From Skirted Vanity to Chalk Painted Desk

I finally did it!  I made chalk paint (with a little help) and painted a vanity to be used as a desk in its next life. This is real progress, since I have a real mental block about painting.  I feel like I must be the last person on the planet to try this- but maybe not.

Just in case- this is what I know about the chalk paint- which isn’t very much!  Also for you pro’s at painting that may be reading- please leave me comments on what I should change or add to my method of madness here.  After researching and reading what I could find about the chalk paint, this is what I learned in a nutshell.

Martha Stewart says it can be made with any latex paint and add the powder to make it thicker and when it dries it is chalky when you run your finger over it.  I think the beauty is that there is no “prep work” to the piece of furniture- mine happened to be stripped already.  You can paint the chalk paint right on over the existing finish of the piece and get the same results.  Then you sand the edges and anywhere you want to get the distressed look.

Then the paste wax is applied to seal in the paint.  It won’t come off when you run your fingers over it then. You can skip down to steps I came up with- just before the photos if you don’t have time to read the “long version”.  I am not good at making a long story short.We went to Lowe’s about another item, and I got to thinking I should get the “ingredients” to make my chalk paint.  So then I convinced my husband to help me round up what I needed to make the chalk paint.

First of all, I told you I had read everything I could find and watched tutorials as well on the internet, trying to decide how to go about this DIY project.  So for me, it seemed to boil down to making your own chalk paint- if you are a penny pincher- and I am!  I heard the brand that is sold only in the high end paint stores is $60-ish a quart.  I was thinking “Oh no no no- not for me”!  So I found out there is a way to get the look with latex paint and adding the calcium carbonate, CaCO3 (lime or whitening it is called).  This makes the paint sand off smoothly and then you finish up by putting a coat of wax over the finished sanded piece of furniture- or whatever you have in mind to paint.  This is how you achieve the shabby chic look at home!

So using the latex paint, you can get any desired color and add the whitening, and wah-lah you have your own unique chalk paint.  Then my husband says- while we are in Lowe’s- should I say “hardware store”? Everyone knows what Lowe’s is don’t they?  I doubt they would mind little ole me throwing their name out there!  I know I am jumping around, but he says why don’t you just buy some of it- lets just ask the guy at the paint counter.

I know you are thinking, this is like a guy asking for directions?  Right, no not really, he is just ready to be done with this, before I even start, haha- so he asks the paint counter guy- and you can imagine the joy on his face, he says yes we have chalk paint and tears off to another aisle over as we are close behind them.  I am thinking, maybe they do have a cheaper one, well this would be lovely.  Then I realize we are on the spray paint aisle and I think oh no- he doesn’t have it over here, does he?  So he proudly pulls out a can of “chalk board paint”.

I am already shaking my head- NOT chalk BOARD paint- Chalk Paint like A%$#@ Chalk paint that is all the rage.  Oh, the look on his face- pure disbelief- what? He’s never heard of it?  So has no one else in our fair town even asked for “chalk paint”?  Apparently not!  Well, I had to give him a “sorry but you tried” kind of thing.  I say no this is not a spray can it is paint that you brush on and sand off and then wax.

He is looking at me in horror now- like what in the world is she talking about?  So we left the paint store (shall I say) empty handed.  I knew my darling husband was going to come to the rescue.  Sure enough, we had all the ingredients I told him.  He says that calcium carbonate is lime in plain words and he disappears to Greg’s salvage yard (our basement/crawl space area) and produces a sack of the CaCO3  and a can a latex paint in a perfect cream color for our project.  He even has the sanding block to use on it, drop cloths, brushes, paint mixing bucket, paint stirrer and will soon find the wax he is pretty sure he has “somewhere”.

These are the steps I came up with:

1. Choose your color and mix your paint.
2. Paint 2 coats on your chosen victim “uh hmm” furniture.
3. When dry, sand the heck out of it with 100 grit sand paper (or the little sponge with sand paper on it).
4.  Apply a coat of paste wax on the nice smooth piece.

The vanity has 2 coats of the paint to make it solid.  Next comes sanding and the wax paste applied on that for the finishing step. Ok I have jumped ahead to post this much- because it takes me forever to get it on here- somewhat correctly- since I am a perfectionist and take forever to type and attach the photos.  For the technology challenged- this seems to be a feat.  It can lead to joyous triumph when you get it right or saying bad words when you can’t get to where you are trying to go with it.  So I hope this one is a joyous triumph!  More to come….  leaving you in suspense!!!