I’ve been reading a lot about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in blog-land and on my recent visit to the Luckett’s Spring sale I saw so much of it in action I decided “enough is enough, I have to try this!” So, I ordered several colors online (unfortunately I don’t have a dealer in my town) and waited for them to arrive. Well, they are here and I have created my first project! Ta-da! Here is my hutch painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint color: Provence.
Above you see some of the paints that I ordered. I had already been painting with the Provence blue when I decided to take the above photos so please forgive the messy pan can! But I want you to see the colors in the can. They are lovely but like most paint, they do look lighter in the can than they do once they are dry. Just so you know. When I ordered my paint I also ordered brushes for the the paint and for the wax. The paint brushes are pretty interchangeable (except I do recommend getting the best bristles you can to help the paint go on as smoothly as possible) but the wax brushes are terrific! They do cost a bit more but they are so nice to work with that I highly recommend them. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.
First, say hello to my hutch: before. I love the combination of wood and reeds in this piece but the color was a bit too yellow/gold for my decor. I had refinished my dining room table a couple of years back and I have to say that all the sanding, stripping, and sweating that was involved in that project put me off furniture refinishing for life – I thought. So I’ve been living with this piece as is for a while. But then I kept reading about how easy chalk paint was and decided to give it a go. Well, can I say – they were right! You don’t have to sand or strip. Nada. You want to paint? Grab a brush and a can and get painting! That’s my kind of paint!
So mid-morning on Friday, I picked my paint color and shook the can vigorously up and down and then grabbed my paint brush and got to it! By lunch I had applied my first coat to the outside of the piece. The paint was very easy to work with. I ended up painting straight from the can – I’m sure a pro would have poured it into a separate container to paint from but I didn’t have anything handy. I did notice that the paint began to thicken slightly and I had read that this would happen so it didn’t alarm me. If this happens to you and you don’t like it – just stir in a bit of water (no more than a tablespoon at a time) to thin it slightly.
To start, I began at the bottom and back of my piece to get the hang of using this paint. There are a few steps that will help you get a better finished product in the end and practicing on an area that wouldn’t be seen was a good idea for me. Here are a few things I learned:
1) Apply your paint in the same direction as the grain of the wood when possible.
2) Work in small areas and apply the paint thinly – getting the paint too thick can cause it to get “gloopy” (not sure that’s a real word but when it happens – you know it!) If that’s the look your going for great – but on this piece it wasn’t what I wanted…
3) Along with painting in the same direction of your wood grain also keep your brush strokes in the same direction. Oddly, if you paint up and down and then across on the same spot and if the paint has begun to set up at all it can actually begin to remove the paint (and again look gloopy!). So, if you’re painting up and down – stay in that up and down pattern.
After lunch I began to paint the inside. I had considered painting the inside of the piece pink – I love pink! To get the shade of pink that I wanted I combined Emperor’s Silk (a bright red) and Antoinette (a pale pink). I did this in a tupperware container with a lid so I would be able to store any unused part for a future project. I painted one of the inside shelves to see if I really like the color and I’m glad that I did a “test” shelf like this because sure enough, it wasn’t what I had in mind but I needed to see it to know for sure. Then I got out the can of Old White (so glad I ordered lots of colors!) and it was perfect!
This photo shows the outside after 1 coat of Provence. I ended up applying 2 coats of Provence to the exterior to get solid coverage and 1 coat of Old White to the inside. The first coat of Provence covered well and would have been fine had I wanted a distressed look because you could see the wood peeking through in spots. But I wanted this to look more opaque and the 2nd coat did just that. On the inside though I left it with just one coat. I didn’t mind seeing some of the original wood in spots and I didn’t want to use up more of this special paint then absolutely necessary. Since it was inside I let it go at this.
Saturday morning I applied my second coat of paint and then waited for everything to dry thoroughly and began applying the wax. Make sure everything is totally dry before you begin this step. When you apply the wax you don’t want to disturb your finish. I had a very hot day so my paint dried quickly. If it’s not hot and dry you may have to let yours sit overnight… jumping the gun on this step could cause more trouble then it’s worth. OK, now on to the waxing!
Here’s an important tip I learned – apply the wax in a THIN coat with your brush being sure to “push” it into the wood and all your crevices and again work in small areas. The Purple Painted Lady gave some great tips about this on her site. Then immediately after brushing it on go over it with a t-shirt wiping off the excess. This isn’t to polish the wood – you’ll do that later if you want. With t-shirt in hand I waxed away and it worked great! I used the clear wax on my hutch because I didn’t want to darken the color but I think I’ll try the dark wax on my next piece.
And that was it! By Saturday afternoon I had a totally “new to me” hutch that fits perfectly with the colors in my kitchen! Especially the drapes that I sewed with Waverly’s “Groovy Grille” fabric!! If you’ve been on the fence about trying chalk or milk paint, I encourage you to take the leap!!!
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