At the beginning of last week I was casually browsing Facebook Marketplace and stumbled across a stunning hutch. I messaged the seller and I was too late, they already had someone coming to pick it up. I hate when I am late to the game on a piece I really love but I’m also not online enough to see every item that gets posted. You win some, you lose some. The next day I get a message saying the pickup had fallen through and the hutch was mine! The first time I saw it in person, I knew I wanted to try out chalk paint! The hutch had been partially refinished using some version of chalk paint in a blue/grey color. They had covered the outside only and left the inside the original wood.
I have been researching chalk paint for a while. Lots of bloggers talk about their process and type of paint but I ended up deciding to use Rustolium Chalk Paint thanks to a blog post by Little Vintage Nest. I liked that the Rustolium version was easily accessible at Home Depot and also that it was cheaper than the very popular Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I chose the linen white color. Aside from bloggers and online tutorials I found that most people don’t have a good grasp on how to use chalk paint. I visited my local Home Depot and spent my first few minutes talking to someone who was confused why I would be using chalk board paint to paint furniture. Chalk Paint and Chalk Board Paint are totally different! When I asked the other 3 employees at the paint counter if they had any tips they told me to Google it! I honestly never thought of that (insert rolling eyes emoji here).. So essentially this chalk paint adventure was a trial and error learning experience and I am excited to share some tips that I discovered while pioneering this new project blindly.
I read that lots of people saw the consistency of chalk paint as a real challenge. I didn’t find that at all with the Rustolium version. The paint itself is thinner than a regular paint but I was surprised with the coverage after just one coat. I really loved how it blended with the previous color. I could see how layering colors could be so much fun! You can see in this image the layering of the original grey and linen white.
Chalk paint has chalky minerals mixed into it so it dries really quickly. I mean within 15 minutes I found that it was pretty dry to the touch. This means taking breaks while working on a piece is hard because the paint will dry on the brush. So my first tip is to keep moving and if you stop, be sure to wrap the brush so the paint doesn’t dry.
The consistency of brush strokes is really important because that is really what adds the character to the piece. Even after a second coat you can still see the really great brush stroke detail. Since the hutch already had a layer of chalk paint on the outside, I followed the same brush stroke pattern and then on the unfinished parts I just followed the grain of the wood. I chose to only do 2 coats so I still had a little peak of the grey color coming through.
Chalk painting was really easy but also really time consuming. I felt like because I was focusing so much on the brush strokes, I took twice as long to paint as I normally would. There is definitely an artistic element to it that I have not experienced while painting with regular paint. I also probably should have tested it on a smaller project but it was worth all the time!
Distressing was the best part of the entire project. Chalk paint was made for distressing. It buffs of so easily with a sanding sponge! If you love that distressed look then you will have a blast with this. I decided I wanted this piece pretty rough to really match that farmhouse style. I distressed most of the outer edges with a sanding block but I didn’t make it too chippy because I’m hoping it will naturally distress more over time since I am not sealing it. I took off all of the hardware but I chose not to take the cabinet doors off of it’s hinges because thankfully the chalk paint buffs right off of the metal hardware as well.
It is typical on a chalk painted piece to seal the final distressed version with a wax or poly. I decided to not finish mine because I loved how matte it looked and I want it to age and distress naturally. I decided to paint the shelves and back walls of the hutch with Behr Alkyd in Sleek White vs the chalk paint. I wanted the shelves to be durable and not be chippy and distressed like the outside. This is also a cost effective option if you can find matching or coordinating colors since a quart of the Rustolium Chalk Paint is about $17 whereas a gallon of Behr Alkyd is around $30. My biggest concern about chalk paint was finding that $17 was a total rip off for a quart of paint. I was super surprised at how far the paint actually went. To paint 2 coats on a piece this large I used less than half of a quart, that is amazing coverage and definitely worth the price to get that layered look!
I love how the final piece came out and I am really excited to continue using chalk paint and learning more about it! I’m not sure how I will style the hutch but I was dying to see all of my Rae Dunn on display. So here it is!
I would love to hear about your experience with chalk paint as well as any questions and comments!