Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint...

It seems that chalk paint has become the new "thing" to do in furniture painting, mostly because you don't need to sand or prime the piece first.  And it totally does give the piece of furniture you're doing that shabby chic look, which can look really, really awesome.

But honestly?

I think it makes it look cheap. 

I tried it on my last project, the Ellie. I tried it because here in Alberta, we get freak Spring snow storms and I really didn't want to go outside to sand the desk, so I thought I'd try out this chalk paint business.  And maybe, on the way, I'd decide that this was the best way of refinishing these pieces.  I mean, everyone else is doing it right?  It's no secret that this stuff is pretty wicked. 

I'll be honest though.  I'm sort of cheap.  You'll notice, if you go on Kijiji or Craigslist or any of those Facebook store fronts, some people sell their rehabs for a whole LOT of money.  That's actually why I started this little hobby of mine.  I saw this cute little hutch, with chicken wire windows, painted in the most dear sage green chalk paint.  And I figured, they couldn't want more than $200 for it. (It was a little bigger than a side table...seriously SMALL piece.)  And they wanted $695 for it!  I can't afford that, and I'm guessing that most of you can't either.  So I thought, I'll buy a cool piece, restore it and sell it for a lot less than my "competitors".  And my first piece sold in less than a week.  It's nice to be affordable!   ANYWAY, back to my original point - I'm sort of cheap.  So I researched chalk paint and found a bunch of restoration companies that didn't want to spend the $50 a quart price tag (on generic colours nonetheless!)  and they made their own chalk paint. 

Here's the recipe:

There are a bunch of different recipes but this is the one
I used because, A: Plaster of Paris was cheaper and
B. It came in a smaller bag than 20 lbs.

I put the plaster of paris and the cool water in a mason jar and stirred it up really well until it wasn't lumpy or gritty.  Then I added the paint and stirred that up a whole lot so everything mixed.  The consistency was a little thicker than regular paint - and watch out, this stuff dries fast!

First, I painted the insides of my drawers with it, because they were already a little roughed up and I figured it was hidden and I could always redo it if it turned out badly.  It went on great - three coats with amazing drying times of maybe 15 minutes between?  The colour was fabulous, the texture felt pretty nice and I didn't even need to varnish them because I could finish it with wax (whoa does wax smell!)

Stoked, I swiped a line of paint across the desk, just to see. 

I let it dry for three hours.

And then my 1.5 year old, Natalie, took a finger nail to it.  You can guess what happened. 

Apparently you DO need to sand the object before you paint it, because it wasn't adhering to anything.  Natalie chipped all the paint off.  Every last bit of it.  And left a lovely little pile of aqua flakes on the floor. 

So I left the insides of the drawers as chalk paint.  I definitely feel like it is durable in there and there won't be any flaking because the drawers were a little rough as it was.  As for the parts that really matter - the parts that everyone sees and falls in love with - I'm not wasting my time with chalk paint.  If I have to still sand and prime and paint, I'll stick with my Benjamin Moore.

What's your take on the whole chalk paint debate?  Do you like it?  Am I missing some part of the process? Got any tips?  Let me know!   

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