My Take on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) is a big deal right now.  Why?  No sanding and priming required.  It’s one of the easiest ways to revive furniture.  The idea is that you can finish a smaller piece in a day, though curing time for the wax is up to 3 weeks.  The reason many hesitate to buy?  It’s expensive !  Almost $40 a quart!

I already own two pieces (that I bought already refinished) that are painted with ASCP. My tv stand, done by Thelma and Louise, is more distressed, see below.

Ceiling-066

ASCP-004-2 ASCP-001-2

While my dresser, painted by Nod to the Past, is more smooth and sleek.

ASCP-008-2

I love these two pieces, so I wanted to try this magical ASCP myself.

I purchased a few paint colors, waxes and a brush last week.  And, after playing with the AS products in my spare time (between clients and late at night), I probably spent 15 hours painting this piece.  At least.  Maybe more.  So, I thought, I’d give you a beginner’s take on this paint, after having spent quality time with it.  Maybe my experience will help work some of the kinks out for you!

Here is the finished piece that I painted, though I’m waiting on new hardware to arrive since one piece is broken.

ASCP-018

And, with the light off?  Note that the two glass shelves are not put in and the piece is not stacked yet since the wax is still drying and curing.  That’s right, I finally got out the good camera an snapped a few photos for a more accurate color.

ASCP-008

I used Aubusson Blue and Pure White on the inside which I later mixed in some black with the white to turn it gray and repainted the inside gray.  I then covered it in clear wax for protection.  I added the dark wax for some distressing on the exterior of the pieces.

Before?

chinacab

Today’s post is about my overall take on the products that I used.  Tomorrow’s post will be a Q&A format with all the questions I asked along the way – there were a lot!

Overall Impression

I loved the paint.   It went on smoothly for the most part (will talk more about the white paint below).  The wax did its job and when applied well, gives a nice finish.  The paint stuck to the glossy clear coat that was on the piece with no problem and no need for sanding or priming, as promised.  It’s very forgiving, so don’t be afraid to mess up.  You can paint over mistakes.  I’d use it again.

HOWEVER, I would not paint a piece this large on my first go around.  Nor something with an inside that requires you to be an acrobat to paint.  Sheesh.  Mistake.  Took too long to practice on a piece of this size.  And, too much paint.  Just buy a piece like this.  Want to buy this one?  Ha!

Details and Things I Learned

1.  Paint Coverage.

I heard that even though this paint is expensive, it’s rich pigment means you don’t use much and you can expect it to last a while.  I think that is true, but…

In my case, I used a lot of product… almost all of the Aubusson Blue, Pure White and waxes.  Here is why.  This is just SOME of the layers.  You can see that the Aubusson Blue varies by light and by wax.

hutch

Let’s just say this thing is coated and protected!  And, that my hands hurt and have no grip left.

I used about $170 worth of supplies for this little project, plus the cost of the piece.  I’m just trying to break even when I sell it.

But, this, my friends, is why I don’t mind buying already painted pieces (like the gorgeous ones at the top of the post).  It can be worth it.  Having said that, if I knew what I was doing, I could have probably just used 1/2 a quart of the blue, 3/4 of a quart of the white for full coverage and maybe 1/2 the clear wax and 1/4 of the dark wax – max.   But, instead, I blew through it all, which is my fault.

In an ideal world, it should be 1-2 coats of paint, then wax…  distressing and buffing if wanted.

So, yes, ASCP did cover well, but I just happened to do a lot of coats!  So, I’m telling you this in case you “practice” like me and run through a lot of very expensive paint and then need to still sell at a reasonable price.

The Pure White (and I hear, all whites) did not cover  as well.  You may be able to see that in some of the pictures above.

I had to do about three coats of the white for it to look solid.

2.  Waxing.

The paint dries quickly.  Once it’s dry, you will want to was so the paint can’t scratch.  I bought the brush.  Buy the brush.  It’s expensive but helps with the process.  Here is a link to a video on how to wax.  I did what she says to do and it worked for the most part.

http://www.perfectlyimperfectblog.com/2012/03/how-to-wax-furniture-part-2.html

Rub it in with the brush, then after you get wax on a small area, wipe it with a cloth to take off the excess, but wipe it aggressively, don’t be afraid of taking off too much.

If you want to do the dark wax, it’s best to do the clear wax first and then the dark wax.  It gets pretty splotchy when it goes directly on to the paint.

It is a little smelly, unlike the paint.

You will ruin cloths on this part.  So, be prepared for that.  Don’t use anything you don’t want to throw away.

Wax may be slightly tacky for a few days.  Don’t put anything on it.  And, don’t really put much on it, even if it feels completely dry, for a few weeks if you can help it.  They say it takes three weeks to cure.

If the wax is really wet/ tacky, you didn’t wipe off enough.  It should be almost dry, but very slightly tacky when you are done.

Even the clear wax will deepen the color.  It gives it more depth – as water would darken unfinished tile – think of it like that.

It’s best to wear a mask and gloves.

I’d probably check out a wax that cures faster next time – I hear Minwax and Fiddes are good.

image image  image

3.  Colors.

The colors are limited, but you can mix them.  However, be aware that if you do mix them, it’s important you have enough to finish what you are doing.  It’s almost impossible to hand mix the exact same color twice.

Some conclusions?

Well, I think it’s worth trying.  I think if you like the color choices she has and a slightly distressed (not 100% perfectly smooth and lacquered finish, yet professional) feel, this is a good choice!  It’s worth the money and time saved from sanding and priming.  But, if you aren’t sure about color and may keep repainting like me, I’m not so sure.

I’m not always this uncertain, but was learning to use the product.  In my entry – just painted that piece once in one color!  But, hey, I like to think a little pain for me is helpful to my readers at times.

Entry-015-2

(Not painted with ASCP.)

Most reps that sell this paint do offer classes, though they aren’t cheap – so I guess you could take a class or buy a bunch like I did and just work for hours…

More soon, Q&A style.  I will share all the questions I asked along the way and answers that I got from my panel of “experts.”

Did this info help?  What questions do you have?  Have you used ASCP?  What is your take on it?

kristysig

9 Comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with ASP, Kristy. You answered a lot of questions that I have wondered about. I’m not convinced that “shabby” look is what I really want to do to any of my furniture. It seems like a “trend” to me, but I may be wrong. The Man & I just have kind of an aversion to painting really good wood pieces. I may change my mind at some point, you never know! The end result of your piece looks lovely.

    Carol

  2. Good to know! This would be a lot more work on your part (sorry) but have you though of making your own chalk paint and seeing how the two compare? It would be similar to the chair painting series and could be super helpful!

  3. i definitely agree that it lends only to the rustic look, but if that is what you are going for then it works beautifully! your hutch looks amazing! but boy that was a lot fo work!

  4. I think you covered everything to a T Kristy & I can’t think of a single question. So thorough with your details & analysis. I don’t think the distressed look is going away anytime in my lifetime. It seems to get stronger as far as I can tell. Great pieces, wonderful job. I know what you’re talking about with the “pain” involved in painting something so large. With my faux finishing business as well as my current house re-do, I have a ginormous container of Mineral Ice & use it several times a day. It’s tough on the body for sure.
    I’m definitely going to try ASCP. Thanks for all your valuable information as always!

  5. Deborah Newton-Hair

    I am having great success w/a DIY version of chalk paint and ANY paint you want (Glidden, SW, craft, etc…)
    However, I have decided that Annie Sloan’s wax is the best darn stuff out there. There is my 2 cents.

  6. Thank you for your very truthful review! I appreciate honesty. I started on a small side table ,made mistakes and will probably do again! Lol …now doing a hutch! Inside is really a pain! I am using a lot more paint on partical board on the inside. Didn’t get brushes for wax ,but will to do the hutch for sure(along with more paint! )
    Happy to find you through google ,now I am following! :)

  7. Hi Kristy,
    I stumbled on your review of ASCP. I work with ASCP VERY often and have a lot of hands on experience with it. I have painted tons of furniture, a set of kitchen cabinets, etc. So I know all of the ins and outs to the paint!

    What I first noticed about your article is that it took you 15 plus hours to complete one piece… WOW that is totally unheard of to me! My opinion is that your process is what took up the bulk of your time. You could have achieved the same look with 2 coats of Aubusson, 1 coat of Clear Wax, and 1 coat of Dark Wax on the outside, and 2 coats of grey paint on the inside with or without wax (depending on what you would display in it).

    With the reccommended 3 applications PER DAY, you could have finished this in 2 or three days with half the amount of time!

    Now, that being said, starting projects and deciding on a design route, colors, etc. can be difficult. I would suggest practicing a color scheme on a small 2×4, only using a couple stripes of paint next to each other to see how they look. If you are interested in mixing a custom color, you should measure ratios with teaspoon-size portions of paint so as not to waste a bunch of paint (because it is not cheap!!)

    Learning the product and understanding it’s qualities and capabilities certainly comes with experience using it, but also, more importantly, with previous knowledge-there is no need for each person wanting to experiment with ASCP having to reinvent the wheel to learn the ins and outs of the paint!

    I have learned everything I know about the paint from The Purple Painted Lady. She owns a store in Palmyra, NY and her website has endless amounts of tips and tricks that are useful for any beginner to the paint, and also those who are looking to learn more techniques. Go to her if you have any questions at all-SERIOUSLY! I would say she is but a step down from Annie Sloan herself! (http://www.thepurplepaintedlady.com/)

    Anyway, I liked your article a lot and thought you could benefit from a little extra info about the paint :) I absolutely love it and I always want to see others get the outcome they desire while having fun in the process!

    Adrienne

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