Chalk paint is wondrous stuff, designed for the busy person who wants to be crafty, but has little to no time to do so. It requires no sanding, no major scrubbing, pretty much zero prep work, but results in a gorgeous finish. . .
If you don’t have any furniture at home that needs to be refinished, keep an eye out on craigslist, local swap and shop
Before you begin wash the piece that you’re about to refinish, I used (homemade) windex and then wiped it down with a warm damp cloth to remove any residue. As you can see in the photo, the piece was really dusty from having been in a house for several years untouched.
Remove the hardware from the wood, unless you want to paint right over it with your chalk paint. For this project we’ve decided to spray paint the hardware black with metallic speckles to give it a little sparkle.
Paint the piece, working in sections, keep in mind that chalk paint tends to dry rather quickly. If you want to prevent visible brush strokes simply use a good quality paintbrush with LONG bristles. Avoid using cheap $2-5 brushes with short bristles, first, short bristles are much harder to hide the paint stroke and secondly, when it comes to cheap brushes, you get what you pay for. A decent quality brush will last for YEARS if washed properly when you’re finished. Be sure to occasionally stir the paint to ensure that it remains smooth.
Once it’s dry, paint another coat, if desired, let it dry completely, in this case it took about 45 minutes. Using a piece of sandpaper, lightly distress the piece in various spots to give it a “worn” appearance. This, of course, is completely up to you and depends entirely on whether or not you want a fresh look or a more antique-like look.
To complete the piece you’ll need to seal it. It can be sealed with Sealing Wax or with a polyurethane. Each has it’s own benefits and drawbacks.
We used sealing wax on one piece and poly on the other.
To Apply Sealing Wax:
Brush it on with a decent quality brush, let it set about 2 minutes, then buff off gently using a clean, lint free cloth. This process can take a little while and can be labor intensive depending on the size of the piece you are refinishing. Now, if you intend to use this piece inside in a high traffic area that may be handled or touched frequently, you might want to consider using polyurethane instead, which is more permanent and easy to wash.
The wax on my piece immediately started to draw out the natural oils of the wood and started to yellow immediately. Yellowing is not a feature that I like or appreciate, so I naturally scrubbed pretty hard to get it all off. Another drawback of using sealing wax is that it’s wax- which means it will need to be reapplied in a few months. In fact, about every 3-5 months to keep a nice luster on the piece.
To Apply Polyurethane:
Brush on a high quality Clear poly with a high quality brush. Again, this is not the time to be cheap or you will have ugly brush strokes in your finished piece. Cheaper brands can and WILL yellow over time, so be choosy in the brand that you pick, unless you don’t mind redoing a piece over and over again.
Polyurethane also comes in a spray if the piece is fairly small, you might prefer that instead. Just be aware of the sheen that you want, Gloss, Semi-gloss, or Satin and choose the brand and type accordingly.
Once the poly or wax has been applied and is dry, reattach the hardware.
We’d love to see your “DIY” chalk paint projects as well, feel free to share photos in the comments below!