Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tutorial: Replacing Missing Trim/Detail Pieces

This post has no pretty pictures :) just a little practical advice on how to fix a pesky problem.  

I absolutely hate when I go to pick up a piece of fabulous furniture only to find that some of the intricate, or maybe not-so-intricate detailing is missing.  I have to be honest, sometimes I just pretend like it's there and just paint away. :)  Sometimes I just remove the parts that are there.  But, in this case the detailing is something this desk really had going for it and I knew I wanted to paint it to draw attention to it, so I had to fix it instead of sticking my head in the sand. ;)

This is what it looked like. 

This is what it should have looked like. 

And this is how I took care of it!

1.  I found a product called Sculpey.  It's a clay that can be baked in the oven.  This was necessary because I wanted to make a mold and I needed it to be hard.  I found it at Walmart. 

2.  I followed the instructions on the package (which consisted of kneading it a little before using it, lol).  I made it about 1/4" thick and placed it over the trim piece that was whole to make the mold.  I made sure I really pressed it so it would pick up all the little details. 

3.  This is what it looked like when I pulled it away.  I was happy with it so went ahead and baked it in the oven at 275 for 15 minutes and then let it cool. 

4.  When it was cool I used Plastic Wood and pushed it into the mold and smoothed it out with my finger.  I then left it overnight to make sure it was completely dry before I started sanding on it. 

5.  The next day I sanded the back off until it was flush with the mold.  This was the hardest part and took a little bit of elbow grease. :)

6.  I then held the whole mold in my hand and gently bent it backwards until I could see cracks around the edges.  This way I knew the plastic wood was separating from the Sculpey.  I gently broke the mold away making sure to keep my fingers on the thin parts so they didn't break.  This is what I had when I was done.  I then carefully sanded the edges to smooth them out with a piece of 180 grit paper. 

7.  I then cut the pieces off that I needed with a sharp knife and glued them on with Gorilla glue (I wasn't sure wood glue would adhere to the plastic wood).  This would be the kind of glue you have to dampen the surface and it makes bubbles when it's working.  I wasn't sure it was going to work but it held fast!

8.  And, this is what it looks like painted.  Not bad!! 

You can see the whole desk here. 

Hope this helps!! 


  1. It looks great! No one would have known there was a missing piece. Thank you for the tutorial, too. I have a wood mirror with one small, scrolly section missing. I'm going to try this and will post pics and credit to you (If it turns out okay!) Happy New Year!

  2. You're just a dang genius, and no way around it.

    Happy New Year!!


  3. Oh, this is nice!
    I had some vague thought process about this in the clouds of OverWhelmedness (did I make that up?) in my head. How nice to have the fog cleared & being reminded it can be easy. Sometimes I know I overthink things to the point of ineptitude or inertia.
    And instructions are better than pretty pictures. They mean a lot more when teaching! :) Something of which you do a good job.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing. Wish I had known that a year ago. I had the exact same wood accent on an old dresser mirror. ended up taking off the other side so it would match. This is a great "fix-it" to keep on hand.
    And the desk is gorge!

  5. What a great idea! Thanks for making this job easy for the rest of us!


Love your comments! Please feel free to leave one!! <3