I am so excited, because the rustic chippy “grunge” fireplace I built is finally finished. I really wanted an antique looking piece that looked like it just came right out of an old, forgotten farmhouse. One of the things that keeps me away from real antiques is the lead paint hazard (and let’s face it, most antiques are expensive!). So I really wanted to try my hand at creating an authentic chippy paint finish on a new build.
Dixie Belle provided me the paint and supplies to create the finish on this project, and I can’t tell you how much I am obsessed with their products!
I literally can’t say enough good things about their brand. That’s the plain honest truth. And the paint comes in the cutest plastic tubs with airtight screw on lids- I’m obsessed with how functional that is!
Here’s a list of all the products I used to get this super chippy effect on my fireplace mantle:
This allows you to seal the raw wood and insures that the next step will adhere and crack accordingly. I sealed my whole piece with this stuff, and honestly you can’t even tell it’s on there. It looks great!
I added vaseline everywhere I wanted the paint to flake off. Chalk paint generally has a great bonding agent, so to get the chippy look I wanted, I need to add something to the areas I wanted wood to resist and show through.
The Crackle finish is applied on top of whatever color (paint or sealed wood) you want to show through when you paint your topcoat. So it’s the middle man. Apply in cross hatch motions, but don’t back stroke. Let it dry a half an hour before painting over it. And the thicker you apply it the thicker the cracks will be. Personally, I love it when applied thin becuase there are tons of little cracks.
This is the chalk paint I used as the top coat. It’s the most perfect antique cream color. I also used THIS green color as well.
This dirt is the dust of ages. When paired with some wax (I used good old bee’s wax) you can add hundreds of years of aging to your piece. I LOVE this stuff. It really brings out the character.
I am really super happy with how it turned out. This process really made me branch out of my comfort zone. I wanted to create something that looked like it had been rescued from a forgotten farmhouse… like a piece that had seen better days. And I think I managed to create that exact look.
I know the grunge, beat up and chippy look isn’t for everyone. But I for one am super in love with it. And it makes me happy that I didn’t have to spend a fortune on an authentically old and antique piece.
And this mantle has a bit of history that ties into our house. The middle cracked board you see above is from the wall we tore down between the kitchen and dinning room. I love reusing materials when I can, and I knew I had the perfect spot for that header beam when I saw it in our salvage pile.
Having a fireplace in this space now kinda makes me want to snuggle up on the couch and read a book.
I know I mentioned this on instagram, but the main decorative purpose of this fireplace was to hide our return vent. There was some discussion and concerns about blocking air flow, but we’ve had this set up in place for a bit, and I’m happy to report that adding a radiator screen in front of the opening hasn’t decreased our air flow. The AC is still working great.
At some point I need to paint or replace the return vent cover to match the wall. Once I do that I think it will blend in a bit better.
I am obsessed with what the Crackle did to the chalk paint. Like look at those cracking line! It really makes it seem authentic. To get a really chippy layered look, add multiple coats of paint on top of each other with the Crackle in between. As it dries, the cracks and chips will show off the color underneath.
I love how I built this piece all by myself. But like seriously, DISCLAIMER you guys- don’t look too close- there are lots of imperfections that happen when “Builder Hannah” is doing things solo. Haha!
I always tell myself that it’s a good thing I like things a little rustic over here. Because let’s face it… it’s way easier to upkeep furniture with three little ones when it’s supposed to look a little rough around the edges.
Some of you may remember me documenting how I made this book page artwork on my insta highlights (watch HERE) Well, I ended up placing it up here on my mantle.
This whole space ended up being a sort of cozy reader nook. So having this sweet quote from J.R.R. Tolkien ended up being the perfect addition to the space.
I feel like there is still so much more work to do in our living room before it’s done. But this little corner makes my heart happy.
I love pieces that have a history. And the fact that this fireplace was made with materials from our home remodel are super special to me. It’s telling our story.
And another neat thing- these books piled on the mantle shelf are all books form Silas’s childhood. Like legit family heirlooms. I saw them at his families house and asked if the kids could have them. And how neat that they look really cool for display too! Haha! I can’t wait for our kids to read the books their mommy and daddy grew up reading (they are the Hardy Boy series, btw) We have already started reading some of them to June and Jason, even though they are only 3 & 6.
I literally can not wait to style this fireplace for fall… and Christmas. Yeah, I am THAT person right now.
You all are probably like, “It’s only September Lady!!”
I know, I know!
But that won’t stop me from adding all the Christmas stuff to my amazon shopping cart…
A girl’s gotta be ready to decorate for the holidays, right?
You all can laugh at me, but I can’t wait to hang the stockings on this baby.
So that’s it for now! Do make sure to check out Dixie Belle’s chalk paint and other products. They have SO many colors to choose from. I was seriously a little overwhelmed… and I may have a tiny meltdown trying to pick the right one… but I seriously think I could have gone with any of them and been a happy camper.
I’m definitely going to be using them for more projects around this little fixer upper of ours.