Remember the first thing you ever painted with ‘real’ grown-up paint, not kiddie watercolour paint?
Remember the exhilaration of gobbing on that first transforming brush full? Remember the utter lack of control and the hashmark-style brush strokes? Well, you can have all of that back.
Modern painting has become a chore to be avoided. It smells up the house, the prep alone is a lot of trouble, and you have to match the paint to the surface you’re covering, which leads to mistakes (i.e. latex over alkyd, wrong primer, bubbling, blistering or peeling because some genius used Plaster of Paris instead of spackle on the ceiling and the lime goes into solution and starts fizzing under the paint...).
And let's not forget that modern paint comes in 28,000 colours, only 27 of which actually look good in any known home.
Well, I found a paint that is so fun, relieving, gorgeous and smart that I'm painting everything in the house, including the most avoided task in the DIY roster: the kitchen cabinets.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is finally available in Canada. And it only comes in 27 colours (the ones that look good in houses), which can be diluted with Annie's Pure White or Old White to create lighter shades if you desire. (I covered Annie's paint in my column today. But I didn't have enough room to tell the whole story, so I'm adding some more details here.)
The paint has so little odour that my insanely smell-sensitive husband couldn't even tell I'd been painting the kitchen when he came home from running errands.
And I'm painting right over 30-year-old alkyd. No prep. It's so easy to work with this paint that I can do a little bit every day rather than shut the kitchen down for a week while I remove all of the cupboard doors, sand them, prime them, roll on a couple of coats, and then replace all of the hardware and re-install them.
(I went with Versailles green, the colour of the kitchen cabinets in Jasper Dale's kitchen on Road to Avonlea.)
Annie encourages Chalk Paint users to brush the paint on with abandon, crisscrossing the brushstrokes to add texture and depth. The paint lends itself beautifully to arty effects like layering and distressing. Even on plastic! (This is a thick base coat on my plastic iPhone case)
I was going for 'rustic barnboard'. This is how it turned out...
I had a lot of fun painting a beat up old table made from Douglas fir...
Photo: Nora Duffy
(table top was painted with Versailles green and then immediately rubbed with a rag to create a pickled effect)
I experimented with mixing some concrete pigment into the paint (Old Ochre) because I hadn't bought enough colours. Concrete pigment tends to be lumpy so it creates streaks in the paint. I found that using a sponge to apply the paint helped reduce the streaking. I just swabbed it around till the finish was even.
(Shiny urethane be gone!)
Chalk Paint creates a very soft, velvety matte finish that you can gloss up with Annie Sloan's soft waxes. They come in clear or dark shades. Both buff to a silky sheen. The dark wax is great for creating various grunge effects or for aging a piece.
You can check Annie Sloan's web site for a dealer near you. The paint is so loaded with pigment that it covers most surfaces quite nicely with one coat. If you're in the Greater Toronto Area your closest dealer is Kathie Jordan in New Hamburg, Ontario. Kathie will ship paint and/or wax to you if you don't want to make the drive. You can also place an online order for Annie Sloan paints and waxes from The Melon Patch in Bath, Ontario.
It's worth the visit to Kathie's shop if you're in the GTA - she's lovely!
TIP: The online palette looks darker than the paint actually is (on most monitors). The best way to experience the colours is to go to a dealer and see for yourself, or do a search for the glorious projects that people have posted online.
OTHER TIP: This is the recipe to use if you want to try creating DIY chalk paint formula using PVA (white glue) and chalk whiting.