How to Easily Transform Old Furniture with Chalk Paint

How to Easily Transform Old Furniture with Chalk Paint

Hey friends! This week has been quite the wild ride, so it feels like it’s been forever since I posted here. My husband and I both got sick with COVID-19 right before New Years, so of course, we embarked on our 10 day quarantine. While I was initially grateful for the time to rest, as soon as I started feeling better, I started to go stir crazy and look for house projects. In fact, I think we’ve all been through this season with quarantine!

Don’t get me wrong, I did a fair share of Cricut-ing during this time too. In case you’re curious, here are some of my projects with vinyl stickers…

But! Today, I’m writing about something a little different. I think it’s important to callout before we start… I am a very much a rookie at DIY-ing furniture. I can easily count on one hand the number of pieces I’ve tackled. However, maybe you are like me and are really intimidated to try and paint or transform a piece of furniture. Well fear no more, we are going to tackle this together!

I had this old shelf in our spare bedroom – the room that is quickly becoming my husband’s “man cave”. The man cave is full of all-things Pittsburgh sports and the furniture follows that masculine theme. Well, everything except this bookshelf. It’s an old shelf that I had in my room as a kid and is really sturdy. It just looks like it’s been well-loved, because it has! So I had a dream that I could paint this guy black to match the rest of the room… Well folks we did it.

Here are the materials I used…

  • Chalk Paint – Now, I know what you’re thinking. This paint does NOT come out like a chalkboard (where you can write on it with chalk). You can definitely buy paint like that, if that’s what you’re looking for. However, chalk paint requires no prep work for most surfaces! You heard me right, no prep! If you were going to paint a piece of furniture with other types of paint, you would typically need to sand to remove the original seal, prime, and then paint. Well chalk paint goes right on without all the other work needed! It typically comes out very matte and a little chalky, so you’ll need something to seal it to make it smoother/ glossy. Here is the kind of chalk paint that I purchased – I had over half a bottle left though of the 16oz bottle for this shelf, so hope that helps you pick out the right size.
  • Wax Seal – Once your paint is dry, you’ll want to seal it with wax to “future proof” it. Folk Art also makes a wax here, but I used a different brand that was on clearance at Michael’s – I love a deal. Note: Never fear, I went to Michael’s after my quarantine was over, I ordered most of this on Amazon.
  • Paint brushes that fit your project – For my shelf, I used a small paint roller (like this one) for the larger surfaces and then a small wooden paint brush for the tight spaces. However, I wish I had used a foam brush (like this one) opposed to the wooden one, since the wooden paint brush made streaks in some places.
  • Paint roller tray – I used a plastic tray to pour my paint in (like this), since the lid of the paint bottle is small. This helped me get an even finish with the roller. Technically, this is a tray liner, but fine for the small amount of paint you are using here.

Let me share what I did…

  • Before you start… You’ll want to prep your workspace. I cut 2 trash bags open and taped them together to put my shelf on while I painted. Chalk paint doesn’t have strong odors or fumes, so it’s safe to use inside. Plus it is cold out!
  • First, I cleaned the shelf thoroughly by wiping it down with water and dish soap. You don’t want any loose particles or dust floating around.
  • Next, I poured small increments of my black paint in my paint tray and started applying it with my paint roller. I found the black was VERY forgiving and went on easily. However, it did seem to go on more evenly when the roller was covered in paint from the tray first. I had considered doing a 2nd coat of black paint, but quickly realized I didn’t need one. If you are using a white paint or lighter color, you’ll likely need a 2nd coat.
  • Then, I let the shelf dry overnight and applied the wax the same way the next day. However, next time, I will let the shelf dry longer before applying the wax because I noticed paint coming off in some places where I used the wooden paint brush to apply the wax. The roller didn’t seem to ruin the coat of paint underneath though – so I proceeded with that.
  • Finally, you just let the wax dry and you are done! The wax I used recommended not putting any weight on the furniture for 7 days, so I’ll wait to put my books back on it until then.

Seriously, this was SO easy! Have you had other chalk paint successes? I would love to hear!


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