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:

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.


More refinished pieces

So, it’s been awhile since I last posted, but I have a good reason! My husband and I just began a new and exciting journey. A few weeks ago we met with an adoption agency in Colorado, and we are hoping to adopt a little girl off the waiting list in China within the next year.  We have always had a heart for adoption, but recently we’ve felt like this is the time to start the process and we are excited!

Immediately my brain starting reeling trying to think of ways I could raise some extra money for adoption costs. I figured the best thing to do would be to stick with my talents/skills and try to make some money that way. So last weekend when Salvation Army had their 50%-off-everything-in-the-store sale, I was in search of some pieces I could purchase and refinish to try to sell on Craigslist for a profit.

The first item I found was this adorable vintage chair:

Vintage Chair

Small vanity chair for $25 at Salvation Army

The picture doesn’t show it all, but it wasn’t in great shape. The wood was pretty scratched and cushion fabric was stained and dingy. I wanted to make a cute shabby chic chair out of it. I already had white paint (from zillions of other painting projects) and I had left over fabric I’d used to make a roman shade for our dining room with. All I needed to buy was some black braiding.

Here is how it turned out:


DIY Refinished Shabby Chic Chair

The left-over fabric I had was perfect for the look I was going for.

Refinished Shabby Chic Chair

I distressed the edges with some sandpaper.

The second piece I found was a yellowish, scratched, wood end table with brass hardware. I am upset that I don’t have a before picture, but it was a pretty hideous sight. You know it’s ugly if it’s still left after a 3 day 50% off sale! I got this end table for $10 and thought it would be perfect in red with aged bronze hardware.

DIY Refinished End Table

I loved the bone structure of the piece. The red makes it really “pop”.

DIY Refinished Red End TableI’m sure there will be a lot more to blog about in the next few months as I continue to try to refinish pieces to sell. I will eventually start an etsy shop to sell items that are easily “shipable”. Didn’t want to hassle with it for furniture though. My vision for my etsy shop is to make unique pieces from thrift store items, combined with a few sewing projects. We will see how it goes!


Dollar Store Challenge: Sunburst Mirror

Last week, we spent time visiting my parents in the Seattle area. Other than the entire household contracting a nasty respiratory virus (courtesy of my daughter), we had a great time spending time with family.

My brother and his fiancee live in the area and I was really excited to see them and catch up. While we were there we decided to do a couples’ challenge using Dollar Store items. The challenge is to create something using $5 worth of Dollar Store items to re-purpose into something else that can be sold on Craigslist for the most money. We are allowed to use paint, glue/adhesive, nails, staples and other bonding products, but that is about it.

Our deadline isn’t until May 15th, so the competition isn’t over yet, but in the process of brainstorming projects, I came up with this idea, which I may or may not use in the actual competition.

A Sunburst Mirror:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror. $5.

This project can be done for as little as $3. However, I spent the full $5 on mine. I will show you both versions.

I started out with these three basic items:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

Candle mirror, candle plate and mini plastic spoons.


I started by hot gluing the spoons in a circle. It helps to do the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions first and then evenly space in between these 4 points. Hot glue them like CRAZY so they will stay in place.

You can then spray paint the entire thing, front and back:

DIY Sunburst Mirror

After painting both sides and letting it dry, you can hot glue the mirror if you choose the $3 version of this mirror. If you want the $5 version DO NOT glue the mirror yet.

I decided after the fact that I wanted to embellish it a little:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

You can glue dollar store toothpicks in between the spoons to add a little more detail.

Obviously, I had to go back and repaint once I added these. If you know ahead of time you want to add them you can wait to paint the entire thing until after the toothpicks are added.

After everything dried, I hot glued the mirror on (tons of glue again!), and then added these jewels to each spoon end:

Dollar Store gems

Dollar Store gems from the craft/school supply aisle.

And that’s how I got this:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror. $5.

Use glass bonding glue to apply hanging hardware in the back. Follow all the directions to assure it dries and bonds properly.

So that is about it! I will let you know if I end up using this, or if I choose something else. And of course I will announce the winner when all is said and done (provided we win;)).

Favorite Finds

Although I haven’t posted much lately, I have many projects that I have completed and hope to write about them within the coming week. There are a couple of sewing tutorials off of Pinterest that I want to share my experiences with. And we are finally starting to tackle our master bedroom after almost seven years of living in this house! We found some real wood dressers for an incredible deal at the thrift store so i am hoping to post more as we make progress there.It is spring break this week and with my daughter home all day it has been a challenge! Last week she was really sick with croup (for the millionth time) so that took up most of my time.

But just to recap a little, I wanted to show you a couple of new additions to my family room, which continues to be a work in progress.

Birdcage FindI am going for more of a vintage look in there, so I was in search of a birdcage. Hobby lobby has some amazing ones, but even on sale they were more than I was hoping to pay. I was hoping to find one at a thrift store but no such luck. Then one day I went to Ross with my mom in search of something entirely different and came across a brass birdcage. I wish I had taken a picture first, but the color was not desirable at all. However, the structure was good and so was the price! 6.99. So I purchased it and spray painted it a flat dark brown color. I am super happy with it and I saved at least $20. It is the perfect size for the mantel.

DIY Repainted Birdcage

The dark brown flat paint made the birdcage look old and rusted.

Then yesterday, I found this lamp for $6 at the Salvation Army complete with nice shade that I may cover with fabric. Haven’t decided yet.

Thrift Store Lamp

Our previous lamp was far too modern looking. I also like how the white pops against the darker table.

Remember my side table scores for the living room. They replaced some folding tables from World Market that are about 9 years old and have been well used. Since they are already distressed from use, I decided to add a splash of color to one of them using the Vaseline and spray paint technique to antique it and found that with this addition they make a lovely Long table and the other two don’t look out of place with their scuffs and worn areas.

Repainted Folding Table

Loving the splash of color in the family room. It ties in nicely with the mantel.

I am a little obsessed with candle holders, and when I went to Arizona to visit family I came across the most charming little shop. It is located in downtown Casa Grande and is called “In a Pear Tree”. The lady who owns it is a friend of the family and she has several contributors that make the most adorable things and sell them in the store. She is actually living my dream. She goes to thrift stores, estate sales, and what not, and repaints or repurposes items to sell. I fell in love!

Pillar Candle Holders

I found a set of 5 pillar candle holders for only $19. They all vary in size and design. The white one in this picture is one of 5. I still have to paint the rest!

Just yesterday I found some at the Salvation army that are a bright kelly green color. I’m planning to repaint those as well. I have an idea of how to use them all and I’m hoping to share it with you soon.

And finally, I found this vintage-looking patterned sheet from the thrift store that I plan to use as fabric to make my daughter a bubble dress for summer. I will let you know how that goes!

Vintage Sheet

Only .99 cents for several yards of this! I might make myself something as well!

Thank you for bearing with me through this random post!

Out with the oak. In with the new. (DIY Banister Makeover)

When we moved in our house I had no issue with our banisters. In fact I really liked them. But as all upgrades go, when you make one change you often end up having to make a lot.

When we redid our entryway flooring, we noticed how terrible our carpet looked. Then when we replaced the old carpet with laminate flooring, we saw how much our oak banisters stuck out like a sore thumb against the dark wood boards. It started to bother me more and more, but replacing our entire banister (which is ginormous and pretty much goes on forever), I started trying to think of some way to still make them “fit” with our home without paying thousands of dollars.

I was reluctant at first to paint them for a few reasons. The first major reason was the work involved. I reflected back on our kitchen cabinet makeover and how many months we plugged along on that project, and how many coats of paint it required! Yikes. But after my more recent experience using the paint with primer already mixed in on a few furniture pieces, I thought it could be possible to do this rather quickly.

My second hesitation was how a painted railing would look versus a stained rail. But after Pinteresting and Googling pictures of others who did the same thing I came to the conclusion that I liked the final result and was willing to give it a try. It was simply unacceptable in my artist’s eye to endure this eye sore for any longer. Call me a snob.

This project seriously took us about 5 hours. Only one coat of paint plus touch ups were required. And no, we didn’t sand. Ask me in a few months how it’s holding up.

Banister Makeover

Oak banisters prepped for painting.

DIY Banister makeover

One sexy husband lending a helping hand.

DIY Banister Makeover

After the tape came off and paint was dry to the touch.

DIY Painted Banister

Upstairs. See? I told you the rails just don’t quit in this house.

The cost of this project? Whatever a quart of paint with primer cost. I can’t remember. Maybe $10? The best thing about this paint is it is so ultra smooth. We can’t even see brush strokes. It truly turned out amazing.

We also have lots of paint left over for touch ups. Overall, definitely worth spending a Saturday afternoon working on!




Pub table make-over

So, I have this table. It sits in our kitchen nook and when we first purchased it I absolutely loved it. Then, we had a child. All of a sudden the microfiber seats and delicate wooden surface were not super appealing. Within 3 years I found myself looking at this table in complete disgust and wishing it never existed. I think I would mentally block it out whenever I entered our kitchen and believe me when I say, no one was ever invited to eat at it other than my 3 year old daughter, which made it degenerate all that much faster.

I really hate to subject you to the following pictures, but you can’t truly appreciate the transformation without them:

Pay close attention to the seat underneath the booster. It's a stained mess.

Pay close attention to the seat underneath the booster. It’s a stained mess.

Scratches, glass rings, and stains, oh my!

Scratches, glass rings, and stains, oh my!

Remember when I painted the coffee table for our living room? You know how I had a bunch of extra paint and didn’t know what to do with it? Yep, you guessed it. I decided to use the exact same paint to cover up this eye sore and transform it into something functional, appealing to the eye, and practical for having a toddler.

Pub table make-over

The old and the new.

I wanted a fun fabric to cover up the microfiber, but I also wanted something stain resistant. I decided to pick out a fun floral grey, white and yellow pattern and then cover it with durable plastic to make it easy to wipe and keep clean.

Finished Pub Table

And here it is. No longer an eye sore or an embarrassment.

To cover the chairs I just unscrewed the old seats and used a staple gun to cover them with the fabric first, and then the plastic on top.

And because I’m one of those cheesy themey types, I thought my daughter should have a matching table:

DIY Kid's Nook

Please disregard our floors that are in transition from laminate to tile. And pay no attention to that toy under the table. Poor Pablo is a victim of our flooring project.

And if you were wondering how I made that little cushion for my daughter’s chair, I forgot to mention that about a month ago I received a sewing machine. I’m pretty much obsessed with it and have created several things that I hope to share with you soon. They are all novice projects so I am hoping you’ll follow me on my journey and that you won’t laugh at me if you are already an experienced sew-er (“sewer” just didn’t read correctly).

Hobby Lobby Clearance Rocks!

Hobby Lobby doesn’t always have a great selection of clearance items (80-90% off), but when you find something it is seriously the best. It’s even better than thrift store prices most of the time.

I was in there the other day and I saw that these were on sale:

Hobby Lobby Clearance

My husband wanted to know what the heck these were. I didn’t really know how to explain that they were purely ornamental and didn’t serve a purpose. He thought one of them looked like a septor and then mentioned something about how they reminded him of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

These are far too dark for my liking but the clearance price was… wait for it … $2.50! They had all been marked down from between $20-$30, to only $2.50 a piece. And I had been waiting to find something I could try the shabby chic painting method on. These fit the bill.

I’m sure many or all of you have seen the technique on Pinterest where you use Vaseline on an object you want to spray paint, and put the Vaseline in areas where you want the paint NOT to adhere, thus creating a shabby chic/ antique appearance. You just wipe away the Vaseline areas after the paint dries with a cloth or paper towel. It’s just that easy. That’s what I wanted to try with these. I already had white spray paint and Vaseline, so I was ready to go. hobbylobbydecorpainted

This is how they turned out. I still have 2 more to paint but I’m considering doing another color on those. I was very happy with the results and eager to change out my mantel decor for the Spring.


As you can see I also used this method on the blue picture frame behind my new decor. Worked like a charm. The frame is one of the $2 IKEA frames. I also found a cute little bird’s nest from Dollar Tree to put in the glass vase. The candle holders are from a thrift store. I purchased those about a year ago.

DIY Shabby ChicI tried the technique on an old lantern I had in our basement. I found it on clearance at the local grocery store two summers ago because it was missing the glass panels. The white mirror is from the thrift store. I found it on their 50% off day and it was only $1.50. I ended up painting it though because it was kind of a yellowish cream color. I wasn’t digging that.

Pretty much everything on my mantel cost less than $3. It’s still a work in progress but it’s nice to finally retire the winter decor and freshen things up a bit.

The moral of this story is ALWAYS check the Hobby Lobby clearance aisle. I swear that my Goodwill would’ve charged $10 for each of these. But then again, the Goodwill by my house thinks they’re a fancy department store. (I know they aren’t all like that).

Spring Mantel Decor

I figured you might want a full view. I apologize that my pictures aren’t of professional caliber.