Two sets of bedroom furniture chalk paint & Estate eggshell
Emma Brown, Traditional Painter in Kent had two different furniture painting projects, with two different sets of requirements, so two different processes were required on the bedroom furniture: chalk paint and Estate eggshell from Farrow and Ball.
A recent request to ‘quickly’ freshen up some waxed pine furniture gave me the opportunity I’ve been looking for – to try Annie Sloan chalk paint.
Rule one of Paint Club
This paint has always caught my eye because of the seemingly unbelievable claim that there is no preparation or sanding needed. This may be a furniture painter’s dream – the elusive paint product that needs no removal of old wax or varnish, no sanding, no dust, no mess! It is a claim I could not believe – preparation is ingrained in me! I have had too much experience to not want to spend time on this stage! If you don’t want your paint to peel or flake off, it needs a keyed surface to adhere to – that is rule one of Paint Club!
After a quick bit of research it turns out that to produce a solid, flat finish Annie Sloan agrees with rule one! And recommends sanding the furniture first, watering the chalk paint down slightly and using a good quality brush. See her book ‘Quick & Easy Paint Transformations‘ published in 2010 for further details.
On with the chalk paint
Sanding done, I applied the chalk paint in ‘Paris Grey’ using my trusty favourite – the Purdy 2″ Elite brush.
Working fairly quickly, as the chalky nature of the paint made it dry rapidly, my first impression was with the excellent coverage, there is a very high amount of pigment in the paint, even when watered down.
Bleed through – I left any oils or tannins in the wood to come through as and where it wanted, so I did need to treat a few problem areas, namely the surfaces of the bedside cabinets and dressing table. There are a couple of ways to deal with this and my approach was to sand back to a smooth paint finish, and apply a coat of Zinsser B.I.N (a quick drying stain blocker) to the trouble spots. I let the primer dry, sanded, and applied more chalk paint over the top. Everything was left to dry thoroughly overnight.
To protect and seal the chalk paint you must apply a few coats of wax.
First I gave everything a light sand with p320 and wiped all over with a tack cloth, then set to with the wax.
I had read on the Traditionalpainter.com forum that it was not worth skimping and using a cheaper wax, so Annie Sloan Clear Wax it was.
I applied this with a pure bristle brush to get good coverage in all the mouldings.
I wiped off any excess lumps with a lint free cloth, otherwise these bits don’t buff up and can leave a mark.
I left the wax for a few hours and buffed to a soft sheen.
Repeat with another coat and buff.
Sparkly new knobs fitted and tada! – a transformation from dated orange pine to glamorous Paris Grey.
Pine furniture and Farrow and Ball Estate Eggshell
That same month I was also asked to paint another set of bedroom furniture, but the clients specified Farrow & Ball ‘Elephants Breath’ estate eggshell, to match in with their new bed.
This required the more tried and tested method of prep, prime, undercoat + 3x eggshell. This finish has more steps than the Annie Sloan chalk paint and therefore a higher cost, but it does leave the furniture with a more durable finish.
Pros and cons of chalk paint
What I have learnt is that Annie Sloan chalk paint is a cheaper alternative to a standard eggshell finish and is, in my opinion, a quick fix solution.
It is totally fine for bedroom furniture, or low traffic situations, but I wouldn’t be so keen to use it in high traffic areas such as on kitchen cabinets.
However, I would really like to experiment with it to create distressed finishes, as that is what it is really designed for. It is a lovely paint to use, and the colours come in gorgeous, traditional tones, that can also be mixed together to create your own personal hue! I am looking forward to using it again and am very grateful to my ‘chalk paint’ clients for trusting me with this opportunity.
I am also very grateful to my ‘eggshell’ clients who were happy to pay for a more involved paint method. They understood the process and the product and were thrilled with the transformation, which gave their old but well made bedroom furniture a new lease of life.
If you are in Kent, please contact me if you require further information or a free no-obligation quote for me to upcycle your favourite pieces of furniture or wooden kitchen,
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