Thursday, 21 August 2014

5 Newbie Tips When Using Chalk Paint Powder

When money is too tight to buy new furniture, it's amazing what paint can do to transform your existing pieces. Painted wood furniture is so fashionable just now, it's easy and it's cheap. Right up my street! Totally inspired by the latest series of Kirstie's Fill Your House For Free, I thought I'd give it a go. 

After a little research, I knew that chalk paint would adhere to wood much better than ordinary paint, and needed much less prep and priming (I'm impatient when it comes to crafts- I just want to get to the good bits!) Annie Sloan appeared to be the most popular brand of paint for this type of project, but when I went online to order some, I baulked at the price. Yes- the colours were beautiful, and yes- the reviews were excellent, but I couldn't justify spending that amount of money on one colour of paint, for one project. Back to the drawing board. 
Pine lamp table transformed!
I stumbled upon a solution- chalk paint powder, added to regular emulsion. Great- this meant I could use up all my old paint as well! Since I love a feature wall, I actually do have loads of tins of paint sitting in the basement. I opted for a 300g tub of chalk paint powder, from Molly's Paintbrush, for £5.95. There are several sellers out there, but I found Molly to be really helpful and knowledgeable when I was asking my "newbie" questions. 300g is about the right amount for 1 litre of paint, but can be mixed up in smaller amounts for smaller jobs. 
Chalk paint powder

I have found it to be incredibly easy to use, and have successfully painted a few of my existing pieces of furniture so far. Here are my top 5 tips for complete beginners: 
  1. Only mix up the amount you need. Even leaving the mix overnight can result in little tiny hard lumps in the paint, which are a complete pain to smooth out.
  2. Do not attempt to paint MDF/ flat pack furniture! The finish is flat, and the paint scratches off quite easily. I tried primer underneath, but it's still not great. I love how you can still see the wood grain underneath chalk paint, and this is missing from MDF. 
  3. Work in small areas at a time, making sure the finish is smooth before moving on. 
  4. Lightly sand between coats. It makes a big difference! 
  5. Remember to add water to the chalk powder before adding it to the paint. I forgot to do this the first time, and ended up with a lumpy mixture. 
I definitely think that using chalk paint powder is a better alternative to buying ready-made chalk paint. It's cheaper, and gives you the opportunity to use up your old emulsion. Bonus!

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