Trying out Annie Sloan paint

Hey there! First of all, have you seen the 400 awesome before and after projects linked up this month? Fantastic! (You can see them here.)

But come back soon cause I want to show you a fun little project. ;)

I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ Workshop a few weeks ago at a fun shop called ReStyled here in central Indiana. I’ve never used this paint and was thrilled to get a chance to try it out!

Sasha at ReStyled was totally thorough and definitely an Annie Sloan expert. This paint is super easy to use, but there are some different techniques and ways of doing things, so the hands on experience was really helpful.

I came home all amped up with plans of painting all kinds of stuff in the house running through my head! And then I couldn’t decide on just the right item to start out with, until I noticed the Goodwill stool that’s been sitting in the garage for a year now:

goodwill stool redo

I decided it would be the perfect item for me to experiment on. Buwhaahahaha.

Taps fingers together, cackles.

OK, it wasn’t really like that, it was more like a squeal, some clapping and a little hop because I was so excited to have finally decided on something. ;)

I kept hearing that you don’t have to do any prep with this paint – no sanding, no priming. It was so hard for me to believe, but I didn’t do anything to this stool other than clean it off.

I wanted to do a little layering of colors, and used the free samples I got from the workshop. I started with the Paris Grey color:

annie sloan paris grey

I used a regular paint brush and went to town – and that’s when I realized one of the bonuses of this paint – it goes on so easily and it shows brush marks:

painting with annie sloan chalk paint

Yes, I said brush marks are a good thing.

So let me tell you, that part was a little hard for me. For years all I’ve done is try to avoid brush marks. So it’s a little hard to get used to and it’s definitely a “look” – if you don’t like this look it may not be for you. I gotta say I loved it in the end, so hang in there if the brush marks are giving you hives. :)

Anyway, I kind of liked that look on a piece like this, because I went into it knowing it didn’t need to be perfect. I just brushed the paint on and didn’t worry about making it super smooth.

Another thing you need to get used to – this paint dries FAST. Really fast. You do need to watch that you get each spot well enough the first time so you don’t have to go back over it – it will “pull” a bit. This is the case for any paint though – you just need to work a bit quicker than with a latex.

I was inspired by another smaller stool I already have, so I cut out a “1” on my Silhouette machine and stuck ‘er on:

stencil on stool

I realized later that I was so focused on making sure the number was centered on the top that I didn’t center it on the rungs of the stool. Drats. It’s only slightly off but that’s enough to drive me slightly nutty. :)

I left the stencil on, then painted the whole chair with my second color, Duck Egg Blue – then I peeled off the stencil.

I was left with the grey color showing through, and it was time to sand:

I started with a fine grit sandpaper and ended using a medium grit to really get it distressed. As always, I went for the spots that would normally get some wear and tear:

distressing paint

I went a little lighter on some spots with it so it just brought some of the grey through, instead of down to the wood.

If a piece is going to get any kind of wear, you really need to use the soft wax on it as a final step. A frame would be fine just to paint and hang, but a table, chair, anything like that, should be finished off with a wax:

annie sloan soft wax

You can see above that the wax deepens the color, which I liked a lot. It made it the perfect blue color! And of course it deepens the wood grain color coming through the distressing.

You really need to mush that wax into the piece – I just swirled it around all over. The nice thing is you can easily see where it’s covering. It also rocks that you barely have to use any wax:

annie sloan soft wax

You want to make sure to not leave a film on the piece – it needs to be wiped down thoroughly. Sasha at ReStyled showed us how if you can run your finger across it and see a mark where you did so, there’s still too much on the item.

If you leave too much on there it will take forever to dry, or may not dry completely. Because of this you don’t have to use much at all -- I barely even touched my wax for this project. I have no doubt the one container of wax will last me years and years.

The wax protects the paint and the surface, much like a poly. I liked the finish when I was done – it’s very smooth to the touch and you can just tell it’s a protective finish by feeling it:

painting goodwill stool annie sloan

I ADORE this little stool and how it turned out! I love the color, the distressing, the No. 1 on the top:

No. 1

So darn cute!! You can see what I’m talking about with the brush marks in the pic above. It doesn’t bother me at all on this stool, but I’ll have to see how I feel about it on a bigger piece, like a dresser.

In the end, I loved this paint! I was a little surprised – I’m not sure why. It’s very easy to use. And there’s so many cool looks and techniques possible because of the layering of colors, the way it distresses, the dark wax option…and I LOVE that you can use it on anything without prep work. From what I understand, it can go right on top of oil or latex paint.

The next item I want to use it on is oil-based, so I’ll let you know how that goes. :)

There is the cost issue of this paint though – I used samples for the stool and it is true what I’ve heard, you need to use very little. I did one coat of each color and both covered beautifully. I’ve heard over and over that one quart will paint numerous pieces – so that is a good thing. So…I until I try it out on a bigger item I can’t speak to that. And you can skip primer so that is a cost saver…

Overall? I will be using it again. I’m excited to try it out on a dresser in our bedroom, so I’ll be sure to share more about that project.

I really loved how it transformed a regular stool:

Here’s the before and after:

So fun!!

Have you tried the Annie Sloan paint? What have you used it on? Sasha from ReStyled has offered to answer any questions you might have – so if you want more info on anything, ask away in the comments! Sasha will answer you back there. :)