Today I thought I'd do a lighter post to share my latest hobby with you all. I'm sure most of you have at least one friend (or one blog you read) that re-does furniture. If you're anything like me, then you drool over the Before & After pictures of their re-finished or painted pieces, all the while thinking - "There is NO way I would ever have the patience or know-how to do that!" For a while now I've been oohing and ahhing over several friend's furniture makeovers (like Erin's buffet & Katie's bench) and staring at project after project on the Fab Rehab and Roadkill Rescue blogs. But the idea of actually stripping and sanding and priming and painting a piece of my own was way too intimidating!
Until I met Laurie!
Laurie Peacock and I met at a marriage small group one night, and in her little "about me" intro she mentioned that she re-did furniture. So when I had finally HAD IT with my crappy chest-of-drawers, I called her for help. [*side note - Since Rusty and I are still renting a house, we've decided not to make any big furniture investments until we buy a house for them to permanently live in. That means we've still got miss-matched, hand-me-down thrift store/consignment store furniture everywhere! Most of the pieces are in pretty good shape, but our chest-of-drawers was definitely the roughest of the bunch. It's a cheap veneer hand-me-down I've had since college, and I reasoned that replacing it would remove the majority of the "ugly" from our bedroom!] Laurie encouraged me to buy this replacement Bassett chest that was a really good price from Craigslist, and graciously volunteered to come to my house and teach me her furniture fixin' tricks! When I heard that she used a *magical* paint that didn't require stripping, sanding, or priming - I was in!
The paint she introduced me to is called Annie Sloan Chalk Paint*, and it's nothing short of life-changing. This stuff will go on anything - wood, veneer, plastic, brass, metal, concrete, you name it! It has practically ZERO fumes, and washes off with water (even if you get it on your clothes!) It comes in a ton of gorgeous colors, and is super easy to use. When you use the paint though, you have to also buy the wax for a sealant. You can get just clear wax, or you can also buy the dark wax to layer on top of the clear wax. The dark wax is what will give your furniture an "aged" or "distressed" look. All in all it's about $100 for 1 quart of paint, 1 clear wax, and 1 dark wax - but those 3 small cans will last you through 4 - 8 projects (depending on how big your pieces are). To me - it was totally worth the price to not have to strip, sand or prime!
I painted this chest-of-drawers with 2 coats of Old White chalk paint, and then Laurie came over the next day to help me with my first waxing job. Using a paint brush we coated the whole piece with clear wax, and then she immediately began brushing dark wax over it and rubbing it back off again (working in sections). If the dark wax got too dark, I would brush the dark area with my clear wax brush and she would rub the excess off. It was a pretty foolproof process!
When we were done with the dark wax we replaced the hardware and let it dry. 24 hours later I went back and buffed the piece with a wiping rag (an old t-shirt will work great for this!) And TA-DA!!!
Isn't it GORGEOUS!? I love the way the detailing on the front pops with that dark wax! It gives it such a beautiful, aged look! I could not believe how easy this was, and how incredible the end result is. I just love seeing something old and tired transformed into something beautiful again!
So for those of you who are asking - here are my "tips" in case you'd like to try this *magical* paint for yourself!
#1 - Find a store near you that carries Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It is only in a few select places (it's been sold in Europe for a while, but it's just started becoming available in the US!) This site should give you a list of places near you.
#2 - Buy yourself some paint, wax, at least 2 decent sized brushes (they don't have to be the Annie Sloan brushes - mine were only $2). I would also recommend a couple of smaller brushes for details. If you are doing a small piece - like a nightstand or end table - you might be able to just buy a sample pot ($12) instead of a full quart ($35) of the paint. You should also get a dropcloth, some cheesecloth (this is the best material for rubbing off the wax), and some rubbing cloths for buffing (these are like $2 at Lowe's and they are cut up t-shirt material. You can totally use an old t-shirt if you have one!)
#3 - Follow these instructions for applying the paint and wax. This is the best tutorial I've found! If you want your dark wax to show up more, you can use a "hatch stroke" when you paint (which is like criss-crossing brush strokes). Then the wax will catch in those places. I personally like to go with the grain and I always use 2 coats. Be careful not to scratch your piece in between painting and waxing. The paint comes off super easy before it's sealed with the wax! (If you do scratch it - just repaint the area. The paint/wax combo is super forgiving :)
#4 - Wait 24 hours to buff. When you buff the piece, it is going to take some elbow grease, so be prepared!
#5 - It's okay if your piece still feels a little bit tacky in places after you're done. The info I've read says it takes a full 28 days for the paint/wax combo to "set" fully. But once you've buffed it, it should be perfectly fine to sit things on the piece and use it normally - just don't scrape any sharp objects into it. (Of course, you wouldn't do that to any painted piece, now would you?) If you're doing a table-top (or any piece that's used a lot) you may want to do a 2nd coat of clear wax.
If you're still not feeling brave enough to try this paint, but you love the look, then you should definitely check out Laurie's pieces for sale! She does this as a side job, and she has some gorgeous stuff for sale on Craigslist. Just type "French Urban" into the Birmingham Craigslist and her items should pop up! Or, if you have a piece at your house you'd like re-done, Laurie can do that too! Just contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and other examples of her work!
This GORGEOUS coffee table is just one of Laurie's beautiful pieces for sale!
Stay tuned for more of these furniture makeovers! I have already done my 2nd piece and I can't wait to show it to ya'll! Happy painting friends!
*Chalk paint should not be confused with chalkboard paint. This is called chalk paint because of it's consistency - when it dries it feels like chalk. You can not write on it like a chalkboard.