It’s a Whimsical wheel, of course!
I’d long considered painting my upright wheel, due to it’s blah wood + a faint orange-ish stain. Despite her lackluster appearance, it’s my sturdy ‘go to’ wheel, and she deserved a beauty makeover. She’d never been finish-coated or polished, which meant paint could stick. The 3 yr delay was due to lack of conviction that a perfect homogenous latex paint look was the right choice. Despite my ambivalence I finally gathered paint sample cards.
Rescue arrived last minute, when 1.) I chanced to see a guild friends wheel, painted with Milk Paint! Aha! I’d read of this years ago… something pinged in my brain. I admired her craftiness & the the low luster of wax-sealed milk paint. Loved the fact there’s no toxicity or V.O.C’s – I could paint right at my kitchen counter. 2.) I saw THIS antique painted wheel thru a Ravelry link, recently sold on eBay for $1,851.00 (wowsa!). But LOOKY at the fun colors! Oh that wheel was so ME….and all the incentive I needed to take the painting plunge! Clearly it was time.
I gathered Milk Paint supplies – there are several companies online, and some at local woodcraft stores. Traced photos of my wheel and plotted a color scheme with colored pencils. Btw – that yellow rim wheel on right was the eBay antique painted wheel. Tested milk paint swatches on paint stirring sticks & waxed them too. So exciting!
Ahem! Despite the ease of use, there IS a learning curve to Milk Paint. Leaving instructions to the abundant online tutorials, suffice to say my initial efforts had issues. Spinning wheels get oiled at certain joints, and perhaps dribbles or oily hands touched elsewhere? My paint flaked in too many spots. Hey, I’m a fan of the ‘chippy’ old distressed look, but only a little, not a LOT of it. Issue #1: had to sand back and prime those areas. At least I had the smart idea to tint the primer light green, so the undercoat might show through after light buffing, and have that “layered paint” appeal.
Issue # 2: constantly changing my mind about arrangement of colored bands. Let me tell ya, painting multiple coats of watery, chalky Milk Paint is it’s own unique challenge. But I’d come this far and wasn’t backing down. I forged ahead… By the way, I also like this interim white + green tones combo, and will use it someday on a different wheel. But this time around, I had that green-pink-white-yellow happy Spring color scheme going on.
Issue # 3. Milk paint might be easy to use, but there IS a lot of light buffing or gentle sanding between paint layers, and let us also consider the challenge of painting cylindrical shapes. Arrgh! But it was gonna be worth it…right?
YES! Oh hallelujah I am finally DONE! The wheel, the flyer, the extra bobbins, the bitty pegs and fiddly bits. Out to the front porch for a quick coat of WAX, then buffed her up. I AM SMITTEN. I LOVE MY WHEEL. My very own signature wheel (former name “Mothra”) now re-christened “Whimsy”. She will come to our future show booths and entertain the customers. I am so glad I painted her. I admire the imperfect, subtle color variations within a layer of Milk paint. I’m okay with a bit of gentle distressed look – it lends character and a ‘loved & used’ vintage appearance. After all, this wheel has been around awhile & it’s fitting her appearance reflects the fact.
There will be a 2 minor additions in the coming week: I’ll print her name on the table front, and I’m carving a Whimsical Ewe SHEEP FINIAL for atop the tension knob. I’ll post more photos when that’s done. So, here is my Whimsy wheel making her online début. I found inspiration elsewhere and my own fanciful notions took flight. I hope you like her too. I’m taking her out for a spin at our Aurora Colony Handspinners Guild Picnic & Dye Day at Aurora Colony Museum this weekend. I can hardly wait.