For years, our customers would come to us singing the praises of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. They were so addicted to it they would risk packing it in their suitcases to bring back from their travels. On the surface, the no-sand/no-prime claim went against everything we at the paint store believed it. When painting furniture (or most any other surface), our mantra is usually clean, sand, prime, THEN paint.
Finally, there was so much buzz surrounding Annie Sloan, in October we decided to check it our for ourselves – and FELL IN LOVE.
First of all, let’s clear up what Chalk Paint is and isn’t. It’s not chalkboard paint and it’s not paint with chalk in it. Chalk Paint is a brand (much like Kleenex or Xerox) developed by Annie Sloan as a user friendly, low maintenance finish for refreshing or distressing wood, metal, masonry, even glass. It has a very flat finish (hence the “Chalk”) and sands BEAUTIFULLY if you’re distressing or faux finishing.
In preparation of our first shipment next week (fingers crossed) we were invited to the Annie Sloan Unfolded studio in New Orleans, Louisiana for an introductory workshop. We learned SO MUCH about this amazing product and can’t wait to start our own workshops but in the meantime, here’s are some highlights.
This paint dries VERY FAST which can be a blessing but also a curse. Don’t leave the top open as you’re painting. The container will develop a skin and dried bits from around the rim will fall into the can. If left open, paint in the can will also spoil faster, developing a funky smell in a couple of weeks. Instead, either cover the top with Glad Press And Seal or use air tight squeeze containers (you can find them at most restaurant supply stores).
If you prefer a smoother finish, thin out your paint with a little bit of water (in a separate container) and apply three lighter coats instead of two thicker ones. Alternately, if you want more brush marks and texture, leave the paint out to thicken in a pot or stick it in the fridge.
Everyone in the class had a great time experimenting with different colours and textures. The paint will dry in about an hour on its own but you can speed up the process with a fan or a blow drier (more on the blow drier later).
Left on its own, the paint has beautiful flat chalky finish. However, it can mark up easily in high traffic areas. Brushing on a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax will not only give your piece a silky finish, it will also protect it from normal wear and tear and make it super easy to clean. For best results, brush on an even coat of wax (don’t cake it on too thick) then wipe gently with a clean cloth. Repeat with a second coat for complete coverage. TIP: Wax is a very durable finish but it will take about 4-6 weeks to fully cure. Until then, try to be gentle with your piece.
TIP: I love the instant patina of age that comes with the Dark Wax. If you choose a crackled finish, it will settle in the ridges and create a beautiful look.
A WORD OF CAUTION! Before applying the dark wax (don’t panic if it looks dark – it will), brush on and wipe off a coat of clear Soft Wax FIRST. It will help the Dark Wax go on smoothly without uneven patches and soften the look of the patina. If in doubt, try a test spot first in an inconspicuous area then judge. In a worst case scenario, you can remove the dark wax by rubbing those areas with more clear wax.
To create the impression of age on a new or inexpensive piece, apply your paint with texture. The Dark Wax will catch and highlight the imperfections in the paint. Here I used a basecoat of English Yellow.
TIP: Annie Sloan Soft Wax can be painted over with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. In a few years, if you want to change the colour of your piece to match your evolving decor, clean off the dust and put on a new shade then rewax for durability.
The Annie Sloan brushes were great to use, especially the wax brush which is expensive but totally worth the easy application and professional finish. If you’re using a brand new brush, take off the plastic and knock it against the edge of something sturdy to knock out any loose hairs.
Consider brushes an investment. When you’re done, clean out the paint brushes with warm water until it runs clear then stand or hang bristles down to dry. You never want to dry brushes with the bristles pointing up because the water will get trapped in the ferrule and rust the metal (ladies – this is also true for make-up brushes). Wax brushes can be cleaned with warm water and dish detergent like Dawn (try the heavy duty formula if you can find it).
The paint comes in 32 beautiful ready mixed shades but you can make thousands of your own colours by mixing them together so don’t be afraid to experiment. Record your favorite formulas in a workbook – this one was stunning!
There is SO much more information we would like to share with you so stay tuned for another post and in store workshops! Don’t forget to email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the store.