Experiences of Chalk Paint and Water-Based Eggshell
Part 3 – Annie Sloan Chalk Paint…
In part one, I described my history with paints in the 1990’s, and the many difficulties of getting good results. You can read part one here: Chalk Paint v Eggshell Part 1 In part two, I described my experiences using Farrow & Ball and Fired Earth Eggshell paints. You can read this here: Chalk Paint V Eggshell Part 2
I know its confusing with all the advice out there. But in my opinion, to make your furniture look good, and most importantly continue looking good; you really need to choose between Eggshell Paint and Chalk Paint. In this post I will discuss my experiences of using Chalk Paint…
My experience of Chalk Paint is only with the Annie Sloan brand. There is another company in the UK called Autentico, and there are lots of DIY chalk paint recipes on the web, which is a mix of Plaster of Paris and emulsion paint. I have yet to try either, so for the purpose of this post, I can only discuss my experiences using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’m not a stockist of any paint, so here I will give my honest and unbiased opinion.
So onto Annie Sloan…the paint everyone’s raving about – Visit her website here: Annie Sloan
This is a decorative paint, and has a velvety matt finish. It is of course chalky in appearance and texture. The paint is designed to have many uses, from acting like limewash to emulating the look of antique painted furniture. It can be used on just about any surface. Chalk paint should not be confused with ‘chalkboard paint’ which is completely different.
I have often heard it claimed that only one coat is needed. That may be the case on some smaller items e.g. picture frames, ornaments etc, but in my experience one coat isn’t tough enough on furniture, and usually doesn’t provide enough coverage – especially with the lighter colours. I would recommend one coat followed by a second thinner coat.
Now Annie Sloan states that no prep work is needed e.g. sanding or primer in order to stick, but in my experience that hasn’t been the case. It’s true the paint does stick well, you don’t need to prime and it has good coverage for the most part. However most items of vintage furniture need some kind of restoration first, and a good old clean, this is whatever paint you use! Also remember that paint wont hide a poor surface, so you need to sand it down to a smooth finish before you paint.
So…unless its part of the intended ‘antique’ look, you’ll need to do some work. I currently own a chair with a split that looks seriously cute, and some old oak tables sometimes look nice with a natural crack in the wood. But otherwise you have to restore. You’ll need some basic knowledge of DIY to restore furniture to a good standard, an assortment of tools, ‘No More Nails’ instant invisible glue, sandpaper and wood filler.
I’m going to be brutally honest here! In my opinion there’s nothing worse than to see so-called restored tables and chairs with rocky and loose legs, and freshly painted items that look lovely until you get close and see the cracks, holes, and chips in the wood. There’s no excuse, it’s simply bad workmanship. So please don’t take the ‘no prep’ hype too seriously. If you intend to sell furniture, you risk giving Shabby Chic a bad name.
So many people seem to think all that’s needed is a quick lick of Chalk Paint. I know this to be true as I’ve purchased a few items from other people who have done appalling paint jobs. I love Shabby Chic furniture, and want my own home to look beautiful too. So when I’ve been too busy, or can’t find a particular item, I’ve purchased from other painters for my own home. Sadly I’ve been very disappointed with most, and have had to sand down, restore and repaint. Needless to say I wont be returning to buy more. Enough said!
Chalk Paint is very different to eggshell paints, you may not like it to start with – I didn’t! But persevere following the tips below, as it is a useful paint to use in many situations, and you do end up loving the final results.
Here is a good example of one of my own furniture makeovers using Chalk Paint. You can read this post here: ‘Joie de Vivre’ French Table
So to wrap up, (hopefully you’ve read all three posts on this subject) and I’ll bet you’re thinking…But why would you choose eggshell at all? It needs a primer and far more coats than Chalk Paint so it must be harder work!
On the surface this would appear to be true, but this has not been the case in my experience, as both methods take me about the same time. If anything Chalk Paint takes longer! Waxing is extremely hard work with Chalk Paint, as owing to its texture the wax drags in the paint. Not so over eggshell, where it glides on like butter and is quick and enjoyable to do.
Be aware, this could just be me and my style, and someone else will have a different opinion. My naturally preferred look is a smooth finish. I mess about with Chalk Paint far more than I do with eggshell. Hence I often get stressed with it. I’m never really happy with the look until right at the end, this is after I’ve waxed and sanded and generally messed about with it, then suddenly it transforms the look.
This process often gives me a completely different effect to what I had in mind though. Sometimes this is a nice surprise and sometimes not, especially if its a been reserved by a customer who wants a specific look. With eggshell, I know exactly how it it will look and what to expect. Also, even if you don’t sand at the beginning, I can guarantee you will be doing at the end. So the ‘no sanding’ claim is hardly a timesaver.
The waxing is a curious thing with Chalk Paint! You think the paint is looking nice with what appears to be good coverage, but then when you apply the wax, it shows the paintwork to be streaky! Either that or the wax is removing some of the paint. It’s true to say more often than not, I end up repainting over the wax with a thin coat of paint, and then I have to wax again. This is the cause of my stress with Chalk Paint. The French table shown above caused me no end of stress, and took many many hours until I was finally happy with the effect.
Chalk Paint is a very creative paint and allows for many different paint effects. So in the main it really depends upon the look I’m aiming for. I use both paints, if I’m wanting more of a contemporary and smooth look then I go for eggshell. If I’m after a more rustic or French look with heavy distressing, Chalk Paint is great at creating this finish.
I hope this was helpful to you if you want to have a go at painting furniture. Please leave comments below, I would love to hear your opinions on this subject. Also let me know if you have any additional questions or advice and I’ll try to help.
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Until next time…KEEP CALM and enjoy up-cycling