We now have a major love of chalk painting as seen in our mason jar chandelier, small kitchen buffet and this amazing china hutch makeover. Stay tuned for all the details from my DIY hubby on how to chalk paint furniture.
When my parents moved into a nursing home I became the recipient of my mom’s china hutch, circa 1970’s. I remember the day it arrived at my childhood home so many years ago. My parents were not wealthy and barely scraped by most of the time. Yet my dad often found a way to buy the things my mom most desired. In the 1970’s that was a place to showcase her china and crystal, beautiful gifts from my parents’ wedding in 1945.
I can’t say I always wanted the hutch, but I knew one day I would inherit her china and crystal. This bulky piece has been an eyesore in our kitchen. It was out of place and just didn’t fit. As I became addicted to Pinterest I started seeing chalk paint pieces that I loved and the search was on to find the right product and convince my husband to try it.
I started by telling him my ideas and sending him pictures of projects I liked. I knew the day he sent ME a picture that I had ensnared him in my sneaky plan! He is a painter after all, but I was willing to try to do the painting myself. As we got closer and closer to actually purchasing the paint Tim began to take ownership of the project. Yes, I succeeded in my dastardly plot to get him to do the work after all!
Here’s the china hutch in its original position in our kitchen, with glass and door intact.
Now moved to the opposite wall, destined to become the showpiece of the room.
Door and windows now removed. The wood is that gross ’70’s kind of pecan walnut something. Very dark and scary…
Enjoy as my husband tells you all the details.
From Tim: OK – so this is where I take over the post…the hubby! This project was a “surprise” for my wife when she returned from a few days out with her friends. The kids were gone, too, so I had the entire weekend to myself! THAT’s the look on my face! My house was SO quiet that I thought I was on the wrong side of the Rapture…left behind with chalk paint and an u-g-l-y hutch to transform. Yuck. But I digress.
You must first know that working with chalk paint goes against EVERYTHING I have learned in 22 years in the painting business. The ladies at the business we bought the paint from, upon learning I was a contractor, told my wife that I was “NOT to make it perfect.” Strike one. All the instructions also said do not do perfect brush stroke applications, but criss-cross sloppy instead. Strike two. The last straw was their recommendation to use a natural bristle brush with chalk paint. Problem? Absolutely! Natural bristle brushes are for use only with oil based paints, stains, and polyurethanes. One does NOT introduce these brushes to water, ever. Guess what? Chalk paint is water based, so you clean the brush with – say it with me – WATER! STEE-RIKE THREE!
I totally bailed at this point, despite
the chief’s my bride’s protestations. So, I began with the inside to avoid working on top of wet paint on the outside and dove into the blue. Not pretty, not straight lines, criss cross. Ugh…it’s gonna be a long weekend.
With the glare of the camera flash, you can pick up a little of the haphazard brush strokes. It really did make a difference when it came time for waxing; the variation in the surface enhanced the effect and would have been even more pronounced had I used the dark wax (we used clear).
While I knew I wanted the back blue, I had no idea what to do on the rest of the outside. The piece had some beautifully intricate detail work, but I didn’t want to over-accentuate all of it and end up with a circus tent. I also knew that I could fix whatever became too garish with a re-coat of the other color. So, the best option was just to muddle forward and see what happened.
Beginning to take shape now, and will you look at those brush strokes! I’m still cringing. You can see that the doors have tremendous potential, but that is some pretty fine detail work and I kept thinking that it would be so easy to do too much on those. However, by the end, I would take advantage of most of that detail.
One of the unique features of chalk paint is that no priming is required. That was a VERY close strike four for me! I think one of the biggest deterrents to painting furniture that people have is that awful, smelly, messy, tedious step of an oil based primer before you really make progress. With chalk paint, you jump right in and are transforming immediately. You are only limited by what you cannot imagine, and even at this point, I decided to go a bit further with the details.
See! It really grows on you. This is almost finished, with two coats of each color everywhere. You can also pick up some of the distressing that I did, but even that continues to this day. The scuffs are achieved by simply going after the surface with some heavy grit sandpaper (60 grit!). If you find you’ve done too much, just re-coat and start over. Your mistake may actually shine through a bit and add to the desired look.
Some of the videos suggest putting Vaseline on the areas where you are going to distress before you start painting. Because Vaseline is petroleum based, it does not react with water, thereby rejecting the water based paint. It, in theory, wipes right off. Not for me – I knew had a 60 grit weapon in the wings! Plus, that sounded like far too much planning.
A few close-ups of the doors for detail and distressing. Until I painted the doors, I never paid any attention to the details. Well, honestly, I always averted my eyes away from the hutch every time I walked by, but that’s for another day.
There are big honkin’ handles that go back on that are the door knocker style, so it made sense to distress where they naturally hang. You also get a little better idea of the distressing.
The cavalry has arrived! I enlisted helpers to apply the clear wax, since you really can’t do this part wrong. It is “wax on – wax off.” Just a light coat really draws out some of the brush strokes, the variations in the surface and the darker distressed spots. A dark wax would make a huge difference, but I wasn’t bold enough to go there.
Trust me, it’s not THAT blue! But it does change with the amount of light that enters the room. (From Marty: sorry about the color changes in photos. We shot at all different times of day and I had trouble editing the shots to all reflect the same color. But Tim is right, the color changes somewhat as you place other objects around it.)
And yes, by this point, I was quite ready to be done with the transformation.
Want to ruin a brush, even a synthetic bristle brush, in one easy step? Use it to apply wax! This was a great way to get into the harder areas, but there was no getting the wax completely out of the bristles, even with boiling water. It’s now my waxing brush – go figure.
Here is a final view of a finished door. See where the handle hangs right where I distressed? Your distressing, while random, should still make sense. Unless you’ve bounced the furniture down your front steps or thrown it off the moving truck, it probably isn’t scratched everywhere. We’re still not sure about the color of the handles, but we need to live with it for a bit before making a change, if any.
Less the handles, this is finished! Total time was about 5 hours, I think. By the way, chalk paint is EXPENSIVE! At $40 a quart, a gallon would run $160! Strike five, six, seven, eight, and nine! That’s the inning. That’s the ballgame. But it really transformed this behemoth into a conversation piece. FYI, we’re pretty sure the walls need to change to a pale yellow. So, go for it! If I get advanced Rapture notice, I’ll race you to get more chalk paint! Not that I’m saying either one of us won’t be leaving…
From Marty: this post is just typical of our relationship. He’s the funny guy and I’m the sentimental one. I set the mood with a nostalgic look at the china hutch and he’s cracking jokes left and right and comparing the chalk paint to a baseball game! What can I say? We’ve made it 25 years and I guess we have a few more good ones ahead (at least as long as he keeps tackling my projects like the scrapbook room remodel, the den makeover , mason jar chandelier and his amazing window table.)
**The paint used in this project is Annie Sloan chalk paint, Provence and Pure White, with clear wax applied over the top.