Monday, 3 November 2014

Jdub's btdubs - Vol1 - Fun with Chalk Paint

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This past weekend I attempted my first, long-awaited chalk painting project(s). Like many born in the glorious 1970's, I had a white five-piece 'princess' style bedroom set which consisted of a canopy bed, hutch dresser, night table, desk and deacon's bench. The bed is long gone, but my awesome mom saved the rest of the pieces for me. Now that I have a house big enough for all of my old furniture, I finally have a place to refurbish it. During my angst-filled youth I sadly painted the bench and nightstand an awful glossy jet black, so clearly these were the first up.

I asked around for the least painful way to accomplish this makeover and the resounding answer was the magical 'chalk paint'. Apparently this paint adheres to anything without any prep work, so I thought 'sign me up'!

So first I had to find out where they even sell chalk paint in our fair city, which was more complicated than I anticipated. I finally stumbled upon Stan Portley's on the corner of Horton/Richmond Street (in the plaza across from the Labatt's brewery). They were super helpful, showed examples of previous pieces and introduced me to their colours. They even let me take home some colour sticks so I could make an informed decision. I decided I needed something neutral for my first try so I went with 'pajama weather' because, of course. Doesn't everyone choose their paint colours based on the name alone? I believe this can was around $30.

After watching countless how-to videos and reading several tutorials on the subject (I found this one 
and this one quite helpful), I spent the majority of Saturday painting each piece. After lightly wiping down the bench and the nightstand, I applied two coats, leaving about an hour dry time between each (though probably only needed 30 minutes). It definitely adheres very well, and a little goes a long way (I still have half of this can left). This is what they looked like after the two coats.

I was pleased with how they looked so far, but thought they were too pale and matte and wondered why I had gone with such a light colour (as I bought the paint two months ago). Then I remembered I bought the lighter shade because I had opted for the darker wax. I like the weathered look the darker wax achieves and it was the only option available in the small tub, thus less expensive. The clear wax only came in the large tub, and I didn't know how this project would go and if I wanted to commit to that much wax. The nice gentlemen helping with the purchase thought this was a 'bold choice' and slipped me a small tester of the clear wax as well (thank goodness), but we'll get to that.

I waited until the next day before I tackled the wax, a wise decision. I quickly discovered that the real work comes after the painting portion, with some mild sanding and a lot of waxing and buffing. I used a cheap paint brush and whisked on the wax in a circular motion, and wiped off quickly with a soft cloth. It was all very Miyagi. The dark wax is MUCH more labour intensive as you have to use a lot of strength and repetitive motion to buff it out to the desired colour depth and texture. Believe me when I say this is LOT of work and VERY time consuming. I also really wished I had worn rubber gloves with this dark wax as my hands and nails were a disaster, one of the many lessons learned. Totally worth all of the effort, but clear your schedule. Now in saying that, if I had went with the clear wax I probably would have been done in half the time as you're only contending with sealing the piece and buffing it to a sheen. I am very glad I was given a tester of the clear wax, as it also acts as an 'eraser' or 'diffuser' for the darker wax and lets you further control the colour and saves you a tiny bit of buffing.

I also did not go as far as taking a course sand paper to the edges to achieve a truly 'weathered' appearance as this would have added time as well. I really do like that look, but I wasn't sure I wanted it for these particular pieces. The nice part is I can add this step at any time and simply buff some clear wax over it to seal it up again. 

I'm sure I'm forgetting a number of details and steps, but that is why I included the links to the proper tutorials. This is only a mere btdubs from me to you.

After all was said and done, I was very pleased with the way these turned out. There were definitely some lessons learned and things I will do differently next time, but mostly just proud of myself for accomplishing a project I've wanted to do for years! Hooray! 

I hope you found this mildly helpful and informative. Have you had any adventures in chalk paint? What projects have you tackled lately? Please share your btdubs with me to keep me inspired!


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