If I had to name the fashions in DIY home decor right now, I'd probably list painting furniture with chalk paint in the top five. It seems that everyone has painted at least one piece of furniture with chalk paint. It takes me awhile to catch up with the fashions, but I've finally joined the ranks of these painters, with pleasing results. Here's my latest project:
This chest started life as a Bombay Company purchase about 15 years ago. It has worked in many different spaces in several different houses, but it's been the nightstand in my guest room for awhile now. I've always liked it, and it's very sturdy, but it was beginning to look a little worn. A perfect candidate for painting!
Chalk paint is a great alternative if you want an Old World kind of look for your piece. One of its greatest advantage, as far as I can tell, is that you don't have to prep a piece before you paint it with chalk paint. You just remove any hardware from your piece of furniture, dip your brush in the paint, and go for it!
You can buy ready-made chalk paint, and I've heard great things about Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint. I have not tried ASCP. Inspired by Sherry of No Minimalist Here, I made my own chalky paint mix. I simply mixed regular latex paint with a chalk product (I used plaster of Paris because that's what was readily available). I had good results mixing 4 ounces of paint with 2 ounces of plaster. I measured the paint in a liquid measuring cup and measured the plaster with a solid measuring cup (2 ounces = 1/4 cup). I stirred the mixture together really well and, if it ever felt a little too thick, I thinned it with a bit of water.
Why didn't I buy some chalk paint? Just two reasons:
- I wanted a very specific color (Benjamin Moore's Sutton Blue).
- I didn't want to spend much money.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a fairly costly specialty product and, from what I've been told, is worth the cost. For this little piece, I just wanted to try the look of chalky paint inexpensively, so this was a good method for me. I spent $6.49 on a sample size of the exact color paint I wanted plus a few dollars for a container of plaster of Paris. (By the way, I now have a LOT of plaster of Paris; let me know if you want to try this method and would like for me to send you some!)
Now for the beauty of this paint. It takes distressing really well (the chalky paint scratches off very easily). After distressing this piece with sandpaper, I used some wipe-on stain to add depth of color, then finished it off with paste wax. I think you can purchase specialty waxes, but I just used Johnson's paste wax from the hardware store.
As you can see, this technique allows you to achieve a custom finish that looks aged and time-worn. If you're not going for an aged, time-worn look, this method probably isn't for you.
Here's one last shot that gives you a hint of some other changes in my guest room, which I shall finish and reveal soon.
Will I be using this kind of paint on anything else? To be honest, I don't know. In most ways, I think I'd rather have the ultra-smooth finish of regular latex paint. By contrast, people who try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint usually become devotees! So far, my favorite method for painting furniture is still spray paint, but of course the spray paint color palette is limited. All in all, I'm happy with my foray into the world of homemade "chalk" painting. What do you think?
Important note: After I wrote this post, I learned that the term "CHALK PAINT" is actually a registered trademark of Annie Sloan. What I did was to create a matte latex paint product and achieved what I believe to be a lovely finish, although I did not make real "chalk paint." I'm certain that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint must be a wonderful product, and I've learned that it is indeed very durable. Perhaps some time in the future I'll give the real ASCP a try. If I do, I'll be glad to pass along my opinion of its performance; it would be fun to compare it with my homemade chalky mixture.
**I'm joining these great parties:
Inspiration Friday, At the Picket Fence