July 12, 2015

How to: Paint & Distress Furniture (with Chalk Paint!)

Taking a cue from my friend Alex, who used a glorious shade of Anne Sloan chalk paint a few weekends ago on her dining room table, I decided to paint and update the dresser in my bedroom.

I'm going to start this story by telling you the end: it was a bit of a disaster. But I'm learning to live with it. It's a bit embarassing for me to complete a project that doesn't turn out the way that I expect, but it seems only fair that I should share both my victories and my semi-failures. This project falls in to the latter category.

This endeavor certainly wasn't on my Summer To Do List, but it's something I've been talking about doing for a good long while, and I knew I could do it for very little expense. Trying to pay wedding expenses as they roll in coupled with the added stress of trying to snowball some of my debts, I'm struggling to find projects I want to complete that can be done with a very, very small amount of funds.

But since I already had the dresser and you can buy chalk paint and wax at Home Depot for less than $20 each, I knew this was an attainable goal.

The dresser was donated to me by my great aunt and I have been hauling it from house to house for the last several years. The top is laminate, while the sides and draws are a veneer finish. I was a little nervous about painting it because I've never painted non-wood furniture before, but I figured it couldn't be THAT different. Note: it is THAT different, but still doable. Generally to be successful in painting wood that has a sheen on it you have to sand and prime first. But.. I was feeling lazy. Personally, I've never used chalk paint before this project but all research points to it being a lazy painter's dream: you don't have to prime, sand, or do any prep-work at all. You pretty much just paint it on, let it dry, and wax it a bit to finish and give it some durability.

Ultimately I didn't end up using wax, because the one that I tried to purchase at Home Depot had been recalled. So instead, I chose to use a polycrylic to preserve the paint. THIS IS A MISTAKE, but of course, I'll get to that.



WHAT YOU NEED 

2" Paint brush
Chalk paint
Chalk paint wax

Optional:
Updated knobs
Spray paint for updating old knobs

WHAT YOU DO

1. The thing that is supposed to make chalk paint so great is that you don't need to prep. I, however, attempted to fix some areas to help give the dresser a more finished look. This was mistake number one. I attempted to lightly sand down some spots where the veneer was cracked and/or peeling off the dresser with my orbital sander. This caused some pretty significant damage to the area I was working on, so I stopped and decided to abandon my efforts. Instead of sanding, I wiped down the dresser with a degreaser and let it dry. I was just going to have to live with the bumps. Gives it character, right?



2. I removed the hardware from each of the draws and set it aside. I decided right off the bat that I would spray paint the hardware a satin nickel to give it some vibrancy and new life and to hide the imperfections of the original finish. I took these pieces out to the garage and sprayed them with several thin coats of my favorite spray paint and let them dry completely over night.


3. I removed the draws from the dresser, taping around the fronts of the draws, and set them aside.


4. I jumped right in with the chalk paint! I don't know if it's because of the material of the dresser or if this is just how chalk paint works, but I noticed it didn't go on with the full coverage I was expecting. The Rust-o-leum chalk paint that I used indicated on the can that it was "1 coat coverage" but I found this to be untrue. I really didn't care for the look of one coat. Ultimately, I ended up putting on three coats, waiting 30 minutes between each coat. The coats dried very quickly - almost immediately after painting it on.




5. I left the dresser and draws to dry overnight, though the directions indicated that waxing (or in my case, using a polycrilic) could be done within a few hours.

6. The following day, I picked up some polycrylic because I had read that not only was wax more difficult to find, but it was harder to apply than simply adding a clear coat. (This was my second mistake.) As I had no actual intention of distressing the dresser at the time, I very lightly sanded the chalk paint with a sanding block because I noticed it had "gooped" around the edges. I then covered the dresser in a single thin coat of polycrylic.

7. Panic sets in as I notice that the polycrylic is doing the thing it's not supposed to do: it's turning yellow as it's drying. The can indicates that you should put two or three coats on, but I suspected that would only make it worse. I don't know if this was a reaction to the paint or if it was because I applied it too thick or there was something amiss with the paint brush I used or WHAT, be regardless, but it was NOT turning out as expected.

8. I took my sanding block to the yellowing areas after I had given it considerable time to dry (about two hours, while I paced around the house wishfully thinking it would turn "crystal clear" as the can indicated, but that never happened). This was my third mistake! I sanded just a tiny bit and could suddenly see bits of the original wood showing through!


9. When life gives you lemons, you should just shrug your shoulders and make lemonade. Instead of trying to repaint and recoat the dresser in more chalk paint or more polycrylic - or worse, start over - I decided to embrace the bits of wood showing through and to distress the piece ever so lightly. I mostly did it just around the edges, and areas where I knew it might get bumped and bruised during daily use.


10. I reattached the hardware to the draws and assembled the dresser. It doesn't look half bad! In fact, it makes the room look much more cohesive and a bit bigger. I do love white furniture.


Sooooo not my original vision, in fact it wasn't even close, but I don't mind the way it turned out and I learned a whole bunch in the process! What do you think? Going to try your hand at chalk paint? You might be surprised at what you end up with!

XOXO

27 comments:

  1. I like it! I had similar issues with my table, I suspect because the top I think is a veneer and it took me severa coats of paint. I wasn't patient between coat one and two so I've got some gloopy spots but I'm just going to live with it. It still looks so much better than before.

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    1. I sanded a bit after I was through which helped a little, and if I had planned to distress it, I could have used my orbital sander to get the bumps out, but I made that decision a little too late! Still can't wait to see yours!

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  2. Looks great! Fun tip: If your draws are sticky from the extra paint, rub a bar of soap on them, they will glide like butter!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

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    1. Brilliant! Thank you! I hadn't even thought of that. One of them definitely sticks. I'll give it a try!

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  3. I really like the finish on your table troly. My wife wants a rustic end table troly and your post was the first one to come up in my Google search. The table troly looks great in your space. Great job!

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  4. That's great information. Thanks for sharing this blog. I did a search and found your blog and glowing review. It's been a big help! Thanx!

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  5. I had already painted laminate furniture twice and I can say that this method is spot on. The first time that I painted was a disaster, I rushed things and it ended up in a disaster. I followed your instructions on the second time and I can say that it was successful.

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    1. I'm so glad it worked for you! I will definitely be doing it again - but maybe this time with a higher quality product. I've heard amazing things about Anne Sloan - so I'm going to give it a whirl as soon as I find something to paint! :)

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  6. It is a great post. I was thinking to paint laminate furniture but a had not enough courage.I'll try to do it with the help of my husband. Thank you

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    1. Thank you, Kristin! If I can do it, then you most certainly can! You'll have to let me know how it turns out. Good luck!

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  7. Congratulations! You did a really good job. I love the color. I'm doing some research on painting, too. I have some old things and I want to paint them. But I'm not good at painting and I have no idea.

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    1. That's the beauty of chalk paint (or at least the idea), because you don't need a ton of skill (or practice) to give it a go. Worst case, you sand it off and start over! I'd say pick a smaller piece to try first. You can do it!

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  8. One of the few things band saws are good for is cutting tenon. A tenon refers to an area on a piece of wood that is designed to fit into a mortise, or hole. The tenon and mortise makes up the joint of some wooden items like wooden furniture, bed, fences, boats and many more. great post to read

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  9. My wife also want me to paint again furniture in our house. I will do the same your way. Thanks! Please share with me if you have new posts!

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    1. Thanks, Tom! I certainly will. Things have been crazy in the CastleDIY household - expect many more projects this summer! Good luck with your project!

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  10. Looks great. I like this DIY project very much. I'm doing some research on DIY project. I want to do something like that for my family. But I have no idea now. Your table looks so cute. I love it.

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    1. Thank you, Richard! The rule of thumb I usually try to keep in mind when undertaking a new project is to YouTube a few how-to videos, read a few articles, and then just take the plunge! You can almost always start over. I'm sure whatever you do will look beautiful when it's completed!

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  11. I usually use spray paint. I think it's better than chalk paint, but chalk paint is also awesome and easy to use.

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    1. I LOVE spray paint. My husband makes fun of me because I am constantly bringing it home and it seems like I never empty a can. This was my first try at chalk paint, and I do like that it doesn't require a lot of prep, but I didn't love-love it. Maybe next time I'll invest in the "better" stuff (like Ann Sloan brand) and see if that makes a difference.

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  12. Wow the furniture looks way better after ! Its like a new one, thanks for sharing this ! I will make this too for my furniture !

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    1. Irving, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I enjoyed doing it. I just picked up a little table off the side of the road that might get a similar treatment! Keep an eye out and thank you so much for checking out Castle DIY!

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  13. This is a great guide. I love painting and wood working. Thank for share !

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    1. My pleasure, David! And thanks for dropping in! :)

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  14. I think distressed look is really the trend these days! And have you seen the price tag on these thins? Ridiculous!

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    1. I know. It really is insanity! Just like I won't buy ripped jeans and pay extra, I won't buy distressed furniture! Especially when it's so easy to do on my own!

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  15. This post is very useful for us. Because we have a lot o tips and tricks from this post. Thank you for this amazing post share. great post to read

    ReplyDelete

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