Chalk painting is loads of fun! In fact, if you’re new to painting, chalk paint is one of the best paints to “start” with as it’s very forgiving, requires little prep work and is fairly easy to fix if you make a mistake.
However, there are still a few important steps you should take if you’re considering painting your first piece. There is no time like the present. If you’ve decided that there is a piece of furniture you know would look better painted, you might as well try it out.
Finding the Right Piece
As a newbie painter, I would suggest being a bit careful when picking out your first chalk painted masterpiece. Look for a piece of furniture that will be easy to paint, that way you’ll get the hang of painting before you take on any projects too big. You’ll want something that doesn’t have too many drawers, or pieces you need to take apart.
The piece I chose was this gorgeous rocking chair. This is great starter piece because it doesn’t have any parts that need to be removed, sanded, stained or disassembled.
Prepping your Furniture
What You’ll Need:
- Mild soap and water
- Wash cloth
Before you begin painting, you’ll need to do some prep work. When you’re chalk painting, the prep work is easy. All you have to do is wash your furniture down with mild soap and water. Allow the piece to air-dry
If you have any areas that need wood filler or parts of the furniture that are chipping or peeling, you’ll need to address that before painting. Hopefully, you picked a piece that won’t require that prep work, but if not, make sure your surface is dry and smooth before beginning. As with any paint job, prepping is key. Chalk paint is wonderful in that you don’t need a ton of prep work, but if you skip the required prep work, the final product can still come out poorly.
What You’ll Need:
- Chalk Paint (I chose Country Chic for this project)
- Chalk Painting Brush
Before dipping the brush into the paint, make sure to stir the paint. If all the chalky goodness isn’t mixed together, the paint can be watery and won’t give you a chalky finish with good coverage. Treat it like you would any other paint.
I have to be honest, it hurt a little to paint this beautiful rocking chair. It was in great condition and simply a beautiful chair from afar. Up close this rocking chair was very beat-up. It needed to be refinished in some way. Sanding and re-staining with the beveled edges would have been too much for me. I came to the conclusion that painting would be the best option.
I chose to paint this in Country Chic’s All-in-One Simplicity because I thought it would look great in a classic white with heavy distressing and maybe a little antiquing dust.
You’ll want to use a round chalk painting brush, like the Country Chic’s Round Brush and begin with the first layer of paint, painting very conservatively. You don’t want to have any dripping in hard to reach places, or pooling of paint in any of the crevices. The first coat of paint looked rough on my rocking chair, but I knew that as I moved forward, the rocking chair would look better and better. So, don’t get discouraged if your first coat looks rough too, it’ll get better with subsequent coats.
Allow the first coat of paint to dry before applying the next coat. This takes at least an hour of not a few.
Subsequent Coats of Paint
The second coat was probably my thickest coat of paint. It covered well. I was still rather conservative on the amount of paint I used. However, once dried, there was still a bit of bleed through. It took a total of three coats to finally cover the chair to a solid white. Even without distressing, the chair was beautiful.
With subsequent coats, wait 24 hours before applying additional coats of paint.
As you paint, you’ll want to apply as many coats as needed until you get full coverage on the piece you’ve chosen. Because I chose white, it automatically meant I would by applying more than two coats of paint. However, many other colors cover better and only need two coats. If this is your first piece, I would suggest using a darker color for better coverage.
Choosing to Distress
What You’ll Need:
- Sandpaper (course – I chose 120 grit)
- Damp Wash cloth
I chose to distress my rocking chair. I took a more coarse sand paper, 120 grit, and distressed all around the chair. I wanted it to look really beat up. I had two reasons for this:
1) I thought it would add a lot of charm to the chair
2) it would hide any imperfections in the paint, due to all the nooks and crannies.
Distressing took much more time than anticipated, because, again, nooks and crannies. However, once all the distressing was done, I took a step back (covered in dust by the way), and looked at how truly beautiful the chair was.
If you choose to distress, use a coarse sandpaper and sand down the edges and areas normal wear should exist. This will most likely be corners or edges. On this chair, I chose to distress the seat as well to look like it had been worn out and well used.
This is an optional step and not necessary for every piece.
Waxing Your Furniture
What You’ll Need:
Waxing is pretty simple. You can find a waxing brush at any home improvement store these days, or you can find them online. There are many kinds of wax, I used Country Chic’s Natural Wax to seal the chair. With your brush, you apply the wax generously over every nook and cranny on the surface of your piece. Once it had been applied, wipe off excess with a lint-free rag/fabric and buff in a circular motion into the wood. This will really seal you piece and prevent any chipping or wear.
As you wax, you’ll notice the color from the paint really coming through. If you distressed your piece, the brown from the wood of the furniture will really come through. You will need to wait at least 24 hours before handling. Although, it takes about 30 days to fully cure.
The Final Product
Once the rocking chair was dry, I couldn’t believe how my labor of love turned out. The rocking chair was beautiful before, but now it was simply charming.