Fridays at Home: Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

8th February 2013

If someone told you that you could paint a piece of furniture with no sanding, no prep, and with little chance of ruining it, what would you say? If you’re me, you’d stare at this person with just a hint of suspicion in your eyes.

But that’s exactly what one of the sweet ladies at a great vintage store in my area told me. I had heard of Annie Sloan chalk paint from one of my best friends and was amazed at the results he got. My dilemma was that I loved the natural wood in the room, but it seemed to fade into the wood floors and the dark walls.


Even though this was shot in late-afternoon light, you can tell it just blended in much too much.

I didn’t really want to paint it either. I was stuck, in other words. So my friend Bryan called and pointed me to a great table at one of our favorite vintage stores. The top was left natural wood, but the base and lip of the table were painted and distressed. I fell in love immediately.

This paint is very viscous and thickens if left open to the air for too long. The woman who sold it to me recommended pouring a small bit into a cup so you can add water if it thickens too much. You can’t do that in the actual can as it will mildew the paint. You also have to use a wax to seal the paint. There are different methods here – applying wax before or after sanding. Before sanding will reduce any dust you get from sanding, while sanding before waxing gives you a slightly different texture. I went with the latter. Also, a little bit of this paint goes a loo-oooong way. I used, maybe, a sixth of the pint. But it’s also expensive, so my mom and I split it for a couple of projects we wanted to try. I’ve read you can make your own, too, for a lot less expensive. I’d also caution that unless you plan on distressing, a typical paint (like Valspar, my favorite!) would work just fine.


So I prepped my table (wiped it down for dust) and began painting with my favorite angled brush. And I was unimpressed. The paintbrush marks were very visible. Which made me nervous. The pant also dries super fast, which is good and bad. Good in that if you need a second coat, you can apply it quickly. Bad in that you have less time to even out brush strokes if you’re absolutely nuts about them.


Yikes. I’ll admit, I was a bit worried. (Also, sorry for horrible-quality photos. This was a late-night project, as are many of my projects.)

I must say I was unconvinced until I started sanding. I used 150 grit sandpaper and only sanded the parts of the table base with detail. The change was immediate, and my table started looking like a French country piece in an expensive furniture store. The awesome thing? If you sand too much, just add a bit more paint, wait for it to dry, and sand again. Easy peasy. My friend had told me there was no real way to mess up, and he was right. I attempted painting the edge of the tabletop, hated it, and wiped it right off without any issues.


This was the moment when I realized I was going to love this look. It just made the detail in the wood stand out in a way it didn’t before.

The wax was a bit trickier. I borrowed a special round brush to apply it, but it just stuck to the table in gritty patches. I searched the Internet and found going back with t-shirt material heats it up just enough to where the paint and wax adhere. Once I started that technique, it was awesome and didn’t take long – just a little elbow grease (literally, if you slip up while rubbing the wax in).


Here I wasn’t pleased with the sanding above the beading on the lip. So I added a bit more paint and went back to it later.


Same view but after I repainted and sanded a little less aggressively.

 All in all, this was very quick – and much faster than sanding and refinishing, which I had contemplated. Also, the tabletop wasn’t in great condition, but it wasn’t horrible unless you looked closely. Moisture had clouded the finish, and there were a couple of scratches in it as well. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I applied a coat of the same Annie Sloan soft wax to the top and then buffed it out. Oh. My. Gosh. It looked amazing, and weeks later, it hasn’t lost its sheen.


Gotta love that shine. And the contrast works really well in here.

The last step was finding chairs. It’s not easy to purposefully mismatch chairs, so I tried out a few options, but here’s where I ended. These chairs need a little love, but you guys know they’ll get that. AND that I’ll share with you. Duh. πŸ™‚


They’re shabby, but I love that they draw in the color in the room, especially from the Texas Book Festival poster right above the table.

So, it’s Friday! Any home improvement going on in your neck of the woods? Or is your neck of the woods planning for a super storm? Either way, be careful, and enjoy your weekend at home.

P.S. Annie Sloan didn’t provide paint or pay me for my thoughts. I just thought I’d share with you.


  • !!!!!!!!!!!!! is just a sample of envy/shock/jealous/amazement at your endeavor — that table is gor-jus. Why aren’t you local so you can help me spiff up my apartment like that?! Brava — you did awesome.

    • Aw, thanks! It was so easy. I’m just so glad I was able to find a table the right size and still have it look good.

  • Sara (wordyevidenceofthefact.b

    So glad you did share these thoughts. I’ve heard a lot about Annie Sloan but hadn’t come across (nor looked for) this kind of explanation/conversation. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome! It’s helpful to know someone who has attempted it before actually trying it.

  • That is absolutely gorgeous! Way to go πŸ™‚

  • heidenkind

    Very nice! Painting wood furniture makes me very nervous. My parents tried it once years ago and it seemed like a pain from start to finish, for not that great a return.

    • This was so easy. So much easier than painting wood typically is *eyes kitchen cabinets* – I’d recommend it.

  • lulu_bella

    These posts are so informative! I miss having a house and being able to do projects like this. When we rented a house, we just had so much more room to do big projects. Can’t wait to actually own a house and decorate it the way I want!

    • It’s fun but daunting. The other side of it is that you never have enough money to do the things you want. πŸ™‚

  • Andi

    I’ve been seeing these Annie Sloan paints everywhere!!! Am planning to redo my entertainment center in the living room in Aubusson Blue next weekend!

    • I LOVE that color. That and duck egg blue are just so fine. I’ve actually seen this same effect (natural wood top) done with both of those shades, and it looked gorgeous.

  • This is awesome. Such a great effect. I love how that table looks now, pops out so much more against the background

    • Thanks! I love it too, and it really does stand out.

  • David Fuller

    Geez, what fantastic results! I’d never heard of this kind of paint before. I’ve done the whole stripping/sanding/refinishing on one table, and though I was happy with the results, it took forever… next time I’ll consider this, it looks wonderful.

    • Yes! When I talked to the lady in the vintage shop and told her my plans to refinish, she looked at me like I was nuts. I’ve done my cabinets, so I’m not quite sure why refinishing was a good idea…

  • Antoinette

    Seriously considering do this to my cabinets in my place! And it seems so easy!!!

    • I did my cabinets last year, but not with Annie Sloan (didn’t know you could). Just beware. I had 37 door fronts when it was all said and done, and it was exhausting! As long as you don’t have that many and aren’t sanding, I’d say it’d be much easier to tackle.

  • ELAINE326

    absolutely beautiful! would love to do my kitchen cabinets but they’re formica. i wonder if this chalk paint would work? hhhmmm…

  • emma 77

    i’ve applied too much wax and sanding isn’t getting down to the 2nd colour what shall i do help people!!!

    • Ok, two things. First, change the grit of your sandpaper. If you get a rougher grit, it might do better than the 150.

      If that doesn’t work, I’d try the hair dryer. I know it sounds crazy, but it IS wax, after all. I think hitting it with some high heat and rubbing with a paper towel or rag might help get some of the excess off.

      If it’s still wet (less than 24 hours), it may help to wait for it to dry before sanding. Let me know how it goes!

  • Anet

    This is BEAUTIFUL! Did you use dark wax?

    • Thank you!

      I didn’t. I don’t always like that slightly dirty look the dark wax gives and liked it enough to leave it as is. I figure I can always go back and change it if I want. Thus far, I haven’t wanted to.

  • Hang In There

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  • Sophia Steele

    Hey great article I just done a similar one myself on what paints to use on furniture. Have a nosey at

    Nice blog, I will follow you on bloglovin x

  • Kasey

    Should I sand/distress before I wax, or wax first? I’m going for the two tone look. Used French linen on the bottom and white on top.

  • The Home Boutique

    Lovely blog post with a stunning transformation. We’re a UK stockist of ASCP and love to see how others use this amazing paint πŸ™‚