Truth? I have been a chalk paint hater for quite some time. Why? Because my original impression of chalk paint was all distressed farmhouse shabby chic. Which honestly is a style that I hate. There I said it 🙂 I feel better. Just not my style. I won’t go on and on about how I don’t understand how you can take a nice piece of furniture and make it look like you pulled it out of the back of a barn…. Oops, too late 🙂
Anyway, I have since been enlightened. I now know that you don’t HAVE TO go the distressed route with chalk paint. As a matter of fact, I have seen some really amazingly beautiful pieces of furniture done with chalk paint that have knocked my socks off. If you want to see some of them check out this post. So, I am going to give it a try and see for myself what I can do with chalk paint.
Now, I’m excited.
This is officially my VERY FIRST time using chalk paint!!! So, this will be much less of a tutorial and more of a review and lessons learned kind of post.
Here is my victim 😉
This is what the vanity stool looks like, but I’m just happy that it had a stool. Over the years a lot of these go missing.
But that’s okay, because this just makes this piece an excellent candidate for paint!
I used fat paint, since they had this in my little local hardware store, in 2 shades of blue. Admiral for the darker shade, Riverrun for the mid shade and then a warm white for my light tone.
I vascillated back and forth between 2 different styles. Blended and ombre. So I started by doing a little bit of an experiment using the stool as my testing ground.
Here is what they looked like. Although I really liked the ombre, I didn’t want the top of the vanity to be white. Also, I felt like there might be a better market for a blended finish over ombre and since this will be the first piece that I am doing with the intention of selling, it needs to be about what will appeal to more people.
One of the main selling points for chalk paint is that you don’t have to do any prep work. I would definitely not just slap paint onto a completely unprepared piece of furniture, I just think it’s a bad idea. Why go to all that work to do a beautiful finish and have it peel, bleed or chip? Also, If I am doing a piece with the intention of selling it, then I really need to do everything possible to make sure that the new finish stands up.
Long story short, lots of wood filler and sanding 🙂 If I were going to finish this piece in a distressed or shabby chic style, I would leave all of nicks and dents, but that’s not the look that I’m going for. I’m aiming for a bit more of a revival of this vanity. I’m hoping to bring her at least some of her former glory. And I’m planning on doing it in a deep shade of blue.
For prep I gave it a good scrub to start with and then filled all the little chips and dings with wood filler. After that I gave the whole thing a good sanding with an orbital sander. I didn’t sand it down to the bare wood, just enough to smooth out the wood filler, and take the varnish down. Then I gave it another good scrub with TSP.
For the base coat I went with the mid tone blue. Although I have never been a fan of the very flat finish of chalk paint, but man, do I ever love how it covers! I think that the reason they say it doesn’t require prep is because it’s consistency is very much like primer 🙂 Mystery solved!! 🙂
Once I decided what direction I was going in with the finish and started painting I found out that I kind of love this paint. It sort of reminds me of art paint in school. I was enjoying painting so much, I didn’t really want to stop to take pictures. That’s a good thing. But I did. because I have to write a blog post.
Don’t you just hate it when your job interrupts your fun?? Me too 😉
I won’t tell you how to do this
This is not a tutorial, since this is my first time blending with chalk paint, so it’s more of a review and lessons learned type of post. My blending isn’t perfect, but I expect it will improve with time and practice, like everything.
I used 3 colours:
A dark tone – Admiral
A mid tone – Riverrun
A light tone – Warm white
Despite what poor repair this set was in with regard to the finish. It had all of it’s components intact. The mirror and stool and original hardware were all there. The original handles are made from Bakelite in a nice shade of orange, which may have been cherry originally. They also had small brass bands on each side, but these were all long gone except for one. I gave them a soak in vinegar and water and then a good scrub. And then a coat of paint.
After the vanity was all painted, I felt like it needed a bit more interest, so I added some metallic accents. I went with Rust-Oleum Metallic Accents Paint in Champagne. These are my favourite metallic paints, they are thick and smooth and beautiful to paint with. I picked spots where it seems like the metallic paint would naturally fit with the design of the vanity.
The mirror is not in the best shape since it’s original. But I decided to keep it anyway. It has a really cool smokey effect around the edges. I gave it a very thorough cleaning. Then I just painted the base portion of it to match the vanity, and gave it a bit of metallic highlighting. I did a bit of reading, and some of these older mirrors are made with mercury on the back, which is what gives it that really cool smokey effect. But it’s not something that you should scrape off. I thought about replacing it, but I decided to leave it because I think it has some charm. I’ll leave the decision to replace it to it’s new owners.
The stool is one of the reasons that I wanted this vanity. So many of these go missing over the years. So, it was awesome that this one was in existence. It was in really terrible shape, especially the top. The final piece of the project. Two layers, of smoke stained and ripped up old fabric – yuck. But easy enough to fix. I picked out some new fabric to play off of the champagne colour of the accents. Underneath the old fabric and foam, the wooden stool top was still good so it just needed a piece of foam and new fabric.
To makeover the cushion, I used a piece of 2″ thick foam, and covered it with a gold embossed fabric that I chose to match the champagne toned accent colour. I cut a piece of fabric about 3-4″ larger than the seat. I cut the foam to match the size of the seat, and used spray adhesive to secure it to the seat. Then I sewed 4 corners in the fabric, pulled it over the foam and seat and stapled the fabric to the bottom of the seat. Here’s the after photo of the seat.
Look how much prettier it is now!
I applied a top coat to the entire piece to seal and protect it, because I have read that sometimes pieces that are waxed, don’t always stand up well, and the paint can come off if a water glass is set on top. The brand that I used was the same brand as the paint, which was Fat paint, in a flat finish. Honestly, I don’t totally love the chalky finish of chalk paint, I love the way it covers, and how well it blends, but not the super matte finish. So, I was completely okay with having a bit more of a sheen on it. However, I was surprised by how much the top coat darkened the colour. I will definitely take that into account for future projects. This being my first chalk painting project, it’s really all about learning about the medium.
Fini – And I am officially finished my very first chalk painted furniture project.
It won’t be my last.
Here is my totally unbiased opinion on chalk paint for furniture:
I really loved it. I will definitely be using it again. Here are my Pros and Cons and Lessons learned.
Easy clean up
Great for blending
Fun to work with
Paint is pretty expensive
I don’t love the ultra matte finish on its own
The closer the colours the easier to blend them
Blending takes practice, you will get better with each coat
Although chalk paint has good coverage, you will need more than one coat
Don’t buy cheap paint brushes, they leave hairs in your paint. Go out and buy yourself a few good brushes. They don’t need to be overly expensive. These are the ones that I used with shorter handles for blending
Here are a few more views
That was what my first time chalk painting furniture looked like. I’m definitely going to be using chalk paint again. In the future I will do more detailed tutorials, once I have more experience. I think it came out pretty well for my first piece. What do you think? If I can do this so can you! And this has already found it’s new home 🙂 Time for me to go used furniture shopping!
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