Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Newbie Tips

Last weekend I finally got around to painting my kitchen table, which is a project that’s been on my to-do list for weeks. You may remember that my table is actually a desk (Ballard Designs’ Whitley desk):

I got it dirt cheap at the Ballard Outlet because the poor gal was in pretty bad shape – lots of dings on the desk top and a bunch of surface cracks on the legs. 

But the girl had some good bones (I love the scroll design of the legs!), she was the perfect size for my kitchen eat-in area, and I figured I could cover up her dings and cracks with some paint. Last weekend she finally got her makeover and I couldn’t be happier with her new look!

I started out by doing some damage control on the cracks – I shot some expanding Gorilla Glue into the cracks to fill them and hopefully prevent further cracking (LOVE Gorilla Glue – it’s my go-to for fixing just about everything!).  Then I smoothed a coat of wood filler over the cracked areas and sanded it smooth after the filler dried. That’s all of the prep that I had to do because I was using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to paint her up and as you may know, this paint requires NO prep work.  No sanding.  No priming. Nada.

I chose “French Linen”, a dark gray, as my paint color. I used a natural bristle brush (a $1 chip brush from Home Depot) to apply it. I didn’t get very good coverage from my first coat, maybe because I was painting such a glossy surface, but the paint dries so quickly that once I was done with the first coat it was ready for a second coat. With the second coat I got very good coverage – you can see the difference here:

I probably could have stopped with the second coat but since this was a table that was going to get lots of use and abuse, I went ahead and did a third. Probably my favorite thing about using this paint (other than the fact that there is no prep work…) is that the brush marks smooth out so well as it dries.  I was loving how the table looked at this point

but I decided that it would look even better with a bit of distressing. After using my round waxing brush to apply a very thin coat of the Annie Sloan Wax (really working the wax into the paint by applying mild pressure to my waxing brush), I used some fine grit sandpaper to distress the edges of the desk so that some of the original ivory color came through:


Next, I used a rag to wipe off the sanded bits of paint, rub in the wax all over the table, and wipe off any excess wax.  After 24 hours, I finished it off with a second thin coat of wax, making sure that I covered the distressed areas well. Finally, I went over the table one final time with a rag to smooth out the wax and wipe off any excess. About two days after I was finished fixing her up and the wax seemed totally dry, I used a rag to buff the wax to a nice shine – done!:

The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was great – definitely unlike any other paint that I have used.  While I’m a Chalk Paint newbie and by no means an expert on using it, I picked up a few tips from reading about others’ painting experiences before painting my table, from talking to Laine (my local chalk paint expert) at MissElaineous Studio, and from my own painting project. Here’s my two cents on the paint and a few tips:


*It’s a great paint to use if you’re not experienced with painting furniture because it is very, very forgiving.  I almost had a heart attack after finding a long brush bristle embedded in my paint after the final coat had dried but I gently sanded it out, brushed on some more paint and it blended in seamlessly. I love that. 

*Use a natural bristle brush (usually labeled “pure bristle”) rather than your typical synthetic Purdy brush for painting.  I used a simple chip brush such as this to apply my paint:

The chip brush worked well for me but I did loose quite a few bristles while I was painting so keep a look-out for any loose bristles in your paint as you go along. For applying the wax, I invested in a round Annie Sloan Waxing Brush that was great to work with and really helped to get the wax into little crevices. It too was prone to loosing bristles – I guess it’s to be expected with any natural bristle brush. I bought an Annie Sloan waxing brush because I plan to do some more painting projects in the future but if you aren’t ready to invest in an expensive waxing brush, I’ve read about others who have used a chip brush or even a rag for the waxing and have been happy with the result.

*Don’t apply too thick of a layer of wax – only put a small amount at a time on your brush or rag because a little bit goes a long way! Use some pressure on your brush or rag when applying the wax to work it into the paint – using a circular motion while applying it worked well for me. Also, don’t worry if you find that you have some very small pebbles of wax that don’t smooth out as you are applying it.  That worried me as I was waxing but when I went back with a rag to rub the wax in, everything got smoothed out!

*Distress AFTER you apply your first coat of wax and then add a coat of wax to the distressed areas.

*If takes close to a month for the wax to fully cure so use a bit of TLC for a few weeks after you’ve painted and waxed your furniture piece.

* The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, wax, and waxing brushes aren’t cheap but after finishing my painting project, I still have over half of the quart of paint left and over ¾ of the wax. I have another project in mind for using them, which will make the money invested in supplies seem much more reasonable. Also, you don’t need to spend any money on paint strippers & primers since no prep work is necessary.

*There are several advanced techniques that you can use with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to create gorgeous finishes including techniques using two different colors and using both dark and clear waxes. Many of the studios that stock the chalk paint offer classes that allow you to experiment with either basic or advanced techniques before embarking on your own project. Click {here} to find a retailer near you with links to each retailer’s website for information about classes.

* Have fun! The beauty of painted furniture is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Having some brush marks and imperfections is part of a painted furniture piece’s inherent beauty so have fun with your project and don’t sweat it if the final result isn’t perfection – it shouldn’t be. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Pink and Orange for a Girl’s Bedroom

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For my oldest daughter’s tenth birthday, you’d think she’d want clothes from Justice or an iTunes gift card. Nope. She wanted to have her room repainted and get new bedding to make it less of a little girl’s room and more of a tween room (I have cursed/gifted my girls with a love of decorating!). I kicked her out of her room for several weeks while I not only painted and added new bedding but surprised her with a new desk, fabric pinboard, lamp, and night stand. Some day I’ll have to share the video we took of the big reveal – her reaction was priceless! My youngest daughter just turned nine but she’s already started planning for her tenth birthday room redo.  She’s cut all sorts of things out of catalogs but they are a mishmash of color and design so I suggested that she either find some bedding […]

Darryl Carter’s One Kings Lane Sale

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Are you all familiar with Darryl Carter? I wasn’t until about two years ago – I had been unsuccessfully shopping for a large storage piece for my dining room for months and had decided to give Thomasville a try. As I walked towards the back of the store, my eyes landed on this beauty and the decorating angels began to sing…. {Better Homes & Gardens} Certain that this china chest was well beyond my budget, I walked with dread over to the price tag – it was on major clearance – I almost fainted. It turns out that this china chest was part of a collection designed by Darryl Carter for Thomasville.  Thomasville had discontinued the collection and was clearancing out all of their remaining floor model pieces. Not only did I end up with the china cabinet of my dreams for a fraction of the original cost, but I […]

Decorative Growth Charts & Rulers

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With several of my friends expecting little ones in the upcoming months, I’ve been on the lookout for unique baby gifts – something other than a frame or onesie that new moms get a zillion of. Earlier this week, I spotted some adorable canvas growth rulers at Hobby Lobby that come in light blue or light pink with ivory dots. And the price is great – only $6.99 each (just a little over $4 with the weekly 40% off coupon!).  The perfect find for a baby gift basket! The growth charts would look adorable hung up in the nursery and, as a sentimental mom, I think it would be such a nice keepsake to pass down to your child once they have their own kids so that the next generation can see how they measure up to mom or dad!  Also, with so many families moving at some point when their […]

Kitchens with Small Dining Spaces: Use a Desk for Your Table!

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If your house is on the newer side, you probably have a large eat-in area in your kitchen or maybe you even have a hearth room or breakfast room that your kitchen table calls home. Nice.  via via via On the other hand, if you have an older home, your kitchen eat-in area may be teeny like mine. And it may be that you have to squeeze through that tiny eat-in area to get to the slider that goes to your backyard.  And you may have a crazy boston terrier that likes to be let out through that slider about 50 times a day. Only to ask to be let back in two minutes later…so that she can then ask to be let outside again.  After several years of dealing with this less than ideal situation, I’ve finally come up with a two-part solution that will free up some space […]

Kelly Wearstler’s One Kings Lane Sale

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Kelly Wearstler is one of my favorite interior designers – she’s edgy, innovative, and just about anything but boring. I love how she’s able to seemlessly mix vintage with modern and is totally fearless when it comes to working with color. And her fashion sense? Unbelievable.  In case you’re not familiar with Kelly Wearstler, I pulled up some of my favorite images of houses and hotels that she has designed to show you what all of the fuss is about: Gorgeous, right?!! There’s also a more contemporary, colorful side to Kelly Wearstler’s decorating that I wouldn’t choose for my own home but can totally appreciate: You may not even guess that all of these designs came the same designer as the first pictures that I showed but that’s what’s so amazing about Kelly Wearstler. Rather than doing cookie-cutter design, she describes her professional style as being dictated by her clients, […]

Target’s Privet House is on Clearance!

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Target now has their Privet House line of home goods on clearance (everything is 30% off) so if you’ve been eyeing any of the Privet House pieces, now’s the time to get them! My Target still has at least half of the Privet House items they originally had – some of these items are in their original locations but other things (like the poufs and pillows) had been moved to different end caps that are more hidden so if you’re searching for a specific piece, take a good look around the store. Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Choosing a Hanging Lantern Pendant for the Kitchen

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Earlier this week I blogged about choosing a new bench seat as part of my makeover of the teeny eat-in area in our kitchen. Now I’m on to the next step in the makeover – finding new lighting for over the kitchen table. I love pendants with an industrial vibe and was initially leaning towards using Crate and Barrel’s Emmett Pendant Lamp: but ended up deciding that I wanted something that is more decorative and more consistent with the style of my home – a hanging lantern.  When I look at all of the kitchen inspiration images that I have saved over the past few years, it’s obvious that I’ve always been drawn to the look of lanterns hung over kitchen and dining tables:   via via via via via via via via Now that I’ve decided on a hanging lantern, it’s on to finding the right lantern for my space! After much […]