Chalk Paint: Not My Jam

I’m usually happy with my DIY projects. They usually take longer than expected, but in the end, I have something nice that I’m mostly proud to show off. I might have dropped the ball with the chalk paint thing.

After reading about it, hearing about it, seeing videos about it, oohing and ahhing over before and after photos of it, I finally jumped in and tried my hand at chalk paint. I’m underwhelmed.

The tutorials showed how simple it would be to apply the paint (just brush back and forth, sometimes in circular motions, very quickly before it dries) and said that I could paint over any surface–even hardware–no primer required, so you can imagine my disappointment to find none of that to be the case for my project.

To be fair, I painted a smooth-surface particle board (or maybe MDF) black file cabinet white, but still. If the whole world is screaming “it’s so easy and it covers anything,” then I think it should be easy and cover anything. Amiright?

Valspar Chalky Finish Paint
Valspar dark antiquing wax and Waverly clear wax and brushes

Perhaps you really do need to use the Annie Sloan brand to get the best results. I didn’t listen, and I cheaped out and used Valspar, which is a good quality paint in normal paint world, but maybe chalk paint isn’t V’s thing. The bottom line is that I had to paint three coats to cover the black even before I could do the antiquing and the finish wax. They lost me at three coats.

Here it is before the antiquing (I should have left it right there)
Close-up of the antiquing finish

I then chose the wrong color wax for the antiquing look. I should have gone a shade lighter. And lastly, the clear finishing wax isn’t what I expected. I thought it would be a paste to really protect the finish, but it was the consistency of chocolate milk. I pushed it around with the brush, let it mostly dry, wiped with a rag as instructed, and repeated a few times, yet it didn’t feel like much of it “took.” Months later it still feels sticky and unprotected.

I really do like it better now than when it was black…it’s just not exactly what I had envisioned…and took a lot longer than expected. Imagine that!

The finished product looks fine, maybe even cute and not too shabby for a first try. If I were to do it over, I think I’d go back to my old ways of sanding, one coat of tinted primer, and one coat of paint and be done. But who knows, maybe I’ll get the hang of it and chalk paint every wood surface in my home 1950s aqua or dove gray like the rest of the world. But then again, maybe not.