Chalk paint is a joy to work with and helps to revive old items or make new ones look fabulously old. Chalk style paint behaves differently from conventional paint since it has a mineral content that places it closer to lime wash than to latex paints. With an extremely fast drying time and the option of a final wax finish, chalk paint tends to operate under its own set of rules. With these tips, though, you can easily create unique refreshed furniture with stunning looks and that signature chalk paint velvet texture.
- Watch out for too much preparation:
Chalk paint is remarkably good at sticking to problem surfaces. Sanding, cleaning, and priming can be avoided on all but the absolute worst surface issues such as heavy grease or wood sap.
- Don’t over-distress:
Distressing is a technique that creates the illusion of age on wood surfaces. Avoid distressing all areas of the furniture equally. Instead, think about authentic vintage furniture and the areas that would receive the most wear and tear: 90-degree edges, near handles and pulls, high spots, and horizontal work surfaces. Wrap fine-grit sandpaper such as #220 around a wood block or purchase a foam sanding block.
- Add some depth:
Depth is often achieved with the two-colour distress technique. Sanding sections of single-layer paint reveals only wood underneath. Yet by laying down two different colours and delicately sanding down key sections of the top paint layer, you will expose that lower colour layer, not wood. Using a darker colour for the bottom layer will produce maximum depth when contrasted with a lighter top layer.
- Different strokes for different folks…
For all stroke techniques, complete a local area before moving to the adjacent area. Be sure to work rapidly.
Cross-hatch: For a faux linen effect, brush an area vertically and follow on top with horizontal strokes.
Stipple: To create low peaks and valleys, lay down the paint thickly in a small area and follow by dabbing with the bristles.
Feather: For a smooth surface, brush the paint in a small area and quickly follow with additional delicate parallel strokes on top.
- Dry-brush blend:
If there is an existing lower colour that you would like to blend with an upper colour, use the dry-brush technique. Touch the tips of the bristles into the chalk paint. Remove from the paint and hold the brush away from the work piece for a few seconds to allow the chalk paint to reach a drier consistency on the brush. Then firmly brush over the work surface. Since the chalk paint is fairly dry, it is virtually impossible to ruin the lower level with too much paint.
- Ultra-smooth finish:
Though chalk paint is often associated with a heavily textured, weathered look, it can also go in the other direction and produce a sleek appearance for surfaces such as cabinet doors. Chalk paint’s mineral content makes it easy to sand down, and this is key to producing a smooth finish. First, paint a thin coat on the item with a high-quality brush or low-nap foam or velour paint roller. Sand lightly with fine grit #220 sandpaper. Your aim is not to sand through the paint layer (as with the two-colour distress technique) but to flatten the brush strokes or stipples. Brush or roll on a second coat, then sand again to a smooth finish.
Your local project partner has a huge range of chalk paint colours and products available, so get those creative juices flowing and make something beautiful.