Probably Polka Dots A Beginner's Guide to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint | Probably Polka Dots

23 March 2016

A Beginner's Guide to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

If you follow me on Instagram and Snapchat, you know by now that one of my favorite things to do is visit antique and thrift stores; I even have favorite antique shops in other states. I love the idea of making something old new again simply by bringing it home with me. I've thrifted everything from bar carts to chests to picture frames to books. 

And while I love bringing home a new piece of furniture, I've never refinished anything. Well, that's not entirely true. One time I tried to refinish a desk, but I got SO SICK of sanding it and painting it and sanding it again and adding yet another coat of paint that I finally gave up and sold it to a very stylish (and more patient) friend. Had I known about Annie Sloan chalk paint then, I probably would have kept my West Elm parson's desk look alike for myself.

Last week, I attended an Annie Sloan chalk paint workshop at The Bird and the Bee. Not only did owner Betsy and her trusty paint experts walk us through every step of the Annie Sloan process, but they helped us get our creative juices flowing by encouraging us to step outside of our comfort zone. We tried colors that we wouldn't usually incorporate into our homes. We added wax finishes that were not entirely our style. We used a crackle finish to spruce up plain Jane wood. We did it all! 

As a beginner myself, I wanted to capture my thoughts on being a newbie chalk painter. Here's a beginner's guide to Annie Sloan chalk paint: 

Step One: Choose a practice piece. Ladies, I LOVE your ambition. Really. You inspire me! But do yourself a favor and choose a small piece to practice your chalk paint skills. We used an intricate picture frame which allowed us to understand the process without it being too simple. 

Step Two: Prep your piece. Wipe your piece down and make sure it's clean, especially if it's been collecting dust at your favorite thrift shop. 

Step Three: Gather your supplies. For chalk painting, you'll need:

2. Paint brushes of choice (if you can splurge go Annie Sloan here, too!)
3. Annie Sloan soft wax (in clear or dark). 
4. Scott's Rags for buffing. 

Step Four: Paint your piece! Be intentional and thoughtful about your painting, but the beauty of Annie Sloan paint is that you really can't mess up. And bonus: you don't need to prime! 

Step Five: Let it dry. Aim for drying overnight. I know, it's hard! 

Step Six: Apply clear wax. Using a clear wax sets your paint and protects your piece. Be sure to apply your wax with a brush in circular motions and buff it out until it's smooth. Remember, a little wax goes a long way, and the more you apply, the more buffing you'll do. Tip: wash your hands when you think you're done buffing and run your hands over the piece. If it's still sticky, get back in there and buff some more. 

Step Seven: Stand back and admire your handy work! 

Step Eight: Sign-up for a Annie Sloan chalk paint workshop at The Bird and The Bee or in a location near you. Let's be real: transferring these skills from a picture frame to a large piece of furniture might be a bit of a challenge. Plus, there's no way I can go over every technique we learned in a short blog post. So, gather your friends and sign-up for a workshop near you. It's a great way to spend an evening DIYing and learning all about what Annie Sloan chalk paint has to offer. 

Special thanks to The Bird and The Bee for putting together this workshop for some fabulous local Atlanta bloggers. If you're in the Atlanta area, visit The Bird and The Bee and tell them I sent you. 



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