Friday, April 20, 2012

Stenciled Chalk Paint Table

If you spend as much time reading furniture and design blogs as I do, you’ve probably read about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Well, I had read about 5 million blog posts where people use this magic chalk paint to change their furniture into a Paris flea market find look alike. I had two major issues with this:

  1. While the chalk paint was cute on romantic antiques, I was sick of seeing people apply a "cottage chic", "parisian flea market" style to Danish midcentury modern tables. It just didn’t make sense to me. Some of the furniture looked great, but did every piece of furniture a person laid their eyes on need to be painted? And in this way? Gahhhh.
  2. It’s freaking $36 a quart. And by the way, you really have to buy wax to put over it, which is another $26. 
But really my main reason was that there’s this real snotty side of me who just isn’t interested in embracing something seemingly ordinary that everyone else thinks is awesome, especially when I can see how it all turns out online. It’s the same reason why I never read the Harry Potter books. I mean everyone and their mother (literally) was reading it, and I already knew the story, and I didn’t feel like reading a bunch of long books just because everyone else loved them. I’m doing my same snotty move when it comes to the Hunger Games. I also fully rejected Uggs. There are some trends I embrace fully, but those are just some that I have snubbed.

Which is why you may be surprised that this post is about my first experience with chalk paint. Yeah, I caved. It happened after I went into a store for Benjamin Moore paint chips and asked the color consultant what her favorite whites for furniture were. And then I had this conversation:

Color Consultant: “You’re painting furniture? Have you tried that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint?? Oh my gosh, my sister and I picked up some paint and a bunch scrap wood and tried a bunch of different treatments. It is so fun!”
Me: “Nahhh, it’s just so expensive.”
Color Consultant: “But it goes so far! And there’s so much you can do with it!”
Me: “Huh yeah maybe I’ll try that…anyway, do you recommend any whites?”

This store didn’t even sell Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. But it was around that point that I decided if I was going to be even semi-professionally involved in this industry, I should try this new and popular product.  Plus, I’ll admit, I was curious. So I headed to Stifel and Capra in Falls Church and picked up a quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence from the stockist, Stylish Patina.

I decided to do a paint/stain treatment on an end table I bought on Craigslist. Before I applied the chalk paint, I had to sand and stain the top. I applied Minwax Dark Walnut stain to the surface. After the stain had dried for a couple days (not necessary, just my lack of time), I lined the edges of the table with painters table to prevent the paint from getting on the recently stained table surface.

Then I took to my adventure with the chalk paint. And I have to say; it was really easy to use. I applied two coats of paint and let it dry. The next night, I used the same stencil that I created for my desk to stencil the surface of the table while watching Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and Duck Dynasty on TV with my roomie. It was a wild Friday night.

After the paint dried, I went over the edges and details with a sanding wedge. Then I used a rag to wipe off the dust so that I could apply my wax. I ended up buying the Annie Sloan wax because it was high quality, easy to use, and I would’ve had to order other recommended wax so the price seemed worth it. I also splurged and bought a waxing brush because, well, I just love new tools and this one looked so cool.

Waxing was mega easy. I used Miss Mustard Seed’s video tutorial, and I highly recommend you do the same.

After I applied clear wax and let it dry for a while, I used a little bit of my Dark Walnut stain mixed with the clear wax and applied it to the table with a chip brush. I let it dry a tiny bit, and then spread it and wiped off the excess with a clean cloth. I really liked using this technique because I didn’t have to by dark wax (saving me another $26), and because it gave the color some very subtle depth.

The next day, I used a cloth to buff the table, giving it a subtle sheen.

I’m very happy with how the table came out, and I definitely understand why so many people are using chalk paint. It applies easily, and the best part about it is that it’s not supposed to look perfect, so if you make some mistakes, it just adds to the character. And because it covers very well with just two coats, and is easily watered down to give more of a wood-wash look, it does really go a long way. This paint looks good, and it goes on quickly. It may be $36 a quart, but time is money, right? 

I can’t say that I’m going to start painting every piece I see with chalk paint, but I’m definitely going to keep it in my stash and use it when I feel a piece is calling out for it. 

And oh yeah, this table is probably coming with me to the Lucketts Spring Market May 19-20 if I don’t sell it earlier! (If you didn't know I was selling, check out this post.)


  1. 1. I love this looks fantastic. 2. I haven't read the HP books either for precisely the same reason. I have always wanted to go to the Lucketts store...I always pass it by on the way to the outlets in Leesburg. :) What is this market you mentioned? :) Thanks! Megan

    1. Lucketts is a great store! I recommend going on one of the weekends that Stylish Patina and Chartreuse & Co. have barn sales (like this weekend!). It's only about 15 miles from Frederick on Rt. 15. I'll be selling furniture at their Spring Market on May 19-20. I edited the post to include a link to their website.

  2. I saw your Mom yesterday and we were talking about you trying out chalk paint. I LOVE how your table turned out Sarah. I especially like how you let the wood show through on the top. I think I am going to have to commission you for a piece sometime. I just have to figure out what I want. I have a thing for orange. Oh, and did you know Autumn is working with the woman from Stylish Patina?

    1. Thanks Jody! I saw a while ago that Stylish Patina wrote on Covet's facebook wall, but hadn't talked to Autumn in a while. I'm excited to see what they'll do together and I'm pumped for Covet's furniture launch!

  3. This table looks so cute I like how you stenciled the top. ASCP is great I use quite often, stop by for a blog visit and see how I made my own chalk paint for a desk and it looks GREAT if I may say so myself. Have a great weekend Sarah.

  4. I came over here from another DIY blog. I have to say I don't get the trend for painting every ding-dang piece of furniture. I understand if it is pretty beat up or not good quality wood. However, I never paint good quality wood in good condition. All I can think is: What a pain it will be to strip when the color fad is done and gone (or chalk paint colors are no longer "in"). I have an end table exactly like this one you painted - though mine is more distressed (another thing I don't get - distressing. I'll loan you my kids for a week and they'll impart genuine distress to anything you'd like). I love the lines. I just keep cleaning and feeding the wood. I love seeing the different wood grains and wood tones in a piece of furniture. Sometimes I almost want to cry when I visit some of these decorating blogs and see a beautiful piece of furniture painted over. I predict in a few years there will be a flood of painted furniture listed on craigslist.

    1. I'm constantly fighting my internal conflict between painting and refinishing. I painted this table because the top was in bad shape and it was obviously a veneer, so when I sanded out the flaws I created another flaw. I did the stencil in an effort to distract from that (still kind of visible) flaw. But I think ultimately it depends on the piece. Some pieces can really be improved with a paint job while others look better with a good cleaning. I actually like picking up pieces that are in really bad shape because then I don't feel guilty painting over the wood! For people trying to make a profit "flipping" furniture, I can definitely see why they paint. It takes sooooo much less time to paint than it does to refinish, and unfortunately it seems that buyers just aren't willing to pay for that level of effort!

    2. Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that when I'm doing furniture that will be in my home, I often decide on wood vs. paint by what would look best in the room.

  5. I love the stenciled top with the stained wood. Thank you so much for linking this up!

  6. I think your little table turned out just so sweet!

    thanks for linking up !


  7. that turned out so well, sarah! i love the shape of the table! have you tried diy chalk paint? it's much cheaper and i find it really easy. :)

  8. really pretty- love the color combo and the DIY stencil! well done! visiting from POWW!

  9. Do you use the chalk for your stenciling as well? The piece looks get!


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