Monday, March 24, 2014

Chalk It Up To Experience

Chalk paint is a product that's made quite a splash recently.  I first heard of it on Facebook and Pinterest, and then saw first hand some items that my friend Suzanne had painted.  She used Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint to brighten up a dresser, table and a picture frame.  I believe that she's added more to her painted collection since I've seen these.  Her finished products were so pretty and she was so enthusiastic about the paint's ease of use that I decided to try my hand at it.

I will tell you that the only thing I can paint well are walls, and I do a very good job at it.  But that's it.  I've tried painting furniture before with not much success.  I spent one entire summer stripping layers of paint off of a very old plant stand, and when it came to putting a new finish on it, I handed it over to Mark.  But I thought that chalk paint would be just the ticket for me to get into a little furniture painting.  After all, there was no sanding involved!  Yay!  With just the project in mind, I purchased a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and a can of finishing wax.

I bought a funny little table for $15 at an auction and had been using it in my craft room.  It had flip-up leaves (I think that's what you call them), and when these are flipped up, it turns into a round table.  Cute, you say?  Well, yes, but totally impractical.  Just put a heavy object on one of the leaves and the whole thing falls over. 
What a perfect candidate for some experimental painting!  It is cute and it makes a nice side table by my chair, but quite beat-up looking.  So I started by cleaning the table with TSP and let that dry well.  Then on went the first coat of paint.
Okaaaay, not bad.  I realized quickly that this might not have been the best project for my first-time chalk paint experience.  Too many curvy surfaces on the legs and too many moving parts!  But I forged ahead, applying another coat or two.  Or three.  I talked to Suzanne, who told me not to expect it to be perfect and her words stayed with me.  I then accepted the reality that this table might be considered "shabby-chic" at its completion. 

A strange thing happened when I flipped the table over and started to paint the top.  One portion resisted the paint. 
I sanded (Darn!  I ended up sanding anyway!), and then re-applied paint to that area.  It happened again.  I sanded and re-applied again.  More bubbling.  Ok, let's try that one more time.  Nope, still bubbling and chipping.  Obviously this table had something spilled on it at some point in its history that kept resisting the paint.  Shabby-chic it is!!
Now it was time for the wax, which is necessary for a nice finish and to seal the paint.  (The dried paint surface actually does feel like chalk.)  This step was very easy -- just apply the wax with a brush, remove the excess and buff it the next day.  Even with the chippy looking tabletop, I really like the way this project turned out. 
To sum up, here's what I learned:  1.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint goes a long way.  I have a LOT left.  2.  Amateur painters should start with a simple project.  For example, a table with straight lines.  3.  The wax gives your project a beautiful finish.  Don't be tempted to skip this step!

Would I use it again?  Yes.  In fact, I have a divided wood frame that I will be painting.  I'm looking forward to this much smaller project!


  1. A lovely little quilted table topper to cover that area if you wanted to and it will be perfect by your armchair.

  2. Great idea! I'll be thinking about what I can put on there.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I've been wondering about using chalk paint.

  4. Looks very pretty. Shame about the paint resistant spot but looks good even so.

  5. I had the desire to use chalk paint for the longest time and finally this past winter I delved into it and LOVE the results. I've painted two large pieces od furniture among other things.