My friend Kristy painted a chair with chalk paint for a charity auction a couple of months ago, and my mother in law saw it and decided she wanted a dresser painted in a similar style. We work together, and our office is pretty much covered in cheap paneling that we aren't allowed to paint, so we needed something to brighten up one big paneling-filled wall.
We went to a yard sale and found this little diamond in the rough. It was on sale for $25, and when we looked inside we saw that it's a solid wood Broyhill dresser. Needless to say we strapped that bad boy into the truck bed and hauled it home in the pouring rain.
I started looking for inspiration and instructions, and I found some great tutorials that I followed pretty closely. The best ones I found were from I Heart Naptime (where I got the recipe I followed) and Perfectly Imperfect (this one has some great videos where she shows waxing techniques) and from In My Own Style (she uses a piece of trim and compares the 3 main recipes side by side).
Once I had my instructions and my materials, I got cracking on the poor dresser that needed some TLC. First steps were ripping out the cardboard liners that were under the drawers and cleaning the wood. It had been sitting in someone's garage and had a delicious mildew smell we had to scrub out.
Mixing the chalk paint was pretty straightforward. I used four tablespoons of plaster of paris, two tablespoons of water, and mixed that until it was smooth. It was still thick and gloopy like really thick pancake batter. If it gets too thick though you can add another tablespoon of water.
Then I mixed about 2 cups of latex paint from Ace Hardware in with the plaster/water combo. We just got the Ace brand of paint and had it color matched to Benjamin Moore's Tropicana Cabana. It didn't look like much paint, but it was enough to do one coat of paint on this whole piece of furniture, including drawers and cabinet doors. This is probably the most accurate picture of the color of the paint. The lighting in the office is really weird so in the other pictures the paint can look really bright or really blue. In person it's more like an aqua-turquoise.
When I first painted it, I could see brush strokes everywhere, but as it dried the paint kind of smoothed itself out.
After the first coat, the paint was looking a little streaky and there were some water spots that bled through, so I mixed up some more paint and gave it a second coat.
Then I hit it with a little sandpaper to distress some spots. I will have to say, this paint is a lot easier to distress than latex paint.
Last step is to cover it with some furniture wax. I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax for dark wood. I got the kind for dark wood on accident, because I was not paying attention at the store. Then I started working and I was too lazy to return it, so I decided to just try it out and see how it would look. I found out that it worked great for the look I was going for. It helped give the furniture a little bit of an aged yellowed look. It wasn't enough to make the dresser look dirty, but it did give it a weathered finish that helped dull down the brightness of the paint. It also kind of pulled out the distressed areas more so they stood out.
Here she is in all her finished glory:
All in all, I'm not sure how much time chalk paint saves you, because I feel like it took the same amount of time to wax the furniture that it would have taken to sand it. I did like that I was able to finish the whole thing inside without having to haul it outside to sand it, because it rained here all week. Oh well.
A couple of obligatory detail shots of the distressing:
We painted the hardware a chocolate brown color to match the wood that showed through on the distressed areas.
And one last before and after, just to compare.
I think it looks a lot better!