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.
Â 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. 🙂
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.