Painting a Bookshelf with CeCe Caldwell

Today I thought I’d share my fun project with y’all.  I’ve been so focused on the kitchen since we moved in that I haven’t even gotten to unpack a lot of moving boxes.  (Obviously the kitchen things are still in boxes, but I wanted to unpack some non-kitchen things… like my books!)

I decided it was time to take a break from the kitchen and have fun with an old bookcase I’ve had since I was born.  It’s solid, thick wood on the top, sides, and shelves, but the back is a flimsier slightly-thicker-than-plyboard wood.  I took this bookcase with me from my childhood home in Alexandria down to North Carolina for college then back to the DC area after David and I got married.  Needless to say, it’s been though a lot and isn’t exactly in pristine condition.


Ergo the decision to paint it was made!  I have always read about people using Annie Sloan chalk paint (ASCP) or Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint.  Here are some of my favorite blog posts others have written about them:

Then, over Labor Day I was in California visiting my sisters and we happened upon a cute little shop with adorable painted furniture.  I loved the colors and the finish and assumed it was painted with either ASCP or Miss Mustard Seed’s, since those are the only two brands I had ever heard of.  Imagine my surprise when I found out it was CeCe Caldwell — an entirely different brand I’d never heard of that is eco-friendly and has the sweetest colors!

I found a shop back in Virginia that sells CeCe Caldwell and bought a quart of Kentucky Mint green, which wasn’t my first choice but they were out of most colors and I figured why not.  I cleaned my bookshelf really well then got to painting!  It needed two coats as the brown wood definitely came through after the first coat, and while it dried pretty quickly I waited a day to do the second coat.

I wanted the bookshelf to look old– as if it had been green for all those moves it has been through with me– so I sanded some of the paint I had so carefully applied off.  (Women do the weirdest things, as my husband pointed out at this point.)

The bookshelf still needed to be waxed or sealed, though, and Cece Caldwell only offered a few options in their line with which to do so.

I wasn’t particularly blown away by any of them and decided to order Miss Mustard Seed’s antiquing wax online.  It cost $14 (well, $19 with shipping) but it came the next day.  I was surprised by how small the container of wax was, to be honest.  Pretty expensive for that little amount but I figured this is a fun experiment, so I just forgot about it and had fun!

After a bunch of Karate kid “wax on, wax off” repetitions, the bookshelf was waxed and it looked HORRIBLE.  I didn’t take any good pictures because it was so mottled and uneven… totally depressing and not worth sharing with anyone.  David and I considered it a learning process and shrugged it off.



The next day, though, I realized it looked bad because the wax was still “wet” and hadn’t soaked in yet… but once it was dry, I actually LOVED it!  I rubbed it over with a rag (I think that’s what the directions mean when they say to “buff” but who knows) and a few days later, it made a new home in our family room!


IMG_2434Here’s a close-up of it looking all “antiqued:”


Overall, I am really happy with how my bookshelf turned out and I would absolutely do it again!  I love how the Kentucky Mint looks with the dark, antique wax.  And now I’m officially a CeCe Caldwell fan!!


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