Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DIY 1-2-3: Refinishing an Old Oak Desk with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I have been a busy bee lately working for my clients and myself! One of my latest home projects is refinishing a desk I bought at the Alameda Flea Market for $45. I refinished it for my son who has been begging me for a desk for months now.  I tried out Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint and love it.

The Before: Well, not really. This isn't the actual desk I bought. I forgot to take a before picture because I was in a mad rush to finish the desk for my son, but this one is close enough.

The After:  I sanded down the wood on top and the drawer fronts to the natural oak and painted the body in "Graphite" colored Chalk Paint. 
Before I researched Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint (from England) I spent two days sanding this enormous old Oak desk outside on my driveway.   And, I sanded it after I used a product to remove the thick polyurithane coating over the stain.  My goal was to completely remove the stain from the desk top to arrive at it's nartual oak color and then paint the rest of it a steel gray.  After numbing my hands with the palm sander I remembered my Mom mentioning this chalk paint which is supposedly applied without sanding.  I was skeptical but curious.

This is what Annie says about her chalk paint...and it's true!

Painting with our paint should always be a pleasure.
Annie Sloan developed her now famous Chalk Paint to answer the need she had for a paint which would have many uses from acting like limewash to looking like old painted furniture and that had a good range of colour that could be extended by the user. This paint is very easy to work with and allows people to be creative as one doesn't get involved with the technicalities of preparation and it also allows you to change your mind without hassle.

I drove out of the city to purchase this paint from the Pickled Hutch which costs $40 for a quart and was happy to see that the limited range of colors were all gorgeous. I had a hard time choosing and ended up buying three pots of paint to try for a host of projects I am cooking up around the house. 

Old White


I also bought a paint brush because it looked so stylish and interesting and almost as if it would paint my furniture itself.

The other thing you're supposed to buy is Annie's special wax to coat the paint afterwards, but I already had a big pot of Briwax beeswax so I decided to risk it and use that instead of spending another $40.  It worked out great, as far as I can tell.
When you apply the paint it goes on thick and dries very quickly.  I'd say it was completely dry within 30 minutes. It's very chalky, hence the name chalk paint.  If you don't apply the wax it feels like chalk, but if you do wax it, the painted wood feels silky and smooth.
I decided to apply the wax only to the legs and around the drawers because after you apply the wax it makes sanding the paint off to expose some of the unpainted edges easier. It's true!

Here you can see up close the exposed natural wood that easily peeked through the chalk paint when I lightly sanded.  With the wax coating, it's really easy to create a nice consistency to the paint variations by lightly sanding.  For fun, I painted the door handles with black chalkboard paint so my son could label what's inside his drawers.  This I picked up at Lowes.

Chalkboard Finish, Black Chalkboard Finish

I hope you enjoyed my flea market project!  I'm hoping this nice, new, big desk will inspire my son to do his homework right after school!