Chalk paint experiments

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One of the down sides of having far too many tasks on the go on a project like this is that some just take a while to get done. While I’ve been working on the bigger aspects of the house, I have also been juggling a few small projects for variety and because sometimes you just need to do something for fun.

As I’m not going to have a fitted kitchen, I’m repurposing some old pieces of shelving for wall storage. I thought I’d give them a consistent look using some chalk paint I bought over the summer. I thought they’d work with the industrial look of the OSB if painted in a slate grey. Inevitably, although chalk painting promises to be straightforward, there’s more to it than I first expected.

Although there’s no sanding involved in Chalk painting, there are a number of stages. Each piece needs at least two coats of paint, they also need to be finished with either wax or lacquer for protection. I quickly got lost between the number of pieces, the number of sides and the number of coats each had. In future I’m going to use some kind of marking system with sticky notes so I can tell what’s at what stage.

The chalk paint is easy enough to apply, but there is a technique. You don’t paint in nice smooth strokes in the same direction, it’s better to paint rapidly in criss-cross fashion, covering as much surface as you can.

After you’ve done all the surfaces as many times as required, it’s time to finish them. I opted to use lacquer as it provides a harder wearing finish (useful for kitchen use) and it doesn’t need to be reapplied (as wax apparently does). Again, this required two coats so I got lost again. Interestingly the lacquer had quite an effect on the colour too. Before finishing, the shelves were a dusky slate grey colour, after lacquering, they are quite a deep grey with a slight sheen.

Overall I’m quite pleased with the result though the finish is more ‘rustic’ than these pictures suggest. I also learned quite a bit about applying paint and lacquer in an environment full of dust, cuttings and shavings, all of which tend to want to stick to every layer of paint or lacquer as it’s applied.

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