I have a rather low boredom threshold on the crafting project front …. I want almost instant gratification with minimum effort, I guess that’s why I love cooking so much – great ingredients, a little time and understanding and it is easy to create a dish to impress your friends with ( I am all about applause and recognition for my efforts). So, the idea of a furniture painting workshop was something I approached with a little apprehension. Surely this meant days of sanding, painting, drying, painting again, combing or dry brushing effects. (Yawn)
No need, this is an art form for those that abhor days of preparation, drying time and lack too much artistic flair (yours truly!)
Annie Sloan, doyenne of the chalk paint world has created a range of paints that can be used on ANY surface – plastic, metal, wood, painted finishes, lacquered finishes, wicker and these surfaces need virtually no preparation other than a quick but thorough cleansing with sugar soap.
Here is what her website says about her
Annie Sloan is probably the main reason for the painted furniture revolution through her easy, lively and creative approach to painting. She has a strong desire to communicate and empower people creatively which she does through her books, workshops and paint.
She has been painting for over 40 years as well as writing numerous books on the subject. She has made her own very special decorative paint called Chalk Paint®, which is specifically designed for furniture, that can also be used on walls, floors and in paintings. This paint has been developed through Annie’s knowledge of paint, pigments and art history. Read more about Annie Sloan and her paints here
The class at The Upholsterer in Midhurst started with tea and biscuits and a ‘get to know’ you chat with other students. Moving into the first floor studio we were talked through the methods we would be trying in the half day workshop. Découpage, Ageing (paint effect, not me!), Crackle Glaze and textured paint with dark wax to give a leather effect
Each furnished with a piece of plain, unotuched softwood, we set about painting two thirds of our plank with a pale chalk base.
The first third (confused yet?) was then painted with a darker chalk colour, a gorgeous French grey and then sanded to give an aged finish and sealed with a clear wax.
The second third (I know, keep up!) was for découpage and crackle glaze …. There is something strangely therapeutic about cutting out paper shapes, in our case beautifully intricate birds (though that bird may be short of a toe or two due to my poor cutting skills!), glued to our second third pale chalk base, sealed with a further layer of decoupage glue and then subjected to the two part crackle glaze application and a blast from an Argos hairdryer. A final rub with a dark wax and the results were amazing. Suddenly I am AMAZING and I want to make this MY career …. And decoupage and crackle glaze every surface in my home!
The final third of my board (the third-third) was given up to a more textural finish in a rich cobalt blue with a dark wax which when finished looked like a gorgeous antiqued leather, though this effect was more effective with the brighter colours including orange which took on the appearance of ancient tanned hide
So I arrived home with my newly acquired tools, glues, glazes and paints ready to chalk paint my home to within an inch of its bare wood life!
I loved the course and came away totally inspired and enthused to try the techniques we had learned, a great activity to try with a girlfriend or a group of friends
2 months on update (post 1st project)
Top tip …. Start small! Frames, small wooden items etc, NOT the two dresser bases I started on and of course I didn’t have the glamorous workshop assistant to mop up, clean brushes and hand me baby wipes at home … Also I have decided I am not so keen on the shabby that is chic … I prefer something a little more uniform in appearance!