How to brighten up dark furniture

Today I thought I would share a project with you where we turned a piece of rather
dark furniture into a bright painted masterpiece – with little or no preparation.

Before and After Chalk Paint™
Before and After Chalk Paint™

This beautiful, but dark, dressing table was chosen for its elaborate carved features,
but the techniques shown below can be used on even the plainest piece. I chose to
paint this piece in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ as the paint is easy to apply, with
little or no preparation and the texture of the paint allows the white wax to add
another dimension to the surface.

You will need:
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ 120ml – Original
Annie Sloan Soft Wax – Clear
Annie Sloan Soft Wax – White
Large and small pure bristle paint brushes
Waxing Brush
Soft Cloth for buffing

Here’s how:
1: Prepare:
Before starting to paint ensure your furniture is clean and dry. Wiping away any
dust or dirt with a soft cloth and warm water is generally all that is required.
Dry thoroughly.
There is no need to remove old varnish or wax. Just ensure you have a sound dry
base on which to apply your paint.

2: Paint:
Stir the paint well, as per the instructions on the tin, if you have not used
this paint before you may find it quite thick.

easy coverage
Easy Coverage

Apply to your furniture in an uneven manner, applying the paint in different
directions. Start at the top and work downwards, covering the wood, but watching
for runs on corners and edges. Try not to over paint areas as the paint dries
quickly. Ensure you get the paint into any carvings or grooves. For drawers it
is best to paint an inch of the outer edges, the inside can be painted in a
contrasting colour or to match. Allow the paint to dry, approximately 20 minutes
depending on the temperature.

3: Embellish:
Paint the edges of drawers and the fine moldings to highlight using a contrasting
colour (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ – Original) Paint free-hand using a fine bristle
brush. Then lightly brush the white paint over the carved areas to add definition.

4: Wax:
Apply a thin layer of Annie Sloan Soft White Wax. Work this into the paint and
carvings using a soft Wax Brush. (A soft lint free cloth can be used, but pay
attention to carved areas as missing areas will give an uneven appearance).
Remove any excess wax polishing as you go. The wax will be absorbed into the
paint. Once dry apply a top coat of Clear Soft Wax. Buff well using a soft
lint free cloth.

A 1 litre tin will cover approximately 13 sq meters? That’s a lot of furniture!
One coat is normally all you need! (Perfect for covering painted beams.)
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ has very low VOCs so there are no odours when you paint
and once dry and waxed it is safe for use in children’s rooms.
Use wax sparingly rubbing in as you go to avoid streaking.
You can obtain a high gloss finish by buffing the wax the following day.
For a more “distressed” finish, lightly sand the edges of your furniture using
Annie’s wonderful reusable foam sanding pads!
For an aged look you can apply Annie Sloan dark or black waxes. Prevent
staining your paint by applying a thin coat of clear wax before dark waxing.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ is not just for furniture. It is made of natural
ingredients and is breathable, so perfect for using on old damp or lime
plastered walls. You can use it on floors too, wooden or concrete!
Annie Sloan Wall Paint™ comes in larger 2.5 lt tins and give a durable,
washable surface. Ideal for kitchens and high traffic areas.

Here are a few photos of project as it was being done…

Where to buy: La Deuxième Chance

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Comparing different furniture paints

When talking about furniture paints the majority of people immediately starting thinking of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ there are also many other brands of Chalk Paint being created all over the world as these companies try to cash in on this revolution. Are all Chalk Paints created equal? Well….actually that’s a complete other story. In short the quality and coverage vary widely. Some of these brands can contain products such as Latex, Ethylene Glycerol (antifreeze), Ammonia and Methanol. Most reputable manufacturers produce something that is referred to as a MSDS or CSDS. This is basically information about what is considered to be hazardous in its contents or ingredients. Our advice to check the individual product labels or ask for a copy of the MSDS. Reputable manufactures and retailers will provide this for you free of charge. Don’t be fobbed off with claims such as we put all our ingredients on the label or we don’t need to as there are no “nasties” in our paint. Just think about that first bit for a minute….if you put all of your ingredients on the label wouldn’t that be inviting someone to copy it??? From a commercial perpestive it is not a good idea. Just a thought!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ France
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™
Chalk Paint™ comes in a ready-made form. Open the can.Give it a stir and off you go. Do you need to do any prep before hand? I know many people claim that none is necessary but personally I’d rather say little to none. Obviously you need to remove any loose or flaking paint from the surface. Give it wipe down to remove any grease. Occasionally, depending on the surface, a bit of rough sanding may be necessary but this is the exception rather than the rule. Chalk Paint™ is great for a textured look and this is part of the “Annie Sloan” look.It can also be distressed very easily.
One of the great advantages of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ is that it dries very quickly and can be used on most surfaces including wood, raw or painted or varnished, glass, metal or concrete. It is also one of the few paints that will cover waxed furniture without any problems.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint France -Emperor's Silk
Annie Sloan Emperor’s Silk

So what about coverage? Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ has very good coverage. Approximately 13m² per litre. Other so-called “chalk paints” do not offer such good coverage. And the same goes for the number of coats required. Normally only one possibly two coats are all that is required. Whites, by their very nature, may need more coats.

Is Chalk Paint™ waterproof? The answer to that is NO. It dries to a matt chalky (porous) finish which needs to be sealed with either soft wax or floor lacqueur to protect the paint. For exterior use we recommend Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Lacquer.

Milk Paint
In this particular instance we are going to refer to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. There are a few other milk paints out there but this is one of the better known ones. Milk Paint is the oldest known form of paint and is well and truly tried and tested. It is made of only natural products and contains no preservatives.In fact it is made up from Milk protein (casein), limestone, clay,chalk and natural pigments. Hence it comes in powder form. To make a paint you simply add one part powder to one part water. Give a good mix and off you go.

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint France
Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint

Like Chalk Paint™ it is a water based paint ( milk paint is much finer to use) but unlike Chalk Paint™ it is self leveling which means it provides a smooth flat finish without brush marks. Milk Paint will also dry to matt chalky porous finish and is easy to distress for an aged look. It too requires minimal prep. Some light sanding.

So what is different about milk paint? It is best for use on wood but it can be used on metal, glass and other surfaces with the addition of “Bonding Agent”. Bonding agent can also be added to the mixed paint for extra adhesion on glossy surfaces. Because it is made of all natural ingredients it contains zero VOC’s.
Unlike other paints Milk Paint will sink into the wood and become part of the fabric of the wood. This means that unlike other paints that simply sit on top of the wood it will not chip or knock like a conventional paint. It will also allow the grain of the wood to show through just like a wood stain does.

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint France
Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – Farm House White

Milk Paint is much thinner than chalk paint and requires at least two or three coats for good coverage. Again white may need more. It does however depend on how thick the paint has been mixed initially. Finishing is the same as Chalk Paint™ and needs to be sealed using either wax or hemp oil to the protect the paint.

Fusion™ Mineral Paint France

Fusion™ Mineral Paint

Like the two previously mentioned paints Fusion is also quick drying but does take a little longer to fully cure. Like milk paint it is self leveling and gives a wonderful smooth finish without brush marks. But unlike the other two paints it has a built-in top coat. This means there is no need to wax. It is also waterproof and UV resistant making ideal for both interior and exterior use.
It too will cover most surfaces including wood – raw, painted or varnished, glass, metal and concrete. Fusion’s Ultra grip can be used as an extra bit of prep to ensure adhesion on glossy surfaces such as glass, high gloss varnished items etc.

Fusion™ Mineral Paint France
Fusion™ Mineral Paint – Putty

Fusion, like Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is made from all natural ingredients including water, minerals (titanium dioxide, iron oxides and calcium carbonate) plus 100% acrylic resin. Fusion is also contains no toxic fillers and is zero VOC free.
The coverage of Fusion is also very good. A 500ml pot will cover approximately 7m². It needs one or sometimes two coats. At the risk of repeating myself allow extra for whites.

All three paints are available from La Deuxième Chance.
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