Before & After: Antique Mantle


When we were approached to rework this lovely antique mantle, we immediately said yes (for many reasons, mainly because we do this for a living duh!). This is something that we would only find in our vintage and antique-picking dreams we felt... and it needed some love and color updating for sure.

First we made sure to thoroughly clean it, plus sand and scrape away the peeling latex paint layers where applicable. Whenever working over a previously painted surface you must sand down chips and scrape away anything actively chipping, otherwise it can peel up your new paint layer. Next we assessed some cracking along seams of the 'shadow box' details:

This is not an uncommon encounter when working on old wooden pieces. Seams can split, and one common place to notice this is on everyday surfaces like doors, cabinetry, and window frames. We caulked these with 'painters caulk,' Big Stretch specifically. It's geared toward high flux of seams especially when painted over (make sure to check cure times and time between caulk and paint when using on your own). We trust this option too because once cured, Chalk Paint® decorative paint would adhere well.

Next we primed with our water-based, white-tinted Smart Prime because some old stains were evident to be popping through the Pure White. We think these may have been from old smoke that absorbed into the wood from long ago use. No matter how much you clean, sometimes a chemical or other substance might just need to be covered up durably! We learn to be flexible with these things...

And then two coats Pure White Chalk Paint® decorative paint, plus clear wax all over, and black wax in the details with a light hand. Voila! It's not a super drastic change, however it breathed new life into this piece by freshening it up and helped the uniquely carved details stand out better. Have you painted a mantle before? How did it turn out? Feel free to share! Happy Painting xoxo