Bombay chests are all the rage….and quite honestly, I believe they always have been. There is something very attractive about the stout stature and fully bellied storage. They are most often covered with detail and carvings which add to their appeal. These Chinese Bombay nightstands are a perfect example of this…
My client asked for this matching pair of Bombay nightstands to be painted in a powdery blue with a slight Asian flair and gold details. She wanted the Asian nod to be subtle…but she was specific with the dragon/phoenix combo. The dragon and phoenix are often used in Chinese weddings because they believe that when used together, they represent a blissful marriage. This client used the dragon/phoenix combo in their wedding because of her husband’s Chinese heritage and wanted to tie it into their master bedroom.
I began with a good cleaning….which means a shower of White Lightning and a shower of freshwater rinse. Once dry, I followed with a coat of BOSS primer in white. Some areas around the carvings had obvious bleed through and required a second coat. I let this primer dry for a full six hours before continuing…which is recommended when bleed through is obvious.
I chose Dusty Blue by Dixie Belle as it was the perfect match for her bedding sample that she provided me. I painted two coats of Dusty Blue. (side note….after all these years using DB paint…this was my FIRST time to use this color….crazy town right?)
I then began a shading/blending process with Manatee Gray as my highlight and Stormy Seas as my lowlight. It’s a process that is not difficult….but too difficult to explain with words. This process requires a brush for each color….a separate shading brush….and a mister bottle with water…..and a shop rag. You can see the shading of these Chinese Bombay nightstands take place on my YouTube channel.
This is where the Asian theme came in! I tattooed the nightstands…LOL! I drew both images (that my client provided me) with chalk first….and then painted them with a mix of black, white, and touches of red. It’s a primitive tattoo type of painting that I thoroughly enjoyed doing!
Once dry, I lightly sanded the entire piece with the Finishing Pad to give a smooth finish before sealing…which is part of my preparation for the waxing. I removed all sanding dust with a tack cloth.
I then applied one thin coat of Clear Coat in Satin and let dry. I sometimes do this when I’m planning to use Best Dang Wax and I want to be able to really manipulate the amount of wax that stays on the piece. I call this keeping it from being “too grabby”.
I liberally applied Best Dang Wax in brown with my French Tip Brush (which is my favorite shading brush….you really should try it…I love it so much I even dedicated a blog to the French Tip Brush…see that blog HERE).
I applied it to all the carved areas as well as the edges of drawers and anywhere I wanted to accentuate the shades and shadows of these Chinese Bambay nightstands. This is a personal preference process where you need to decide if you want your piece to be really dark (I call it dirty wax) or barely noticeable (clean wax).
I went with an artistic middle ground where the blue is deepened greatly but the “dirty” look is more subtle and not too heavy. Having applied the satin topcoat first really allowed me to move the wax around with ease. I was able to wipe off most of it (damp cloth, dry cloth or baby wipe)……and then reapply more where I wanted it to appear darker. It’s a great tip for beginners that are fearful of waxing. Once all carvings and top and corners were waxed to my liking, I allowed this to dry.
I then used the “yet to be released…but coming VERY soon” newly formulated gilding waxes by Dixie Belle in metallic gold. It differs from the old gilding wax with its brilliance and creaminess! It blends out and spreads with ease! It is highly pigmented and very little is needed to achieve a dramatic effect!
I applied this by hand….on all raised areas of the carvings….as well as the original hardware. I allowed both gold and brown wax cure time of about three days before top coating in two coats of Top Coat in Satin. That is the beauty of Dixie Belle waxes….they can be top-coated….as all waxed are water-based and work well together.
And that is the story of the Chinese Bombay nightstands with the dragon and phoenix!
I hope this project inspires you to create something beautiful for your home!
More Inspiration: Bombay Chests
I love when I can get my hands on a Bombay style piece. Here are some of my more recent favorites! Be sure to check out the Butterfly Bombay or Tattered Elegance. Click on any photo below for more photos and detailed descriptions of how they were created.
Shop: Chinese Bombay Nightstands
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