In this post: If you’ve ever wanted to chalk paint furniture but felt intimidated, this easy step by step tutorial will show you how to DIY a chalk painted table.⇒
Often, the hardest thing is just getting started.
Did you ever have something in your life that you put off for a crazy amount of time, only to find once you finally got into it that it was way easier than you expected and all you needed was to just start?
That’s exactly how I felt about painting furniture. Truth be told, I’ve been planning on tackling this for years, long before I had the specific piece I wanted to paint or the paints to work with. I knew in my heart this was something I should be able to do, but it intimidated me nonetheless.
Then both the piece and the paints found their way to me and suddenly there were no more excuses. It was time.
It’s not that there is a shortage of pieces of furniture in my home that I’d like to paint, but they are bigger pieces that play an important role in the rooms they inhabit and that’s not the place I wanted to start this experiment.
But then I began cleaning out my parents’ home and I found this little French table that was calling my name. My mom had kept it in the bathroom for makeup storage, and over the years it had gotten quite beat up. My dad, who was no stranger to painting furniture, had painted it white years ago with little gold accents to suit my mom’s French provincial taste. But he used latex paint which was a bit too shiny and easily revealed the brushstrokes in dimensional streaks.
While I love French style, this was an outdated look and I preferred an interpretation that would be a little more modern.
At about the same time, I received some paint to try from my sponsor, Pure & Original paint. I suspect this is like learning to eat meat by tasting filet mignon, without ever having a greasy hamburger, but why not start with the best?
With table and paints in hand, there were no more reasons to delay.
The curious thing about me is, once I finally decide to get going, I’m terribly impatient to dive in and I’m not the best about proper set up or prep. In this case, that just meant I didn’t have an appropriate drop cloth, so I just grabbed a trash bag and put it on my hall tile floor.
I removed the knobs on the drawers and lightly hand-sanded the flat surfaces because of the streaky latex paint. I’m not sure that sanding was necessary and I gave up after a few minutes. That was the extent of my prep.
Then I opened the luscious paint. For my first coat I used Evening Shadow from the Pure & Original Classico chalk paint line. It’s a lovely grey with blue undertones and it goes on with a gorgeous velvety look. I used two coats for full coverage, although now that I know what I would be layering on next, I likely didn’t need the second coat.
If you simply want a matte look, you could stop here (and go for the two coats). But I love the look of aged patina and subtle distressing, so I kept going.
Next I used Classico Bone from the same line. I lightly brushed it on the raised surfaces with a dry-brush technique (very little paint on the brush and no water) where you would naturally expect to see highlights. Much like applying makeup, think highlights on the raised surfaces and shadows in the creases.
For the flat surfaces like the top and sides, I just brushed some of the lighter color on somewhat randomly. Next time I might try a wash, with more water, but as I was getting used to the paint and wanted more control, I skipped that this time.
From here, I moved onto shadows and for this I borrowed a technique from my friend Cindy from Edith and Evelyn Vintage, since I didn’t have a dark wax. She recommends creating your own homemade glaze using thinned acrylic paint in Burnt Umber.
I made the glaze quite watery to avoid adding heavy splotches of dark color. You can always build it up by applying more, but if you make a mistake you can also work back in with the original paint colors. As you layer on the paint, you can also rub some off for a more subtle look. That’s the beauty of using layered colors. It’s very forgiving and the more layers, the better. I added the dark glaze into the recesses to create depth. The more detailed your piece is, the more beautiful the result.
I opted to stick with the original hardware, but my dad had painted these with latex too. I started to remove some of the white with steel wool and soon realized I could peel the whole thing off! I love the way aged brass looks with dark left in the recesses and the shiny brass highlights showing through, so I achieved that look with the steel wool too.
For the final touch I used Pure & Original Classico Italian Wax. It’s a clear wax that can be buffed to your desired sheen. I used one coat and a light buffing.
I must admit, I’m utterly smitten with this foray into furniture painting and you can be sure you will see many more projects coming on the blog. I’m ready to tackle our bigger pieces and I’m excited to start shopping for timeworn items for the sole purpose of painting.
My dad encouraged me to take the table and to rework it to my style, but he passed before he could see the finished product. I know him well enough to know he would be proud.
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