How I Spent My Summer Vacation-Painting With Chalk Paint!

Hola Amigos! It's been a while since I've blogged at ya. Sorry, I just had to channel Jim Anchower for a minute. I've been pretty busy, what with the advent of the too short summer season. Whenever summer begins, I put immense pressure on myself to enjoy every minute of it, because soon enough, it's going to be dark at 3:30 in the afternoon and we will be watching snow swirl outside the windows. I've been to the beach, the park, Lake Geneva, festivals, carnivals, various pools, and I'm starting to get tired! Before all of that, I had started a couple of projects around the house, and I'm finally getting back to them.

I was actually inspired to begin these projects after I attended Gardenology, a garden show in Geneva that took place in May. I stumbled across a stall full of adorable shabby chic style furniture and accessories. The women running the stall called themselves The Gypsy Nest. They are pretty new and don't have a website yet--watch for them around Kane County festivals.  I found the cutest pink chair for sale. I was amazed at the soft, matte finish of the paint and the beautiful pastel color. I asked the booth proprietor what kind of paint was used, and she said, "Annie Sloan Chalk Paint".  A little cartoon light bulb went off over my head. I had read about that paint on one of my favorite interior design blogs, Perfectly Imperfect. Now I finally knew why people go nuts for this paint. It comes in beautiful colors, goes on easily without needing to strip old finish first, and can be distressed to give that shabby chic look. I didn't buy the chair, but I did get an etched mirror for the bathroom!

Inspired by the work these ladies were doing, I went online to find out where to get myself some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Thankfully, this paint has made its way from London to the US. I found out that people throughout the US are designated "stockists", and they carry the paint, brushes, waxes, and may offer classes in painting techniques. I also found out that it's not cheap! However, I had two old pine end tables that were just waiting to be transformed. Buying painting supplies would be a lot cheaper than buying two new tables! I was really excited to find that the closest stockist was in DeKalb. Road trip! My paint assistant (My 3 1/2 year old) and I headed out to DeKalb on a sweltering Sunday to take a nostalgic tour of my alma mater, Northern Illinois University, and to get the paint.

After a drive down winding country roads, we arrived in DeKalb. I took a drive by my old college residence, where I nursed many a hangover. As I drove into town, I quickly located Carter's Cottage Interiors, right in the main shopping district. It's close to Ottos's, the dark, dingy bar where I drank Schlitz and danced the night away to Generations, a 70's/80's cover band.

OK, enough nostalgia! Carter's is an absolutely awesome home furnishing store. The owner is a true artist, and her shop was filled with impressive chalk painted furniture pieces. Everyone at the shop was friendly and helpful. I purchased two cans of Old White, 1 can of Louis Blue, a can of Soft Clear Wax, and a wax brush. I was so excited to get home and get painting!

Before I started, I watched some online video tutorials posted on Perfectly Imperfect, and they were a big help. I'm the kind of person that likes to read and research as much as I can about things I'm really interested in. Plus, I'm not naturally crafty or artistic, and I didn't want to mess anything up!

I have to say that at first I was frustrated. My paintbrush was way too big and I was seeing big brush strokes. Then, I didn't wait long enough in between coats, and my second coat started to feather and feel gummy. I had to let the project sit until I could get to Home Depot to get some decent brushes. I tried again a few days later, and the table started to look a lot better.

Painting with chalk paint involves a few steps. However, stripping or removing old paint is generally not one of them. Chalk Paint is made to go over almost any finish! You apply as many coats as you need to cover your piece of furniture. Usually, you only need one coat. Then, you apply wax with a brush and wipe off with a soft cloth. The wax deepens the color of the paint and acts as a protective finish. Then, you distress with sand paper (if you want that look). After that, you apply another coat of wax, buff to a subtle shine, and you are done. My stockist let me know that I should let the wax cure for 30 days before I put anything on my tables. I also decided to try the blue paint on a mirror that the previous home owner had left behind. I am now feeling so excited about this paint and I want to paint everything in my house with it!

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  • Yay for Chalk paint! Amanda, you inspire me! I'm starting the big project of painting our bedroom tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  • I have always wanted to check out Gardenology. Was it worth visiting? I love that you are experimenting with furniture and paint! You are so brave... I will have to try this out and am thinking of hitting a few estate sales this summer. We should go together!! Great article! :)
    -elizabeth

  • Check out the internet.....TONS of instructions on how to create your own Chalk Paint using left over paint you might have at home and some plaster of paris. I'm working on a dresser and vanity this weekend and plan to make my own to match the room they're going into. Just sayin'.......

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    Hello Amanda!
    Thank you for your kind words about my little shop and I'm so happy you have found great success with your first can :) I hope you pop back in for another visit! Please let me know if you have any additional questions, I'm only an email away ;)
    Christie@carterscottageinteriors.com
    Enjoy~
    Christie Carter

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