Recently Justin and I did a chalk paint project. The twins started climbing out of their cribs the day that we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to Florida. They could climb out of the cribs (and basically fall to the ground with a loud thud we could hear through the entire house). However, they couldn’t climb back into the cribs. We got tired of the many trips up to their room at night to get them back in the cribs. It was also unsafe for them to be falling out of them. They had round cribs, which do not convert into toddler beds. We knew we needed new beds for them ASAP. I got online to buy some toddler beds for them and ended up purchasing from a fellow twin mom in the area. Got them for a deal and then bought new mattresses at Walmart. They are cribs that convert to toddler beds, as well as full size beds. They were solidly constructed, but the finish was worn, so I decided we would paint them. I wanted them to be red with a distressed finish, so we ended up undertaking a chalk paint project.
Chalk paint is different from chalk board paint. Chalk paint gets its name because of the chalky consistency. Plaster of Paris is added to the paint in the manufacturing process. Items that are painted with chalk paint must be either varnished or waxed to complete the finish. We used the wax method, as I wanted a distressed finish. I used a wax that had an antique finish to it (meaning it had a dark color added to it). The very best thing about using chalk paint is that you don’t need to strip the furniture or sand it!
Here is how we did the project:
- I purchased my supplies at Walmart. I see that even Amazon sells this chalk paint now too! http://amzn.to/1UuoRXK. I am happy that the price of chalk paint has gone down considerably. It was very pricey just a year ago. The great thing about chalk paint is that a little goes a long way. I would estimate that you use at least half of what you would use with regular paint. Along with the paint I purchased the wax: http://amzn.to/1P5ag4W. Again I used the darker wax to give the furniture an antique look. I used regular paint brushes I already had in the garage. For application of the wax I used a cotton towel (one I didn’t mind throwing away after the project). I did the project in our garage, since it wasn’t especially warm out. I threw down some drop clothes and used saw horses to lay the crib parts on for painting, or even just to lean them against.
- No sanding or stripping needed! Chalk paint goes directly over the original paint finish. I jumped right in and painted both crib/toddler beds. This was time consuming because of all the slats. With the previous chalk paint projects I have done it goes fast, as the chalk paint goes on very nicely. It doesn’t have to be “perfect” either. Especially if you plan to distress the furniture. The important thing is to go with the wood grain when painting. This furniture needed 2 coats.
- After the painting and it was completely dry I did some sanding to give it a distressed look. I didn’t do a great deal of sanding, as I didn’t want it too distressed looking. The amount of sanding is up to you and the look you are going for. I did mostly edges and corners, as those are the spots that tend to look aged and distressed naturally first.
- After the sanding I then applied the wax. The important thing about using the wax is to apply a very thin coat. I read some tutorials online and one thing I learned to improve my technique was to warm the wax in the microwave. I poured the wax into a clean old food container (one I was willing to throw out at the end). I microwaved it for 45 seconds. I then began the process of applying the wax. I would dip my cotton towel into the wax and then rub it onto the crib. Every square inch has to be covered, as the wax seals the paint. Keep in mind it takes a full 7 days for the wax to completely harden. It dries in about 24 hours or less (depending on humidity), but the hardening is more gradual. We used the beds 48 hours after applying the wax. We didn’t have anything pressing against the finish so it wasn’t a problem. If you are doing a project such as dressers you don’t want to set any decorations or anything on top the dressers for a full 7 days. When applying the wax you want to make sure you go in the direction of the wood grain, as you did when painting. You will want to apply the wax evenly and remove the excess. Which is why I think applying with a towel makes things more simple.
Project in the works (below), all set up in the garage. The saw horses really came in handy!
I would like to say they love sleeping in their new beds…but I think that it’s a work in progress getting them to actually “sleep” in them.
My next project for their room is making them quilts to match the decor. I will be sure to share a quick tutorial on that too!
Thank you; I may use this technique with an old hope chest I got from my mother-in-law.
Chalk paint is easy to use! No need to strip the wood before using it. I say go for it!!