Bookcase revamp using chalk paint

Sarah Epstein Creative - bookcase revamp 8

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So, here’s a little project I did quite some time ago but I just never got around to blogging about it. I’d heard about the awesome product that is Annie Sloan’s chalk paint, and I wanted to try revamping a couple of old furniture pieces I had around the house to give them a new lease on life. Please note:  when I say chalk paint, I am not referring to chalkboard paint which you buy from hardware stores to create blackboards on doors and walls, etc.

The big attraction to using Annie Sloan’s chalk paint is that you don’t have to sand the stain or strip old paint off the furniture first, so it essentially cuts out the time-consuming and boring step of preparation. I mean, who loves prep work? No one, that’s who. We all want to get to the fun stuff – the big transformation!

If your piece of furniture is rough or flaky, then by all means give it a light sand. All I had to do was give my bookcase a wipe down with a wet cloth and I was good to go. Another big plus with this chalk paint is the lack of fumes, so I was able to set myself up to paint inside the house. I made sure there was still good ventilation, and my son was not sleeping in this room at the time anyway while we were making it over.

Sarah Epstein Creative - bookcase revamp 1

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Here are the Annie Sloan products I used. This 946ml tin of chalk paint set me back $59.95 AUD, so it’s not cheap. But, I ended up doing three coats on the bookcase and still had half a tin leftover. I’ve since painted a lamp base with it as well, and should have enough left for two coats on a chair or small table. So it definitely stretches. The soft wax is for finishing the piece once painted. This is optional, but it does give the paint job a lovely subtle satin sheen and protects it, making the piece more durable. I used the clear wax, but you can also buy a dark wax if you want to give your piece an antique or rustic finish. The 500ml tin of clear wax cost me $39.95 AUD and I still have half left for other projects. It’s available in a smaller tin too.

Sarah Epstein Creative - bookcase revamp 2

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Annie Sloan has technique tips on her website (and there are YouTube videos you can search for where she and other people show how to use her products). I used a very casual brushstroke where I swept the paintbrush in all directions. This looks streaky at first, but you gradually build up the paint with subsequent coats until all traces of the original furniture colour underneath disappear. This technique gives a lightly-textured finish, but the paint dries matte and, of course, chalky, so you don’t notice too much texture unless you’re looking closely.

Sarah Epstein Creative - bookcase revamp 3

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I left it a couple of hours between coats. As I say, I did three coats, but the third coat was more just checking for any uneven patches and making sure the paint finish was consistent.

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This shows two coats. Click to enlarge.

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Close up of the bookcase with two coats. I covered the subtle patchy areas with another coat. Click to enlarge.

I let the paint dry for 24 hours before applying the wax. To do this, I just used a soft, clean paintbrush in a similar brushstroke to how I applied the paint, making sure I dabbed the brush into any cracks and tight corners so everything was covered. I was very liberal with the wax – you don’t have to be precious since brushing it on is only step one. I then took a clean cotton rag (mine was quite soft) and used it to rub the wax into the paint surface in a circular motion, effectively wiping a lot of the wax off. You can also apply the wax with a cotton rag from the get-go, but I needed to use a brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the bookcase’s panelled backboard.

The great thing about using this chalk paint is how easy it is and how quickly you get to see results. It’s really very addictive, and you start eyeing up all sorts of furniture around the house, wondering how it would look transformed. I have an old round timber breakfast table in my studio which will be my next chalk paint project. Just need to decide on a colour!

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Finished! Click to enlarge.

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End result. Click to enlarge.

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Before and after. Click to enlarge.