Chalk of the Town: The Paint That Annie Built"Last weekend I drove two hours for a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’d been reading about this paint all over the Internet, where decor buffs have been raving about it to the point of discipleship. After my recent experiments with homemade milk paint, I didn't really believe there could be anything better, but my curiosity was piqued.
VrooomI screeched to a stop just 15 minutes before closing time at Kathie Jordan Design in the beautiful little town of New Hamburg. I was greeted by an effervescent young woman who I psychically divined to be Kathie Jordan, and as it turned out, I was correct. (There was only one other person in the store and it was a guy.)
Kathie showed me all of the fantastic vintage projects she’s been painting. Each piece had a silky glow and the palette was gorgeous — deep, rich, luminous. But the best part, Kathie said with a squeak of excitement, is that there’s no prep required. Annie Sloan, the fine artist who created the paint, designed it to stick to anything: plastic, glass, marble, ceramic, masonry, wood, any finish on any kind of furniture — NO PREP. Did you catch that?! No sanding, no stripping, no scraping. No matter what the finish, this stuff sticks."
How does it do that?"Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a kind of gesso, made from poly-vinyl-acetate (white glue), chalk whiting and pigment. Okay, I haven’t seen the actual formula, but Annie Sloan talks about glue-and-chalk formulas in her book, Paint Alchemy, and this stuff smells just like white glue and wet chalk." (ABB side note: This is not the Annie Sloan recipe, but it does stick to anything!)
"I bought two quarts (946ml) — ‘Old Ochre’ and ‘Versailles’ — and if I’d known how much I would like the paint, I would have bought every one of the 27 colours [sic].
I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe Annie Sloan Chalk Paint without sounding like a commercial. There are certain products that belong in an exceptional category because they’re infallible, extremely fun, utterly high-quality, eco-friendly, cost-effective and pretty. This is the first one I’ve found in a long time. Let’s dub it ‘ToolGirl Approved’ in every area.
InfallibleSeriously, you can’t screw up with this paint. It goes on like silk, covers like crazy (the instructions say that one coat is enough for most projects and I found that to be true, except with kitchens, where you want extra durability.)
Extremely funYou’ll feel like a kid again. You’ll want to paint everything. After blasting through a bunch of furniture, I moved on to painting my kitchen cabinets, which are covered in brittle, aging alkyd. No sanding, no prep. On goes the Chalk Paint, the exact colour of the cabinets in Jasper Dale’s kitchen in Road to Avonlea (‘Versailles.’) Lovely.
Utterly high-qualityPVA is an expensive ingredient to use in paint and its inclusion makes the adherence spectacular. Cheaper binders tend to blister, lift or peel. Or smell badly. PVA is mild and sticks like, well, glue.
Eco-friendlyTen minutes after I painted a row of cabinets in the kitchen, my extremely odour-sensitive husband cane in and couldn’t smell the paint. The formula is extremely low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Cost effectiveA little goes a long way. A VERY LONG way. It’s not gummy and thick like latex, it’s thin and extremely opaque. It doesn’t skin over like regular paint and it dries very quickly (10 to 30 minutes). Four stools, one huge unfinished wood table, two chairs, seven kitchen cabinets, a garden bench, baskets, glass bowls, ceramic pots, and various plastic bowls made from old LPs, and I still have more than a quart left.
PrettyChalk Paint has a vintage-y matte finish. If you want a satin finish, sand the surface lightly with 400-grit sandpaper and then apply a special soft wax that Annie Sloan developed to give a rich, retro lustre to any surface. Drop dead gorgeous.
If you want a translucent stain, just dilute Chalk Paint with a little water.
If you want an aged effect, apply Annie’s dark wax, which fills the grooves of brush strokes and adds exceptional patina and depth.
Because the paint contains whiting, its flat finish mimics a chalkboard so you can create a writing surface on any object.
If you don’t like a paint effect or a wax layer, just paint over it. Just keep layering until you get the effect you want.
You can tint Annie’s waxes with a bit of Chalk Paint if you want a more opaque wax.
You can create a crackle finish using a hair dryer to heat the fresh paint."
For more experiments and photos please visit ToolGirl.com.
At Apple Box Boutique we carry the full line of 30 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ colours + they can be mixed to create an unending array of custom shades.
Plus... and this is a BIG plus... you can paint indoors year 'round without worrying about toxins or smelliness (is that a word?) -- Now that's a product Canadians can really embrace!
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