Sometimes you feel like you just have to make art for art’s sake.
You see a picture of something or have an idea (or a little bit of both!) and no matter how busy you are or how far you push that thought to the back burner of your creative mind, it keeps coming back to haunt you and insists on being front and center in your creative process. This project is an example of just that.
Several years ago on Pinterest, I saw some pictures of decorated stand mixers. I love to cook and have had a nice, sturdy stand mixer for over 30 years now. My current Kitchenaid mixer is about 10 or so years old, and I use it several times a week typically as I love to cook and bake.
While browsing through the “Steampunk” categories, I saw a really cool picture of a stand mixer that was airbrush painted in that style. I just fell in love with it. I love the Steampunk genre and so does my partner Keith. (For those who aren’t familiar with what the term Steampunk actually refers to, it is defined as follows on Google: “A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.” It is kind of a combination of Industrial and Victorian elements, in the flavor of a Jules Verne story.)
I also noticed that many small companies (such as on Etsy) offered vinyl stickers to dress up your Kitchenaid mixers. While these were ‘nice’, they were rather flat and plain to me, a bit more temporary, and most of them didn’t fit my “lift arm” model of mixer, as they were more for the “tilt head” mixers where the bowl was anchored to the base and the head of the mixer on pivoted back instead of having arms that raised the bowl up, as mine did. So they weren’t really fitting.
Of course, I wanted to paint my own mixer. Being a painter and a DecoArt Helping Artist, I had a lot of different types of paint on hand. DecoArt often gives me samples of their paint in order to use for my designing and home decor ideas. I have always liked the quality of their products. They are all acrylic-based and odorless and clean up easily with soap and water. I had many types of paint for different surfaces on hand, but one of my favorite lines that I had used on several other home projects is their “Multi-Surface Satin” paint. It is one of the few paint AND finish – all in one product – paint that I found truly worked well. I had painted a metal lamp with it several years ago and found the finish to be both beautiful and durable. It didn’t peel or scrape off easily. I thought this was my best bet for a project of this nature, as not only did it come in beautiful colors, but also some lovely metallic shades. Just what I wanted!
The Scary Start
Once the decision was made as to which paint, I only needed to muster up the courage to just go ahead and get started. With the encouragement of a friend (who had more faith in me than I did in myself) I decided to ‘go big or go home’ and did what I call a ‘gentle’ tear down of my older, yet near-pristine silver mixer.
I didn’t want to disassemble it ‘too much’, as I didn’t want to take the chance of doing something that would cause it not to work. As I mentioned – I love my mixer and use it all the time. I figure that even if the project were to fail, the worst that I wanted to happen was for it to be ugly. I was in no mood to purchase a new mixer at this point. So only removed the silver branding band around the top and the clip that holds the bowl in at the center of the arm. I figured that was good enough.
The mixer came with a thick, high-gloss finish. So the first thing that I had to do was to sand that finish off to roughen it up and give it some ‘tooth’ so that the paint would better adhere to it. I used a fine-grit paper to buff the gloss off the entire mixer:
This may have been the most painful part of the process. Once I started, I knew there was no turning back. I carefully and thoroughly sanded every crack and crevice of the blender that I could get into. It was now a duller, matte grey:
It almost looked good at this point. I liked the ‘flat’ look and the thought actually went through my head at this point that I could put the band back on, leave it at that, and call it a day. But then I thought of what I envisioned and I pushed ahead.
When the sanding was done, I used alcohol to wipe up the dust. I didn’t want any oil from my skin or dust to impair the adhesion of the paint. I knew the entire project success depended on getting the prep and base coats applied correctly. So I was sure not to rush things and took my time.
When it came time to paint, I decided rather than brushing it on I would use a sea sponge. Brushing tends to leave ridges from stroking the paint on when applying to smooth surfaces such as this. I thought that by sponging I would not only get better and more even coverage, but the surface would have a little more ‘tooth’ for subsequent layers or coats as well.
It looked pretty crappy at first, and I tried to remind myself that this is ‘normal’. (And I tried to BREATHE and not panic!) As Keith walked by at this point and just gave me ‘the look’ I hoped that I wouldn’t have to eat crow later on. But to be honest – I had my doubts. This was what it looked like after the first coat:
I find that the first coat of the Multi-Surface Satin paint tends to look transparent though. If this were my first time using it, I would be much more worried. But this happens each time I use it and by the second and certainly the third coat, it fills in nicely. So onward I went, and after allowing each layer to dry at least a DAY, I applied the next coat. It looked much, much better, covered much quicker, and went a lot faster. I was encouraged . . .
I then used the sponge on that piece as well and tapped the paint gently into place.
It went on pretty much as it did on the mixer. And as with the mixer, I needed to wait a long time in-between coats. This would ensure that a good bond was made with the paint and the pieces.
Overall, I believe I applied four to five thin coats of paint until I felt that the surfaces were fully covered. Then I had to just put the project aside and forget about it in order to allow the paint to not only dry, but CURE.
I am truly grateful that I am busy. At another time in my life, I would be one to want to rush into finishing this up and by not allowing ample time for the paint to cure, I would probably have a disaster on my hands. If any of you are considering doing this to your mixer and you take only one bit of advice from me, you need to understand that at this point in the project you need to WAIT and allow this paint to FULLY CURE. Otherwise, the paint will maybe be stuck to your mixer, but be soft enough to easily scuff and chip off. You will be frustrated and spend your time repairing and getting angry at the entire mess.
The Multi-Surface Satin paint suggests a curing time of SEVEN DAYS on the label. As I said earlier, I have painted it on other metal surfaces and it has done fine. But this mixer is HEAVY and you have to roll it around while painting it and it would have a good chance of scuffing while upside down or on its side while you are detailing it out. I HIGHLY recommend that you allow it to cure LONGER than the seven days. I (fortunately) got busy and let mine sit for THREE WEEKS before proceeding. While I missed having a mixer to use, I did mine in summer and I don’t bake as much anyway. I wouldn’t recommend you doing this if you know you are going to need it anytime soon. I do believe that the reason I was so successful was because I had the patience to give it lots of time to cure.
By the end of this time frame, the mixer just felt ‘good’ to pick up and move without me fearing that I would damage the finish. It was time to move on.
The Really FUN Part…
So now that the base of the paint was good to go, the fun can begin. (I was thinking how much easier it would be if I had started with a BLACK mixer! LOL!) I used some Contac shelf paper and cut out some ‘masks’ for the base, back and top pieces.
I had chosen some DecoArt stencils that were Steampunk/Victorian themed to have a go playing:
I decided to do the gears first, and go from there. I used a mix of both the Chocolate and the Gold metallic paint because I thought the chocolate brown was a little dark and the gold a bit light. It made a perfect color.
I found that bending the stencils around the curved mixer was a little challenging, but not too hard to do. I used a cotton swab to pull off any gold that got where I didn’t want it to and figured if need be, I could go over boo-boos with black later. That is one of the joys in having the paint with the finish in it. The repairs (if necessary) would be easy/peasy!
I then floated shaded along the lines of the gears so that they looked like the faded into the mixer. I did this with black. It gave a bit of depth to the gear patterns so it was as if we are looking into the guts of the machine.
I continued to add some lovely filigree elements where I saw fit, trying to keep things symmetrical and trying not to ‘overdo’ things. This part really went fast and was really satisfying to see! I was getting more excited with each step!
As a final touch (which took probably about four hours or more!) I decided to add hot-fix metal studs in select places on the mixer. This, I thought was like the cherry on top of the sundae! It really brought the entire project together and made it look wonderful.
I was even able to paint the emblem on the front of the head. I filled that recessed lettering with black paint and quickly wiped it away, so the letters showed black and the emblem was gold:
As I was affixing the studs, one of them got scratched and I was so pleased at how DIFFICULT they were to remove. I literally had to PRY it off with a metal knife! And when it came off finally, the paint underneath it was still intact! YAY!!!
Overall, I am completely THRILLED with my new look on my mixer. No one else has one like it!
I tried to find a copper or gold bowl that would fit on it – or even glass, but I can’t seem to locate one. Kitchenaid makes one for the other type of mixer, but not for my model. 😥 (If you get to read this Kitchenaid, please make one!) My friend suggested that I see about getting the outside of my bowl powder-coated in gold or brass. I think I may try to see about that!
I hope you liked seeing this LONG process and my beautiful mixer. I have some other fun projects on my painting table that I will be blogging about soon:
But for now, I will enjoy what I accomplished with this one and think of what I want to bake first! Autumn/winter baking season is right around the corner and I can’t wait to give it a whirl.
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time . . .