I have been meaning to try out Annie Sloan paint for so long now it’s getting ridiculous. I can’t even remember when I first heard about it… Presumably sometime between my disasterous attempt to sand down and repaint Theo’s Tripp Trapp high chair four years ago and now.
So I finally caved in and bought a couple of tins a few months ago and then did nothing! I was terrified of ruining my furniture and terrified that the process would be in some way difficult.
I kept considering attending one of the Annie Sloan painting workshops which are held at a couple of places local to me, but ducking out at the last moment. Then finally one day I looked at our pine coffee table we’d bought for £50 on eBay and thought “how badly wrong can this go?!”
This is what the table looked like originally. I didn’t even bother to take a proper before photo, as I was convinced I was about to ruin it!
I persuaded my slightly cynical husband to help me take the table outside, sanded down the top with an electric sander (which was extremely quick and easy) got out the Annie Sloan paintbrush I’d been given at Blogtacular and opened a tin of Paris Grey.
The initial process was a bit scary as the paint was drying unevenly in the sun and I wasn’t entirely sure what the finished result would be like. I also kept hearing the voice of doubt in my head telling me “but you can’t just paint things without priming them first..” (note to voice of doubt… yes you can!)
After painting the legs, I moved on to the top which I’d sanded. I used an old cloth and Annie Sloan clear wax and miraculously the horrible orange pine finish transformed into something that looked like oak!
The result took a couple of hours, minimal effort and is (I think) pretty amazing! From dated to contemporary for about £20…
Barely was the paint dry on the coffee table than I had started looking round for other things in the house to paint. I should warn you this chalk paint stuff is seriously addictive! We had a pine wardrobe which we bought on eBay (again) when we first moved into the house to use as temporary storage before we did the building work. There really was nothing to lose with this project because we’d actually discussed using it as firewood!
This is what it looked like originally in our slightly chaotic bedroom when we were camping in the house!
It had one of those removable ornate wooden tops which I took off. I used Annie Sloan Greek Blue for the outside and Pure for the inside and then clear wax to protect it. My dad knocked up two more supports for the rail so we could lower it to Theo’s height and make it suitable for his bedroom and I found some nautical handles on eBay. The entire project cost came in at just under £100 (including the wardrobe purchase) and buying a new flatpack wardrobe would have been at least £300 and nowhere near as solid.
I’m now midway through my third transformation. A mahogny bookcase that Jim’s grandfather made. It didn’t match anything else in the house and really stuck out, but Jim wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons. I’ve painted the outside grey and I’m about to do the inside in a brighter contrasting colour.
After being so nervous of trying chalk paint out, I’m delighted with the results and even more thrilled to discover that you can still pick up solidly made furniture so cheaply on eBay. As paint is lovely to work with not least of all because being water-based means there’s no faffing around with white spirit to clean the brushes.
My next challenge is to try and find a UK equivalent of the clear varnish I have seen some American bloggers using to give their furniture an alternative gloss finish. If you’ve worked out what to buy for this, please do let me know!