Have y’all seen this two-tone trend yet? I’ve seen it popping up over the home decor world recently & loved it so much, I jumped right in! I found this piece at our local Restore & it was just perfect to try it out on!
I must say I am so in love with results! It’s sitting pretty in my entryway & is getting all fluffed up with a cowhide rug & pumpkins galore. This was my first “hurricane project” to tackle during the craziness & it was a good one!
What I love most about chalk paint is how quickly it dries. I had this project done in a matter of hours because I didn’t have to wait on anything to dry…also, probably because I didn’t paint the drawers! lol. I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of using chalk paint in general & how I used it on this piece. I’ll also share directions for some different finishes. I do not consider myself an expert, but I work with this paint a lot & do help with classes using Amy Howard products. I’ll warn you, once you start you can’t stop! Nothing in your house is safe!
For this project I used Amy Howard One Step Paint in Ballet White, beeswax & dark antique wax.You will also need a brush, a mason jar or plastic cup, a sanding block, steel wool, a buffing sponge or cloth, a blow dryer & a degreaser/cleaner like denatured alcohol or Simple Green.
You must thoroughly clean your piece before starting. Simple Green is recommended, but I use denatured alcohol & it works great. If you use Simple Green, you have to wipe it down with water afterwards. The best thing about chalk paint is you do not have to sand or prime anything! You can just start painting!
That being said, anything you can see on the piece now (scratches, dents, old paint drips, etc.) will show up in the paint. If you see the photo above of the dinged up leg, you can see what I’m talking about. I didn’t want all of that to show so I sanded the leg down a bit with my sanding block. I did not sand anywhere else.
When you’re ready to paint, pour a bit of the paint into a plastic cup or mason jar. You’re going to want to dilute it with a little bit of water. This helps the paint go on smoother & stretches it to last a tiny bit longer as well. You’ll have to judge for a consistency you like. You want it thin, but not falling off your brush as you paint. Play with it until you find a ratio you like.
Now, it’s really time to paint! The key is super light coats & super long strokes. I describe the first coat like a crumb coat on a cake…you’re going to be able to see through it & everything might not get covered. That’s okay, that’s perfect actually. You can reference my first coat in the photos above. If you are painting white on dark wood like me, it is going to take a lot of coats- like 5+. If you are painting almost any other color, 3 or so should work. Just keep painting until you like the look.
In between coats, I recommend rubbing the piece with steel wool to sand it down & keep it smooth. Chalk paint dries incredibly quickly, so drips are sometimes hard to catch & this helps immensely. If you are waiting on paint to dry, pull out the blow dryer & keep working! In between each coat I will sand with steel wool then blow off any debris with a blow dryer. You don’t want those little flecks caught in between the layers of your paint. On the final layer, DO NOT use steel wool. Use a sanding block instead. The steel wool might leave a grayish tint, especially on white paint.
After everything is covered to your liking & totally dry, its time to distress. If you want this to have a more finished look & aren’t into distressing, skip ahead! All I use for distressing here is a sanding block. I scrape the paint off edges to give it an aged look. Keep going until it’s perfectly old looking! If you take off too much, go back & add some more paint.
After the distressing, I covered the whole piece in the beeswax, this is actually a shade in between the clear wax & light antique wax. I chose this because it’s in a squeezable as opposed to a can or hard wax, so it is much easier to use. Even on the white, you can hardly see a change in color. I used a white buffing sponge to apply the wax all over the entire piece. If this is your last step, you’ll let it dry & then go back with the clean side of your sponge & buff the wax out until it’s smooth & no longer tacky.
Other chalk paints require a sealer of some sort, Amy Howard paints do not! You can leave it chalky if you like that look. However, a wax or sealer will protect it over time & give it a more finished look overall. If you do not seal it, the paint can be used like a chalkboard.
The wax I added can be left alone at this point & it can be finished. I could have used clear wax all over or light antique wax as well. If you don’t like working with wax, you can use a variety of sealers on top with a regular paint brush. I would do a couple of coats & sand the last layer for a super soft finish. Amy Howard has a matte & a gloss sealer. I also love love love Couture Topcoat in Dead Flat from the Couture Collection.
Back to this project, almost done! Lastly, you can add dark antique wax to the places you want to ad more definition to. You need to do this whole the wax is still tacky. Typically, you will use light antique wax all over before you use dark antique wax. I broke the rules & used beeswax, which is just lighter than the light antiquing wax. I did this because my piece is white & I don’t want it to turn to yellow. You do not want to use clear wax with dark antique wax.
I will apply the dark wax right after I finish the beeswax all over. It needs to be tacky! On this piece, I only applied the dark wax to the bottom flourishes. I wanted that part to look more aged, but did not think it was necessary all over. Typically, I will add it all over the edges & anywhere there’s ornate detail. I apply it with a small brush, let it dry little & buff out. If you want more, add more. If you want less, find your wax sponge & buff it out a little. Add more light wax if necessary. Keep going until you’re pleased, then let dry & buff out where necessary.
There are several other finishes you can apply other than these waxes. You can do a white wash or dark wash by heavily diluting a white or dark paint with water. Working quickly, cover an already painted piece with the wash, then wipe off immediately. If you left too much on, add more water! Keeping it wet is the key to a wash. After that, you can still apply waxes or a sealer. Another method to add texture is dry-brushing. To do this you dip your brush in a tiny bit of paint & then “off-load” onto a paper plater or piece of paper. Wipe everything off your brush so it appears dry. Then hit the piece with the dry-brush & it will bring out more character. After continue with waxes or sealer. You can create colored waxes a few ways, Amy Howard offers mica dust & pigment powder than are basically little jars of colored powder. Some are metallic & glittery, some are plain colors. You can mix the colors with clear wax & apply all over a piece or just in the places you want it, like the dark antique wax. If you are only putting it in certain places, cover the entire piece with a clear wax first.
Another finishing option I am loving lately is glazes! We use Couture Glaze from the Couture Collection. They work flawlessly withe the Amy Howard paints! Once your piece is dry, apply the wax all over & wipe off after it’s dried a little. Cheesecloth works super great for the glazes, but you can also use a brush to apply & buffing sponge or cloth to wipe off. A bag-o-rags works good too. Same idea goes here, add more & leave it on longer if you want a darker look. Add less & take it off quick if you want a light look. Do not apply wax over the glazes, with these you need to finish with a sealer. I sand before & after I apply the glaze & then again after the sealer.
There is honestly so much more you can do & the possibilities of finishes & techniques is endless!! If you get into milk paints, the world of possibilities doubles in size! But, this is a great guide to get started with chalk paint! Bets of luck!
Here’s the before & after! Don’t forget to pin it for later!
PS- Linking up at some of my fave places!