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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bedside Tables Finished and My Experience with Chalk Paint


The bedside tables I built from scraps are finished, painted with diy chalk paint using the non-sanded grout recipe from Diane at In my own style. It's funny, she said Plaster of Paris was more expensive than Non-sanded Grout at her Home Depot and it was just the opposite at mine. But that's why I used that recipe.  I had watched several videos of Annie Sloan demonstrating the paint, and I didn't care for the look at all.  It just looked like a mess to me.  But after seeing Diane's work, I changed my mind and decided to try it.  Her paint seemed to be a bit thinner than mine, and I don't know if that is because I didn't measure the grout with a real tablespoon or because my paint had been sitting around for awhile and was perhaps thicker than hers.  In any case, I found it hard to control how it went on, and impossible to apply without brush marks.

Part of the problem was my brush.  While buying the grout, I remembered reading that several people recommended using a chip brush so I bought one and began using it.  The chip brush shed more than Great Aunt Edna's gen-u-whine faux mink coat after she cleaned it with lighter fluid instead of paying for dry cleaning. And then it not only left a pile of fur where she sat, it smelled. But Great Aunt Edna kept wearing it. And just like Great Aunt Edna, once started, I kept using that brush through the first coat, even after it looked like this:

After the first coat, I scoured Diane's blog to see what she used and found that she uses a quality Purdy brush or foam roller.  After getting one coat of paint on both tables, I threw away both cup and paint brush and switched to a good paint brush. Another thing I noticed about this recipe was the smell. At first I thought I was too close to the litter box, even though I had just cleaned it. Then, I took a dinner break and put the cup and brush in a plastic bag. When I came back out, I didn't smell anything until I opened the bag and then it hit me, and it definitely smelled like the litter box. I checked the original paint and it was ok, and the second batch I mixed smell ok too.  So it was the chip brush.  Or Great Aunt Edna's gen-u-whine faux mink coat.

Another newbie tip I'll share with you, don't use a giant plastic cup to mix the paint. It was hard to mix up that small amount in the bottom of such a tall cup. When I mixed up the next batch of chalk paint, I used a round Gladware bowl, which was much easier to stir and also nice because I could put the lid on it between painting.

One reason I wanted to try the chalk paint was to see how smooth it sanded.  Everyone said it was easy to distress so I thought it might make a nice smooth surface as well.  And it might have if I had a smoother piece of furniture to work with, or maybe if I put three coats on instead of two.  With two, very much sanding went down to the wood. 

I also found that it was different over the different wood surfaces on these pieces.  It coated very well over the unfinished and primed woods, but not as well over the top and shelf which, even though they had been sanded, were prefinished.  It didn't help that those two pieces were also large, flat, dark colored surfaces.

I applied two coats and let it dry.  It looked and felt a lot like primer.  I sanded until it was smooth and then put on a coat of clear wax.  The instructions on the can of wax said to let the first coat dry completely before putting on a second coat.  So that's what I did.  My second coat was a dark wax to give it the antiqued look I wanted.  After putting some on, I got a sick feeling that it wasn't going to look good at all.  I wanted tables that said these could be vintage pieces from some great grandparent.  Instead I had tables that said they looked like could have been in some old dirty shed.  But some of the dirty look came off when I buffed it, and another coat of clear wax removed more of it from the surface, with the dark staying in the pits and lines.  I liked that much better.

But the top and shelf still bother me.  They still have more of the dirty look than I'd like, and more brush strokes.  I may try to repaint those two areas, either in white, or possibly a mocha brown.  Actually, while painting this, I thought how cool it would look with harlequin checks on top and stripes on the legs.

Purchasing the grout and chip brush brought the total of these two bedside tables to $15 for the pair.  Still not too bad and I have nearly a full bag of grout too.

The drawer pulls had been in my garage for awhile, and I thought they were just the ticket for these tables.  But I didn't really like the shiny brass on them.
So I used a metallic paint to darken the finish.
Unfortunately, there is a stub of the shiny brass inside the plastic crystal, so from the front, it still looks like shiny brass.
Hmmm.  I might need to dig through the junk drawer to see what other knobs I have.
I'm linking this to  Flaunt It Friday at Chic on a Shoestring Decorating.



  1. These look very nice! I also have several of those same knobs and wondered if they would look nice with that same exact paint color. I think I have some painting to do now!


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