A Newbie’s Chalk Paint Experience
I have always had intentions of painting furniture to update it however it always seemed like a long process and let’s be honest, who has the time to be sanding, priming, painting and varnishing?
However recently a friend introduced me to chalk paint and it has revolutionised the way in which I have been able to update tired furniture in our home.
The beauty of chalk paint is that there is no or very little preparation required before you can launch into painting. Chalk paint doesn’t need priming because it absorbs into surfaces. I often give pieces a light sand but this is not always necessary.
I am definitely a convert to this paint as it not only cuts out preparation time but also dries super quick so you can finish most products in a day or two, depending on how much time you can spend working on it of course! I personally love the shabby chic, rustic look to furniture and chalk paint makes this easy to achieve as a gentle sand or wipe with a cloth before waxing easily removes a layer of paint to create a worn look.
Chalk paint is so easy to use especially if you have not had any experience painting furniture before. The paint I have used on my pieces is called Chalk Furniture Finish but there are many other brands including Annie Sloan (the original creator of chalk paint) and Voodoo Molly to name a few. Voodoo Molly even cuts out the need to varnish or wax after painting which is another time saver! If you are more of a DIY person there are many tutorials on the internet about how to make your own chalk paint (this would be great if you had a specific colour you are wanting to produce).
Before you start painting make sure you mix the chalk paint really well as it can settle on the bottom of the tin. It should be a milk like consistency depending on the brand you choose. Ensure that you have a clean well ventilated space to paint your furniture in. From my experience painting outside does not work so well as dust, leaves and even bird poo can be a problem! I like to paint my furniture in the garage now!
7 top tips in random order from Forget Me Not Furniture:
- Start painting with the piece of furniture upside down, it allows you to work from bottom up and gives you a professional look when bottom side is painted.
- Don’t be afraid to use water, I almost always dip my brush in, it helps to pull paint and not drag it. I often do two coats then finish with a watered down 3rd coat to help even the paint out.
- If you are after a smooth finish, sand between coats with fine grit sandpaper.
4. Always apply dark wax straight after using clear wax. The clear wax needs to be fresh for it to absorb correctly, otherwise you will end up with a big mess!
5. My secret weapon to buff is the good old paper towel, it takes away any sticky build up of wax and leaves the surface shiny.
6. Remember to let pieces cure for 28 days (for most chalk paints). Treat like an antique while you allow the paint time to harden.
7. You don’t need to sand before painting but I like to clean pieces with sugar soap before hand it’s perfect to get rid of old residue.
There are so many ways in which you can use chalk paint and different waxes that create various looks. Pop over to my friend Sarah’s website https://forgetmenotfurnitureblog.wordpress.com or follow her on instagram: forgetmenotfurntiure to check out some of the different ways she has worked with chalk paint.
Process I used on my bookshelf:
I gave the bookshelf a light sand and clean with sugar soap to remove any residue
I then mixed the paint well and start painting!
I allowed the first coat to dry then applied another coat until I was happy with the finish (I only did two on this piece of furniture).
When paint was dry I use sandpaper to distress. When distressing I think about the areas on the piece of furniture that would be bumped or scrapped if it was well used. You can distress your piece as much or as little as you like it is all about your personal taste…this is the fun part as you can make it uniquely yours!
I applied a clear wax to the bookcase and buffed it so it was smooth with paper towels.
I then allowed it to dry for a week before putting anything on it. Remember to treated it really carefully as it takes 28 days for the paint to properly cure.
I have found that chalk paint is very forgiving I encourage you to have a play…it is one of those paints you learn about through experimenting with it to achieve the finish you want.