Tutorials & Insights

If you want to know how to make your hardware look like pewter CLICK HERE for a tutorial!


DIY Wipe-on-Poly

I tend to favour polyurethane as a top coat on my painted surfaces because it dries really hard and gives a great layer of protection. I use the oil based version (but never on whites because it turns yellowish over time) and I find the wipe-on-poly the easiest to use because you can apply it with a rag and it dries very fast.

You can make your own, and save yourself about 50% of the retail cost.  All you need to do is:

Mix 1 part oil-based polyurethane with 1 part paint thinner

That's it! Nice and easy.  Be aware that this will not work with water-based polys (such as polyacrylic). I usually mix it as required by pouring equal amounts into an old olive jar. I have found that it thickens after about two weeks, but I think it is likely due to a poor seal on my jar.


Delving into the world of furniture stripping

I recently tried furniture stripper for the first time and was so impressed.  To read my review, click (here)


Thumbs DOWN for Martha Stewart Crackle Effect

I recently worked on a dresser where I thought a light crackle technique would look good.  I googled about crackling and how to achieve it and noticed a lot of techniques involving elmers glue. I did consider doing it that way, but I talked myself out of it because I wanted to be certain that I would get good results.  So I sauntered off to Micheals with my 50% off coupon and found MARTHA STEWART crackle effect.  I picked up with my coupon for about $6.

I decided to try it out on a scrap piece of wood prior to putting it on my furniture.  I found the instructions on the bottle lacking detail (Im a details girl), so I googed a video of how to do it.  I followed the instructions and waited, and waited and waited. 




This product did absolutely nothing.  It was immovable.  Literally.

So then I decided to do a comparison.  Using the exact same paints, I did a sample using wood glue, and also using dollar store school glue (I didn’t have any elmers at home, or I would have tried that). 

Low and behold, the best achiever of the bunch was actually the dollar store glue.  Now I cant lie here, the results were not fantastic, and not what Id hoped they would be, but at least I could see some visible cracks.  The Wood glue even managed to do a few cracks too.

So there you go.  Martha, time to reformulate, darling.

Naturally I turned the car back around and speed back to the store for a refund.  Next time, I will be trying the elmers glue.

I ended up painting the piece without crackle, which was a bit disappointing. 

Has anyone else ever had similar problems trying to crackle?

My Favorite Paint - No Prep required (although I prep anyway)!! 

I am obsessed with paint.  I can’t lie.  If there was an AA for people addicted to paint, then I would be obliged to join.  Ever since I started painting furniture I have been on a quest to find the paint that has the best adhesion and the best durability.  It is so important to  me to know that my paint has some resilience and can withstand some everyday wear and tear.  Nothing is worse than being able to scrape your fingernail over your work and come away with a clump of paint, particularly after you have allowed for adequate cure time.

I have tried them all.  DIY chalk paint (so popular at the moment), the real Annie Sloan Chalk paint, Behr Latex and Primer in One, Sherwin Williams Proclassic, Sherwin Williams All Surface, Sherwin Williams Contractor Grade Epoxy, CIL Latex, Valspar Latex, Acrylic Craft, Beautitone Doors and Trim… and this just to name a few.

Well, after much trial and error, and a fair bit of dough later, I have finally found the paint for me.  And no, it isn’t Annie Sloan.  It is actually a paint I stumbled across by accident when I was lured into a shop that had a sale on, and walked away with some oops paint.  The lovely ginger-haired paint technician was happily humoring me as I was chattering away about painting furniture and suggested I try it.  He even said, that I won’t need to prime.  Yay!

So what is this mystery paint you ask?  What is this amazing paint that I now swear by and shout from the roof tops?  Wait no longer ladies and gentlemen.  The paint I refer to is available to you all, it is ‘Diamond’ by Dulux.  Yep, this little gemstone dries as hard as a rock and is impossible to chip off doing the old fingernail scrape test.  This is now my go-to paint when I want a hard finish and an un-distressed look.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have used Annie Sloan and DIY chalk paint, and I really love the finish they produce with wax, BUT, I have had a few issues.  For one, ASCP does scrape off rather easily, even after a solid cure time, particularly if you don’t sand the piece first.  So if you want an undistressed finish, then I find it really doesn’t hold up.  Secondly, I recently finished a piece in ASCP and finished with ASCP wax only to come home one day and find that Mr. Chuckles had touched the top of the dresser after he had eaten a greasy doughnut.  There were three finger prints as plain as day perched in my finish.  I tried wiping it, I tried windex, I tried cornstarch…nothing would get rid of those greasy prints.  I ended up having to remove the wax and repaint, and then re-wax…I can’t even imagine having to do that on a kitchen table with the amount of greasy fingers it comes into contact with. So, needless to say, I no longer buy into the ASCP hype.

So that led to me look for alternatives.  After I purchased and tried my oops paint by Dulux, I decided to undertake a little test.  I had recently acquired a dresser off a friend that had a super-duper shiny finish.  I decided to put all my paints to the test, and using one drawer I put a small swipe of several different paints on it to see which one had the best adhesion and coverage.  I did not sand, I did not prime!  I wanted to really challenge my paint.

I did several fingernail scrape tests roughly after the following intervals:  2 hours, overnight, 2 days, 1 week. 

All of the paints could be scraped off after the two hour mark, but after I allowed overnight cure time, the only paint that would NOT scrape off was the diamond.  It even out performed Zinsser BIN!!!  I could not believe it, this stuff seriously lives up to its name of diamond. It dried as hard as a rock, even on the shiny surface.  Some of the other paints gave decent results, the Proclassic by SW was ok, but even at the 1 week mark, I could still get a fingernail into it.  I realize that paint has a 30 day cure time, but given that the Diamond was ROCK hard after a day, well, its enough for me, Im sold.

Annie Sloan, despite the claims, could fairly easily be scraped off with my nail. AND, it did not have very good coverage compared to my turquoise shade in the diamond ( I was using 'Florence' in the ASCP).

So there you go, my new favorite paint for a hard and durable finish.  If any of you know of any other great paints, please let me know.  I haven’t yet tried the Benjamin Moore Aura, which I have heard good things about, so if you have let me know your thoughts!

The Grey is the Dulux Diamond in Matte.  The few scrapes you can see are prior to the overnight dry time.  It was handsdown the best paint out of all of those I tested.  For a matte paint, this was also very washable.  A bit plus!

tags: favorite paint, dulux diamond review, paint review, best paints for furniture, best paint adhesion, durable paint for furniture


  1. This post was so enjoyable to read. I don't think I have read a post word-for-word for a long time, but you had me! You're funny! I am thinking about painting an old dresser of my daughter's soon, so I'll be back to look at your gallery. :)

    Gina @ Gina's Craft Corner

  2. I'm with you on the paint. Always looking for the holy grail. I do like the BM Aura. It goes on beautifully.
    For enamel with oil based lookalike, SW top of the line enamel. (I forget the exact name. I used their white)
    I'm trying to find a paint that will look like a high gloss lacquer. Know of anything??
    And don't even talk about Paint AA,,,,,I swear I have at least 75 cans, pots, samples, custom mixes, etc, of paint in my garage. I should be haz-matted.
    (PS...remove your comment verification. It's a pain. you will get more comments)

    1. Beth: I wrote a comment down below about the various high gloss paints I have used. I personally find that BM ADVANCE in High Gloss is pretty awesome. Read below for a few more of my experiences….

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Where do you get this Diamond paint in the US? I can't find it anywhere ....

  5. This is a great post! Thank you for sharing! I love picking up Oops! paints. I am loving SW Pro Classic enamel. It levels so nicely but I will give Diamond the next time I need to buy paint. But by the look of my workshop, that could be a long time LOL

  6. Great Post - I found your site from your ad on Kijiji! - I use primarily Annie Sloan - I'm addicted to the wax - I need serious help. BUT, for clients who like the high gloss lacquer look I have used (and I think it was the best) BENJAMIN MOORE ADVANCE in HIGH GLOSS. If you go to my site (www.shabbyfufustudio.blogspot.com), it is the turquoise French Provincial dresser. It is a really beautiful high gloss - but it is a LOT of work - many coats and many wet sandings in between - BUT the result is the high gloss lacquer look. Another great one (but it is very limiting with colours, thus I don't use it much) is the Rustoleum Oops Paint - it is actually called that - used for cars and boats - so very high gloss lacquer look. Another good one to try is Amy Howard HIgh Gloss Lacquer - but it is only a spray - so it can be tricky if you really are a "brush" girl. I love your decoupage pieces!!

  7. I have had good luck crackling paint with hide glue. It is an animal glue and works great!

  8. Hey thanks for the tip laniebp! If you get a chance, Id love to know whereabouts to pick that glue up. Ive never heard of an animal glue before. It might come in handy when my cat, Miss Do-as-I-please is scratching my couch. I could glue her to the 'naughty matt' for some time out. :)

  9. Hi Jane and Douglas. Ive wondered how to get a high-gloss lacquer look and although I have heard of wet sanding, I have never tried it. I did read a tutorial from another blogger who did it to a headboard and she also said it was a lot of work, but the result looked fantastic. I checked out your portfolio and love your work! Thanks for dropping by. :)

  10. hi rae .. . please tell me when purchasing Delux diamond paint by Glidden for chalkpainting projects, do you use flat, satin, semi gloss or a high gloss? Where do you purchase it? I'm like you, I prefer using a better quality paint to diy chalkpaint even though it cost a little more in order to achieve better results. Thanks . . . the chalkpaint dummy!

  11. Hi, sorry for the delay, I just saw this comment now. I have used both flat and satin and haven't noticed a difference in how they turn out after I have turned them into chalk paint. I haven't tried the gloss vareities, but I bet they would work too because once you ad your chalking element (grout, calcium carbonate, PoP) I find the finish dries flat and chalky regardless of the paint finish. Good luck!

  12. HI like all the comments as ASCP scratches off easily so I was a hunting on the net for a solution as I want to do kitchen cupboards. I now know it will have to be priming etc and a different paint. I have made DIY chalk paint with elmers glue and after curing it holds up well. Has anyone used elmer glue in with ASCP? Have you ever used the diy with a spray gun?