Have you ever found a great piece of furniture that needed a little TLC? One of the hot products on the market right now for DIY projects is chalk paint, which has gone from a niche specialty product to one that’s rapidly becoming more and more available at local paint and home improvement stores. Chalk paint is different from the chalkboard paint we’ve seen on the market for the past few years. It’s meant for furniture or cabinetry, and is meant to cut down on the time and effort necessary to complete a restoration project, while at the same time making the end product look like a professional paint job.
With chalk paint, it’s easy to create a bedroom or dining room set out of mismatched pieces that end up looking like they have always belonged together, simply by using the same shade of paint and using the same technique.
If you’re particularly adventurous and handy, there are even recipes for making your own chalk paint with plaster of paris or latex paint!
One of the advantages of chalk paint is that there is no sanding, stripping, or other physically intensive labor involved in the process – the chalk paint sticks well, even to enameled surfaces. A small amount of paint goes a long way, and it rolls on thick, but smooth.
Here’s how to use chalk paint.
First, the piece of furniture should be cleaned thoroughly with a TSP-like product, or basic soap and water, and completely dried. Make sure you have enough space to paint without accidentally marking nearby surfaces, and place a drop cloth under the piece.
Remove all the drawers and hardware. Read the directions on the chalk paint – most paints need to be mixed very well, and some need to be placed upside-down for a half hour to an hour to make sure the heavier particles don’t stay at the bottom of the paint jar.
A good quality paintbrush will make your job easier and lead to a better looking finished product. Coat the piece evenly, but make sure the coat is thin enough to not drip.
It may take two or three coats to finish your piece. Let dry for at least one hour between coats, longer if your specific brand’s directions indicate. Make sure you let the final coat dry before re-installing hardware and drawers.
Chalk paint is also great for giving furniture an aged, distressed, shabby chic look. Simply sand before adding a top coat.
While chalk paint can be left on its own for a muted, matte finish, there is also the option to finish the piece with a specialized wax product to make it shine. There is clear wax, dark and light waxes, each with their own look, as well as aging dust that can be applied over the wax. Also, a clear polyurethane top coat can be used to permanently seal the piece if an annual re-waxing is not something you’re excited about.
If chalk paint sounds like a dream come true, it sure can be! More information on chalk paint and accessories can be found at your local paint or hardware store.