For those of you that want the look of chalk paint without the cost and hassle, I’ve found a process that gives you the same look but with a much cheaper and durable finish (Why I Don’t Use Chalk Paint on Furniture). With my better alternative to chalk paint, you can even achieve the aged look of dark wax without the extra time involved.
A Better Alternative to Chalk Painting Furniture – My Process:
You will need:
1 Quart Behr Premium Plus ULTRA Paint in Satin in your color of choice!
1 Quart Zinnser Bullseye 123 Primer – If your paint is light or white, don’t tint the primer. If it is dark, tint the primer the same color. Just ask them to help you at the paint counter. It doesn’t have to be an exact match – just darker than white to give you better coverage. I opt for a shade a little lighter than my final coat.
1 Paint Brush – I love these!
1 Quart General Finishes Top Coat
OPTIONAL – For an aged look: Valspar Clear Mixing Glaze and a sample pot of Behr Ashwood.
1. Lightly Sand Your Furniture Piece – After taking off all hardware, sand your piece using a mouse sander. Just gently go over the surface to rough it up some. You don’t want to try to take off the existing paint or stain, you just want to take off the shine. Spend more time on scratches and dents as needed. Once you are done, wipe it down with a moist rag.
2. Prime with Tinted Primer – For this dresser, I used Zinnser Bullseye 123 in white, which can be found at Lowes, Home Depot and even cheaper HERE. This a water-based tintable primer which means that you can have it tinted just like paint. For lighter projects, I just go with a white primer, as it is in the can. For black or gray projects, I have a gallon of gray primer on hand. If I was painting a piece navy, I would get my primer tinted a slightly lighter shade of navy. Having a tinted primer minimizes the number of coats. (Your primer doesn’t need to match your paint color. It just needs to be a stepping stone to build upon.)
Before you start any furniture project, be sure to download my FREE “Must-Have Painting Tips” for any projects. Don’t start a project without them!
3. Paint – The primer takes only 30 minutes to dry. When you’re ready, paint the piece with a roller like THIS one. It will also save time on your entire project and gives you a much smoother finish than painting with a brush. You can also add a product called Floetrol to your paint in order to minimize brush strokes. I do this often and love the smooth finish I get every time. Just read the instructions on the bottle for how much to add and mix it in.
4. Give It An Aged Look – Now, say you want to achieve the same look of dark wax without the cost and hassle. After your coat of latex paint is dry, mix together a 50/50 mix of the Valspar Clear Glazing Mix and your sample container of paint. My sample color is Behr Ashwood (Home Depot) which is the same color as Valspar Beige Shadow(Lowe’s,) depending on the paint on the store you are at. Once it is mixed, paint it on your dresser. See how I obviously missed areas – that’s ok! It will spread out when we go to wipe – this process is fail-proof! (The gray I’m using is Behr Cosmic Quest.)
Once I painted on the streaks and covered the majority of the piece I took a baby wipe and started wiping it off. (Pamper’s seem to work well for some reason). This is a really easy process as the glazing medium allows the paint to stay wet giving you plenty of time to work with it. You just keep wiping with your baby wipes in long strokes in the direction of your piece to get the look you want to achieve. You cannot mess this up – just keep wiping until you get the look you want. I love how it gives it that vintage look and it will work with any base color – you might just have to wipe more or less depending on the look you want. (Although I’m using a glazing medium, this process is actually called “color washing”.)
For furniture that undergoes a LOT of wear and tear like our coffee table or my daughter’s desk, I will add a couple coats of topcoat for extra durability but usually one is enough. I like the General Finishes topcoats and they even come in Flat so you can get that same matte look of chalk paint. I used their Satin finish for this piece. Just paint on the top coat and you are done!
If I didn’t use this process, the alternative would have been to wax with clear wax and then wax with dark wax to get that look. Both of those steps take a lot of time and there is a definite learning curve with waxing. As I mentioned in my post Why I Don’t Use Chalk Paint, waxed furniture has to be maintained by re-waxing every so often. With this better alternative to chalk paint, your piece will look fabulous for decades to come with no maintence!
Now you have a furniture piece that has the farmhouse look of chalk paint without the extra hassle and expense, not to mention it will have a durable finish for years to come! For more inspiration, check out the rest of my furniture flips.
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