I get asked all the time if you can achieve a smooth look with chalk paint such as Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Yes you can...And I've put my tips to achieve this look below. While chalk paint is very well suited to the distressed shabby chic look, you can also use this lovely velvety paint to create clean lines such as a modern style, a classical French look or Hamptons style. If you read through Annie Sloan's book "Creating the French Look" you will see that she will often not distress furniture painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
Chalk paint, both bought and home made, has very good bonding properties and can be painted without primer onto most surfaces - timber, plastic, metal, glass, porcelain etc. The calcium carbonate (chalk) makes the paint dry quickly and once you have applied wax as a top coat, your paint work will be durable and resistant to chipping. Sure if you bang a chair against the furniture it might get a chip, but then so would polypac and even my stone bench top has chips after almost three years of use so you can't expect your paint work to withstand brutal damage. However your chalk painted furniture, sealed correctly and fully cured, will withstand everyday normal household wear and tear.
|Home made chalk paint|
|Hamptons Style home made chalk paint|
Personally I am not a huge fan of shabby chic furniture (ie read heavily distressed and paint that you can see though) for my house. It is not the look I am after, I prefer more clean lines. I do have a couple of distressed pieces, sometimes you just know that the way drawers slide open that the paint will scratch, especially with old furniture. However I am a huge fan on the velvety smoothness of waxed chalk painted furniture. I thought you might like to see some undistressed chalk painted pieces.
This desk has been ever so slightly distressed, but definitely not shabby chic'd. The chair is also painted in chalk paint and is not at all distressed. Even being used daily by a little boy, it is still in perfect condition.
My hints for a smooth undistressed look
- Sand your piece before you start painting. You will never obtain a smooth finish if your piece is all bumped and rough before you even start painting.
- Apply several coats for a full coverage of paint. When you add wax to your furniture the paint will always become a little bit more translucent, especially with the lighter colours. if you want full coverage -ie opaque paint then you may need 2-3 coats even with darker colours.
- To obtain a very smooth surface, paint in the direction of the wood grain and sand lightly between coats. This does not need to be laborious -just a soft sand with a fine grit sand paper or sanding sponge.
- For the final coat of paint, either water down your paint a little, or before dipping you brush into paint, dip your paint brush into some water. Practice this first as you do not want to wet your paint brush so much that you create drips and streaks. You just want the paint wet enough so it will smooth out as it is drying. (rather than having brush ridge marks)
- Wait 24 hours for your paint to dry fully before applying wax. I say this so that the wax doesn't lift any paint on the edges of your furniture.
What's your favourite look - less or more distressed?