Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chalk Paint and the Quatrefoil

There is nothing like staying home with a baby who crawls around your living room to make you notice all that is wrong with your house. Much to my husband's dismay, I've started once again with the, things must change around here mantra. New furniture, new curtains, new rugs are all happening and happening fast. There is also nothing like having a baby around to help you get totally decisive with what must stay and what must go. I just don't have time to waffle over things I once loved and can't decide if their time is up. I am pulling the plug on much of what we have around here, it is just finding the replacements that has been difficult. I am not without a limited budget so I have some constraints on what I can add to this little house of mine. I also have a habit of figuring out what I want before I start shopping and then I get frustrated when I can't find it. Which is how I end up in the oh I'll just make it situation so often. And it's not like I have all these mad skills for making things, I just have a pretty good knack for figuring things out and fudging it until it looks right.

I have a few projects in mind on which I have been tempted to use Annie Sloan's chalk paint. There are two things to know about chalk paint, it is very different than regular latex paint and it is damned expensive. With shipping it was nearly $50/quart. But it comes in a color called Paris Grey so really, I had to give it a try! Chalk paint is a latex based paint that is useful when going for an antiqued look because it sands really easily. I had seen some pieces done by this chic online whom I admire and then when I read this, on the Annie Sloan website, I was totally intrigued:

This is THE paint to use for the painted French and Swedish look on furniture where the paintwork shows a patina of history. The paint is soft and easy to patinate taking wax to give it a beautiful mellow and protective finish. The colours have been inspired by European 18th century furniture and have been made bright and rich, bearing in mind that they will be darkened with wax. Like all annie SLOAN paints none of the colours except Graphite contain black pigment, allowing for combining colours, further mixing and layering without the paint dulling.
For Floors - use a roller to paint the floor. You may need one or two coats depending on the colour of the wood or concrete and the colour of the paint. Light colours will need more coats generally. Varnish with Hannant's Extra Strong varnish.
For a Blackboard that's not black! - apply three coats of paint to wall or wood. Allow to dry overnight. Clean with a slightly damp cloth
For Garden furniture - paint over wood, metal, matt plastic or terracotta and leave to harden overnight before exposing to rain. No need to varnish or wax Matt walls - use on walls for a completely matt effect but remember this is best for anywhere that is not going to get a lot of wear and tear.

On a practical note, the woodwork NEEDS NO PRIMING, NO PREPARATION as it will stick to almost everything -old waxed pine, melamine and varnished wood included. Knots on new wood need to be sealed with Knotting solution. Great coverage but does depend on what you are painting,but a rough guide is 13 square metres. The paint allows walls to breathe and is a simple eco friendly water based paint. Wash brushes out in water.
 Annie Sloan is based in the UK and is sold here in the US through stockists. You will need to head to the website to find a stockist in your area. I don't have one within easy driving distance so I ordered my paint from the closest stockist to hopefully save a few shekels on shipping.

I ordered the Paris Grey color because I fell in love with that blueish grey color you see all over France. It is on everything from very refined pieces in the city to beautifully weathered pieces in an old farmhouse in the country. It is also the color you see so often on Swedish Antiques which I began coveting years ago.

My first project would be a test piece since I had no clue how this well this paint applies, dries, sands, and then finishes. I found a mirror at Marshalls with a black/brass finish, missing one glass spacer, and a few chips in the mirror. But it was a loose quatrefoil shape so it had some character. And it was on clearance for $35. PERFECT!

The quatrefoil is one of my favorite shapes. It so easily pairs with pretty much everything. I love it as a stand alone piece. I love it in a running pattern. This and any kind of lattice, I just can't seem to get enough of. It originates in Gothic times as a decorative shape adorning architecture. It is supposed to represent a flower or a four leaved clover with its four seemingly overlapping circles. My mirror is what I'd call quatrefoil-esque as it does not employ the exact form of a quatrefoil because the circles are interrupted with scrolls.

So eager to start my project, I forgot to take a before picture!! But you can see some of the black finish that was part of the original mirror. The paint went on really easily and dried lightening fast. I applied two coats in under an hour and used so little of my paint. From what I had heard, Annie Sloan's chalk paint goes a long way, making the price per quart a bit more palatable! I sanded the piece giving it the patina I wanted that afternoon.

I applied the finish wax the next day. I will write more about the wax and how to apply that in my next post about my adventures with chalk paint.

Here is the finished mirror....

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