Saturday, February 22, 2014

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is My New Best Friend!

One of my very first blog posts was showing off my new dining table and newly made over dining chairs. I promised a tutorial on the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that I used, and I've been slacking! Now it's been so long, I really couldn't do a very detailed tutorial if I tried, but I'll do my best to recap the process. First I must rave on Annie Sloan for a minute! This stuff in FANTASTIC! The appeal at first is that you can use it to paint just about any surface, without sanding or priming! Yes, you heard me right, NO sanding! If you're a pinterest junkie like me I'm sure you've already read all about this stuff. They have the most amazing color selections. And you can layer color and use clear or dark wax to get virtually any color or finish you want. I used Paris Grey with clear wax, because I wanted the true Paris Grey color, which I thought would look great with the finish on our new dining table.  Here is the gorgeous table with the old chairs.

 The fabulous table comes from the Iron Horse Studio by the way. You MUST check out their website, because their things are absolutely GORGEOUS! This is actually one of many Iron Horse pieces in our home.

Dining chairs pre-makeover.
As you can see the chairs just didn't work with the new custom table. The needed an upgrade. Badly. The old table (not shown) and chairs are oak, and were originally stained a light/medium oak color, which is so not my style. Several years ago the hubs and I took on the tedious process of sanding everything and staining it black. I loved the way it looked, but man oh man, I did not enjoy the sanding! That is just about the worst task I can think of. It's boring, it's terribly time consuming, and MESSY! Needless to say I did not want to take that on a second time. So after seeing Annie Sloan all over Pinterest, and reading that there was zero sanding involved, I had to try it for myself. I tracked down a store here in Las Vegas that sell the product, and does classes on how to use it properly. I'm a jump right in and learn as I go gal, so I did not take advantage of the class. While I'm sure it would have helped, my results were fine without it. If you're a Vegas or Boulder City local, check out Bloom. It is just about the cutest shop ever! I think everything in their store is done in Annie Sloan, and it's all precious! You'll be happy you stopped by!
Anyway, these are the materials I used for this particular project:
1. Plastic sheets to use as drop cloths, or a tarp, or cloth
2. Old t-shirts to use as rags
3. Medium sized good quality paint brush (make sure it's decent quality, or you'll get strands in your paint job!)
4. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint  (I used their Paris Grey color)
5. Annie Sloan Soft Wax (they have a clear or dark option - I used the clear)
I spread a layer of plastic over the floor in case of spills or splatter (I tend to be a bit messy when painting), then I dove right in. I began with my chairs kind of upside down, so I could paint the legs first, then flipped them upright to do the rest. You just paint your surface with your brush like you would with any kind of paint. I admit I was skeptical during the first coat. At first it didn't really seem to cover that well, so I was I little nervous. It did stick incredibly well though. If you've ever tried to paint something that wasn't sanded well, you've seen how the pain just kind of puddles, and doesn't actually adhere to the surface. That was not the case with the Annie Sloan. But there were still a lot of streaks where the black showed through, and I was crossing my fingers that the second coat would do the trick, because three coats was not on my agenda! Let me tell you, the second coat was like a miracle! It covered everything! I couldn't believe the difference in the first and second coats! I was almost sold! And I was able to cover 6 chairs and use just over half of the can of paint.

 The painting is the easy part with chalk paint. The finish is super chalky, hence the name, and not very desirable. That's where the wax comes in. After you're done painting and your surface has had time to dry, it's time to apply the wax. I invested in Annie Sloan's wax brush (pictured at the top of the post) when I bought the paint. I didn't buy their regular brush, since I have a ton of paint brushes around the house. But the wax process was totally new to me, so I didn't want to take any chances. I just dabbed the brush in the wax, and then brushed it on the chairs. Sounds simple, right? For the most part it is, but it's kind of smelly, and very messy! You will end up with this stuff all over you! I started with just a very thin coat of the wax, because after you apply it, you have to buff it with your rag. Since I didn't do the class, I just kind of wiped off the first coat of wax. When I went back to do the second coat, I spent more time really trying to buff it to a shiny finish. I'm not sure if another coat would have given it more of a glossy look or not, but I was pleased with how it looked after 2 coats, so I stuck with that. Also, a little goes a long way! I did 6 chairs, and I there's barely a dent in the can of wax.
After 2 coats of paint, 2 coats of wax, a good buffing, and some new fabric on the seats, here are our made over chairs!

I just love them! I love the grey with the dark stain on the table.
We are still in the LONG process of making over several areas in our home, but it's nice to have one thing checked off the list! Now for some new curtains, new wall color, new rug.....I could go on and on! But now I'm super excited to tackle whatever's next on the list! Probably starting with a side table and dresser that need refinishing! 
I want to know....have any of you tried Annie Sloan? Or is there another furniture painting solution you love? Share your DIY go-to's!

Also, just for you, because you're fabulous, here's a sneak peek of a great giveaway coming up! Check back soon for details!

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xo, Summer