Chalk paint is a centuries old paint medium dating as far back as the Roman empire. It’s a water-based paint using a ground mixture of mixed chalk with water. The name Chalk Paint was registered in 2013 by Annie Sloan as part of her range of decorative paints, and in many instances has become a household name for the medium.
I first fell in love with chalk paint about 3 years ago, I had used it before, but really got excited about the medium after attending a couple of chalk paint technique courses. For someone like me who loves to craft, but is always limited by time, it’s a fantastic and quick rewarding medium. Below is a beginners’ guide to getting started.
Choose your piece that you want to transform
Chalk paint is great for just about any surface and can be easily applied to wood, plastic, steel, tiled floors and even upholstery. The obvious first choice for most people is to repurpose or transform old furniture, transforming a space on a budget can be quite easy if you want to DIY. You don’t need to worry about prepping your piece in advance – just a dry cloth to remove any dust or dirt and you can get right to it. Being water-based means that cleaning is a breeze, as well, and although painting in old clothes is recommended if you get a mark on that favourite sweater, it’s pretty easy to wash out.
Figure out your colour scheme
Chalk paint is a very forgiving medium. Layering your colours with chalk paint is a must if you’re after that ‘aged’ or ‘shabby chic’ look. If you’re a bit distracted with your brush and make a mistake its super easy just to paint over it. Sometimes those mistakes can add to the character of the piece too. To get started find ideas online or in magazines and create a mood board and colour scheme for your piece.
Mixing unusual colours is an option, but one doesn’t really need to as there are so many colours available on the market by different brands – with seasonal colour palettes being released.
There are so many techniques that one can use with chalk paint with creatives, crafters and DIYers coming up with innovative ideas every week. Most techniques start with a base coat. The base colour will always be the colour that shows through when you are applying the top layers of paint for a distressed look. You can layer as many colours as you like and decide whether you want compatible or contrasting colours. Multiple layers of colours will give your product an aged effect.
The crafting doesn’t just end at the paint, it’s easy to add texture and depth to your piece by engaging in some mixed media, such as decoupage, silver, gold or bronze leafing, stencils or applique.
This is personally my favourite part of the process as it is both therapeutic and allows me to ‘connect’ with the craft. Waxing is an old school means of sealing the furniture or piece. Most people use a clear wax to do the basics, but you can also create effects such as depth and definition with the antique-finished waxes. Once the wax has been applied it needs to cure. It does take a few days to cure – depending on humidity and temperature – when I was at my coastal home it took a bit longer to cure. Once cured it’s easy enough to paint over it if you decide you want to add more or different colours. Re-waxing is also possible and necessary if your furniture gets high traffic.
Beth’s List of Chalk Paint favourites:
There are a variety of chalk paint products on the market, available from most DIY and craft stores. Some of my favourite brands include, Annie Sloan, Granny B, Americana Décor & Petite Rouge. I have only used the wax from Annie Sloan, I especially love the white wax and antique wax, but know that the other brands have similar products that are just as effective.
A quick list of what you need to get started:
- something that you want to paint,
- a mood board of techniques and look and feels that you like,
- brushes – mostly big brushes with a few medium-sized ones,
- rags for wiping and waxing,
- wax – you don’t need huge amounts of wax