Figured Maple

When I bought this vintage desk, the owner told me it was maple and I had no reason to disbelieve him as it is very heavy and it was covered with a thick red/brown stain. This was a popular stain in the 1940’s-50’s for maple furniture but it is not the honey-brown that we usually see on such pieces  I forgot the before photo of the desk so it looked something like this dresser:DSC_0049

It was impossible to see the grain of the wood underneath the opaque stain which was almost like paint.  After stripping it, I was delighted to discover figured maple.  Figured maple also known as flamed, curly, ripple and bird’s eye is a feature of maple in which the wood fibres are distorted in an undulating chatoyant pattern.  It is quite distinctive and doesn’t look like ordinary maple.

long desk5


You can see in the photo that the grain is very pronounced and resembles something like oak.  I went for a darker colour stain and mixed Dark Walnut with Jacobean.  On a wood like walnut or mahogany this would have come out much darker but maple is difficult to stain and I highly recommend wood conditioner that acts as a sealer and helps the wood to absorb the stain evenly.  I prefer standard oil-based stains because they allow you to see the full beauty of the wood.  If you are going to spend hours stripping and sanding, it seems a shame to cover it up with gel stain.

long desk6

I painted the base in a 50/50 mix of Country Grey and Greek Blue.  I love watery blues and this is a blue/green/grey hue.

long desk3

I had thought of staining the knobs like the top but instead I painted them and added gilding  to make them a bit more feminine.  I am quite happy with the result.long desk1long desk2

long desk4

Linking up with:

Making Broken Beautiful | No. 26



Ikea Hack

I recently bought a roll of lovely wallpaper at a thrift store for .99 and since I wanted to try putting in on a dresser, I purchased a used Ikea Hemnes.  Most people consider Ikea to be poorly made and it certainly is inexpensive but it tends to sell really quickly here in Ottawa online.  People will pay close to the new price for these pieces.  This is how it looked when I bought it.  The owner was swamped with calls about it and I just happened to be first.  It is all wood, even the drawers, which makes it quite heavy.

Ikea 1

I painted it white then applied the wallpaper to the drawer fronts.  This video is really helpful about how to do that  The video uses spray adhesive but because I don’t like spraying things, especially in the house, I used Mod Podge.  I brushed it on the drawer fronts, let it dry then applied the paper to it.  I put a piece of parchment paper over the wallpaper and ran an iron over that.  The heat from the iron melts the glue and also helps to prevent the wrinkles you often get when using Mod Podge.  I later applied more glue to the edges that didn’t quite seal.   I then applied a few coats of Liquitex varnish to the top to protect the paper.




I added square glass knobs which work well with the dresser’s shape.



The wallpaper has given it a completely feminine look, so different from the original pine.

Linking up with:

Making Broken Beautiful | No. 25

div align=”center”>
Pieced Pastimes