Thursday, August 30, 2012

Distress Painting Furniture, Chalk Paint and Chalk Paint Recipes

 I often make or repair furniture. My passion is to create pieces that fit with the many primitive pieces of furniture that we love and sell. When I create a primitive such as the above bench out of old wood I also try to create a finish that replicates the feel of a time worn finish.
I love the new chalk paint but have found that it is a little pricey for my budget so I have created a finish which tends to be my attempt at replicating that finish but I use a water base product from Benjamin Moore called Regal select. I order it in a flat finish and when I paint white my favorite white color is Linen White. I have found that my local paint store is very good at matching any of the new Pottery Barn colors, chalk paint colors, or any other color that strikes my fancy if I am doing something that requires color.
I have been very satisfied with the results of this Benjamin Moore product. It has a primer component in the paint it it like the chalk paint so it can be used directly on the wood without any need for additional primer. The paint is sometime so thick that I have even thinned it with a little water depending on the application.
There are some recipes on line which give you directions for making your own chalk paint. One recipe calls for 1.5 parts paint to .5 parts of water to .5 parts of plaster paris. Another recipe I have read about calls for 1 cup of pant to 2 tbs. of grout. I haven't tried either of these recipes but either one may give you a more authentic chalk paint but so far I haven't had the time to try either one.
When I start painting my first step is to do a light sand. Most of my furniture like the bench in the picture is constructed used trim head screws which are countersunk. I than fill all the holes and sand to eliminate all signs of modern construction materials or screws. Than I apply my first coat of paint.
 If my finish color is white I usually paint a base coat of black. This may sound strange but what I want to have happen is when I do my final sanding is for some of the color of the black paint to show through to help give it, its distressed appear.
 When the base coats dries I give the bench its first coat of white. At this point I sometimes give it a second coat of white paint this depends how distressed I want the final finish to appear. If you want a more distressed appearance stop with the one coat of white.
 The next step is to sand through the finish through the layers till you get the effect you desire. You will just have to play with this until you get it to your liking.
 When I am done with the sanding I am often done. I will leave the finish just like it is . However, I have experimented with putting a clear coat of some semi-flat water based finish over the top or will wax it with a clear paste wax. Sometimes I have used a Minwax  product that has some color in the wax that helps give a piece some patina. This is most helpful if I have used some new wood and have sanded through to the new wood. The dark wax colors the new wood and gives it some age. I have even experimented with glazes and finishes with stain in them. Again, it all depends what look you want. I know there are many other things that can be used to help age a piece of furniture but I find that I am usually very satisfied with the end results at this stage of my process.
If you try my process let me know what you think or if you have found any ways to improve the end results. My process is certainly influenced by my need for speed because I need to sell as much product as quickly as possible to make a living at what I do. But, you found by playing around that you can make piece of furniture look like a very believable primitive.
We will have a number of pieces with us when we d the Country Living Show in a couple of weeks. So if you are interested stop by and check out our finished product.

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