Woodcraft Congratulates General Finishes 2018 Design Challenge Winners

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Patty Cleaver at Patina by Patty in Becker, Minnesota, won first place for this “Rustic Elegance” dresser in the Upcycling Water Based Stains category of the General Finishes 2018 Design Challenge. After the rustic dresser was cleaned and stripped, Patty applied dye stain and then sealed it with wax free shellac. Then she applied lime wax and wiped it back to highlight the natural patterns of the gorgeous tiger oak. Patty painted the body in a custom gray, which complements the grain beautifully, and then sealed it with a flat topcoat. See more of Patty’s work at Patina by Patty. 

General Finishes has announced the winners – 214 of them – in the 2018 Design Challenge that invited entrants to express their creativity with paint and finishes. Woodcraft is one of 27 retail sponsors for the contest.

“Congratulations to the Design Challenge winners,” Woodcraft Public Relations Manager Lori Harper said. “Their projects reflect amazing combinations of paint and stain products and techniques, as well as repurposing choices and new creations.”

Competition categories included Chalk Up Another One for best use of chalk style paint (Popular Vote), 24 Upcycling themes ranging from white, black, coastal blue and red paint colors to chairs and benches, DIY world, shabby chic, decoupage and a whole lot more, Creative Combos using paint and stain, Woodworking, Woodturning, and Best Staging for Upcycling.

To see all the winners, as well as all the entries, visit General Finishes

Woodcraft provided $600 in Gift Cards for the Challenge.

“We are thrilled to report an increase of 43 percent over last year’s participant count,” Chris Adams from General Finishes said. “We wrapped up the 30 days prior to announcing the win with 2,014 total entries, and 99,000 page views, 80 percent new first-time visitors vs. returning and 15,000 new users.”

Two of the Challenge winners have been featured previously in Woodcraft blogs that Harper wrote. Quitta Allen of Sherman, Texas, won first place in the Upcycling Secondary Purpose category for “Miss Fletcher Buffet to Vanity Sink,” and Liz Bleakley of St. Marys, West Virginia, won runner-up in the Upcycling Lady in Red category for “Park Bench.”

Quitta Allen transformed this 1890 buffet into a perfect bathroom vanity with a copper sink and faucet using paints, waxes and distressing. Visit All Shabbed Out to see more of Quitta’s work.

Liz Bleakley used paint, chalk, plaster of paris, distressing and glazing to create this attractive bench that lives on her porch now, adding character year round, especially at Christmas time.

Bleakley was surprised to learn she won a prize. “For me, this is a super fun hobby, so I wasn’t really prepared with available pictures of my stuff in an attractive staging, only my garage complete with litterbox, which made placing alongside all those other beautiful entries even more shocking.”

To see Harper’s blogs about the two women, click the links below:
Hustle & Heart Set Her Apart (Allen)
Banker Finds Stress Relief in Furniture Flipping (Bleakley)

A Sampling of the Other Winning Pieces

Lori and I picked some of our favorites from the 214 winners, and we are sharing them here.

Woodworking: Tables & Desks

Curved Combination Computer & Sofa Table – 1st Place

John Harryman at John Harryman Designs in East Troy, Wisconsin, hand-cut walnut and assembled this table that serves a dual function – lovely fireside sofa table and a computer desk.

“The owner who commissioned this computer desk owns a beautiful house that sits on 10 incredible wooded acres of land,” John Harryman explained. “While the land makes you feel like you are lost in the woods, the homes interior has an elegant and classical style. In designing this table, I wanted to combine the feel of both the inside of the home and the land it is on while ensuring it had the functionality the homeowner requested. The walnut legs were made to resemble trees holding up the furniture-grade table. One of the rear legs was hollowed out to hide power cords. On each side of the walnut pullout keyboard tray is a walnut drawer. The top rail of each drawer pulls out individually to reveal an additional tabletop. The top of the desk was made of sapele wrapped with a wenge accent.”

Woodturning: Conventional Natural Edge Bowls

Unnatural Natural Edged Bowl – 1st Place

Todd Halleman of Wilsonville, Oregon, created this unusual bowl from an 18" x 7" x 2" maple burl. Todd finished it with a wood polish and conditioner.

Woodturning: Embellished Surface

 Changing Gears – 1st Place

Kate Selby of Salem, Oregon, gained her inspiration for this piece from an Armillary Sundial but added a Steampunk twist. The 18" high by 15" wide piece is made of maple burl with the natural edges to provide texture, cherry, and what Kate calls a “really stubborn” piece of old red oak. Blued steel rivets and small glass “jewels” are also part of the creation that is embellished with pyrography, a touch of acrylic paint and finished with satin lacquer.

The center ring has two faces – one embellished with gears and the flip side showing the natural inclusions of the maple. Both the outer ring and inner gear turn on the arrow so they can be repositioned.

Upcycling: Little Black Dress

Little Black Dressers – 1st Place

Connie Ferguson from Guilford, Connecticut, created these twin French Provincial bedside dressers. The solid wood pieces were in need of upgrading, so Connie removed drawer pulls for polishing, and then the stripped, sanded and stained/painted the dressers. Polished pulls were reattached.

Upcycling: Coastal Love

 Turtle Love – 1st Place

Holly's Hobbies 10X in Saint Onge, South Dakota, entered this table that depicts two turtles making their way by moonlight to the ocean – all created by freehand art with paint, stain, lacquer, clear wax and a polyacrylic sealer.

Upcycling: Silverado Bench Seats and Chairs

Vintage Sofa Turned Bench – 1st Place

Mary Williamson at Shades of Shabby in Palmetto, Georgia, transformed an old sofa into this amazing bench using cut wood pieces that she finished with paint, stains, glaze, and a protective topcoat.

Upcycling: Best Faux-Luxe

The Dragon’s Blood Server – 1st Place

Jeff Davis, owner of Real Faux Decorative Finishes in Greenwood, Indiana, entered this elegant server/buffet. It features faux red tortoise shell, beautiful malachite inlay and a book-matched walnut burl top. The door and drawer panels are faux tortoise. Several colors and types of paint and stain, plus sealers and a buff were used to create this amazing look. To see more of Jeff’s work, visit his Facebook page and realfauxfinishes.com.  

If you are looking for inspiration for you next project, check out all 2,014 entries!


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