Today I am sharing a few furniture painting tips that I picked up last weekend when I attended a painting workshop with the inventor of Chalk Paint® herself, Annie Sloan.
In my mind, when I learned that I would be going to the furniture painting workshop on the second day of the flea market, I had pictured a small room with a few tables in it for a handful of others besides me to sit to learn first hand from Annie Sloan.
My mind was blown when I entered the brand new workshop and event space at Sweet South Cottage and Farms.
Not only was it an enormous space, but it was so nice to see a room full of kindred spirits who enjoy transforming furniture and their home as much as I do.
At every seat there were the supplies needed to paint a wood frame with a few Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan colors to choose from that included the newest color called…
…Lem Lem. This limited edition color’s name was inspired by an Ethiopian phrase that means verdant, green and supplying life. You can read more about it, here.
I chose to paint my frame using three colors. I mixed Lem Lem and Giverny as a base coat and Primer Red as the topcoat. It looks perfect on Ed’s desk. I distressed it and then added a thin coat of clear wax.
While Annie shared her chalk painting tips, we painted and in between painting tips, Annie told us her story and how she got started painting furniture.
Here are some of the takeaways from the workshop that I learned.
Chalk Painting Tips From Annie Sloan
Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Paint Colors
Don’t like a certain chalk paint color? Or perhaps you think your project would look better with a unique red/pink color that isn’t available. Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is designed to be mixed, so colors will never be muddy. Create the exact color you want by simply mixing the chalk paint colors together.
Start by mixing only a small amount at first. When you like the color, then make more to use on your project.
Use an Annie Sloan® Mix Mat
If you are a newbie at color mixing, the color chart on the back side of the Mix Mat will help. You may be asking, “What is a mix mat?” It is ingenious and the first of its kind furniture painting accessory. Inspired by the function of a traditional artist’s palette combined with the simplicity of a rolling tray. It allows you to be inventive and create your own paint colors by simply adding them to the mat and mixing them around until you like the color you see. It evenly distributes the color onto brushes, rollers, and stamps.
It is made with a silicone-like material that holds paint on its surface without the paint running off. It is easy to wipe clean so it can be re-used again and again.
I ordered one when I got home from the trip since I mix paint colors ALL THE TIME. I use to mix on a foam plate or in a jar, but the mix mat allows you a lot more room to play and get creative with color. You can read more about the mat, here.
Create Chippy Finishes With a Stirring Stick + Toilet Cleaner
Yep, you read that right. If you want a very old layered and distressed finish on a piece of furniture you can do it with toilet cleaning bleach, the thick kind that coats the toilet bowl. Once the coat of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is dry, squirt some toilet cleaning bleach in an area you want to look chippy. Let it sit on the painted surface for a short time. Then using the end of a wood paint stirring stick, chip away at the paint.
This technique is one of many in Annie’s new book, Annie Sloan Paints Everything. I have a copy to give away. More about this at the end of this post.
How to Paint Upholstery
This was a biggie for most of the audience. In the past I have painted upholstery with paint and fabric medium. It works fine, but it does require mixing ratios of paint and fabric medium together. If you want to paint something large you will need a lot of fabric medium.
When using Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan all you need is a spray bottle of water, a paint brush and chalk paint.
You simply spray the fabric with water first to dampen. It does not have to be soaking wet. Then apply one light coat of the paint using a brush, let dry and add another coat if needed.
You can leave the paint just as is or it can be sealed with one light coat of clear wax, then buffed.
Here is an identical chair that she had painted a day earlier using French Linen. Looks amazing and…
… only felt just a teeny bit stiff, but soft when I sat on it. It will be fully dry in a few days depending on the air temp and humidity. Once dry it will not rub off onto clothing when you sit on the chair.
The Right Brush Can Make a Difference
I have always used old t-shirts to apply and buff the clear wax finish. I have seen others use a wax brush, but up until now, I never have. Well that is going to change…. after painting the frame, I am a convert. What I learned was that when you dip the ends of the bristles into the can of wax it picks up just the right amount of wax. A simple whispy swirl onto the surface is all that is needed.
Annie also told us that when she applies the wax, she does it section by section. Adding wax to one area with the brush, buffs with a soft cloth and then adds wax to the next section, buffs and continues until the surface is covered.
Buffing Chalk Paint Wax
And one last tip. I have always used old t-shirts to buff the wax finish.
What works even better are soft shop towels like these that you buy at the hardware store. The surface of the towels is soft but they have a fine texture to them that shines the wax with a few quick buffs.
I want to thank VisitTallahassee.com for inviting me to attend the French Country Flea Market and workshop. Special thanks to Bonnie Olson for making sure I had a wonderful time and got everywhere I needed to go including happy hour at Level 8 Lounge, dinners at Backwoods Crossing and Table 23 in Tallahassee and a private tour of the Grove Museum.
The GIVEAWAY for the book, Annie Sloan Paints Everything is OVER.
- Congratulations to the winner: Jeanne Sheridan