Painting Furniture with Chalk Paint

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It seems like painting furniture can easily intimidate people.. I think people fear ruining a piece of furniture.. But it's just furniture!!  It can be sanded out and painted over.. If it eases your fears, find an old piece of wood or buy some cheap wood to practice on first.

My husband's grandparents were from Orleans, France.  We were lucky enough to snag this precious coffee table that his granny had brought over from France.  I knew the style would fit perfectly in our new home, but the color would not so to my chalk paint I went.  
I've used Annie Sloan and Maison Blanch in the past, but this time I tried out Oh Lola in Cathedral and used Maison Blanche  medium dark wax.  What I loved about Oh Lola was that they had small 8 oz jars for just $13.  Most chalk paint comes in 32 oz jars for $32-38.  I actually only used about half of the 8 oz jar for this whole table, and that was using two coats.

First, wipe down all dust from your piece then get to painting.  You do not need to sand or primer at all with chalk paint.  You can paint on pretty much any surface with it too!  When you first paint it on, you'll see thick stroke marks.  Don't let that discourage you.  It will spread out as it dries to have a more even look.  I always do two coats with my first one being pretty heavy and thick then my second coat just a finishing coat. I like to do my first coat a little heavy because I feel like it helps reduce stroke marks.  It does dry pretty quickly so I maybe wait 30 minutes after my first coat to start my second.  

Once your piece is fully dry, it's time to distress.  There are a couple ways to do that- sanding or with damp cloths (shown above from Lowes).  I find that Annie Sloan is best to distress with sand paper as it's very hard and time consuming to do with the cloths.  Maison Blanche is super easy to do with the damp cloth, and the Oh Lola was an either or.  When you do it with a damp cloth, it gives it a more chippy look while the sanding give it a worn from use look.

I decided to do the damp cloth because a lot of my furniture has been distressed by sanding, and I wanted a different look so they don't all look the same.   You get a bowl of warm water and one of the cloths, dampen it and wrap it around your finger.  With this technique, you can distress anywhere since it just looks like paint chipped off.  With sanding, you will want to sand where it will look like it was worn naturally such as around the drawer pulls.

The above is a different piece, but it's an example of what distressing with sand paper looks like.  There isn't a right or wrong way.. Just get after it!  Once you get the distressed look you're wanting to achieve, you have to wax.  This seals the paint and locks the chalk in so it doesn't scratch off.  Maison Blanche has white, clear, medium, dark and black waxes so I tend to gravitate to that brand of wax since I have more choices.  The darker waxes give the paint a tea stained or glazed look which I love.  If you're using Annie Sloan, you will want to do a coat of clear wax then go in with dark.  With Maison Blanche wax, you do not have to clear wax it first.

Here is the medium wax put on without buffing.  You will want to apply with a separate, smaller brush.  Just brush it on lightly then get one of your lint free cloths and buff it.  I don't typically put a lot of elbow grease in it.  I just wipe in a circular motion, and it looks great.  The dark wax will stay in the creases and make them look a little darker and aged. Tip: Do not wash your wax brush off with water.  Instead, just store in a ziplock baggy for later use.

This is what it looks like buffed out.  You can see the difference in shade and how it darkens the original paint color some.  The chalk paint has a very matte finish without gloss at all.  The wax does gloss it up very slightly, but not much.   I think the matte finish adds to the aged look.

After I finished the buffing, I put the glass center back in.  I followed these instructions to turn my glass center to look like an old mirror.  It was super easy, but I did practice with a vase first.

And here she is all set up!  I found old books from the nostalgia section at Half Price Books, cut off the covers with an exacto knife and tied with up with jute.  They fit perfectly in our living room!  At $2-3 each, they made some simple but statement decor.
Happy painting!
Emyli xo


  1. Great tutorial! Love your blog and can't wait to see more. I did not know they made the 8 oz. cans of paint. A little does go a long way.

    1. I'm sorry I'm just seeing this.. I'm a little new.. Yes, Oh Lola makes the smaller jars.. You can get them at the Frisco Mercantile.. Love that place!!!