Monday, October 10, 2011

Painting Furniture: Tales from a Chalk Paint Virgin

A while back, a friend of mine was having a garage sale and posted a few things on facebook.  The first item I snagged from her was an antique metal bed that I repainted for my oldest daughter's room.  Then she happened to mention that she had a little dresser that needed a good home as well... and for only twenty five bucks.


I'd had an idea about what I wanted for my front entry, and this changing table turned entryway dresser fit the bill perfectly.

It's just the right size, has just the right amount of storage and it has some pretty details as well.  This piece is a mixture of wood with some wood veneer, so I knew it would need some prep work prior to painting.  *Groan*  Being the amateur furniture refinisher that I am, I had no idea if I could sand all of the surfaces so that option wasn't appealing and neither was the thought of priming after I just finished the monster of a paint job in my office.

Enter chalk paint... Annie Sloan chalk paint to be exact.

I was intrigued by the claim that, with this paint, there was no need for sanding OR priming.  Shut the front door!  Ever the skeptic, I researched it thoroughly via some great blogs and was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered:

Marion at Miss Mustard Seed has some fabulous information and tutorials.  She completes me.  Seriously.

Shaunna at Perfectly Imperfect also is a great resource for all things about painted furniture.  She even has an ebook you can purchase with all of her tips!

After reading their experiences and suggestions, I bit the bullet and ordered my very own ASCP (as those in the chalk paint biz refer to it ;)) and some of the AS soft wax for finishing.  This weekend, I finally took the cans out of the box and got to work.

This is where it gets interesting.

I read the instructions about shaking/stirring the paint prior to use and about letting it sit open to thicken the consistency, but since I had no hands-on experience with anything other than latex and oil-based paint, I starting painting away.  The first coat was definitely too watery in my opinion and I was not impressed with the initial coat.  Luckily, a trip twist of fate intervened:

That, my friends, is my gorgeous ASCP all over my dropcloth, knocked over accidentally by (I'm pretty sure) one of my lovely energetic daughters.  I know, you're sick to your stomach right now, right?  Ugh, I know the feeling.  I was not happy, and I was a little harder on my kids than I should have been about the spill (it was after all my fault for not sealing the lid...).  As I stared at my gorgeous blue paint (my precious) and wondered how on earth I'd clean up this mess, I decided to make lemonade from this lemon of a situation.

I used the dropcloth as my palette.  Yep.  I used the paint for a second coat.

And you know what?  The consistency was perfect!  It had been spilled for an hour or two (I think), so the paint had thickened just like the label said it would.  Imagine that.

Two coats later, my Provence blue ASCP dresser is looking pretty dang good.  I've added two coats of wax with a little distressing in between, and in a day or two I will get to buffing this baby to a gorgeous shine.  I can not wait for the final reveal!

So lessons learned from my first ASCP experience:
1.  Allow the paint to thicken a little before the first use (for better coverage).
2.  Don't be afraid of the wax - it really is easier than it seems!
3.  Embrace the idea of spilled paint on your garage floor as a makeshift chalkboard...
4.  And whatever you do... seal the lid before you walk away! (You've got to protect your precious ASCP!

Stay tuned for the final reveal!


  1. I've wondered about ASCP myself! I have a couple of old end tables I'd like to play around with! I look forward to seeing your finished project!

  2. I cannot wait to see the final product!

  3. Awesome furniture painting!!!

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