Friday, December 13, 2013

Tips on using Metallic Paint and a Silver Painted Dressing Table Set

I recently was asked to work with some talented interior designers, Chris and Jamie of Defining Spaces, with painting some bedroom furniture for their client's teenage daughter. Chris and Jamie had sourced a very beautiful vintage dressing table and asked me to paint it silver.  It was quite a big job and I was glad to see this piece shipped off yesterday. I still have to upholster the little stool when Chris decides on a fabric so I'll show you that later.

In the meantime here is the silver dressing table (and the clients's own side table that I also painted) in all its silvery glory!

I wasn't keen on the sound of silver initially but I absolutely love how it turned out.

I also loved painting with the silver paint - it's like molten metal and it's so luxurious. I think I'm a convert to some bling!

I have had so many questions and messages about this piece already and how I achieved the finish.
I used a  specialist silver metallic paint. Brands in Australia you can use are: Porters Paints, Dulux Design Metallic, White Knight Metal Guard. America it seems has a huge range of metallic paints. As always the US has a much bigger range of everything!

My tips for using metallic paint are:

Don't freak out at the cost. It's expensive but compared to silver leafing, much more affordable.

A small container of silver metallic paint goes a long way.

Use a tinted grey primer as undercoat

Watch your brush strokes.

Do not water down your paint

Paint in the recommended environment and temperature range.

Most metallic paint is designed for an effects wall and is recommended to be used in a cross hatch pattern. My client didn't want this so I did a sample board of careful long brush strokes and they were happy with that. It meant very carefully watching my brush strokes but the effort was worth it as the finish on the dressing table is beautiful.

It would also work well sprayed

Top coat as required with whichever top coat you wish.

For a more subtle silver look or if you can't get your hands on metallic paint, use gray instead of silver paint and finish with metallic glaze.

Don't over-brush as this causes the solver paint to loose it's metallic lustre and you can get patches of grey paint rather than silver.

I spray painted the original handles using Dulux Chrome Spray Paint. They turned out beautifully.

Silver or any other high gloss / high sheen paint will show up every single ding or imperfection in the timber. My client hadn't realised that and on the little side table that was an old family treasure there were a lot of dings on the front lip. It wasn't until Chris came to see the finished product that he asked me to fill in those dings. I should have asked initially but for me I love those little imperfections showing a life time of use. Anyway I filled the dints and repainted the table for him.  I didn't take a photo of the finished side table but you can see below the dings and how the light captures the divots.

The legs of this dressing table are so gorgeous. I was just about to type that they are my favourite part but I also love that serpentine front.

What do you think? 
Can you imagine living with a silver dressing table?

Is silver the new black?

I will definitely be using silver paint again...and soon!

Fiona xx

Sharing at 
Miss Mustard Seed


  1. Oh wow it's divine, well done Fiona. Your client must be thrilled!

    1. I hope they are Beth, if I was a teenage girl and they were mine, I'd be thrilled

  2. oh my!!!! i LOVE it! silver can be so tough- you made it stunning!

    1. thanks Cassie, yes I've tried silver a couple of times before and this is definitely the best it's turned out. I am so relieved!

  3. You are an alchemist. This is just so beautiful. Hannah xx

  4. Simply stunning! Gorgeous work as always.

  5. Simply stunning! Gorgeous work as always.

  6. That is fantastic Fiona, I would never have thought silver good look so classy and I think it looks beautiful around the mirror especially. You must be so thrilled with the result.

  7. I am so impressed. Those pieces of furniture are absolutely beautiful. I'm rethinking my furniture now to see if I can work something like that into my own rooms.

  8. Love how it turned out. The pieces are so refreshing! Great work.

    Mary @ Orphans With Makeup

  9. This is absolutely gorgeous! I am visiting from MMS, and I am adding you to my list to read regularly because I also love working on furniture. I have been considering painting an old vanity of mine like this, and loved seeing your work. Mine will have to wait till after Christmas, but now I am itching to get going!

  10. I have been looking for an Australian post about just this topic! Thanks so much! I am just trolling for ideas...I have a dresser very similar and wanted to try this finish. I am also researching paints available in Australia. LOVE IT!!

  11. Fiona they are fabulous!! You really are inspirational to us DIY women. I must see if I can find a small project to start on.

  12. Your client must be so happy with the results! You did a flawless job, they are stunning!

  13. Stunning! I found this whilst looking for info on metallic paint in Aus for a few projects I have in mind. Can I ask what size can you would need for a project of this size? Thanks :-)

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  15. what brand paint did you use?

  16. Looks lovely Fiona. Can I also ask what brand of paint you used for this specific project?

    1. Sorry I don't share that but there are plenty of metallic paints on the market that you can try
      Thank you

  17. Hi Fiona

    Love your piece!
    May I ask if white primer would be okay to use under a copper metallic paint?

    (South Africa)

  18. Hi Fiona, I'm planning to paint a mahogany wardrobe in silver metallic paint, but wondered what you used to fill in the little dings in the wood as I want a beautiful smooth finish like your gorgeous dressing table.

  19. What if the primer is not tinted grey but rather white?


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