Several years ago I had a collection of mismatched bedroom furniture and other odds and ends and so thought I’d have a go at painting some of them. I was immediately hooked!
I used Annie Sloan chalk paint as I’d heard a lot about it and everyone said it was very easy to use. I hadn’t got a clue what I was doing but had a go – the first side table I did wasn’t perfect but I gradually got better as I went along and transformed some fairly ordinary pieces into items I now love.
I hadn’t painted any furniture for a really long time until about 5 or 6 weeks ago when I decided to revitalise a really old, dark brown side table and two little coffee tables (also very dark) I’d been wanting to do for years. This was all before the coronavirus outbreak took hold – I rather wish I’d waited now but at the time I obviously had no idea of things to come. You never know, if I can get hold of some more paint, there could be a few more pieces which end up getting painted (my husband is quite worried)!
I thought I would write down a few pointers in case anyone else finds they want to have a go at it during this period of lockdown.
I have only used Annie Sloan chalk paint but there are lots of different makes out there.
- Select your colour of choice and the item you want to paint.
- Remove any hardware such as door or drawer handles if you can.
- Annie Sloan says you don’t need to prepare a surface before you paint but I have found that it wears better if you do. I don’t go mad but I will give the items a good clean and then a light sanding. Wipe it over with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of any dust after the sanding.
- I find the paint quite thick to use so I usually tip some into a large bowl or paint tray and then add a little water to thin it down.
- Annie Sloan have their own paint brushes but I’ve used all sorts, including small rollers – it all depends on the finish you want. If you’re looking for a super smart, sprayed on paint look then this isn’t going to give you that. My items have a slightly rustic look.
- Give your item a first coat painting in all directions. Leave it to dry before adding a second coat. The first coat doesn’t usually take long to dry.
- Add your second coat leaving it to dry over night.
- It will then need waxing. Annie Sloan do their own wax finishes. There are all sorts of finishes but I have only used the Clear Chalk Paint Wax. There is also a lacquer which is more hardwearing – I haven’t used it yet but its on my shopping list.
- With most pieces of furniture, before I wax it I like to give it a slightly distressed look. This is entirely personal depending on the look you want. I use a bit of sand paper and rub off some of the paint on corners and areas where it would get naturally worn.
- Apply the wax with a brush (I use the Annie Sloan waxing brush) or a soft cloth. This is my least favourite part of the process but makes all the difference. It slightly darkens the paint colour giving it an ‘older’ look, adds durability and gives a very slight sheen.
- The wax needs to be rubbed in really well, getting into all the corners and crevices. I use a circular movement and almost push the wax into the paint. It’s a good work out for the arms!
- Leave the wax on for at least 24 hours and then buff it up – this bit is very rewarding. You’re left with a smooth feel and a soft sheen.
- You can use your finished item straight away and it will feel dry to the touch. However, the paint and wax really hardens over time and within about 3 weeks it has properly ‘cured’.
Chalk paint can be used on all sorts of surfaces such as metal, plastic, marble etc although I’ve only tried it on wood. I’ve painted tables, bedside tables, headboards, cupboards, side tables, picture and mirror frames, candle sticks and a coat stand. There are some fabulous colours available and of course you can mix them up to make your own colour. The good news is that you can paint straight over the top of it if you want a change of colour.
I experimented (by accident) with a mirror frame which I originally painted in a duck egg blue. I then changed my mind and so painted over it in just off white. Before waxing it I rubbed it down with sandpaper bring out the blue underneath on the edges.
I’ve been quite conservative with my colours and haven’t gone for any effects other than a slightly vintage feel but there’s so much you can do with chalk paint. You can be really artistic will all sorts of patterns, colours, textures and finishes. I’d recommend looking on the Annie Sloan website for inspiration. You can also use the paint on outside furniture – I think you’ll need the lacquer finish for this rather than the wax. I’ve known some people paint up their plant pots in lots of lovely colours which look amazing.
So, if you’ve got time on your hands and fancy freshening up some old pieces of furniture, have a go. Its great fun and really therapeutic. But be warned………its quite addictive!
We’d love to hear back from you – send us some photos of your results.