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Old Things New - A Lesson in Chalk Paint

Posted by Joy Morris on

It has become a recent passion of mine.  I first discovered chalk painting when I wanted to change my bedroom furniture.  We purchased our bedroom set in 1990: black lacquer with a gold accent.  It was great back then, but by 2015, I really wanted a change.

I'm creative and enjoy painting, but I don't like taping, sanding, or priming.  Since I didn't want to buy new furniture but wasn't willing to sand and prime the existing furniture, I had quite the dilemma. 

Enter chalk paint: This is not to be confused with black chalk board paint that goes on the wall.  It's a thicker paint that doesn't require sanding or priming. Bingo! We have a winner!

Chalk Paint
I painted my entire bedroom set in no time and was sold on the concept. Since then, I've painted my kitchen table and chairs, mirrors, the same bedroom set again, a headboard, coffee table, dresser, lamps, and a decorative column from my great grandma's porch. Whew--and that was just in one week! (Kidding!)

 

Do you have some furniture sitting around the house that could use a little face lift?If you're new to chalk paint or just want a little refresher we're going to walk you through the steps today.

1. Select the Furniture:  Did you know that chalk paint can work on all types of surfaces? Use it on everything from wood to metal, furniture that has already been painted or those laminate bookcases from your first apartment.  

2. Prep:  The piece you're painting need to be cleaned thoroughly so the paint will adhere. Our favorite product for getting rid of all the gunk is Howard's Clean-A-Finish.

One of the best things about chalk paint is that you don't need to sand! However, if your piece has a paint or varnish that is chipping or flaking off, you will need to sand that area.


3. Paint: 
The moment you've been waiting for! Grab your favorite paint brush and make those first strokes! Go with the grain but don't fret too much about the small brush strokes. As your project dries they will smooth out. Let it dry for a couple of hours before you start with the second coat. Most projects will just need 2 coats, whites and reds will take a little more.

 

 

4. Smooth It Out: For this step you'll need fine steel wool. Going with the grain, lightly rub the steel wool over the furniture. (Be sure to wear gloves for this step.) This will give your furniture that silky smooth feel without altering the look of the paint. When you finish wipe the surfaces down with a damp cloth.

5. Distress: This step is optional. If you want to give your furniture an aged look, this step is for you. There several ways to achieve this finish but today we're just going to talk about the 2 I use the most frequently. 

 

If the original finish of your furniture is dark (cherry, mahogany, etc), lightly sand the edges with a fine grain sand paper to reveal the finished wood beneath. Try to leave at leave some of the finished wood and not go all the way through to the unfinished wood beneath. Then, think about where natural wear patterns may occur on the furniture -- the arms of a chair, under the knobs of a dresser, top areas of an end table. Sand a little more on these areas. Don't go all the way through, leave a little paint and a little of the wood finish to add depth to the project. When you finish wipe the surface down with a damp cloth. 

If the original finish of your furniture is light (painted, oak, or a color you don't want to show through), select a complementary color to paint on the distressing. Typically I use a dark gray or black for this method. Using a tiny brush, the kind you would us for a paint-by-numbers sheet, lighting apply a little of the contrasting paint along the edges of your furniture. You'll want to use a tapping/dotted line motion. Remember that you aren't drawing a line on the edges.

6. Wax: This step will seal your project and is necessary anytime you use chalk paint. Allow your furniture to dry completely. Then using a wax brush, lightly apply a coat of wax to the entire piece. The most common mistake beginners make when chalk painting is apply the wax too heavily. Remember a little goes a long way! When the wax smooth and you don't see any little wax bits on the furniture, let it dry for a couple of hours. Come back with a clean rag (old t-shirt) and gently buff away any excess wax.

7. Enjoy & Repeat: It's time to enjoy your finished project! And, if you're like us, it's time to start looking for your next treasure to make new!

 

 

Even if you're creatively challenged, chalk paint won't frustrate you because it's easy to use. We sell it at the store in a variety of colors and can walk you through the process. You can take an old, worn out piece of furniture and bring it back to life with a fresh coat of paint.  I think that's one of my favorite things about it--I can take something that I would normally donate and change it into something that I really like!

Isn't that what God does with us? He smooths out the rough edges; He takes the worn out and breathes life. He creates beauty from ashes.

"Behold, I make all things new." And that's the real encouragement that this worn out traveler needs.

-Joy

 


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