Last week we shared with you five of our favorite tips for using American Paint Company’s Top Coat, an eco-friendly product designed to give your paint projects a durable shiny finish. Today we have five more tips for you plus the big announcement we promised about a new APC product coming soon. Thank you for reading the All Things New Again Blog!
One of the nice things about American Paint Company’s clay chalk and mineral paints is all of that chalk in there makes it easy to create beautiful distressed finishes by simply rubbing your piece with a damp cloth or sponge. However, keep in mind that Top Coat is a liquid product. If applied too heavily, it can also zap that chalk and cause you distress by adding more distress to your piece than you planned. The liquid can also cause two side-by-side colors to bleed together if you aren’t careful. Not fun!
Keep reading to find out how to avoid these issues, but first …
* * *
I would like to note here that any potential issues with distressing and bleeding are NOT specific to APC Top Coat or to American Paint Company paints. This can occur when using ANY liquid product on ANY brand of paint containing chalk as an ingredient.
* * *
1. Apply Top Coat lightly to avoid distressing your paint.
I am waaaaaay too heavy handed when it comes to applying Top Coat. I will admit that to you right here, my friends. I end up “lightly distressing” pieces I intended to have a solid finish like this magazine rack I painted in APC’s turquoise Shoreline. It doesn’t look bad, but it isn’t the look I was going for.
The best way to avoid unintentional distressing is to apply your first coat of Top Coat using a “dry brush” method. This means apply very little product to your brush. I dip my brush in Top Coat then dab it on a paper towel to remove excess product. Then brush it on in thin even strokes. Don’t work the brush back and forth, back and forth. Just go over each area once. Don’t soak your piece with Top Coat. You will take off paint. It is best to apply the first coat very lightly and let it dry. Once the Top Coat dries, it will provide a protective shell over your paint job so you don’t have to be as careful with subsequent coats. Kind of like that candy coating that protects your M&Ms from melting in your hand.
Three coats of Top Coat are recommended for maximum protection. After the final coat has dried, you have the option of applying APC Clear Wax for a more satin finish. Sometimes I do this, but most of the time I just like the shiny Top Coat finish and leave it like that. (Remember to let it cure for at least a week before heavy use!)
2. Be careful to avoid bleeding around stripes or stencils.
Again, Top Coat is a liquid product. It can cause paint colors to “bleed” together if it isn’t applied lightly and carefully. I applied Top Coat to this striped table, but I did it in stages. I did not want my white stripes to end up pink and gray and green because my wet brush picked up pigment from the other colors nearby.
I used a small brush to apply Top Coat onto the white stripes first. When they dried, I came back and painted each of the other colors separately, again with a small brush. I poured a small amount of Top Coat in my container and rinsed it out between each color to prevent the pink from contaminating the green, etc. Once all of the stripes dried, the tabletop was protected enough that I could come back with a larger brush and apply Top Coat across the entire piece—without regard to the colors—for the second and third coats.
3. Apply Top Coat to laminate tops so paint sticks better.
Some old dressers, desks and tables appear to be wood at first glance, but upon closer inspection you find the tops are made from a wood-colored laminate that is usually glued on top of the wood. If it is in good shape, don’t waste time removing it. Just paint over it! If the surface is super-shiny, I recommend sanding it lightly first. You may also brush on a coat of Top Coat, let it dry and then start painting. The Top Coat fills in small scratches and gives the paint something to stick to. It’s a little extra step, but it makes your tabletops look really nice.
I had some paint/Top Coat mixture leftover from freshening up the inside of these desk drawers so I used it for the first layer on this laminate desktop. It gave me a nice smooth surface to build upon with other layers of color until I created a look I loved.
A popular look right now is to apply two or more different colors then distress your piece to reveal the colors underneath. Sometimes you will distress all the way down to the original finish, which looks great on some pieces. Others? Not so much. Apply a thin coat of Top Coat after the first color dries. This will protect the basecoat and make it harder for you to distress all the way down to the original finish, especially if you are using the “wet distress” method with a damp cloth or sponge. Works like a charm!
Here’s an example:
I did NOT want this wood-colored plastic to show through when I distressed the legs of this little table.
So I painted it with Fireworks Red and then sealed it with Top Coat after the paint dried. (It took two coats of the red, but it covered all of that plastic beautifully with no sanding or priming needed.)
I came back with soft yellow Heaven’s Light and distressed with a damp cloth to reveal the red underneath, but the Top Coat prevented my sponge from zapping the paint all the way down to the plastic wood.
5. Top Coat will resist water, but it is not waterproof.
Top Coat provides a more durable finish than wax so after it cures, your table can be safely wiped down with a damp cloth without leaving smudges. However, it is not totally waterproof so don’t spray cleaner or furniture polish on it, and be sure to use a coaster underneath beverages to prevent marks.
If you are painting something like kitchen cabinets or a dining table that you are constantly scrubbing mac and cheese off of, then you may want to consider using a product that does contain chemicals because it will provide a more durable finish than an all-natural product like APC Top Coat.
AMERICAN PAINT COMPANY HARD COAT!
American Paint Company has developed a new product called Hard Coat to provide a more durable finish for high-use pieces like cabinets, floors and tabletops. Hard Coat is a LOW VOC product unlike Top Coat which contains ZERO VOC’s. If you have sensitivity to chemicals or are committed to only using all-natural products, then APC Top Coat remains the best choice for you. We will continue to carry it in our shop, All Things New Again, and continue to use it on many of the pieces we paint for sale at the shop and for personal use in our homes.
However, if you are comfortable with integrating a low-VOC product with the all-natural products American Paint Company produces, then the new Hard Coat is another option for you. It provides a higher level of protection for your furniture that, unfortunately, you just can’t get with an all-natural product. With even greater water resistance, you can scrub away at that mac and cheese stuck on your kitchen table after breakfast, lunch and dinner (or is that just at our house because that is all my 2-year-old will eat right now?)
The new Hard Coat will be available for sale this fall. We are looking forward to carrying it at All Things New Again and using it on pieces that need a little extra protection. I’m starting with my mac-and-cheese-covered kitchen table at home!
At All Things New Again, are committed to providing you with options for creating beautiful furniture pieces that will stand the test of time—and the information you need to make the best choice for your family and your home.