When painting furniture, the most important thing to determine is how you want your piece to look.
Sometimes with “antique” furniture (which to be officially called “antique” must be over 100 years old) the piece is going to show its age no matter what you do to it, therefore it’s best to let the piece “speak” to you.
Embrace the age, the flaws and the character of a piece. This is where the craft paints can come into play and can help preserve the authenticity of a piece.
Also, non-antique pieces can be painted too, you can make new stuff look old!
There’s a saying “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”, this holds true in the case of painting some older furniture, with nicks and chips, bubbling veneers, wonky drawers and tainted mirrors you can capture these charming flaws, accentuating them creating furniture that is fun, eclectic and becoming a conversation piece in your home.
“Chalk Paint” is officially the trademark of Annie Sloan, (ASCP) however you will find it is often a general term referring to many of the craft paints available on the market.
Chalk Paint can be sanded down or burnished to create silky smooth finishes. It can be waxed, layered, textured to create crackling or seemingly years of old paint chipping off. It does show brush marks but a smooth finish can be created.
Tips and Tricks
1 – When you buy your paint, turn the can upside down before you open it leave it that way for an hour or so. This will help distribute all the sediment in the bottom, especially with more vibrant or darker colours.
2 – Clean your piece thoroughly, don’t skimp on this, what is left on your piece (dirt & grime) with show through.
3 – While sanding isn’t a 100% necessity, we do recommend it somewhat, rough up any shiny places, you’ll be glad you did!
4 – With old pieces, you can get “staining or bleed through.” The way to get rid of this is with clear shellac, it is often the ONLY solution.
5 – Thin the paint with water and use long brush strokes to get a self-leveling action (and minimal brush strokes in your paint) and a smoother finish.
6 – Alternatively, dip your brush first in water, then in the paint and use the same long strokes to create the same self leveling feel.
7 – Turn your piece upside down when painting it, especially chairs, there are lots of places you just can’t reach or even see otherwise.
8 – Use 700-1000 grit sandpaper (often found in the automotive department of big box stores). This will give you a velvet smooth finish.
9 – When waxing, first use clear wax, apply it with a brush, liberally, then immediately use a lint free cloth (important) to wipe of the excess.
10 – Wax will slightly intensify the colour of your paint, but it doesn’t change it, some other store brands are a bit yellowing, we don’t recommend them. Our favourite is “Miss Mustard Seeds Wax”.
11 – You don’t have to wax, you can use a topcoat, your best bet is a water based topcoat such as General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat.
12 – Always pour your paint into a separate container when painting because you don’t want to “contaminate” your original paint. It can turn a bit mouldy and smelly if you add water directly to the can.
13 – Chalk paint (not the homemade kind) can be sprayed. This provides a more modern feel.
14 – We don’t recommend chalk paint for kitchens as its not durable enough if you finish it off with wax. This is not suitable in a hot and wet environment.
This design is achieved by one colour that’s painted, waxed (or top coated), and distressed, leaving the wood exposed.
Two Colours And Distressed
Take the distressed look up a notch by incorporating two tones! Here’s a good tutorial, while the ladies in this video are using ASCP this technique will work find with ANY chalk paint brand.
Another method is adding a design element to your furniture by using a stencilling method. Stenciling can be tone on tone or more dramatic with gilding waxes or metallic paints. There are many tutorials and websites you can learn techniques and purchase brushes, this is a favourite of ours.
Look here for great images and tutorials on how to create fun and unique graphics on your furniture.
For more advanced techniques and methods follow The Paint Factory on Facebook. She’s a favourite of ours for sure!
How To Make Your Own “Chalk Paint”
Here’s the recipe we have used:
- 1/3 Cup Plaster of Paris (powdered)
- 1 tbsp Warm Water
- 3 Cups of Flat Paint (the cheaper the better)
1 – In a jar add water and Plaster of Paris, blend until it makes a smooth paste
2 – Add paint, stir it until it is smooth and fully blended.
Alternatively, you can just wing it, but it’s recommended to blend the plaster of paris well with water and get the lumps out first. The more plaster of paris the more “chalky” your piece will be. Homemade chalk paint is a cheap and easy alternative to the more expensive “craft paints” out there. Choose from a wax or a topcoat to finish your piece off.
Tip: It’s not recommended to make your own chalk paint with darker colours as the plaster can sometimes appear white after sanding.
The best thing to remember with chalk paint is that you can just let your creativity “run amok.” Start with a vibrant undercoat of paint, layer with a lighter topcoat then distress, add a glaze, paint in every direction to create texture, distress with wax creating dirty spots where this would naturally happen with older pieces in the corners and the crevices, add elegance with metallic gilding waxes, there’s millions of combinations.
Lay it on thick and then use your hair dryer (yep we have one in our shop, not just to make us look pretty!) to dry the paint creating a crackling effect as though the paint has been there for years and years.
If you don’t like how your piece is turning out? Just go ahead and paint over it, you might surprise yourself at what you create! After all we are only limited by our imaginations!
Contact us Now to Take The Next Steps
Does this process sound exciting to you? We know it does to us!
If you’re not the DIY type and would like to take the next steps and refabulate your old pieces, let’s chat.