There are certain memories of being a child that are forever etched in my memory, and my great-grandmother’s vintage white wall phone is one of them- though to be honest it wasn’t exactly vintage back then. It hung, just out of reach to little hands, in the hallway leading to the kitchen and was the command center for any all news in the family I remember the way it rang; that abrupt, jarring, somewhat rude intervention that refused to be silenced until you ran through the house and removed the receiver from its perch in the hallway. I remember standing in the kitchen, leaned against the wall wrapping my fingers through its cord while I endlessly chatted away.
When my Granny passed away five years ago, there was the usual dispersion of the household. Some wanted photos, some wanted sentimental knickknacks. I wanted the phone. I’m a sucker for sentinental and practical, and to me the phone was both.
Several months ago I started re-doing the studio decided to add a few fun, vintage items to the fabric cabinet. Since my Granny was an avid and incredible seamstress, I thought it was only fitting that her beloved phone have a place of honor in the sewing room. But years of sausage grease and handprints had left it dirty, sticky and in need of a make-over.
I started by removing the cord and receiver, and giving the entire thing a thorough scrubbing with dawn to remove as much dirt as possible. Then I grabbed my gold spray paint and got to work.
So here is where you should learn from my mistakes.
1) I didn’t primer. I should have. I know better. Truly, I really really know better. But I guess I got excited. So use a PLASTIC primer, ok? It will save you a lot of headache.
2) I love you Valspar, but I really did not like the gold paint I used. It stopped up constantly and spewed thick splatters randomly. I tried several cans, and several angles but I was a constant battle of me vs the spray can.
The color was lovely, the finish was less than stellar but I finally got it right. Bright gold can be difficult to find, so if you can locate it I recommend Rustoleum Pure Gold Spray Paint. The nozzle is a lot more even and it adheres much better.
To spray the cord, I needed to pull it apart so that the coils didnt stick together and I could coat evenly. To achieve this I used my old step-ladder and a few binder clips. I clipped one end to the top of the ladder, stretched out the cord and clipped the other end to my drop cloth. Then I was able so spray several light coats giving it a nice even finish. (I actually sprayed two phones, so the cords are different colors but I used the same technique for both)
Then I gave the entire receiver and base several light coats, letting them dry THOROUGHLY between applications. Do not be tempted to rush or else your paint will gum up and be sticky.
Since the dial ring and numbers had to be sprayed as well, I plan to either order small vinyl numbers or just paint them back on to give it a whimsy feel.
Other than needing a little love, the phone is still in good working order, and I plan to mount and use it eventually in the office. Who knows, maybe it will be for our first direct line?
I’m curious, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever spray painted?