You know those TV shows where they count down the best inventions of all time?
Well, if I were in charge of that show, chalk paint would be in the top ten. I remember the dark, olden days before I knew such a thing as chalk paint existed. In those hard times, we didn’t have much choice but to use glossy enamel paint because it cured to a hard finish–sadly, that curing took a month.
Listen, I’m not talking about chalkBOARD paint, no, this is chalk paint–a one coat paint that requires no sanding or stripping– I’m pretty sure I’ve even painted right over dust and spiders. Chalk paint is a DIYer’s BFF.
And Amy Howard should win the award for the prettiest paint labels and branding.
I decided to repaint this hutch that I’ve had for years and years. I wanted him to be a warm, light pink but I wasn’t exactly sure the shade I was looking for. I use the top part of the hutch in another part of the barn where it sits on a big old table and I love where it is. The top and bottom half of the hutch have been divorced since we moved out here, so it was time for the bottom half to move on and go his own color with an afternoon makeover.
Chalk paint loves being mixed together to get the right color. Also, mixing paint colors is SO FUN! So I decided to grab a few colors and experiment until the color felt right.
I started with using mostly the colors Palmer Pink and Shaw Red with a little Linen. But the color was waaaay to strawberry and bright for what I wanted. So I kept adding in more Linen and Palmer Pink to lighten and even a little dash of Holy Moley (yellow) for warmth up to the perfect shade of light pink.
If you don’t want to mix your own colors and can’t find the color you love out of the 52 Amy Howard suggestions, just make sure you get the tintable base, and the Ace Hardware folks can mix it to any color you want.
You can see the darker color on the top of the hutch, then I added more Linen painted that on the drawer on the right then again, more Linen, painted that on the middle drawer, and it’s hard to tell in the photo, but the drawer on the left if even a lighter color.
I thought I had the color right until I painted the entire piece. Nope, still too strawberry and intense. It is One Step Paint, so if I would have loved this color, I could have been done in one coat!
No worries, I just added in more Linen colored paint to my batch and waited about an hour for everything to dry and quickly painted over the hutch again. Seriously, I do paint really fast like a possessed woman, but even a slow painter should be able to paint a piece like this in less than an hour. This paint goes on so easy.
The best thing about chalk paint is how forgiving it is. I could “practice” my colors all over the piece, and once it was dry I did one last coat in my final color and all traces of the first coat were gone.
Ta-Da! This might be the most productive and rewarding two hours I’ve had all week!
Never painted furniture before?
Here’s my best advice for painting with chalk paint:
- Be sure to have the paint people at Ace shake your paint in the machine, even if it’s premixed
- Give yourself an afternoon (seriously, don’t put it off because you think a paint project will take all weekend, this entire project took about 2 hours including time for the first coat to dry!) Chalk paint looks better when it’s imperfect, you aren’t painting the Sistine Chapel, most people paint too slow, that’s fine except when you let that hold you back from starting a project. Consider the choice to paint quicker but less perfect and have a finished piece instead of a piece you have to take a vacation to complete to perfection and therefore it’s never started. AMEN.
- Don’t start with a bookshelf as your first ever painted piece. Think about all the surfaces and corners and back of the shelf and the underside of every shelf. I’d rather paint two dressers than one bookshelf.
- If you are painting something with a main surface that gets used (pretty much everything) be sure to use wax to seal it. Amy Howard has her own line of waxes, I’ll probably end up adding clear wax to this piece in a few days–it won’t really change the color much, but it will protect it.
- If you’ve never painted furniture, practice on something small first. Don’t have something small? Take $5 to a thrift store and buy a practice piece.
- Don’t be afraid to mix colors together. It’s so fun!
- Don’t start painting on the top first, start on the back or the bottom of one of the sides, that way you can get your rhythm and brushstrokes going confidently on a “private” part of the piece.
- Use a brush, not a roller–chalk paint likes brushes.
- Don’t like the color? No problem! You don’t have to wait for the paint to cure for weeks, go ahead and paint another color on top once it’s dry!
PS. Now through March 20th, buy two get one free on all gallons of Royal®, Clark+Kensington®, Valspar® Aspire and Valspar® Optimus paint at The Paint Studio at Ace. (the white paint I used on the walls and ceiling of our house is: Clark + Kensington’s Designer White)