I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I know it wasn’t actually through Pinterest, but I did look back through a board and find a “Pin now, read later” pin that linked to an Annie Sloan tutorial. So it was just meant to be.
Annie Sloan, from England, created this “Chalk Paint” about twenty years ago specifically for painting furniture and creating an aged European look. But don’t confuse it with chalkboard paint – I’ll link you to her website for more history & information here.
This paint has only been available in the United States for a few years & is sold through private retailers known as a Stockist…and lo & behold, there is not one place to buy it in South Dakota. The closest store is near Minneapolis or in Iowa. I knew I
wanted needed this paint, I had been drooling & literally dreaming over it for weeks. So on our way to the Twin Cities for our weekend getaway, we swung through Savage, MN and talked to the owner, Chris of Denim Rose, and finally bought some paint.
My plan is to paint the kitchen cupboards, the railings in the living room, and of course the hutch. The main reason I wanted this paint for these projects is that it does not need sanding or priming! That’s right, NO SANDING OR PRIMING!
I don’t know about you, but my definition of an awful time is trying to sand this:
and I talked awhile back that I originally wasn’t going to touch the kitchen cabinets until we did a complete gut job in a few years, mainly because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of sanding and priming. But then I found this paint. You can use it on any material: wood, laminate/particle board, metal (even over rust), walls, and it can be used inside or outside. It is low-VOC and can be cleaned up with soap & warm water. And if you go to the website or on AS’s Facebook page, you can see just how versatile, forgiving, and creative this paint is. I honestly can’t do it justice, you just have to see the pictures.
The only downside to the paint is that it is relatively expensive. It is only sold in by the quart for $35. That’s not pennies, but when you take into count the time you save by sanding or priming, I feel it is completely worth it. I know our kitchen will be a disaster zone when I dismantle and paint everything, but I would have to live that way for at least 2-3 days extra (or longer due to working two jobs). It would probably be a two-weekend job, but with this paint, I could do the whole kitchen in one weekend. It also has 50% more coverage than latex does so the paint goes further than you think.
This was my test project before I tackled the kitchen, probably should have started with something smaller, but go big or go home right?
I must have been so excited to start that I forgot to take a complete before shot….so let’s go back to 2010 for a very before shot, please look past the flying Doberman & my awful picture-taking abilities:
One of the first things I did to the hutch when we moved in was take off the doors to the upper shelves to fully display Rob’s war medals & memorabilia.
Chris, the stockist from Savage, told me the only prep I need to do is clean the piece with mineral spirits and a rag. Easy enough. I took everything out of the hutch because I was planning on purging its contents:
I’m amazed at how much was in this thing! The majority were school books & cookbooks that were shoved in there during the move because we didn’t have a bookcase. And Yes, I left everything on the floor like this for about two weeks for me to finish this project since the DR table was being worked on in the garage. This drove Rob nuts, but I knew he couldn’t purge the way I could since it was mostly my stuff. So he lived with this for a week while I was on vacation with my sisters. :)
But anyway. The first thing I did after cleaning with mineral spirits is to coat the particle board with a homemade sealant. I saw pictures on the ASCP Facebook page that showed problems painting particle board or MDF which I knew I was going to be painting (the shelf and back of the upper cabinet). The particle board is so porous that it soaks up all the paint, one Facebook reader said she mixes Elmer’s glue with water and paints the MDF to form a sealant the paint can’t penetrate. I did two coats on the shelf and inside the cabinet. I thought this was a great, inexpensive way to save paint….and it worked!
I used a little brush because it was a cheap one I had on hand & felt ok throwing away if the glue ruined the brush, so it took a while to paint. I wasn’t scientific about it – some glue, some water, swirl, and paint.
Finally ready to ASCP this thing!!! Because the paint sediment settles to the bottom, you should flip the can over for a minute or two to mix the particles, then Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture, alright, now Shake It…Then stir with the cute miniature stir sticks your stockist gives you. Side note: Annie Sloan sells brushes specifically made to go with the paint and wax for $35. For as much paint as I bought, I couldn’t afford the brushes, but I was told you can use other brushes. If you are working with the paint full time then it would be a wise investment. Someday I hope to acquire the wax brushes at least. I used the most natural bristle brush I had on hand: Purdy 2″ natural white bristle brush.
Here is after the first coat of Old White (which is the most used color).
You can see it doesn’t cover perfectly, but I was going from a dark brown to white, so not too bad. They say most projects will need two full coats. A lot of users dilute the second coat with a bit of water to make it last longer. Which is what I did as well.
My biggest problem was the paint cracking on the front edge of the hutch and showing a lot of bleed through on the bottom cabinet frame:
After two coats, it wasn’t getting any better and I didn’t want to waste more paint than needed, so I emailed Chris and sent her these pictures. She looked into it and said to cover the piece with shellac and put another coat of paint on. She said that certain types of wood used in certain time periods (50’s-70’s) have been known to bleed through like this. So I had to buy a $20 quart of Shellac (wah-wah-waaah)….but it worked. I was tempted to do a trial with the glue & water sealant. I’m assuming it is the same type of thing, but didn’t want to waste any more paint at this point if the glue didn’t work.
Although this paint boasts no prepping, I now know how the paint works with this specific type of wood in our house, so I will be covering the kitchen cabinets with either shellac or the glue mixture before the first coat of ASCP to prevent the bleed through. I don’t plan to use it every time I paint a piece of furniture though.
I used Emperor’s Silk for the inside of the cabinet.
Rob took the above picture with his iPhone after he put the cabinet back together while I was gone.
A special aspect of ASCP is that it must be sealed with a wax, which is usually the hardest to learn how to use. The order goes likes this: 2 coats ASCP, clear wax, sand for a distressed look if desired, dark wax, clear wax. You don’t have to use the dark wax, but you need to use the clear wax to protect the paint. Never use the dark wax without first using the clear wax, otherwise the dark wax will stain and ruin your piece, and always make sure the paint & wax is fully dry before putting on another layer.
After two coats of paint, it will feel chalky to the touch and have a flat-latex paint look to it. The clear wax is what gives it a smooth finish and a slight sheen to it. Again the AS brush makes the wax application easier, but I just used an old t-shirt rag for now. The key is to rub the wax into the paint and then WIPE OFF THE EXCESS. Girls, it’s like putting conditioner in your hair: you apply as much as your hair will absorb and then you rinse it out the leftovers. Because I was already using a rag, I was doing two steps in one at times, but I did have an extra rag to take the excess gunk off. Otherwise the wax won’t cure properly and will have a tacky finish. Each step dries in about an hour, but I left at least 24 hours for the clear & dark wax coats to dry (actually it was a week since I was gone but had I been here, 24 hours would have been the wait time). I decided to skip sanding and see how the dark wax looked by itself:
The key to dark wax is to RUB IT IN the crevices, corners, wherever you want to distress the piece, then wipe it off. The dark wax will stay in the crevices. It is easier on pieces that have a lot of curves and detailing, which this piece did not, so I found it more difficult to create a “natural distressed look.” If you find you put too much dark wax on, you can rub clear wax over acting like an eraser in times like these. Here is my mistake:
I tried to paint it on with my rag and then wipe off the excess. I don’t know if it was because I was using the rag, the flat-no-detail surface, or all that plus not really knowing how to use it. I tried to use the clear wax to wipe it off but it was too much to clean off so I just repainted that part and tried again. I eventually learned to use discretion with the dark wax and it turned out like this:
The doors have a dirtier look than I was going for but from afar it doesn’t look that bad. I think it turned out fairly well without having used the paint before or taking a class (which most stockist offer in their stores, I just can’t drive six hours to Minneapolis for one at this time). I didn’t put a lot of dark wax on the red paint, the particle board made it hard to rub in and rub off. After 24 hours, I buffed the heck out of it with a lint free rag to give it a nice smooth finish. Here is the finished product:
I rearranged the pieces in the hutch, but it’s still not how I want it…and eventually I’ll find something else to put on top, the branches have seen better days and are looking a little pathetic up there. The inside is also looking better these days:
You can see I didn’t paint the back of the doors…I didn’t think it was necessary at this time & I’m hoarding as much paint as possible to save for the kitchen. By the way – to save some moolah I spray painted the hinges:
I plan to put knobs and handles on the cabinets, but didn’t want to wait for those to start this piece. I was also worried it would look too dirty, as I really love the look of crisp white cabinets in a modern kitchen, but for our temporary kitchen facelift, I think I can make it look like a chic farmhouse kitchen. Hopefully.
So that is the beginning of my new adventure. I’m so excited to use the different paint colors and learn how to layer multiple colors, distress, and create some crazy beautiful pieces. I’m hoping I can learn enough about this paint to help and teach others how to use it too. Annie has made this paint for the purpose of having fun, so it shouldn’t be stressful. She personally answers questions on her Facebook page and complements the pieces her users share. Annie and her stockists work hard with a huge focus on educating their customers and preventing failure. I know this was a ridiculously long post. There is so much information to share about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, so thank you for hanging on and reading this book-length post. I could link a ton of tutorials on how to use it that I found helpful, but honestly, there are so many so just plug “Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Tutorials” into Google and research away! But come back here for future ASCP related projects!!
If you are reading this and have used this paint before please share your pieces and any advice you have for this novice! :)
Update: check out my second project with ASCP – painting all the kitchen cabinets.