How to Paint furniture with chalk paint
A Before & After Story
In my perpetual need for perfection, I realized that I can't get enough of before and after pictures! I know I have a problem, but the first step is admitting it, right? What about you? I could spend long hours carousing Pinterest for furniture or room makeovers and it literally feeds my soul! I love to see how people make changes to their decor or repair and paint furniture. And because I loved to redecorate and paint in my own home, my business was born out of discovering that passion from necessity. Learning new things as a DIY'er is half the fun, but also sometimes from a necessity of keeping to a home budget. Funny enough, one of my favorite proverbial quotes is, "Necessity is the mother of invention".
Therefore, I often look at something and imagine how I can make it better. Furniture is one of the most rewarding of improvements for me. I love to find the scratched or broken pieces that just need a little love. In speaking with other DIYer's, I realized that I'm not the only one who feels this way. After my various experiences, I felt a need to share what I had done in hopes of saving someone else all the trials and errors along the way. Sharing experiences and learning from others, is just another reason why I love doing what I do!
Looking back, I laugh now that I had never even heard of chalk paint until about 4 years ago. I was hooked immediately and still marvel at the incredible ease and strength of this type of paint. Over the years, I have had a lot of people ask me about what kind of paint I use and painting techniques. Recently, I've even had people ask me if I'm buying pieces new to resell in my booth space at Daisies & Olives! At the time, I was so suprised that someone would think that, but soon realized I should be taking it as a compliment. Therefore, this blog post will go a little more in depth to the repairs and painting techniques instead of just a little before pic and pretty after shot. I chose this sweet little french provincial desk to paint for resell this week in our booth. I will show you the before picture, explain why I chose this piece of furniture, how to chalk paint and how to get the final finish.
Without further ado, let's get started!
Here is a look at the before picture of this desk. One of the characteristics I look for in a piece of furniture to paint and resell is the condition of the piece. This piece was solid without major nicks or broken pieces.
The legs were wobbly so I knew they would need to be tightened and they were missing a few screws, which is an easy fix. My hubby fixed the legs for me one afternoon while on his lunch break! (I'm sure he will be glad I included this pic of him while in action! :)
The top desk surface was scratched so I knew it would be a perfect piece to paint, as the scratches were not deep and could easily be fixed with light weight spackle. A lot of times when the scratches aren't deep, you can paint over them without filling with spackle and you never see them once paint fills them in.
After the spackle dries (about 15-30 min depending on the surface area), you want to clean the surface. I use a solution called TSP, which you can pick up from any hardware store. The TSP solution will also dull a factory finish (shiny) surface which makes it easier to just chalk paint over. I always wear gloves when using the TSP. If your surface is super shiny or slick, you will need to use a fine grit sand paper (220) to lightly sand the surface before painting. After sanding you will need to wipe clean before painting to remove any sanded particles. For the most part, I try to choose a piece that is real wood and that doesn't have a high sheen.
After prepping the surface, you are ready to use your chalk paint. I make my own chalk paint using latex paint. If you use Shermin Williams test sample (which is 30.7 fl oz), you can just mix your chalk paint into the same handy dandy sample jar. I love Shermim Williams because it is an easy twist off lid! If you want to use my chalk paint recipe, you can find it here. The beauty about mixing my own chalk paint is that I can make it for under $15. If you don't want to make your own DIY Chalk Paint, you can buy a commercial brand like Annie Sloan's or Maison Blanche. I have used both and they are very nice paints. I ALWAYS use satin finish latex paint to make my chalk paint. I think this is why I get such a smooth perfect finish every time. Most chalk paints are a flat finish and without wax can look dull and drab. That is one of my top secrets to getting the perfect finish. It is also more durable when using it on something that will get a great deal of use like a coffee table, side table or desk, etc. But don't worry, the commercial paints, even though flat finished, will still look great once you apply wax. The wax is also what gives a nice durable satin finish so it all still works.
The first coat of chalk paint should be thin. Your brush should only be dipped in the paint about 1/4 of the brush and wiped off on one side. This gives you a nice even coat and it dries quickly in 20 min or less.
The second coat of paint is going to give you a lot more coverage. Again, don't overload your brush with paint, which will give you a smooth coat. Never dip your brush fully into the the paint. A good rule of thumb is about 1/3 of the brush, at most, to be dipped in the paint.
I painted the top of the desk with the second coat, leaving the legs with just the one, to give you a visual of the difference in between coats. It will take about 20-30 minutes to dry for this coat depending on the temperature and humidity where you are painting it. As you can see, I was painting inside, which I have to do in the winter time so it dried pretty quickly.
The third coat should give you a nice even and full coverage. (Note: Some white paints, which seem to be thinner will sometimes require a fourth coat) The paint I used was a white/gray so the three coats were perfect. The same drying time will apply.
After the final coat of paint dries, you may want to rub or distress the edges with sand paper. I do this alot with my furniture to give it a french country or shabby chic look. Whether you sand off the edges or not, you are ready to wax the piece of finish for durability. I use Annie Sloan's clear wax for most of my pieces, but I have used Maison Blanche and Miss Mustard Seed clear waxes and they are great too! My hubby took this goofy picture of me waxing the furniture.
In my opinion, the wax is necessary to seal and protect your furniture as well as give it a nice satin sheen that looks professional. I always wear gloves when I do this step to protect my hands as I may go from cleaning and cooking to waxing a piece of furniture and vice versa. Therefore, I can simply wash my hands with soap and water without it being a big ordeal.
You will wipe on the wax with a brush or a soft cloth. I use old white tshirts cut into pieces. After your wax dries (about 20-30 min), you will use another clean cloth to buff the piece until it shines. Your going to build some muscle if you do this a lot but you don't have to rub hard just with a little pressure to shine it up.
Here is the final look at this piece once it was finished:
If you noticed, I changed out the hardware on this piece to some fun drawer pulls that update it. If you have any questions or comments you can leave them in the space below and thanks for joining me for this tutorial!
Until next time.....hoping you find lots of inspiration this week!