I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to chalk painting furniture but since I first discovered chalk painting it has become a favorite hobby and total creative outlet for me. I have learned a few quick tips that I thought I would share so that you can avoid some of the same mishaps I have made. You can scroll with me as I revisit my last chalk painting project for our “Zen” guest bedroom.
The piece of furniture I chose to paint was a dresser I bought at Rooms To Go for my son’s bedroom when he was in 6th grade. I can’t believe I actually considered selling this dresser in the neighborhood garage sale at one point. Sometimes, I feel chalk paint has saved our household thousands of dollars! Seriously, before I was introduced to chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint that you write on) my design and decorate thought process was ‘get rid of the old and buy new’. Now, when I am redesigning a room in our home, I look at each piece of furniture with a very keen eye to see if this is something that I can recreate and fit into the new decor. Miraculously, the old piece of furniture becomes new again. I don’t worry about the style of furniture matching as a set anymore either. You can see my last chalk painting project here for the Zen bedroom. It was a night stand in my daughter’s bedroom at one point but when you match the color of chalk paint (in this case it was Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey) with the other pieces of furniture, it appears to be all one set. There are so many things that I like about chalk painted furniture besides all the variations and styles of decor you can create. It is the most satisfying and enjoyable projects I do.
Below are my 7 Quick Tips for Chalk Painting Furniture.
1. Purchase good quality brushes. You will be glad you did in the long run, especially if you plan to chalk paint more than one piece and trust me when you paint your first piece you are going to want to chalk paint everything! I tried to save money and purchased a less expensive paintbrush in the beginning but ended up spending more later after I found paint bristles that shed onto the dresser. I was able to pick them off but I am all about productivity and less about unnecessary time wasting tasks. I recommend a flat (not angled) 3 inch brush like this. [affiliate link]. The one I used in the picture below is a 2 inch flat bristle paintbrush but I wish I would have purchased the larger one. If you really want to purchase an original Annie Sloan paint brush, go here to see where your local Annie Sloan retailer is.
I also highly recommend the wax brush for applying your clear and dark wax after you have painted your last coat of paint. If you can afford 2 of these, one for the dark wax and one for the clear, all the better, so you don’t have to worry about the dark wax bleeding on to a clear wax application. If this is not in your budget at this time, then you will do fine with cutting an old white t-shirt and using it to apply the clear wax. The darker wax may be a little trickier to apply without a wax brush but I have done it and have been happy with the results. It wasn’t until I actually used a wax brush before I knew I could get the results I was looking for quicker. This budget friendly wax brush will work great. If you want to find an Annie Sloan retailer near you click here.
2. Have plenty of space to Chalk Paint. I know this seems like common sense but take a look at my embarrassing background. I was so excited to get started chalk painting this dresser, I dragged it out of the bedroom next to this other so-called bedroom (aka…storage room for married kiddos currently living in Honduras) and ended up bumping, smudging, spilling and tripping my way through to the finished product. I didn’t consider that I had to pull out all the drawers and find space to place and paint them as well. I recommend making sure you have enough space for safety reasons alone! Either find free space in the hallway or push things aside so that you have plenty of room to set up shop. Thanks to spring break company visitors and our desperate need to find sleeping arrangements for everyone, I am happy to report that this storage room is back to being a bedroom again.
3. Remove all the drawers and hardware first. I have to admit that I thought about painting this dresser with the drawers in. All I had to do was imagine my husband (who disassembles every hinge, hook and knob before he paints anything) walking in on me painting with the drawers still in tact and I quickly dismissed that idea. How could I possibly disappoint him?
This bottom drawer was broken so Dean came to the rescue to revive it back to working condition. It was so much easier painting the drawers and getting into all the crevices I would have never found had I not taken them out. I was so happy to remove these drawer knobs. I envisioned the last time I was in Hobby Lobby and lingered in the vintage drawer knob aisle trying to find the perfect match. I couldn’t get back there fast enough and when I did, they were on sale! Score! I will show you the ones I chose at the end of this post.
4. Do not use too much clear wax. Something I didn’t research enough when I first discovered chalk painting was that I didn’t have to use half the can of clear wax for one piece of furniture. I was gobbing wax on to a cotton rag and before I knew it, I was half way through the can for just this one dresser. It wasn’t a detrimental mishap as the piece came out beautiful, it was just unnecessary. The Annie Sloan wax can be a little pricey so I felt like I wasted some of my investment. When I purchased the actual wax brush is when I was able to control the amount of wax I actually needed to apply. Dipping the tip of the wax brush into the tin of wax then applying it in light circular motions to the furniture piece is plenty of coverage. More is not better in this case.
5. Have a damp cloth near by when applying dark wax. Applying dark wax can be very scary and intimidating at first. Actually, every time I begin to apply it to an already beautiful chalk painted piece of furniture I hesitate. Here is a bonus tip: you always want to apply dark wax right after you have applied your clear wax. It makes it go on more smooth and less clumpy. Don’t worry, you are not going to ruin your masterpiece with this intimidating darkness that you think will never come off. If you want, (here is another bonus tip) take a paper plate and plastic spoon and mix a little clear wax with your dark wax. This will give your antiquing vintage look that you are trying to achieve a soft finish. I like to have a clean damp cotton rag (old white t shirt) near by when doing a dark wax application just so I can spread it around easier or I can completely wipe off areas that I wasn’t quite happy with. I have done that a few times!
6. Wait 24 hours before buffing. The purpose of buffing is to get that little bit of sheen after waxing. It is the very last step you do to finish off your piece of furniture. Some sources say that you can buff when the wax is slightly tacky to the touch and others say it is good to wait 24 hours until the wax is completely dry. Try it both ways for your own personal experience, but if you can wait the 24 hours, I think you will like the finished results better. As much as I like to get projects done as quickly as possible so that I can move on to the next, I have found that waiting the 24 hours to buff gives it a more finished sheen.
7. Buff with cheesecloth or buffing brush. Get ready for a little arm workout! The first time I buffed a piece of chalk painted furniture, I used an old t shirt. I thought it worked fine and it was the only thing I had at hand. I then graduated to a buffing brush that works 10 times better in my opinion. I believe there has to be a little more friction to get that sheen and I don’t think the t shirt was doing the job 100 percent. I have also heard others use a cheesecloth and that has worked well for them. I have not tried that yet but can see how it would definitely work better than the t shirt because of the material alone.
I hope you can apply these 7 quick tips for chalk painting furniture for your next masterpiece either for your home or your store. In case you wondered how this dresser turned out and what drawer knobs I chose, here is the finished product. It’s home is what I so lovingly call the “Zen” bedroom that has light grey walls with plum window sheers and accents, aromatherapy, zen music for relaxation surrounded by inspirational quotes and books.