Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Fireplace: A Tutorial

Maybe you live in a circa 1940 home like I do and you have a "lovely" fireplace that looks like this:

We have lived in this house for almost six years. I have never liked this fireplace. At first all I could think was, "Why would someone paint that stone fireplace?" But then again, I didn't know what was underneath all that bright white high gloss paint (why gloss? why did they have to paint it with gloss???) I dreamed that one day I'd have the money to stucco the thing or strip the paint or move to a new house or something so that I would no longer have to look at this mass of bright white, high gloss piece of ugliness. But I've realized that isn't about to happen anytime soon, so I decided to do something about it. Myself. Without spending a dime. You can do it too!!

First I gathered together all this stuff from around the house:

Paint. (These were paints I had sitting around the basement. The white almond is our kitchen cabinets, the apricot is our dining room walls, the rainforest green is the girls' bedroom walls, the black was house trim, the tan and the gray color in the back were colors I just mixed from those other colors, and the burnt sienna and burnt umber were from a paint set we had.)
Sponge brushes.
Kitchen sponges.
Detail brushes.
Oh, and not pictured, but very important: Sandpaper. And a damp cloth.

The first thing you must do is sand the stones. This doesn't really take the paint off, it just roughs up the surface a bit so the paint will adhere better. After sanding, wipe the stone down with your damp cloth. While you are at it you can pick out the pine needles that got wedged in between the fireplace and the screen thingy when you had your fabulous Christmas garland up for Nester's Garland show and Tell.

Now you are ready to sponge on your base coat:

Pretty hideous, huh? Don't worry! It will look nothing like this when we are finished, I promise! What we are doing right now is giving the stone some depth.

On some stones I added patches of green, like this:

Doesn't it make you want to scream, "GO CANES!" Okay, so maybe it just makes you want to scream...

Next I sponged on some of the browns and it looked like this:

Now it's starting to evolve! I rubbed on some black. See you can still see some of the other layers showing through:

Now we are going to add tan. Remember to start off pretty lightly because you can always add more. The kitchen sponge starts to really come in handy on these later layers. I sponge the paint on with the sponge brush, then dab with the kitchen sponge. Always make sure you are dabbing, otherwise there will be streaks which are not very common in real stones.

Now we go gray. Yes, ladies, sometime going gray is a good thing! I sponge and dab and rub and even use my fingers a little bit to get the paint just how I want it and here is what I end up with:

Don't forget to stop very often! You need to step back and view your progress.

Your stones will evolve even after you think you are done. See those chocolately brown stones? They don't look anything like that now.

Between thinking exactly how I wanted the whole thing to look, researching the internet for ideas on how exactly to do this, getting pictures of stonework, and chasing two kids away from my jars of paint every ten minutes, I was able to do about five stones per day. You will probably be able to get it done much more quickly!

Here is what I have ended up with:
(Note: I still have to seal it so the paint won't stratch off...)

Now I have to figure out what to do with the mantel and trim... But I think I will sit back for a while and enjoy what I have accomplished so far.

I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!!


Kim said...

WOW!! That looks fantastic! I would seal with just regular poly. {Satin since you don't want the gloss look!}

Tammie @ Are You For Real? said...

This is my first visit to your blog. I came over from Tackle It Tuesday. Excellent work! I really like what you did there. I live in a house the same age as yours, and I understand about 'projects' ... giggle.

Denise said...

That looks amazing!!! I had a ORANGE brown stone fireplace that I sponged with white paint diluted in water. I was much happier with the results. Did you find this in a book or just come up with it on your own? Back in the 90's and early 2000 when faux was in I painted some white cabinets to look like wood, etc. Some ideas came from books, tv and just my own head.

I can't wait to see what else you do!

The Party of Five said...

AMAZING! It turned out absolutely beautiful. We too live in a 1939 home. We are in the middle of doing projects of our own. Great tackle.

BarbaraLee said...

I like the natural stone look too. People ruin the fireplace when they paint it.
Does look much better.

Jenny said...

That turned out great! I have to say, after the first few pics I started getting worried! LOL!

How long did that take?

Rhen @yestheyareallmine said...

Wow, that looks absolutely beautiful! Great job.
You go girl. :)

NateAndJakesMom said...

I am so impressed - I can't believe how talented you are!! Really, I am in awe.

Monica said...

Wow! That looks fabulous!

Eli's Lids said...

OH MY GOSH!!!! That is amazing. So cool that you did it yourself too. Oh, and I like the white trim.

Tricia Anne said...

Your fireplace is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog! It was nice "meeting" you. :o)
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne