My DIY “chalk-like” paint experiment.

So if you’re anything like me in the, “I love thrifting furniture” department then I’m sure you have heard of, and maybe even tried out chalk like paints for yourself.  I am always so jealous when I see furniture painted with this type of paint, it looks so smooth and feels so soft, like it came straight from the factory that way.  Well, after many years of lusting after that same look but not wanting to spend some serious $$ on paint for a cheap piece of furniture, I decided to give in and try a DIY recipe.

You can find the recipe I used here.  I will just go ahead and say that I couldn’t find a sifter to save my life.  The sifter would have made a huge difference I think, because I had little balls of plaster of paris that I kept having to pick off of the piece of furniture.  I recommend trying this out on furniture you don’t care about.  Enter $10 nightstand I found at the thrift store:

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It even came with a free bible!  I know the whole point of chalk paint is that you don’t have to prep.  Well, I am a firm believe in prepping everything.  It was shear mental torment deciding whether to prime or not.  In the end, I did not prime, but I did sand and fill in holes.  First things first on any furniture prep I do… Krud Kutter.  This stuff is awesome.

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It’s a cleaner and de-greaser, it will strip off latex paint (no harsh chemicals!), and it also de-glosses your surface.  Apparently, you can also use it on your laundry as well, I have yet to try this out but when I do I’ll let you know.  This stuff is pretty easy, just spray it all over your piece, let it sit for a few minutes, then go to town with a stiff scrubby pad.  After that you just wipe with a damp cloth and you’re ready for step 2.

I wanted this piece to actually NOT be weathered looking and look like a nice new-ish piece of furniture.  This didn’t work out so well, and I’ll explain why in a bit.  So because I wanted it to look new, I filled in all the dings and dents I could.  Typically one would use wood filler for this but if you’ve ever used wood filler you know how much of a pain the arse it is.  Therefore, I like to cheat and use drywall patching.  Same concept, just easier to work with.

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The piece was laminate and I’m guessing had some water damaged on top because the surface was very rough.  I decided to put a layer of the drywall patching all over it and smoothed it with a putty knife.

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Don’t be afraid, it is pretty forgiving stuff.  Next you’ll want to lightly sand it with 220 grit sand paper and remove all the excess filler.

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Tadaaa!  See, that wasn’t so bad.  Next I scuffed up the whole piece with my same piece of sandpaper.  Then I wiped it all down with a wet rag and let it dry before painting.

I followed the recipe for the chalk paint exactly, except for the water, I used HOT water.  It was pretty hard to mix it all up and get all the lumps out.  Once I started to apply it I noticed that it was thin (duh, I added water)  and I could see every brush stroke (I thought that was the whole point of using chalk paint, to avoid this?).  Anyways, generally any first coat of paint is going to be streaky, like so:

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I looked at this and was immediately mentally torn.  Like, omg this is so pretty, then, no you need this to look flawless! So yea, if you’re going for the whitewashed look, this would be awesome.  I believe all told I had to put 3 coats on this.  By the third coat I was getting a lot of the little plaster balls in there and I decided to add an additional tablespoon of water to the paint mixture.  This helped a little bit.  Some areas that I painted just wouldn’t cover, this is why I decided to just weather it after all.  This was a bit disappointing but it turned out okay.

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(Ignore the dog face in this photo) ha.  I was a bit sad that my brush strokes were still visible at the end.  I did lightly sand after each coat and the finish was very smooth and chalky which I liked.  I took my sand paper and ran it over all the places I wanted to look a little worn, or places where the paint didn’t cover.

At the end came the battle of poly vs. wax.  I have never used wax before so that was a drawback for me.  Plus from the reading I’ve done I know that it’s not really that durable.  Wanting this piece to hold up under tough conditions I opted for a water based polyurethane from General Finishes (I LOVE them so much).  I already had some from a previous project so I just used that.  It was satin finish so it gave the piece a little shine which I was sad about.  However, for my next project (coming soon!)  I discovered that the same company also makes a “flat out flat” finish made specifically for chalk-like paints.  If you are interested in trying out their stuff, I recommend buying it on Amazon, we don’t have a distributor where I live.  And for the cost you are getting more than you would be from some other companies that make similar products.

Once all that was said and done, I made a trip to good ol’ hob lob and purchased some cute knobs to go with the piece.

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And now (drumroll please…) time for the finished piece!

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I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do with this.  I thought I might use it in our (future non-existent baby) baby room (can you tell I have baby fever?) but now I’m thinking I might just sell it instead.  Either way, it was a great learning experience and I am excited to see how my next project turns out using chalk paint.  Also, I’m asking Santa Claus for a paint sprayer for Christmas so if he comes through, expect more blog posts 🙂

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