that point. I had to keep our little project contained, so we just did the best we could. And it turned out awesome. Fool-proof, indeed.

In the end, I probably used about 3-4 coats of blue (which was only about 2/3 of the can of paint), followed by several coats of clear wax. I loved the clash between the antique lines of the piano and the modern finish of the opaque blue paint, so I didn't use any dark wax or antiquing techniques on this project, other than sanding just a few spots to bring out the curves. I also went kind of crazy with the buffing once the wax dried, because I wanted that super shiny look. I love it so much. After we were finished, after the wax had cured, I placed all of my knick-knack and photos back where they belonged and stood back for a look. It was as if we had gotten a brand new piece of furniture. A work of art that quickly became the centerpiece of my home decor. And for the price of a can of paint, some wax, and a few brushes. Happy, happy me.

DIY Painted Piano Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
We ended up moving her to the corner near a window.  The natural light in these pics shows more of the true color.

Almost a year has gone by since our painted piano project and the paint is holding up incredibly well. I haven't touched it up or re-waxed it yet, although I think I will wax the most loved areas again sometime this year. And trust me, this thing is loved...

DIY Painted Piano Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

9 comments:

  1. I must admit that when you first started it I thought you'd lost your mind, but it has really grown on me since you finished it.
    When I first met the parents the ginormous portrait was over the mantel. Coming from a house where an 8x10 seemed large, I knew I had stepped into a different type of house. :)

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  2. I like the simplicity of using chalkpaint on a piano, but I too want the high gloss finish. How exactly do you get that with the wax? And I love the blue, but what kind of blue is it? I am looking for kind of a slate blue color?
    Thanks,

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  3. I like the simplicity of using chalkpaint on a piano, but I too want the high gloss finish. How exactly do you get that with the wax? And I love the blue, but what kind of blue is it? I am looking for kind of a slate blue color?
    Thanks,

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  4. In order to get a high-gloss finish with the Annie Sloan Wax, you just have to wait until it dries/cures completely (1-2 weeks) and then just buff it out with a t-shirt or a soft rag. It is really important to wait until it is dry! Buffing should be the very last step. And the more you buff, the shinier it will get! :) I still buff it every now and then, just to keep it shiny (and by buff, I just mean rub it with a dry cloth, in a circular motion).

    Napoleonic Blue is a very rich mid-tone blue. I think Greek Blue is more of a slate color. But you can also mix the colors if you want something in between! My stockist sells the tester cans of paint for $12, which is great if you want to play around with color before you commit. One of the best thing about Annie Sloan paint is that if you don't like the color, you can just paint directly over it with another color. Hope this helps!!

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  5. I am thinking of painting the piano I inherited from my grandmother. I was wondering how to paint near the keyboard. Did you tape the piano keys when doing that section?

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  6. Yes, we used regular blue painters tape to seal off the keys. Painting around the keys was definitely the most tedious and tricky part, but if you just take your time and use a small brush, there shouldn't be a problem. I have seen other bloggers talk about removing the keys and such, but our piano was so old, we were afraid to take it apart! Taping the keys worked out well for us. :)

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  7. Thank you! I have been putting off painting the old piano... mainly because I couldn't figure out how to get around the keys. As with anything... they "key" to this is the prep. ;)

    I am going to do mine super bright... maybe Tiffany Blue or some type of flamingo pink. I also love your blue. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. That sounds awesome! Let me know if you post any pics when you are done! I love to look at everyone else's painted pianos. Eye candy, ya know? :) Also, you got me thinking that maybe I should post a few pics of how we taped it off and different stages of the process. Check back next week and I'll try to show you how we did ours!

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