Tuesday, May 1, 2012

chalk paint armoire

Several weeks ago, I asked for you to help me pick a paint color for my armoire.  Gray was the favorite, and I wanted to try chalk paint on this project (since I'm the only home blogger in the world who hadn't tried it yet).

I started with this:

(I know!  You'd think some friend would have done a paint intervention way before now!)

Plus this inspiration photo:

Being lazy, I wanted to avoid priming, but our local ASCP dealer recommended priming since my piece was knotty pine.  I didn't want those knots or that yellowy color bleeding back through.  So I primed with my favorite BIN sealer, wearing disposable latex gloves and using a disposable brush so that I could just pitch those when I was done.

If you know how cheap I am, you're probably wondering what I was doing talking to the Annie Sloan rep.  Let it be known that I decided to make my own chalk paint, yes, to save money, and also to use the same paint color that is on my walls.  I had some on hand, as well as some Plaster of Paris leftover from a school project last year, so I did about a 2 parts paint to 1 part PoP ratio.  However, I bought the Annie Sloan Soft Wax (in Clear), partially just so I could say I did, and partially because in all the homemade paint posts I researched, there didn't seem to be a good substitute for the wax.  I did tint my own though which I'll tell you about in a minute.

Let me just say that I LOVE chalk paint!!  I was a little nervous at first, because my DIY version looked pretty gloppy.  However, it went on so smoothly and the coverage was so good, even after just one coat.  By the time the second coat was on, I was doing a happy dance and loving my new armoire.

Next, I printed this vintage French advertisement from The Graphics Fairy and transferred it to the doors.    (I'll share this process with you another day.)  MORE LOVE! 

Then came the wax.  I would imagine that for a furniture craftsman, this step would be still another labor of love.  For me, it was pure torture!  Of course, I did not ante up the $25+ for the special AS waxing brush - instead I used a rag made from an old t-shirt.  But I don't think this was the problem.  I just do not have the patience for rubbing little circles all over a giant piece of furniture.  I totally felt like the Karate Kid, and I was cussing the whole time.  So, would the magic of chalk paint be diminished by skipping the wax and slapping a coat of polyurethane over the whole thing at the end?  About the only upside that I could see was that my fingernails looked amazing afterward!
{This is my story, not necessarily a tutorial, so please don't send me a note that touching the wax is dangerous or forbidden or anything.  Just read the manufacturer's instructions for yourself and do whatcha gotta do.}
After a clear coat was on, I tinted a little of the wax with a drop or two of brown acrylic paint and went back around with a small art brush to accent the details.

I really wanted new hardware, but the goal was to keep this to a zero dollar project (insert husband laughing), and I'd already spent nearly $30 on the wax.  So, same old, same old.  All along I was thinking that I'd go get new hardware in a month or two (insert husband yelling "week"), but now that's it's done, I'm okay with it.

So on to the final step, the thing that took the most time (besides that *#@! waxing), styling the shelves.  I got half my books wrapped and ran out of butcher paper (since I was using - wait for it - leftovers).  Finding another roll of the same thing took me several trips.  But there it was in the Walmart mailing/packing supplies - who knew?  A roll of twine & my glue gun plus book pages & Mod Podge transformed some cast off items like a broken vase and foam toy balls into new accessories.

I think I came pretty close to my inspiration photo, don't you?

{Linking up to some of my favorite parties:}


Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

That's gorgeous! Now I know I'm the last person who hasn't tried chalk paint!!! I'm baffled by all the wax. What exactly does it do for the piece? Can you skip it? (I know I'll hate that part too!) I l-o-v-e that graphic! Great job!

jeanetteann said...

This is amazing,I just looooove all,including the beautiful creativeness you did on the books etc.
I am kicking myself now as I sold two beautiful armoire's for half the price I paid. They were also knotty pine which I got tired of. If only I had been blogging then.xx

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

I think it looks so much better, really great! I totally understand what you are saying about the waxing. I just shared a piece I did. I think everyone thinks that chalk paint is easier because you don't have to prime but it's alot of work and I did my kitchen cabinets and added the poly on top, I don't think anyone could tell the difference BUT they are just painted white, not that frenchy look. I think that is what ASP is best for. Great job!

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

WOW WOW WOW!!! This looks AMAZING!!! Great accessories too!

Anne said...

Nice job! I love the painted finish over the knotty pine. Gorgeous!!

Something Nice and Pretty said...

I love how you covered the books and everything just blends so well, you did a fantastic job! I've made the chalk paint too and love it!

Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge said...

Great Makeover. I love the color and the book covers. I've used a paste wax (minwax) on some smaller pieces and like the look of it, but I think I would definitely lose my patience on a large project like this. Yours looks great.

Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design said...

It looks awesome!! You're so thrifty! And you're not the only blogger who hasn't tried AS, but I just bought some today!

Caroline said...

GORGEOUS!!! Great job!

Kelly @ View Along the Way said...

*Gorgeous* project!! And I love the way you styled it too!

Okay, now *I* am the only blogger left who hasn't tried chalk paint. :)

Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista said...

That is amazing. I have a few things I want to say but I;m prefacign them with I have a really bad head cold, so if I sound disjointed, just et it slide:)

I've never painted with a brush (sticking to spray paint here), so I'm really happy you made the jump to chalk paint, it seems like a great product. And I'm totally with you on disposable brushes, who has time to clean them with paint thinner? Which reminds me, wehre was your baby in all of this? I feel like just as I get my hands messy (or on my computer) mine wakes up and needs to eat? Teach me your secrets, since you are a few kids ahead of me.


Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

tisha, that looks beautiful! wow! that was a lot of work, too- i hate painting shelves! ;)
and i am now following you- i thought i was already. many apologies!

leah - moxiethrift on etsy said...


Kim said...

Tisha- This looks so much better and i love the stencil! It looks so modern now...it is amazing what a little paint and inspiration can do!

Jen said...

Wow! Love this transformation! and the graphic is perfect for the piece!

Cher-Ann Texter said...

Wow! That is beautiful!


Lynn @ UpCountry Olio said...

I love this!!! I've got the same kind or armoire that needs an intervention. I think this makes me that very, very last person who has not tried chalk paint. Do you pinky swear that you will show us how you added the graphic? I really want to do almost exactly the same thing. Your blog is great and so fun to read. So happy to be following you back and I'll be a nag if you don't do a post on that graphic!

Reinventing Mimi B said...

I absolutely love this look, and I can't wait to hear about your stencil experience. Your creativity in the bookshelves is also a favorite. I've pinned this on pinterest.

Patti said...

This turned out fabulous....and "swearing" is imperative to create a great piece!

Heaven's Walk said...

Tisha - GREAT job, girlie!!! What an incredible transformation! I love that you made your own paint AND did that graphic transfer! I'm anxious to know how you did that part! :)

xoxo laurie

cheapcraftymama said...

That looks fabulous! What a difference paint makes! I would love for you to share this (and any other house projects) at my "May House Par-tay" at www.cheapcraftymama.com!

Joselyn @ The DIY Spot said...

It turned out so pretty. You nailed the look from your inspiration photo. Nice work!

Miss Kitty said...

I have almost that exact armoire (from the 1980's). I SO need to paint it! Thanks for the inspiration to "just do it".

Eclectically Vintage said...

Of course you rocked it - made your own paint, only cursed mildly when waxing it, had stunning manicure to boot! Plus your wrapped books and toy balls (who would have thunk!) are amazing.

Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon said...

Tisha... I love how it turned out! The color is just beautiful and the styling is impeccable! Thanks for sharing this with us this past week!

Take care,


Robin @ Happily Home, After said...


Somehow I missed this post back in May but I found it now while researching chalk paint ... perhaps I'm now the last blogger who hasn't tried this yet ;) Your armoire and bookcases came out amazing. Love your styling touches too and great creativity with the remake of the display objects. I don't know if I have the guts to make my own chalk paint as a first time user but your comment about nails never looking better ... I think I could go the rag route :) Great inspiration for my maybe dining room table job.