Brass figurines became a popular collectable in the mid-century and are now having a comeback as a trendy décor object. Since most brass collectables are about 50 years, sometimes older, the brass has probably aged. And it can age beautifully, that darker sometimes green look is called a patina. Some people like to leave the patina but if you want your brass to be shiny and bright, you can clean it! Here are 4 non-toxic ways to get your brass shiny and new!
Before you get started you need to know a few things:
4 Non-toxic ways to clean brass:
1. The easiest way to give your brass some glow is to:
2. Create a paste for more tarnished objects
3. If you’ve got more time try
4. If you don’t have lemon or vinegar try ketchup!
To keep your brass in primo condition after cleaning apply a mineral oil, like linseed, in a buffing motion.
You can find all of these lovely brass collectables, and more in Nostalgia!
Is that Mission Style, Arts and Crafts, or is it Craftsman? Or is it Morris?! The evolution of the Arts and Crafts movement led to many different off shoots of the style that impacted American and English design for half a century. So, what came first and how can you tell the difference? Keep reading….
The English Arts and Crafts movement was the first to come along in England around 1880. It started as more of a social philosophy, which critiqued burgeoning industrialized labor and the replacement of craftsmen by machines. Many organizations, clubs and societies were formed during this time, to uphold the importance of the handmade versus machine made. The design philosophy was based around simple forms and traditional techniques, that took inspiration from medieval, romantic and folk art style of decoration. It was more about honoring the material, structure and function of design.
This movement was led by, John Ruskin, and Augustus Pugin. But it was William Morris who is thought of as the father of the Arts and Crafts movement in England. His designs and ideas penetrated Europe and North America. His name is often associated with the American Craftsmen style, because he was not only a designer but an activist and directed his attention to socialist propaganda that spread across the Atlantic.
The American Arts and Crafts movement made its way from England in 1895, with the founding of the Chalk and Chisel Club, the first Arts and Crafts society in America. From there the publication of House Beautiful, which was solely dedicated to the movement spread the philosophy; clubs, societies and organizations started to pop up all over the country. Gustav Stickely led the movement, through another publication called Craftsmen.
Like Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright, Stickely designed homes to fit the furniture he was creating. These designs were made up of clean lines, incorporated natural elements, and did not include any unnecessary embellishments. These homes would be called Craftsmen style, and this would coin the phrase for the American movement. The Craftsmen style was picked up by the masses and the designs were reproduced by Sears Roebuck, offering a cheaper version of the Morris chair and architectural plans for bungalow styled homes. This paved the way to the movements demise, the designs had been commercialized and mass produced, it ended up exactly what it was conceived to be against.
The Mission Style was derived from the American A&C movement, with emphasis on the designs from the American Southwest and the Spanish Missions in Southern California. Although they do not completely fall in line with the furniture designs used by Spanish Missionaries, they did borrow a few elements and further emphasized them. Mission style is mostly simple horizontal and vertical lines made up of flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood. A lot of the furniture that is produced today is often done in this style.
These styles have no distinct lines that can be drawn to identify one from the other. These were philosophies first, the elements that make up the designs transcend the visuals and are really brought together by their intentions. So, don’t worry about accurately identifying a piece of furniture or style of house as Mission, Craftsmen or Arts and Crafts, because they are all meant to unify not divide.
Interested in vintage wooden chairs? Swing by Nostalgia in Providence RI and see what we've got!
Don’t let big bulky shoulder pads keep you from getting that great vintage piece! Check out this simple tutorial on how to easily remove shoulder pads from a jacket or any kind of top that has a lining and sew it back up by hand!
**One thing to keep in mind when deciding to remove shoulder pads is the cut and fit of the garment, the shoulder pads were a part of the original design so the cut of the fabric is made to fit the shoulder pad. So, if you remove the shoulder pad the cut of the fabric may slouch or be a bit larger.
What you’ll need:
If you’re looking for a somewhat simple DIY to spruce up your laminate covered piece of mid-century furniture, this is the project for you!
The process is not very difficult, it might take a few days because of the drying time that is necessary. Don’t let the time discourage you. The final results are totally worth it and you end up with a fun piece of mid-century furniture.
When choosing a piece to refinish you should go with the lower quality versions of mid-century furniture. Not all mid century furniture is made equally and more often than not, the furniture that you’ll come across is not of a high quality.
Most of those side tables, record consoles, and display cabinets are all fiberboard covered in a faux wood or marble shiny laminate. These pieces can be and should be refinished and painted!
The higher quality designed pieces are plywood covered in a teak or rosewood veneer, and usually should not be painted. If the higher quality pieces need refinishing they should be stripped, sanded and restained, into their original glory. That’s a project for another time.
Let’s get started!
Step One – Prepping and Sanding
First, you’ll want to remove all shelves, doors, knobs, legs, anything that can come off should be taken off. It’s important to do this because you’ll need to paint EVERY SURFACE, even the ones you won’t regularly see, this will give the piece a finished look. If there is any brass finishing that cannot be removed, tape over these parts with painter’s tape.
Prepping your piece of furniture for paint is vital. Most surfaces have a smooth or glossy finish that will not allow the paint to adhere. To rough up the surface you can use an orbital sander or a piece of sandpaper, 150 grit. If you are using sand paper it is helpful to have a block of wood, or something like that, to wrap your sandpaper around so you get a more even sanded surface.
This step is often dusty, a dust mask is highly recommended since this is a fine dust and can be easily inhaled. Sand outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Use a damp rag or a vacuum to wipe us the dust as you go.
The goal is just to take off the top layer of the laminate, so that you have a dull, scuffed finish. Depending on the finish of the piece, you may get away with just a light sanding, or you might have to go a little deeper to remove the smooth finish. If you are working with sandpaper, sand in circular motions over the entire surface, all edges and legs. Often the undersides of the furniture are not finished and have exposed particle board, don’t sand those surfaces, the paint will absorb better.
Step Two- Cleaning
Vacuum up all the dust you can and finish off with a damp rag. Make sure you use a lint free rag, you don’t want any stray fibers to get caught in the paint. Feel all surfaces, make sure there aren’t any bumps or major scratches, if there are sand those down and clean.
Step Three- Priming
Step Four- Painting!
Using a smaller paint brush can help with getting into tight corners and will make doing the edges cleaner and easier.
Applying three coats of paint is necessary, if you do less the paint is more likely to scratch, chip or peel away. Also, allowing the paint to fully dry in between layers will help to strengthen each layer. After each layer has dried, run your hand over every surface to feel for any debris. If needed sand and wipe down before painting.
To finish off the legs it's helpful to set up a way to keep the legs upright. You can use a box or a piece of foam, this will make painting and drying a little easier.
The feet of the spindle legs were capped with brass and needed to be spruced up, so they got spray painted in a brassy gold. Do at least two coats and allow them to fully dry between coats. Use a smaller paintbrush to paint the legs, you’ll have more control over the paint and the edges.
Step Five- Assembling and Sealing
Once all the surfaces are painted, you can reassemble the piece.
Be careful when putting shelves and back boards into place, you don’t want to force anything too much. You might scrape some paint off in the process, but you can touch that up once everything is in place.
Once the touch up paint has dried you can move on to sealing!
Sealing the piece adds an extra layer of protection and creates a more cleanable surface. Rustoleum Chalked matte clear is great for this.
When spraying on a sealing coat, make sure you are standing the recommended distance away and spray in uniformed motions. Standing too close and over spraying one section will result in an uneven finish, ruining all your hard work!
Do a few practice sprays if you aren’t familiar with spray painting and always allow each coat to fully dry before applying another.
And that’s it! You’ve taken a cheap-o piece of furniture and turned it into something worth having in your house!