Restoration Project

Remember this?


And these?


For those who are new to my blog, this was a piece purchased on Ebay and unfortunately was delivered with some serious damage. I decided to keep it and repaired it using my arsenal of glue. molding clay and paint.

The finished product came out great and looks just like the photo I used for reference.


So now that summer is coming to an end, I have decided to tackle a new project.

About ten years ago, I bought this piece at an auction. Nobody wanted it. I had no place to put it at the time. Because it was so beautifully detailed and crafted by hand I knew someday I would do something with it.


It is about 60″ wide and must have been a window valance. There is considerable damage to the piece with one side that has been replaced by raw wood.


This is the opposite side and how it looks right now.


As I absolutely love this kind of challenge, I gathered all my tools. The most important being self drying modeling clay.


A dry brush for cleaning all the dust and dirt without destroying the gilding.


Sculpting tools..


gold spray paint ( I’m too lazy for gold leaf)


And lots of water to keep the clay moist while working.


The damage is pretty bad, but with a lot of patience I know I can pull it off. Although patience is not one of my best qualities I have to wait as I sculpt each piece that is missing, wait for it to dry, attach it, prime it, then put the finish coat.

This part has the most damage, but the other side is in tact, so I have a good reference point from which to copy.


The shell at the top just has some surface rub. The gold leaf that was used is extremely bright and shiny gold, so the paint I bought worked perfectly on a test piece.


Antique pieces like these were made using wire as the foundation for detail that were separate from the base as in this garland of flowers.


The clay was built up around the wire , giving it extra stability. Here I have already built up and smoothed the clay to match and blend in.


When it is dry I can prime and paint. I did the same thing in this example of a flower that was missing. It was easy to copy the one next to it, attach it to the base and now wait for it to dry.DSC00922

I probably will use this piece in my new powder room as a valance for hidden lighting over a vanity. This kind of work is so rewarding and also saves a lot money compared to having someone do it. As time goes on, I learn new ways to improve my restoration jobs. Trial and error is the best teacher.

I definitely have a few weeks of work ahead of me!


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