Friday, September 2, 2011

Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint

This week as in the last several weeks I have been fixing up my studio, (actually I think it has gone into months now). I will be posting on it when it is finished (still weeks away). But I have also been using my studio to some extent this past week making pumpkins, wreaths and fall items for the flea market. 
I will be selling at Kane County the first weekend of the month for the next several months. I have way too much stuff! 

Anyway, I sent away for Annie Sloan's paint month's ago and it has been sitting here calling to me. I have been anxious to try it and see for myself what all the hoopla is about. I have had some projects lined up for the flea so I thought this was a good time.
 I am going to start out by saying I can be critical and sometimes just down right ornery. I don't like to jump on bandwagons much and usually I want to see for myself if something is good. I can be somewhat opinionated and I blame that on my German roots. With that said, I do not claim to be an expert on this paint, it is the first time I have used it and I have not seen Annie's video or tutorials.
 (I simply don't want to pay for it)  I might add that I don't mind paying for a technique tutorial but basic info concerning the paint I should be able to get off the paint can. The paint can has inadequate information on it, that would be my first criticism.  
However, I have been painting furniture for the past, well let's just say many many years and most of that was professionally. By painting I mean with technique to make it look authentically old, hand rubbed or faux... not spray painted in masses. 
So I am coming from that perspective. 
I sent away for the paint from a blog member and I really don't want to say who because it took a month to get the paint and the promotion was with a tutorial book on how to use the product effectively. I still have not gotten the book. 
But I figured how hard could it be... it really is just paint. Now I am not afraid to paint anything I want painted or experiment with techniques, 
heck I smeared Bees wax all over my walls in the living room because I couldn't get the color I wanted... but I have my rules. 
The piece I paint has to benefit from the paint, there are some pieces out there that just shouldn't be painted! If it has a wonderful patina or is naturally aged to perfection but it isn't the right color, I say leave it alone! Down the road it will be the right color or at least the right color for someone else. Or your grandmother's heirloom dining room set... All this painting good furniture with disregard to the integrity of the piece, just to get a look that will change next year is such a mistake. Now, I have painted good oak and wood pieces, I am not condemning painting, I am just saying be sure to look at the piece and do some assessments before you slather. 
Ok, now I will step off my soap box and stop preaching, I didn't mean to start on that. 
Back to Sloan, the desk that I painted needed a lot of tender loving care, it was a mess but worth saving. Perfect for this project.

One of the reasons this paint enticed me was it boasts of no prep work what so ever and it's ability to adhere to any surface, that includes metal, concrete as in flooring and even leather. No prep time! I'm there... and of course the end result in a hand rubbed old finish.
I decided on Paris Gray for the first coat, I painted on a very warm day but towards evening outside. Now anytime you paint outside your setup time will be half. This is a very thick paint and the paint went on nicely but I found I could not go over it after it started to dry, I had to work quickly, I think probably because of the hot air. It also leaves brush strokes but they disappeared after the paint dried.

 I could have left the Paris Gray with one coat but I decided to go over it with Old White and do a layered distressed look.

The Old White is very creamy in color, it is pretty but I would have liked it whiter with the gray. The colors are very limited in this paint.
The white didn't seem as thick and really was streaky but when it dried I only had to do touch ups not a second coat.
I then sand papered to smooth out and add distress areas in places I think it would have been worn. Sanding this is messy... it turns to powder. This paint reminds me of paint that has gesso added to it. 

So far I am liking this paint, but it is expensive and I know they claim it goes far, that is yet to be seen by me.
Now in years past, I have used acrylic flat paint and then used Brewax to polish the paint to give it a hand rubbed finish. I use the original color because I do not like any of the pre-colored mixes. I add my own color very sparingly. I do not like a lot of antiquing.
The Annie Sloan wax comes in original clear and a dark wax.  The dark wax is very dark. I first waxed the piece with the clear and then with the brush put the dark wax into the details. 

This is where it gets tricky,  you take off the dark with more of the clear wax on a rag. The dark does not come off easy, if you don't put down the clear wax first it immediately stains the paint. I barely used any of the dark wax.

I like the color of it but it will take me forever to use all this. It would be easier to just put a little stain in with the clear. Usually I use Old English, it has a nice tobacco color and just a drop goes a long way. This soft wax is nice but there is no lead time on the can to tell you when to buff. With Brewax I can buff in about 10 minutes.
The can does boast about the different things that are possible with this paint and they sound very interesting. They give a website to order a book and I will probably order it because it sounds like some techniques I would like to try.  They talk about some wall treatments with the wax that sounds very interesting.

Here is the finished product... all in all it looks much better than when I started.

Sorry about the shadows it is late in the day..,.

The results I would say are the same as if I would have used my other technique but it saved me time with no prep work which I like very much. I have concerns about the wax, I would not purchase the dark wax again. If this paints popularity helps teach painting techniques for the inexperienced person it is a good thing. 
All in all I would like to look more into it and see all the possibilities it has to offer.
I am late for my dear friend Debra at Common Ground's Inspiration Friday but I am going to link up anyway...


  1. I have been looking into buying the Chalk Paint and your post has me wondering why I need to? I've been using normal paint for years and can get the results without all the fuss... hmmmm? As for the prep,or the lack of, this does sound good though!
    Very interesting post.. btw, really like the piece you finished.

  2. Hi Rebecca -
    I enjoyed your post and you definitely have put a different spin on this paint. I just recently picked up my first can in DeKalb a few weeks ago and hope to work with it this weekend. It's now available at Carter's Cottage on Rt. 38 (thanks to a post by Anne-Marie Na-Da Farm) and Christine is very knowledgeable on techniques etc., plus they have furniture in the store painted in some of the different colors, with the waxes which was very helpful to me. After seeing a piece with the dark wax, I thought it was too dark too so I purchased the clear. You may want to check it out since DeKalb may not be that far from you? I have posted the website Now you have me really curious about this stuff. Have a good and SAFE holiday, and hope you sell out at Kane County.
    Connie (aka LOU)

  3. I won some Paris Gray in a giveaway and haven't received it yet. I'm not an experience painter so I really appreciated this post! I think I am going to start with an old mirror I have. Wish me luck! Your piece turned out gorgeous!!


  4. I have found that mixing regular paste wax with a little of the Annie Sloan dark wax is just perfect for most of my projects.

  5. Beautiful piece, beautifully done.

    thanks for ideas, tips, and also input about chalkboard paint.
    barbara jean

  6. Love love love how it turned beautifull!
    xx Marga

  7. Just beautiful. I've been reading all about this paint over blogland and really would love to try it but it's way too expensive for my pocketbook . . . someday! Thank you so much for this great post!


  8. Interesting post! I am the odd one...sceptical of paint that says no prep, sticks to anything, and distresses easily (flick it off with your fingernail if you get it where you don't want it)...just sounds like a bad paint job to me :)...but I am husband has been a paint rep/painting contractor for years...he is used to all of the steps and wanting the paint to stick for a *very* long time. It is just interesting watching something take off like this.
    I haven't used wax much ...what if you want to repaint down the road?

    I do use the Old English to glaze...I am like the color. How do you get it from being too dark?
    Have a great weekend!
    PS..I LOVE the piece white!!

    1. Just saw this and wanted to explain that it does sound like just a "bad paint job" at first, but it helped me to understand how it works...the chalk paint is extremely pourous, not to say it doesn't cover well. It's amazing. But the wax is formulated to get down into those tiny little pores, and bond with the paint and whatever is underneath. There is a "curing" period. I've been told up to a month, but I finished repainting my kitchen island about 2 weeks ago, and it is rock solid. The island was a glossy black and I painted it with Annie Sloan "Old Ochre". Two coats. No sanding, no scuffing, no primer. Nothing. I have two little boys. It's been bumped and crashed into already. I am very comfortable that it is every bit as durable as the oil based black that it was in its previous life.
      You can repaint right over it, sticks like a dream.
      Too much dark wax? The clear wax works like a "Magic Eraser"!
      Hard to make a mistake that can't be corrected!
      Give it a shot. Just takes some getting used to the idea that a shorter, easier, fewer stepped process could produce quality results!

  9. That piece turned out great! Theresa Cano is having someone do a demonstration at the blog party, so I am excited about that!

    Our show opens on Sept. 27th, very early this year! All the other fields will be open the weekend before!

    Can't wait to see you finished studio!


  10. I think I walked into your booth today at the flea market -- didn't know you were 'local'! I have a wonderful chalk paint stockist here in Itasca so I've been able to try the paint and waxes a lot. I love it but I'm not a fan of the dark wax . . . it's just too dark for my taste. I LOVE the clear -- goes on like butter and when it's buffed -- SO smooth! Your piece looks fantastic in my opinion :)

  11. Love your pumpkins Rebecca - they are so beautiful and such a great idea.
    Love your new cupboard too. it turned out to pretty.
    Have a wonderful day
    Blessings, Tina

  12. I read this post and couldn't wait to get back to you. Hate commenting on that thing:)
    I'll have to send you my version of chalkpaint.
    I've done a couple of projects with it and love it.

  13. This piece turned out absolutely gorgeous!!
    I have some chalk paint on order and cant wait to get ahold of it!!


  14. Rebecca,
    I very much appreciate that you gave such a detailed review of this paint. I have to be honest. If I see another post about this paint I might be sick. I am very much like you & also have German blood. Love the piece you did but if you put it next to one of your other pieces I'd not know the difference. I'm not sure I'd pay the cost & wait for delivery only to save a step or two. I have a feeling Lowes & Home Depot will have their own version soon.
    Love, LOVE your pumpkins.

  15. WOW! What a great job. The before and after is amazing! it looks great! And thanks for the detailed description of what you did.

  16. I have been doing a marathon painting this weekend. I have wanted to paint all my GOLD antique frames for awhile now. I bought 4 cans of ASCP and have had a ball mixing colors. I watered my formula down w/1 tbsp of water. I found that easier and less streaking. I let dry between coats. I finished off w/antiquing glaze (2 drops) watered down. I wiped that off. Let dry again, then I buff waxed w/ her clear wax, several layers. All the frames are different colors ( to compliment the picture) and they all look fabulous in an arrangement. I'm extremely happy w/the product. It's far easier than all the layering of painting,sanding,antiqueing,sanding,waxing. I LOVED no prep other than washing down the piece and making sure I had a clean surface. I'm w/you on the skeptics as I'm not sure of longevity on furniture. For pictures, I think it's great.

  17. thanks for your insights, i liked the feel of the chalkpaint after i sanded it, so silky smooth. but as for sticking to anything-HA! not true! i was able to scrape it right off w/ my fingernail and lightly, i might add! too expensive for something that's not really gonna stick!

    1. In the ASCP tutorial class I recently took, we were taught that it most definitely will come off unless you use a wax to finish it first. Without the wax, it is unprotected. Was your piece waxed? We were also taught to NOT sand the paint until AFTER the wax is applied to create the ultra-smooth finish the ASCP is known for...

    2. And also, even after the wax is applied, it DOES take some time for it to "cure" and become hard and durable. Once it does, you won't be able to scratch it off, in fact, I would put it up against any other paint in terms of durability.


  19. Yes. I have always used cheap acrylic paint...much simpler. I recently tried the Annie Sloan and though I don't hate it...
    You can make your own chalk paint by mixing plaster of Paris with latex paint according to my friend, Richard.

  20. I am a new visitor, I came over from the Polohouse. I could not agree more with you about this paint. I think that the information is way oversimplified! I purchased it and had bleeding on several projects. The paint is a challenge if it is too hot where you are working. I think the wax is crazy, the dark wax is very hard to control, and as you said if you do not have the clear down fisrt it will stain your project.

    I too could not figur out when I was suppose to buff the wax. I used it a few times on the white paint and the wax thurned the piece a strange yellow.

    Oh well trial and error. I also have to say that I agree with one of your other commentors, there is so much out there about the paint! I think it might be overkill.

  21. Hoy Cow, what an incredible change! it looks fabulous. Thanks for the honest talk about the paint and wax, I still haven't tried it yet, but want to when I hit the lottery! thanks for linking up Rebecca, you know I always love having you join in! xoxo D

  22. Beautiful transformation! I've used the chalk paint but haven't layered two different colors. Looks great on your piece!

  23. Thank you for all the info.! I was going to buy the A.S. paint when it first came out in bags that you added water to. I thought that was so economical because you could make up what you needed. Now I can't find it, and the cans are sooo expensive!
    I went on google and typed in chalk paint and found a couple of recipes for it...just flat paint3/4 cup and 2Tbs pre mixed grout and 1Tbs glaze. I think I am going to try this with some oops paint I bought!
    That being said, your piece is beautiful and your pumpkins are darling!!! karen...

  24. I saw this paint at one of the Antique Malls I had a booth in, but wondered if it was really good stuff, it was $34 a can! Your piece turned out beautiful, I will have to try it out! Janna

  25. Beautiful result! Annie Sloan chalk paints are wonderful and have used too. There is another great brand of paints you might want to try sometime called Milk Paint by Old Fashioned Milk Paint company. Their website is Safe to use and comes premix or you make your own recipes. Been using their products for years on furniture, objects, including artwork. Never disappointed.

  26. I just stumbled across your blog and I love it. Your whites and neutrals are just gorgeous. I'll be back. Diane

  27. This is my first visit here, and I can tell from your attitude that I will now be a regular! Your rant about people slapping paint onto otherwise-lovely furniture had me pumping my fist and encouraging you to keep ranting.

    I'm not a bandwagon sort of girl, either, and I was totally skeptical of jumping into the chalk paint world ... so I started with one color to see how it did for me. Most of my beef with most people's painted furniture is the lack of rubbed finish afterward, to get that silky smooth feel, and I found that this is probably the best feature of using chalk paint.

    I just finished my first piece, a large mirror, I was too cheap to buy special wax ... I used beeswax furniture polish and it turned out great. I actually liked the fact that the paint powdered when I was sanding it, making it easier to control the affect of distressing.

    This post is fantastic ... and I thought you should know that you know have another adoring fan.


  28. Hi Rebecca,
    I'm so glad that you were honest about the Annie Sloan paint. I've seen a lot of people ranting and raving about it but honestly, by the photos, I was never impressed. It doesn't look the same to me as the acrylic. I have never tried it myself-nor do I plan to. You do beautiful work, Rebecca, with or without the Annie paint. I would go the cheaper route if I were you, although it will mean more prep time for you. :( I also think if you buy the paint the instructions should come with it!
    Thanks for sharing with us and have a wonderful Sunday.


  29. I've been extremely curious about this paint. I've been seeing it on so many blogs, and wondered if it was worth the cost. Still not sure, but appreciate your info. I like to use a bonding primer under my paint, and am pretty happy with that look, it can be tinted to a color I'd like to see peek through the top color, and doesn't require sanding.

  30. Rebecca,
    Thanks for your input. I agree with you that the dark wax is waaaay too dark and hard to remove unless you use lots of the clear wax. It is sort of a hit or miss kind of process. I have only finished two pieces and it is hard to get them to match.

    All the best,


  31. So glad I found your blog and this post...have so far resisted the chalk paint craze and after reading of your experience I think I will stick to my old tried and true techniques.


  32. Hi Everyone!

    Love all of the feedback re: ASCP. I bought an antique head & Footboard for my daughters room over a year ago at a garage sale for $25.

    I've put off painting it because of the prep work. When I recently read some blogs about chalk paint (no prep, primer, etc..) I decided to go for it and spend the $35. on the Old White.

    Tonight I started the project. I wiped down the headboard w/a damp rag to get off the dust. I decided to sand it lightly. There are some old holes that I had to fill w/filler. Applied the first coat of ASCP. It's streaky and shows the brush lines. I can see some bleeding come through. I'm going to apply a second coat tomorrow...then smooth it out, distress it some, then apply MinWax Paste. I hope it turns out!! I've spent more money on the chalk paint, brushes, and wax than the bed itself!

    Take care! Tina in California

  33. Girl you crack me up. I too was wondering about all the hype...and the price tag. There is nothing in the product that necessitates the $$$ other than she is not bashful of her prices.
    I have my own recipe I have used for years with great success and I believe the real results are in the waxing and buffing and I have secrets there too!
    Which of course I will share on our next call lol


    regardless the piece is lovely <3

  34. I love how your piece turned out. I do also like your honest critique about the chalk paint. Since I am a painting contractor and have been for some time, I feel I can speak from some experience. With that said, I also am the northern CA Stockist for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I got involved with this, because it does work. I've worked with all kinds of paint. This is like butter. When applied properly and always using the clear wax first, then the dark, very sparingly to add interest and patina, you can end up with beautiful results with really no sanding or prep work. I have used it on plastic with wonderful chipping, no peeling, and when used on old wood, new wood, varnish, lacquer, it is amazing the transformation you can get. I did get bleed through on one project. it was an old oak buffet, which had seen better days. Because it was old and had been outside for several years, the yuck and oils came through the paint and dirtied it, so I spritzed it with Kilz and painted right over it. It is pictured on my blog (Nana's table). Most of the stockists and mini stockists have great workshops where you can learn all about the chalk paint and how it works along with very cool techniques. This is more than just paint, it is a finish and sometimes I think we get caught up in our old ways of painting so it is hard to learn a new way. But I for one will not go back to latex, ever!

  35. Hi Rebecca,
    Came across your blog by accident and must compliment you on the style. It's lovely. Anyway I'm sorry you didn't quite get my paint. I take your point that there isn't enough explanation on the can about how to use it. I'll look into that. There is a lot of different ways to use the paint so it is difficult to write about that on a can. But of course I am perhaps too close to my paint to understand clearly how to make it really clear. I've been making my paint for 20 years but it has only been available in the USA for the last 18 months or so.
    A few points - I think it's better to wax before you sand and also always use clear wax before you use dark wax. The dark wax is often applied on to slightly textured paintwork over clear, the wiped off so it stays in the textured crevices. It looks pretty cool.
    Anyway, thanks for writing about my paint. As I say you have a nice blog.

    1. Annie, I am considering painting a fairly hi-use wooden floor with chalk paint. What comments would you make regarding the durability of this paint in this situation? Thanks!

  36. That Annie is one classy lady ;->

    Janet xox

  37. I just found this post through the random wonders of the internet. I thought I'd share a make-your-own chalk paint recipe I also found. You can make a much bigger array of colors and spend lots less $$!

    Blessings :)

  38. I tend to just keep going back to my big bottle of white acrylic tole paint for furniture and adding color to it when i want to have a different shade than white white.
    I love your honesty and getting to the point of not going with the flow. I envy your glazing ability though. It just ends up looking dirty to me so i have little patience and end up using glaze mixed with paint just to harden my last coat and am getting more into dry brushing which is what i call using my crummy brush and doing it in a hurry.
    Your piece is beautiful. I'll be back here many times for some more LERNIN'...ha...x

  39. I specifically googled sites that reviewed the paint, since like you I'm naturally skeptical when something sounds so easy. But I admit, the no or less prep work sells me. I suck at painting and I don't enjoy it either so anything that helps lessen the task I'm all for. If I like the stuff, all of the blog world will know, and the same is true if I don't. The proof for me will be if I can transform some piece of junk!
    Thanks for a great post.
    ~ Bliss ~

  40. I specifically googled sites that reviewed the paint, since like you I'm naturally skeptical when something sounds so easy. But I admit, the no or less prep work sells me. I suck at painting and I don't enjoy it either so anything that helps lessen the task I'm all for. If I like the stuff, all of the blog world will know, and the same is true if I don't. The proof for me will be if I can transform some piece of junk!
    Thanks for a great post.
    ~ Bliss ~

  41. i am just painting my first chair with annie sloans. I am using old white. it is creamy color and pretty thick. They say to add a bit of water to it. I didn't do that. I just added the clear wax. And was debating on whether or not to buy the dark for the aging. Usually I make what I call a dirt glaze by mixing a bit of brown paint into a benjamin moore clear glaze. I think that I will do that instead in the interest of not making this project too too expensive. I signed up to follow your daughters blog as well


  42. I've just painted a pretty boring sideboard with country grey waxed clear beautiful and having used this paint I wouldn't bother with anything else. Going to start on dresser now in Paris grey over cream can't wait loving it!

  43. I just painted a trunk Greek Blue and hope it looks better tmw than it does tonite. The paint was very thin and I was dissapointed because everyone talks about how thick it is. I will surely have to paint over it tmw. I'm thinking of putting Versailles over the blue, as it is more violet than the color chart looked, but then, maybe with some clear wax, it'll turn more blue. Keeping my fingers crossed that it comes out o.k.

  44. Thanks so much for sharing your point of view on this chalk paint phenomenon!! What I want to know is what you meant by adding Old English to clear wax? I Googled it and couldn't a tutorial or anyone showing how to do it. Have you explained this on your blog before?
    Thanks so much!

  45. Having read all the hype on ASCP, I couldn't wait to try it out. I spent $100 on a quart of Old White, a tin of clear wax, and a tin of dark wax, plus shipping cost. I painted a laminate dresser and mirror. The first coat was VERY thick. I too was working outside and it dried very quickly - leaving brush strokes even after dried. I applied a 2nd coat, which I thinned down with water. I still saw the brush strokes. I put on the clear wax thinking that would help. Maybe I didn't apply enough of the wax because it seemed blotchy in spots. The next day, I broke down and sanded till I couldn't see the strokes anymore (yes, very dusty after breaking through the wax coating). I have to say, much easier to sand BEFORE you wax, but on the label, it says to distress AFTER waxing. Anyway, I then added a 3rd coat of AS paint, thinned down with water. Once dry, I rubbed on the clear wax - again. OMG - that is a workout! Once the wax dried, the paint took on a yellowish/brown tint and seemed to outline all the brush strokes. I wanted to cry at this point! I was so tired of messing with this dresser and with the whole ASCP... So not what I had invisioned and heard about this paint! I didn't even open the dark wax. It's suppose to save you time in prep, but honestly, it was more work than if I had sanded, used a latex with primer built in, and polyed like I normally do. Not to mention LOTS more in $$$$$ Since then, I have searched online trying to find a reason why my experience didn't match up to all the other great reviews I've read about this paint. I can't seem to find any explanation. I used a great quality brush (brand new) and rubbed on the wax with a cotton tshirt. Anyone have suggestions?

  46. Thank you for sharing this article, this is nice one… :-) Cheers!
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  47. Amazing!! Love the finished product, the color is beautiful. Chalk paint really add a grace to the furniture. I would love to try it.
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  48. I was taught in an ASCP class that you should not sand your piece until after applying the wax finish of your choice to avoid the dust that you experienced. Have you painted anything else using the correct process?

  49. I've just been painting with ASCP....that paint is thick! And it shows brush strokes - and when I painted over another colour it clumped and lifted off the paint underneath. This is my third or fourth item and by far the worst - although it is better if you water it down. I've seen "professionally" waxed pieces that look more patchy then mine - so I'm going to try keeping the wax in the airing cupboard to soften it. I have an Annie Sloan book but it ain't much use on technique!

  50. WOW!! Your piece turned out GORGEOUS!!! I love the effects of the dark wax in the crevices!

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