A love affair with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint...
Oh, well hello, Ms. Sloan....
From the point of our first meeting...our connection has been magical.
I had been eyeing the infamous chalk paint for quite some time. Once we were in our new home, I knew it was time to take the plunge and start experimenting. I did hours, upon hours, of research on the chalk paint process and what it entailed - time, supplies, cost, sanity, etc. I finally felt I was ready when I was giving our upstairs bathroom a cosmetic makeover last summer. This beautiful antique vanity was crying for Annie! And since I was giving the bathroom a new look, what better time than now to spruce up this chic piece!?
I was going for a feminine, shabby chic style in the bathroom and had to work with the guts that were there, as we weren't doing any major renovations at the time. The bathroom was so dark and dull looking. It made me cringe every time I went in it! It needed a little airiness. Actually...a lot. I knew I was going to stick with light colors and accessories, so as far as the chalk paint color for the vanity, I went with the ever popular Old White. It is the perfect color in that it plays effortlessly with any other color around it. It looks like a very soft cream. This was perfect for the look I was going for with this statement piece, as I didn't want a stark white look. You also have the option of mixing Pure White with Old White if you don't want it to look too creamy. However, I did not do any mixing.
Okay...time to dive in! Here is the process broken down:
Phase 1: Choose your "victim." Eh hem...piece of furniture. This was easy. I knew this vanity was begging to be refinished.
Phase 2: Gather your supplies. There are not too many Annie Sloan stockists on Long Island, but I did find an adorable paint boutique not too far from me called, Suite Pieces, that carries the paint.
Phase 3: Preparing your workspace. "Experts" recommend working at room temperature, with proper ventilation. Bringing this piece down a flight of stairs to get it outside was not an option, so I (well, with the help of my husband) brought it into the upstairs hallway. By working indoors, I also felt that I would have less of a chance of insects or dust landing on my piece while paint is drying. Working in natural light is ideal, but my situation was what it was, so I made it work with some added "artificial" lighting. To protect the floor, we placed the vanity on top of a piece of cardboard.
Phase 4: Prep and clean your piece. I removed the hardware and drawers. I ran my hand across the piece to find any rough patches that might need sanding (but you do NOT need to sand the entire piece when using Chalk Paint). Knowing that I would be replacing the hardware, I filled the holes from the original hardware with wood filler. I used a mild dishsoap and some warm soapy water to give the piece a once over, removing any dirt and oils. I allowed ample dry time before applying the first coat of paint.
Phase 5: Applying the chalk paint. I made sure my can of paint was mixed well (you can set it upside down for a while…or use a wooden paint stirrer). Then, slowly, I worked section by section. This paint is thick, but it is very forgiving! So don't panic if you accidentally apply too much paint to an area. I made sure that my final strokes in a given area were in the direction of the wood grain. The first coat dried quickly - in under an hour. Then I was ready for coat #2. And that's really where the magic happened. As I applied the second coat, I saw the brush strokes vanish and it all come together!
Phase 6: Distressing the piece. This part is obviously optional depending on your piece and the look you want. You can distress either before or after using the clear wax. I chose to do it before. This was the part I was most stressed about. I mean...the word "stress" is in "distressing!" But there was no turning back at this point. I rubbed my sanding block across the sections that would natually get wear like edges, corners, around hardware, etc. It was actually really fun! And quite therapeutic. When I was done, I used a damp cloth to wipe off the excess dust (you can also use a dry brush).
Phase 7: Applying the soft wax. This needs to be done to seal and protect the paint. It kind of looks and feels like Crisco, but it will harden when it dries. I used a plastic knife to smear a chunk of wax onto a paper plate. Then, I took my wax brush and dabbed it into the wax a few times (you only need wax on the tip). I massaged the wax into a small section using both circular and side-sweeping motions, always ending with a sweep in the direction of the grain. I panicked a bit when I saw some of the bristles fall out onto my piece, but I was able to easily wipe them away in the next step. After I finished one small area, I put down my brush, grabbed a soft, clean mirofiber cloth (a t-shirt will also do), and wiped in the direction of the grain to further massage the wax into the piece and remove any excess. Just one or two swipes across the whole area is really all you need. I repeated this step, section by section, covering the entire vanity. Usually one layer of wax will suffice. However, since this is my bathroom vanity and will be getting a lot of wear, I did a second coat of the wax. I waited 24 hours in between wax applications so that it had ample time to dry.
That's it! I was done! The only thing left to do was install the new hardware and put new contact paper down in the drawers.
Vanity Knobs: Etsy
Vanity Pulls: Etsy
Contact Paper: Amazon
You can find the full blog post about the entire bathroom makeover here.
Due to the the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction I got out of this project, I knew I couldn't stop there. Wouldn't you know it, I had another piece to do! The apothecary-style coffee table in our den is about 10 years old. It was one of the first pieces of furniture I bought for my co-op many years ago, so I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to it. But, quite honestly, I was getting sick of looking at it. This coffee table sits in our den alongside a chocolate brown couch. If that wasn't dull enough, we painted the walls in our den a dark brown too! Clearly, the space needed some brightness, so I decided to introduce the table to Ms. Sloan. Luckily, they get along just fine.
(Sorry I don't have any before pics of the table! If you can try to picture it, it was a dark wood with solid dark wood drawer knobs - matching the table.)
The knobs are from Etsy. Here is the link to the shop. Sadly, these particular knobs are no longer available, however, they have some other wonderful knobs to choose from!
So those are the two chalk paint projects I've taken on thus far. I feel as though there are more in my future. I've also been asked to help some friends and family members refinish some furniture with this paint, so I'm hoping to experiment with some other colors! Be on the lookout!
Thanks for stopping by!