Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chalk Paint: My First Try

So anyone who reads DIY blogs or decorating blogs knows that chalk paint is a huge big deal right now. I love the look of chalk painted furniture, and have always wanted to try it. But at around $40 for a quart, I was reluctant to shell out for it! So I just used flat paint watered down for the same effect with some nice results. Still, I really wanted to try the real deal.

Then one day I ran across a "fake" chalk paint recipe on line somewhere, involving plaster of Paris. I still stalled, because plaster of Paris is just not something I think about buying at the home improvement store.

Then, I read somewhere about making a fake chalk paint with baking soda....  now that, I can handle!

So, I needed a furniture candidate to be my guinea pig, in case I royally messed up.

I found just such a piece at the local recycling center, in the dump. Yes, the dump.... the legs were wobbly and needed tightening, and the drawer missing, but someone just gave up on it and dumped it instead. That's okay. I rescued it in a flash.


The main thing I like about this piece is it is solid. Like I always say, it's not worth putting pretty paint on crappy furniture. This thing weighs about 25 Lbs. I kid you not. Once we tightened up the screws on the leg brackets, it was solid as a rock. The other thing I like about it is that it was FREE!

One of the things they say about chalk paint is you don't have to sand or prep the item you're painting. But I did lightly go over the surface with 60 grit sandpaper and my electric sander.

I used some leftover paint from another project and poured about 2/3 cup of paint in a plastic container with a lid, and added 1/3 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup water and stirred it up. It still didn't look right so I added the rest of the paint in the can (about another 1/2 cup or so) and more water, until I had a mixture that resembled the consistency of pancake batter. Then I slathered the paint on.

It was gritty, and dried quickly so I had to work fast. I learned several things pretty quick:

1. Don't try to "touch up" a spot that already has paint on it. Trying to add more paint over a spot you just painted a minute ago takes almost all of it off as you go, leaving "gaps" in your painted surface. That was tricky to deal with.

2. A little primer is a good idea. A few small stains did leak through.

3. You're probably going to have to do 2 coats; I did. There were too many bare spots on my piece after one coat. You can kind of see this in one of the pics above, where I show the brush streaks in the first coat. All of that got covered in the second coat. But let it thoroughly dry first! I guess that depending on your piece, you could do one thick coat, but I hate thickly coating a piece with paint because of drips. Ugh.

4. Work fast with chalk paint. Fast, fast.

After I got it all painted, and dried, It felt gritty and rough. So I sanded it a bit with some 150 grit sandpaper, by hand. Then I distressed it. I discovered that this stuff really bonds well! It was a pain in the neck to get down to the original finish in my distressed spots! I had to apply a lot more pressure than usual. So, this paint isn't going anywhere. Which is good.

(The drawer is missing from the table, but I am going to cover the hole with a false drawer front and pretty knob.... eventually. For the time being, I am just going to turn it around so you can't see it.)

Next, I decided to try glaze. I have never glazed anything before but have been dying to try it. So off I went to the home improvement store and I bought a Rustoleum product that looked good, and some furniture wax to go with it. The glaze ran me about $15, but a little goes a loooooooong way so I will be able to use this on many, many more pieces. So, it is totally worth the money if you do a lot of projects. The paste wax was $10, and again: a little will go a long way so - it's worth it.

The glaze goes on with a brush and is then wiped off. It left my previously bright white piece with a nice tea dyed look.

When the glaze had dried overnight, I waxed the table by applying with a soft rag, drying 15 minutes, and buffed it with a dry, clean rag. It turned out great. I am very, very happy with the result. I am thinking about keeping this and using it in my den.

The wax really smoothed out the gritty texture, without a high gloss look (I do not like high gloss.)

 I am really happy with the performance of the fake, baking soda "chalk" paint result!

I am thrilled with the glaze (although I did decide not to use this on my buffet project, as it turned out darker than I thought, and darker than indicated on the can. But I think that was because of the way it reacted to the chalk paint. It absorbed more and therefore, darkened more.)

I am thrilled with the furniture wax finish. No stinky shellac fumes!

I am altogether pleased with the entire result. :)

Obviously, because I have never used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I do not know how the baking soda recipe compares to the real thing. But still plan on one day giving Annie Sloan a whirl. :)


Herb of Grace said...

Lovelove! Wish we had time on the wedding weekend to do a project together :)

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I can't pop for the real deal either, so I make mine with plaster of paris, I had never heard of the baking soda. I found what you did, you can't go back over chalk paint while it is wet. Your table looks great and the price...well, priceless


Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

It looks wonderful, what an amazing transformation. Thanks for the tip about using baking soda, I never heard about this before. I've used lots of chalk paint and discovered that it distresses much easier if done within a couple of hours after the paint dries. Great job!!

Pi Casso said...

Wow! What a great post.I just found this blog. I'll definitely be back. Marie-Therese Mit Strohhut

Anonymous said...

To avoid dragging off the paint dip the brush tips in water before the next stroke. Your table looks great

robin joynt said...

my paint is gritty and had to sand but don't I have to paint again and it will be gritty again before I glaze, or does the glaze make the sanding marks disappear?

Unknown said...

I just finished repurposing a hutch with Rustoleum Charcoal Grey and the Rustoleum clear wax. My surface is also gritty...but I do have some Annie Sloan waw, which is think is thicker. I think I will give that a try to see if it smoothes it out. I hope that will work. If any of you have any suggestions, please let me know!