Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Homemade Chalk Paint Renovation

I write a guest blog, Hey Neighbor, for Dwell Denver Real Estate once a month. This was August's post.


Hey Neighbor,

My newest DIY infatuation is with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It's easy to use, the colors are beautiful, and a complete furniture transformation takes place in a day or two. The only drawback is the price - the supplies last a long time, but the cost of entry isn't cheap! Enter my sister-in-law Li. She's so frugal she'd make a penniless monk look like he lives his life with frivolous abandon. 

Li and my brother recently moved from a 700 sq foot New York apartment to a 3000+ sq ft, 4 bed / 4 bath home just south of Denver. Movin' on up! The trouble of course lies in the fact that they do not have enough furniture to fill their new suburban palace. It's a familiar story, but fortunately for us, we get to learn from a thrifty lady, her auction find, and a Pinterest recipe for success.

Li bought a $10 end table at auction to go with her new couches and super fab $100 estate sale rug. The table had good bones, but an ugly finish. It also did nothing for their decor.

With her sleuthing skills, Li then did a Pinterest search for chalk paint and found the following recipe on LiveLoveDIY's blog:

Homemade Chalk Paint: 2 cups paint, 5 TB Plaster of Paris, 2 TB water.

The bonus of the self-made paint is that you can pick any color you want - Li went with Benjamin Moore in a punchy Japanese Kimono color - and all of the supplies cost her less than $50. (Full disclosure, on my first trip to an Annie Sloan dealer I left the store with $230 worth of similar merchandise in my bag.)

We spent a Saturday together transforming the little end table that could.

First, a quick sanding to take off any peeling varnish. Then, Li made her chalk paint. 

Two tips: 1) mix the water and plaster of paris first to make a slurry before adding to the Benjamin Moore paint and 2) if it's too thick, add a little water until it's the consistency of normal paint.

Three painstaking coats were added to the table. If Li had been going for a distressed look she could have gotten away with two, but the goal here was a modern pop of color.

After letting the table dry between coats, and then overnight after layer #3, Li applied Minwax Paste Finishing Wax with cheesecloth and buffed the table to a shine.


As the recipient of half a bag of Plaster of Paris, I can't wait to try this new painting technique in my dining room on a sideboard begging for a facelift. I'll let you know how it goes! And Li and I would love any tips you have on furniture restoration. We are officially addicted. Thanks, neighbor.

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