This is a sponsored post on behalf of Annie Sloan Unfolded. I received product for this post, but the opinions and the project and the tips are all mine! * indicates affliate links
This furniture post has been a long time a-comin’. I’ve known about Annie Sloan paints foreeeeever, but never really had the guts to try it, mostly because I thought I had to do a distressed piece and the thought of waxing just made me feel faint. The hardwood floors in our house used to be wax, and what a pain it was! So I thought that having wax on a piece of furniture was also going to be a serious PITA (pain in the a** for those of you acronym newbies). But, moving across the country and downsizing made me re-assess my assets. The fact that most of my furniture is now in one big room also gave me a big push to simplify my style. You can read that as “make everything white”. So, with a quart of Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan, I painted both my craft desk and my dining room console Old White, and they now sit maybe 10 feet apart, looking as if they belong together. And you know what? This furniture re-do wasn’t hard at all! The waxing was even pretty easy, and I didn’t distress a single thing. So, I’m going to share some tips I learned along the way.
Don’t be afraid of glopping the paint on
First things first. This Chalk Paint® is glorious. It’s buttery and smooth and no I’m not talking about chocolate, but if chocolate could be paint, this would be it. Load up your brush and enjoy how easy the paint goes on. There’s plenty of time for you to push the paint around as necessary before it starts drying. Feel free to paint against the grain to make sure the paint covers but always end by painting with the grain. I found that pulling the brush very lightly along the grain at the end helps smooth out the paint. And being generous with the paint makes sure that there’s decent coverage. I read in the Annie Sloan Quick and Easy Paint Transformations that the first coat is to cover, and the second coat is to make the paint opaque, which ended up being very true.
Use a good brush
I used one of my old Purdy brushes* for my desk and then an Annie Sloan Flat Brush for the dining room (now hallway) console. Both worked really well. The Annie Sloan brush picked up plenty of paint and was easy to use. It didn’t lose hairs and there weren’t any stray bristles that went all wonky on me, which is usually what happens when you decide to go cheap on the brush. Save yourself the frustration and use a good brush.
Do not “wax on, wax off” in circles
I applied Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax with the Annie Sloan Wax Brush. The first part is correct – you DO wax on, in circles, to really apply the wax and get into those corners of the piece. But after the circle motion, brush the wax along the grain. You’ll wipe the excess off with a rag, but that’s usually a very light motion, and if you don’t set the wax along the grain, you’ll see swirls in the finished dried wax. Trust me, swirls are no fun to see….from personal experience. I ended up applying a second coat of wax and making sure I ended along the grain before I wiped with a rag. Then the finish is seamless.
Actually, once the wax dries, you don’t even have to buff at all, but I highly suggest you do, because if you don’t, every finger and every hand print is going to show up as a mark on your finished piece. Once you buff the wax, it’ll be come somewhat shiny and will look like a sealed piece. It’s up to you how well you buff the wax, but the other tip is to buff evenly, so that one section doesn’t come out shinier than another section.
Oh yeah, work in a well ventilated space!
This one isn’t so much about technique as it is about not getting high or getting a headache. I chose to work indoors because I didn’t want insects and bits of flying debris to land on my drying paint. The paint itself doesn’t smell at all, but whooo boy, the wax is something else! I left the window open to help air flow and to dry the paint faster, so I guess that’s optional, but definitely have windows open when you wax. That stuff is strong and smells terrible. Pretty much like waxing a car in your bedroom.
Clean the wax brush with dishwashing detergent
Yup. You know, cuts grease and all. I bought some mineral spirits to clean my brush the first time around but it stunk and the brush had to soak for a while and the whole thing felt like a total grease-ball. After the second coat of wax, I decided to try cleaning the brush with some liquid dishwashing detergent and it worked out really well! I squeezed a dime sized bit onto my left palm and worked the wax brush into my palm so the whole brush got nice and soapy. Then rinse well. Then repeat if necessary. I think I repeated 2 or 3 times and the brush was super clean and soft. No stink, and super duper easy.
That’s all for now. Other than these tips, I think painting with Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan is not too different from painting anything else. If you’d now like to try a project of your own, you can find paints near you with their Stockist Locator and read more on their FAQ page.
My hallway is in the midst of a makeover and I’ll be posting the full reveal once we get all the pieces in place. For now, I’m just enjoying my “new” console table with its fabulous new knobs from D. Lawless Hardware. I’m also enjoying my white craft desk, but wondering when I’m going to be able to get my craft area together again.
Beautiful makeover and great tips!
Yay! So happy to see how gorgeous your piece turned out. And fantastic tips, my dear. (P.S. Those knobs are fantabulous.)
Thanks for these great tips. I’ve been using AS paint and wax for a while and love it. Waxing is the hardest part for me. The next time mine will look better thanks to your advise!
ChiWei, your table turned out beautifully! I haven’t tried Annie Sloan Chalk paint yet…..but I just might now! 🙂
Great tips!! Especially the one about wiping the wax with the grain – a tip that nobody seems to share but is invaluable.
I love working with Chalk paint. I was skeptical before I tried it, but it is addicting!
This is so pretty! I am totally going to try this on a piece that I have in my garage just waiting.
Thanks! It’s totally worth it – go for it!
Oh boy, I know the feeling. But yes, it is addicting, it’s so much quicker than I thought.
It’s such a small detail – to wipe with the grain, but it makes a huge difference! I really just never expected the wax to dry with the swirl marks.
Thank you Marilyn! You should definitely switch over to the “chalk” side, as Lauren so cleverly calls it 🙂
Thanks dear! I love those knobs. Hubby said they looked big on the piece, but I don’t care!
The wax was a lot easier than I anticipated, but it frustrating seeing it not work right the first time. Best of luck with your projects!
Great post! The knobs look better on your blog than they do in our store!
Haha, thanks Derrick! I LOVE THEM so much, I think they are so gorgeous in person. All the other pieces are beautiful too, can’t wait to show them off when my hallway is finished!
I just bought my first quart of chalk paint! I cannot wait for it to arrive so I can try it out on a fruit basket that I make! I’m going to do it in Florence and think it will be a really nice pop of color in a kitchen. Thanks for the tips!
I am in the midst of my first AS project using Florence and Old White. It is a fabulous product! Just got a pkg in the mail today with soft wax and wax brushes, so I am ready to continue. I am so glad I came across your blog and found your great tips!
Thanks for your sweet comment, and good luck with the painting!
Really great makeover! I love this paint! I have two wooden cabinets that I’ve found at the basement of my grandmother and I am planning to clean them, paint them and make them a wonderful part of the interior of my house! Thanks for the tips! I really enjoy your writing! 🙂
Hi! Thanks for your blog article. Very good tips. Even if you’ve been painting for a while, it’s good to hear from other folks out there.
One thing I thought I’d toss out there. My stockist suggested cleaning the wax brush with vegetable oil. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but that’s what I do and it works really well. Keeps the brush supple and prevents build-up.
And, since you haven’t done any other wax color except the clear wax, it’s also good to know that you should have a separate brush for dark wax!
I just stopped by. I’m thinking about painting my kitchen cabinets with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. But I am a bit unsure about the wax. Can you please tell me, how the wax smells like? Do I have to put the cabinets out of the apartment while waxing? I have two dogs and I don’t want them sitting in a room filled with solvent fumes.
It definitely had a smell – I kept the windows open.
Thank u for your pin!
Always looking for advice.
After you wax what do you “buff” with?
Hi Kristie! I buffed with an old t-shirt. I’ve got lots of those hanging around 🙂
Hi not sure if you can help, I have just done my first project but sadly not with Annie Sloane paint it is another we’ll know brand, my problem is I can see brush strokes, I didn’t over load the brush so am not sure what happened, i gave it 3 coats to cover the dark wood and 2 coats of clear wax, it was a medium size tv cabinet which I got for free, so nothing lost, I have a pine dining table that I want to do next so want to get a much better finish so any help you can give would be so much appreciated, I used 2 colours and it seems only the antique white is the worse one, it’s very disappointing after spending all the time on it
Thanks in advance
HI i have been using annie sloan paint for years, but recently have bought the brushes to my disappointment some hairs came out , also some times i water the paint down i have found different colours have different textures the pink is to die for . At the moment i am into the napoleonic blue allso i love duck egg blue thanks more info is always good to have Kay
Thanks for your blog article. I love working with Chalk paint but I haven’t tried Annie Sloan Chalk paint yet..
Did you sand your furniture before painting?
I’ve been using this paint for years. I hated waxing, so after finding out I can use a matte clear poly instead, that’s all I use now. I recommend Rustoleum Chalked Matte Clear or General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat. No more rubbing & buffing!