Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chalk Paint® Tips

 Annie Sloan
Creator of Chalk Paint® decorative paint
I took this photo of Annie this April when I attended a day long conference
workshop in Boston.  The highlight of the conference was listening to Annie
explain her color theory and how she looked at color through the lens of history
and then tried to create those colors in her paint line.
She showed us many things~and it was a revelation for me.
By the end of that day I decided I wanted to 
open a french home decor store that offered this marvelous paint.
I had been painting with Chalk Paint for over a year and 
kind of thought I knew what there was to know about it...
well I was wrong...there was a lot more for me to learn.
This post has tips for all of you who are using the paint
or about to start on the Chalk Paint road.
Get your furniture ready by cleaning it from 
dust and grime that may have accumulated over the years. 
Here are some things I recommend when using Chalk Paint®.
Remember the Chalk Paint basics:
 no priming, stripping or sanding!
Pick a color you love and lets get started!!

Tip #1
Assess your piece.  Is it super shiny?  If so I do go over my piece with a sanding block to knock back the shine.  Otherwise just start painting! Chalk Paint dries quickly! Don't use repetitive brush strokes or you will get a rough finish. Long fluid stokes are best.
Load your brush up with the paint and use longer strokes across the piece,
trying not to go back and forth over your strokes as you can with latex and oil paints.  This is something you will need to adjust~your style of painting. Longer fluid strokes.  Because the paint dries quickly, wrap your brush in foil if you are taking a break, otherwise it will be crunchy and stiff in short order.
Kind of shiny....and will need some clear shellac too.
 Tip #2
You really don't need to prime or prep (unless its super shiny~then sand lightly). If the piece has flakes or gouges those are issues that need to be addressed as the paint does not make those problems disappear.  If you have a piece of furniture that starts to bleed while you are painting  (which means a discoloration comes through your lovely paint job), stop painting! Get a can of Zinsser Clear Shellac and go over the entire piece. It will dry quickly and then you can resume your paint job.
Another reason you would want to seal a piece with Zinsser Shellac is if it has a bad odor, like must or smoke. Seal the entire piece first, then start painting.

Tip #3
One light coat of paint, followed by a second light coat should be your protocol for most pieces of furniture. When you start your first coat, expect to see brush strokes and some of the wood peeking through.  You might feel like your paint job is looking amateurish~but wait til the second coat goes on.  You will look like a hero!!  Two light coats of paint is the rule, not a heavy gloppy first coat to try to cover the surface.   When you apply the second coat I like to "kiss" the tips of the brush in a bit of water to help the second coat glide on smoothly. It makes a big difference.  As you are painting check the edges to make sure it is not running or globbing on the side you are not directly painting. I am checking constantly to make sure there is no buildup as I paint.
 Tip #4
After the two coats are finished, this it the time to decide to distress or not~if you are going to distress your furniture I like to do it before I wax. Its a personal preference. Go over the edges where it would be worn authentically with the passage of time. Resist the spotted look~a little bit here and a little bit there creates the dreaded Leopard look! This piece below is what we call "violent distressing"! Normally we do not distress pieces this heavily, but once again, its a matter of preference.
Tip #5
Now your piece is painted and distressed (or not) and ready for waxing.
Use a wax brush to apply a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax. If you buy one thing, make it a wax brush! It is worth its weight in gold. Apply a small amount of wax by kissing the tips of the wax brush onto the wax and then apply to the surface of the furniture.  Brush it in with a good amount of pressure.
I cover about a two square foot of area, then take a lint free cloth and rub it down to remove any residual wax.  We don't want extra wax on a piece as it will not dry properly. Then move to the next area and repeat the process. Remove any errant brush hairs when waxing or they will become part of your finish. When you have finished the entire piece wait 24 hours and then take a clean lint free cloth and buff.
We use the Ultimate Buffing Brush to make short work of the buffing required to bring up the lustre wax can give a piece of furniture. You can get this at our online shop, www.shopmaisondecor.com if you are interested in purchasing. If you have ever scratched your nicely painted finish with your fingernails while buffing with a cloth you will wish you had strapped this horsehair buffing brush on instead!
Buff means to rub the cloth briskly over the surface and you will see a sheen develop.  It takes a piece 21-28 days to fully cure.
Tip #6
Caring for your wax brush:  If I am doing a lot of painting and waxing I store my wax brush in a neoprene (not latex) surgical glove. It keeps it nice and supple, ready to be used, even several days later.  I don't like to wash my wax brush until I am finished with it for a period of time.  Wash your brush with warm water and Dawn dishwashing liquid. It cuts through the wax nicely.  Then I paper towel it off and shape the bristles together as I towel it off, then place flat to dry.  
Tip #7
Dark wax?  If you plan to age your piece with dark wax, you want to apply it after you have finished your piece with Clear wax.  Don't let the clear wax dry first~if you do, then lightly wax again with clear wax, then apply small amounts of dark wax in areas that would look good with a patina.  Some pieces will want to have dark wax over the entire thing, others will benefit from a small touch here and there. Apply dark wax with a separate wax brush, like the one shown above or a cloth. (Do not use your Clear wax brush as it will cause staining and render it ineffective for creating a clear wax finish in the future. We sell both options in our online store here.) After you apply a small amount of dark wax, use a clean cloth and rub it around on the piece~continue until the piece is done.
Tip #8
Too much dark wax?  If you think your piece got too dark with your application, add some clear wax with a cloth and rub to remove the dark wax area you would like to lighten up.
Tip #9:  A combination of a little dark wax mixed with the clear wax on a paper plate and then applied can be an easier way to use dark wax. Try this to see if you prefer this method. Remember to always apply any dark wax over a fresh moist coat of clear wax.
Tip #10 Dark wax changes the color of Chalk Paint. The desk in the photo above shows Paris Grey.  The greenish khaki area is Paris Grey after treated with dark wax...it looks totally different.  I recommend making a sample board with your paint color, wax the entire thing, then use dark wax over half the section so you can access the effect of the dark wax.
Tip #11 Do not use wax on outdoor items.  Chalk Paint can be applied to front doors, home exteriors, bird houses, metal and cement garden statuary and more.  The reason we don't wax is that the warmth of the sunlight keeps the wax from curing.  Yes, you can paint a front door and wash it later on without a coating of wax!
Tip #12 Caring for your piece.  Do not use furniture polish on your waxed pieces.  A damp clean cloth will do the trick.  Smudges can be removed by applying a bit of clear wax and buffing out the spots.  Over time surfaces can benefit from another a coat of wax, particularly on pieces that are getting rubbed down a lot over time, like coffee tables, kitchen cabinets and the like.
My kitchen in Old White
Tip #13  Workshops~I highly recommend taking a workshop with your local stockist.  I learned so much from my first class~and I know my students are blown away with the information they get in my Introductory class.  The Introductory Workshop is really an Everything Workshop~so if you are looking to get into painting furniture~this is the class for you!

Click on the comment section below to see questions that were asked and to see the answers I gave in regards to various paint and wax dilemmas.

QUESTIONS??
If you have a particular question about Chalk Paint™® and wax,  ask on the comment section below. I will answer your questions in the same format right here in the comment section.  Scroll through the comments as you might find an answer to a question you have been wondering about.  
For more information on my two stores please click here.



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