I have been dying to try chalk paint on a project for a while, and I was super excited when hubs finally gave me permission (he doesn’t like painted wood) to refinish an armoire we had bought used for Joelle’s room. This will be the single big piece of furniture in her room and multi-use so I really wanted it to be a focal piece!
After finishing up her stencil wall, I know I wanted a contrasting color and the light bluish/green we already had for the nursery walls was the perfect neutral addition. Shawna over at styleberry blog had just featured her new chalk paint project and between her tutorial and another I found on pinterest, I decided to make my own chalk paint for a fraction of the price!
Most places I found did not mention their ‘amounts’ other than a 1 to 3 ratio of plaster of paris to paint, but I found that 1 cup of plaster of paris, 1/2 cup of water (mix with the plaster until smooth) and then 3 cups of paint was MORE than enough to do 3 coats on the armoire, inside and out, shelves, and drawers. I was left with about a cup of the mixture left. So judge how much you need by that, but I would say it’s better to have extra than not enough because it is difficult to ensure even color between batches.
Here is the armoire before, it was in pretty good shape and I thought the dark finish would look very good distressed against the light paint.
After removing all the hardware, I used a combination of a roller for the larger flat parts and a brush for details. The brush obviously had better coverage than the roller. If it was a small piece, you could get away with two brush coats, but it definitely needed three roller coats. Here is after the first one.
I opted to do the inside as well because I will be using it as a changing table and it will be open at times. I felt the darker wood would stand out too much. This more than doubled the time the project took to complete, but I think it’s worth it!
Don’t be like me and realize at 10pm, after finishing all three coats on the armoire, that your forgot to paint the drawer front and shelves. Ugh. I have read several places to complete your project as quickly as possible as the paint tends to get lumpy and dry overnight. I discovered that as long as it is sealed well, it did last a few days without too many lumps. I was able to use it for touchups, but I would still aim to complete the project as quickly as possible.
I then got to work distressing the armoire. I would say less is more at first, you can always sand off more but it’s annoying to repaint! I loved the way the dark wood showed through. In fact I wish I had done more and may go back to do a bit more later. The chalk paint really sticks well to an un-sanded surface but sands right off into a very fine powder. You will need to wipe down the project after sanding before waxing. This distressing combined with the chalk paint is very forgiving, so you don’t need to worry too much about coverage or small drips or brush lines, which is fantastic!
I then used my wax and a clean rag to wipe a coat of protection over the paint. Most places I read warned about using too much wax and it not drying. As a result, I used too little the first time and had to go back with a second coat. I would say using excess is better at first, as it is easier to wipe off the excess than do an entire second coat! After the wax has tried from tacky to just a rough feeling, use another clean, soft rag to buff the wax to a shine. If you look in the picture below you can see the line where I buffed the right side but not the left.
The buffing process can be slow and you want to do it in a well-lit area so that you can see where you still need more shine. Joelle’s room is not well lit (no overhead lights in the bedrooms, wahh!) so I have kept the cloth in her room and go in at different times of day as the light changes to look for spots I missed. It does create a nice hard finish to protect the paint.
I spent a couple of week shopping online and other places looking for come coral hardware to add a coordinating color pop on the armoire, but I just couldn’t find any that spoke to me. So I decided to be thrifty and used the existing hardware and the stencil color coral paint and a little distressing to add a pop. It’s not my favorite, but it will stay, at least for now!
I am now obsessed with chalk paint and I love it’s finish. I even used leftover stencil color to create another chalk paint project by refurbing an old doll rocker that I grew up with for Joelle’s room! This needed a good sanding because it had been outside and had some weathering. Two coats of the coral chalk paint and it was like brand new!
It was a lighter wood, so I found the distressing was not a prounouced as I would have liked. So I used a furniture touch up pen in dark walnut and colored in the areas I had distressed, quickly wiping off the excess with a paper towel. Because the piece had been sanded before, the exposed wood soaked up the stain but the paint didn’t, creating the perfect amount of contrast. A coat of wax later and it just needed bedding!
I threw together a quick ‘mattress’ and quilt and the kiddos now have a place to rock their dolls and animals to sleep. This will normally stay in Joelle’s room and it provides the perfect pop of coral to contrast with the armoire! I adore chalk paint!