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So Chalk Right Now

Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint in Clay.

It's ALL THE RAGE. The "in" thing... super on trend, and everyone is doing it. Ok, fine. Maybe not everyone. But if you are into DIY, or even if you aren't, you might be familiar with #chalkpaint. I loooove chalk paint. Let me tell you. I would marry it if I could. I love chalk paint that much. And I will tell you why.

There are DIY-ers that have all the patience in the world to prep their workspace, and then sand the furniture, and then work super slowly and carefully so as to not make any mistakes. And then there's me. It's actually quite the wonder that I even enjoy DIY at all, because my patience when it comes to projects is pretty slim. Like slim-jim slim. You might recall my husband's love for said patience (or should I say, lack there of). I want most of my projects finished like, yesterday. Hence my fondness for chalk paint. Little to no prep? Check. Ability to jump right into a project and get to the nitty gritty of actually painting? Check. Sign. Me. Up.

Now, I can't take all the credit for discovering chalk paint on my own. One of my best friends, Lyndsey, is kind of a chalk paint connoisseur. A closet chalk paint connoisseur, but a connoisseur nonetheless. Lyndsey, who happens to claim that she isn't crafty (LIE), introduced me to the world of chalk paint. Once she explained how easy it was to produce an amazing, gorgeous, refinished piece of furniture, I was on board immediately and started to get to work. And by immediately, I mean that it is very likely that I went home that day and found something to paint. Gotta scratch that itch, am I right?

Now, I personally get the DIY itch quite often, so I have used chalk paint on MANY items in my home. I am going to focus on a couple of solid furniture pieces, but I recently used chalk paint to give a chandelier a little makeover. No, not that chandelier. A different one. And I was so pleased with how it turned out that I will dedicate a future post solely to said chandelier. But back to some of the chalk paint projects I've done. As far as furniture goes, there's a bunch of chalk painted pieces in our home, and I have yet to end up with a piece that I wasn't pleased with.

Side table, originally off white. Painted in Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint (smoke)

For those of you that aren't familiar, I'll give you the little low-down. Basically, chalk paint is a pretty thick, chalky (go figure) paint that covers really well. When you refinish most furniture, sanding is ideal. With chalk paint, sanding is optional. Yep, I told you it was amazing. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAND THE FURNITURE BEFORE YOU PAINT IT. But wait- there is more to why this amazing little miracle in a jar makes me giddy like a little school girl. It dries incredibly quickly. As in, it dries in minutes quickly. "So what does that mean," you might ask. I'll tell you what that means. That means that you can do one coat, and by the time you are finished with coat numero uno, you can almost immediately start on coat number two. No waiting 24 hours, no washing brushes (or wrapping in plastic wrap) in between coats. That, right there, is right up my alley.

The Project

So what do you need to get started? Well, first, the chalk paint, obvi. There are a few different kinds of chalk paint, and people rave about Annie Sloan. I have actually never used Annie Sloan chalk paint, but I know it does a beautiful job. My friend Lyndsey (the closet chalk paint connoisseur) swears by it. I myself have only used Martha Stewart's Vintage Decor Paint. It is basically the same thing, but Mrs. Stewart just calls it by another name. The other necessity that you are going to want to have is a Finishing Paste/Wax. As I mentioned earlier, chalk paint lives up to its name and is very chalky when you apply. After you complete as many coats as your little DIY heart desires, you are going to want to a) sand briefly around edges in order to give a distressed/antique look OR b) skip the sanding and apply the finishing wax. Annie Sloan has her own line of finishing waxes, but I've always been happy with good ole Minwax. Applying the finishing wax is about as easy as just painting it on. Depending on how thick you want the paste, you may want to use a wax brush (yep, made specifically for this). I have always had luck with just using an old rag or a regular paint brush as well. Like I have mentioned before, I like to use what I have lying around.

Chalk paint: Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint (smoke and linen); Minwax Finishing Paste in Special Dark

The Details


Project piece (furniture, lamp, picture frame...the list goes on and on)

Chalk Paint

Finishing Paste/wax

Paint brushes

Old rags/wax paint brush (optional)

As I've mentioned, I've done a few projects with this stuff. My first project was an old dresser from my in-laws' cabin that I refinished to go along with my son's nautical themed nursery. Here, I used two different colors of chalk paint in order to give it a little more dimension. Slap some new knobs on that bad boy, and you've got a perfectly adorable dresser. Best part is that you are reusing a piece of furniture that might mean a lot to you and your family. In this case, this dresser has been around for years, and it was fun for the family to see its new facelift. You can see that there was a bit more sanding and antiquing involved in this piece, and that's where the finishing paste/wax really comes into play. If you use a dark wax, you can really change the color of the paint that you originally applied. I played around with this one a little bit, adding more wax as I wanted, but still, the whole project took me an afternoon.

So the options really and truly are endless with this little gem of a painting strategy. You can make it really complex and refinish an entire dining set, or you could go as small as giving some candle sticks a new facade. Just add that to the list of reasons why I love that stuff. So if you want to scratch that DIY itch, or dip your toes into DIY in the first place, chalk paint is where it's at.

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