A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take part in a chalk paint workshop at Russells Garden Centre in Birdham. Russells is situated on the main road into West Wittering from the A27 and has a very distinct blue and white beach hut exterior. I’ve been past it many times and wanted to pop in, but never quite managed it, so as well as the obvious lure of time spent with chalk paint, I was also really curious to see what’s behind those beach huts!
The workshops are free and part of a charitable drive that Russells have set up to upcycle donated furniture and sell it to raise money for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust. It’s a simple, but brilliant idea.
People who are new to chalk paint and nervous about trying it out at home get a chance to experience using it by painting donated furniture which then helps raise money to provide nursing care at home for seriously ill local children. The paint used in the workshops (which is also sold by Russells) is Everlong chalk paint which unusually includes a wax in its makeup.
I was quite surprised at how little I was given to paint a medium size coffee table (half a plastic cup!) but amazed that it actually did the job of providing a first coat for the furniture. I don’t think this is because Everlong goes further than other chalk paint brands, but rather that I’ve probably been using too much paint from any brand in the past. The key is to just dip the very tip of your brush into the paint and apply that to the surface. It is very tempting to just slather it on!
The five of us doing the upcycling all used “Cricket Pitch” which is a pale green colour. I confess it’s not a shade I would have picked myself, but it did look undeniably good on the finished pieces of furniture.
Although I had to rush off quite promptly from the workshop (Alice’s lunchtime!) I did manage a whirlwind tour of the the centre and as well as the furniture outlet Russells have some really lovely pieces, including a whole section of coastal inspired interiors and some beautiful bits of colourful Indian furniture.
So if you live around Chichester and have yet to try out chalk paint, why not pop into Russells for one of their workshops and try it out for yourself. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for their next dates.
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