My first experience with Annie Sloan’s Chalkpaint (and Furniture Refinisher)

I’d heard a lot about Chalk Paint and seen tons of things on Pinterest related to painting old furniture with this “miracle” paint, so I decided it was time for me to take the plunge and try it out. To be honest, I was nervous. I guess the special brushes and the pricey-ness of the paint itself along with the whole wax thing made me feel a little intimidated.

What really encouraged me in this direction is when I found a Chippendale-style dining set at my local thrift store for only $75. The finish was not good though. The top was majorly scratched and dinged and the chairs were covered with a dingy old fabric. But, the table was a nice size, with a leaf included, and there were 5 chairs.

Thrift store Chippendale-style dining set. $75.

Thrift store Chippendale-style dining set. $75.

I wanted the top to be durable, so I googled a bunch of different ideas. The one I liked best, suggested using an antique furniture refinisher to rub off the old stain on top with steel wool. I ended up using Fromby’s Furniture Refinisher:

Awesome stuff, but plan on using multiple cans of it if you're stripping a large surface!

Awesome stuff, but plan on using multiple cans of it if you’re stripping a large surface!

I found this YouTube tutorial that I mainly followed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7OW60YncY4

Here are a few things that I learned from this process.

1) DO NOT BUY LATEX GLOVES. Don’t even buy just regular rubber gloves. You need to buy the gloves that say they are made for working with strong chemicals. And even when I used those, eventually they would eat through after enough use. You may have to buy several pairs of gloves (2-3)

2) You will most likely end up going through a lot of refinisher if you’re stripping a large area. I ended up having to buy 3 jugs of refinisher.

3) I think I used an entire package of the steel wool when all was said and done.

4) You also need a metal bucket to put the refinisher in. I found using 2 metal buckets was best, because each time you dip your steel wool back in to get more refinisher on it, you end up dirtying the rest of the refinisher. It was best to have refinisher in 2 buckets. One for rinsing and squeezing out as much old stain as I could, and the other for getting some cleaner refinisher to go back to the table with. If the second bucket started getting too gross I would add it to the first bucket and add some clean refinisher to the 2nd again.

Once I finished this process, this beautiful underlying wood was revealed:

The stain had darkened so much and was so dinged and scratched that I didn't even know the wood had a pattern in it until I stripped it!

The stain had darkened so much and was so dinged and scratched that I didn’t even know the wood had a pattern in it until I stripped it!

I used Minwax Polyshades to stain the top of the table. I chose Bombay Mahogany in the gloss for the shade.

There is a dark cherry quality to this stain. I love the way it classed up the top of the table.

There is a dark cherry quality to this stain. I love the way it classed up the top of the table.

The YouTube tutorial above does a good job explaining the kind of brush you need. Usually you’ll only need one coat of this since the protective agent is mixed into the stain. We only used one coat and were happy with it. If you want it darker you can add another coat after 6 hours. Make sure to lightly sand between coats.

After taking care of the stain, I tackled the chairs, and base of the table with my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I chose the white color since all of our molding is true white. The nice thing about it is you don’t have to do any prep work whatsoever. I lightly dusted all of the chairs and the table legs, but no sanding is necessary. This makes the process a lot quicker and easier.

chaircloseupdetailBecause I chose the only paint that doesn’t have any pigmentation to it, it required 2 coats of paint to get the chairs how I wanted them. But since I wanted them to look distressed, I was satisfied with the results. If I had wanted them to be more opaque and smooth, I would’ve probably done a 3rd coat. Here are a few things I learned in the process:

1) The paint dries super quickly. That means that once you finish your first coat, you can usually start immediately on a second coat.

2) You don’t have to purchase the special brushes. You’ll want a good quality brush, but it doesn’t have to be an Annie Sloan one. I used a nice Purdy brush and it worked beautifully.

3) The chalk paint washes easily out of the brushes. Even after having a blonde moment and forgetting to wash my brush one evening, I was able to easily wash it out almost completely in the morning.

4) You can pretty much finish a painting project within 30-40 minutes since the paint dries fast and as soon as you sand/distress (if you desire), you can start the waxing process immeditately.

5) You can use an old t-shirt to rub the wax into the piece.

6) The paint goes a long way. With pieces that I’ve painted that have more pigmentation, I’ve only had to use 1 coat.

7) There are TONS of tutorials on using Annie Sloan wax on YouTube, so take advantage of this! I watched several before starting this project and I recommend you do too.

To recover the chairs, I used some fabric and plastic covering for the seats along with a staple gun, just like I did with my pub set. My goal with this table was to have a very elegant looking table to was also practical for having children.

I utilized the fabric in a way that I could get 2 seats covered from one yard. If it hadn't been so darn economical, I would've probably turned the pattern 90 degrees CCW. But frugal-ness won... again.

I utilized the fabric in a way that I could get 2 seats covered from one yard. If it hadn’t been so darn economical, I would’ve probably turned the pattern 90 degrees CCW. But frugal-ness won… again.

I also opted for the distressed look because it is sure to be dinged up and damaged by my 3 year old and our soon-to-be adopted daughter.

So I have to admit, I haven’t quite finished this set yet, because I have to work within my monthly budget and I can’t buy more fabric until the 10th, but it’s a good start:

You'll notice that I've included that antique chair I repainted and recovered for now, until I sell it (or don't).

You’ll notice that I’ve included that antique chair I repainted and recovered for now, until I sell it (or don’t).

And since this project I’ve done several more, but all with the intention of selling them to make money for our adoption. It will be hard to part with these pieces, because they were so fun to make!

Adorable curio cabinet with antique key. Painted Duck Egg Blue.

Charming curio cabinet with original antique key. Painted Duck Egg Blue. I love the patina on all the brass hardware!

Adorable antique Dixie night stand/end table. Painted Duck Egg Blue.

Adorable antique Dixie night stand/end table. Painted Duck Egg Blue.

Chalkboard created from a thrift store mirror. Painted with Annie Sloan's White chalk paint.

Chalkboard created from a thrift store mirror. Painted with Annie Sloan’s White chalk paint.

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DIY New Home or Wall Decor Door – Shabby Chic Style

I have a fun new project that is pretty easy and fairly inexpensive. I love to rummage through the IKEA “as is” section just to see what treasures I may find. Sometimes I find great linens with cute patterns to use as fabric. Other times it’s a slightly damaged picture frame that can either be repaired or painted. In this case, I came across their cabinet doors. They are all random shapes and sizes and usually are only a few bucks. I found a cute long skinny one I wanted to use to make this project:

DIY Shabby Chic Door Wall Decor

Perfect for a housewarming gift, wedding gift, or just a cute wall piece to add to your existing home.

The cabinet door I chose was 1.99. I don’t have pictures for step by step directions but the directions are pretty self explanatory so I will list them in order and if you have any questions let me know!

1. The first thing I did was clean it. Obviously it’s a good idea to clean the object before painting it.

2. I used a dark brown flat paint to sort of “prime” the piece. The main reason I did this though was to create a dark layer under the white paint to show through when I distressed it.

3. After that dried I used vaseline in the areas I wanted to distress.

4. I sprayed a white satin spray paint over the entire piece and let that dry.

5. Then I rubbed off the vaseline areas with a paper towel once the white paint had completely dried, to reveal the distressed areas.

6. There will already be a hole drilled in the cabinet for some hardware, so all you have to do is find a knob you love to add to it. I love the knobs at Hobby Lobby, and they are ALWAYS on sale, so I found one that looked like a mini antique door knob. I think it ended up being about $3? They also have adorable crystal knobs too. I would just take a look and try not to be overwhelmed!

7. Finally, to get the text on, I opened a document in Illustrator that was the same size as the top and bottom panels of the door. My panels were 2″ x 6″. I’m sure you could use a word processing program as well. Or you could draw a rectangle in any program the size of the top and bottom panel just to give you a reference, then select the type size and style to fit within the panels. The dimensions just help you choose the right size of text so that it fits perfectly on your door.

8. Print this text out and hold the paper up to a window and flip the paper over so you can see the text through the paper. Then you want to take a pencil and lead the entire back of the text. This is a similar method to when I did the chalkboard clock, only you’re using lead instead of chalk.

9. Flip the paper back over to the correct side and center the paper and text onto the panels and secure the paper in place with some tape so it doesn’t slip. Then you want to carefully trace all the letters onto the top and bottom panels. You can use a pen or pencil for this.

10. Once you remove the sheet of paper you’ll see the traced lettering onto the door.

11. You want to use a thin paint pen (color of your choice) to go over and fill in the letters.

12. You can add some sort of hanging hardware on the back if you want it to hang on the wall, or it looks good on a shelf just resting as well. I will say though, that if you decide to hang it on the wall, you’ll need to cut off some of the screw in the back to help it lay flush with the wall.

DIY Shabby Chic Door Wall Hanging

Makes a cute addition to a mantel!

And there you go! I hope the directions made sense. I have been busy working on my Etsy shop to raise funds for our adoption so some of the projects I post may not always have pictures to accompany every project but I will try to do better!

And if you are a) too busy to make any of the future posted projects or b) want to support our adoption fund, visit my Etsy shop at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkPoppyPress and you will be able to purchase most of the items I blog about here from now on. I would be eternally grateful! All profits will go toward us getting our little girl home!