Monday, December 28, 2015

A Newbie's guide to Plaster Paint/Chalk Paint

We're not quite like most of the families our age. We do things a little slower. We've been in this house for 3 years now, and we're still working on it, bit by bit, piece by piece, tile by tile. We don't use credit cards, we use cash, so if we don't have the spare change for a bathroom remodel, we're sitting on that pink toilet seat until we do. It's just how we live.
It makes it kinda frustrating sometimes to see all our friends with fully furnished, gorgeous homes out of a magazine, but we always come back to our lives, knowing this is the way that works for us. 
SO, now you won't be surprised to learn that I've been waiting 3 years to find the exact kitchen nook dining set at the price I wanted, and was totally fine with us eating on an outdoor patio table inside until that day came.
And it did.
This old girl, who I've named Sunny, came up for sale for $100. She was old, and loved, and a little tired, just like me. She came with a leaf and six chairs. 
And I snatched her up. 

There is so much detail on her, and especially on the chairs, that sanding was going to be utter hell. The top needed a good sanding, though. There were water marks and a few raised areas. 
Emma took care of that for me. This girl knows her way around with a mouse sander!

Now usually, when there's some big "fad" going on, I tend to be the first to turn tail and run as far away as I can until it finally sucks me in. I mean, you won't find burlap in THIS house, people! I refuse!!
But the legends of the great and mysterious chalk paint finally intrigued me when I learned that no sanding or priming was involved, because when I would walk through the garage and see those beautiful chairs, they made me cringe thinking about sanding each spindle and swirl.  
I headed down to the store to talk to the paint people about it, and these crafty women talk about chalk paint like I talk about rainbows or legos or Jesus! They showed me pieces they've done, photos carried in their phones like albums of their children. Amazing. (And also the thing that makes me want to run...). 
I was ready.
I was going for it.
They said I couldn't mess it up. 

But they didn't have white.
And that's what I do. If it's not rainbowed, it's white. 
So I went home and thought about it for a couple days until I ran into a plaster paint store. 
And these girls knew their stuff. 
And they had white paint.
AND a wax sealant that you can use on COUNTERTOPS in bathrooms and kitchens! Which means it's tough, and washable! AND it's made right here in our home state, so it was a go.

Plaster paint. I'm in.

The first coat went on and I cried. I called my friend, who has been alongside me on this table journey all throughout. i told her it looked like hell and the ladies that told me I couldnt mess it up were stupid b*tches because they shoudn't tell someone who can burn ramen that they couldn't mess this up when they CAN, and Sunny was RUINED and I'd NEVER find another Sunny II to try again, and LIFE IS OVVVEEERRRRRRRRR!

(The ladies are actually really nice, un-b*tches.  I just get a little dramatic when I panic... hand me a snickers bar and call it good...)

She laughed at me (because that what true friends do), and then told me that the first coat allllways looks like crap, and after another one or two, it'd be fine, and offered to come help and bring coffee. 

But like a hideous vampire beast, i told her not to come see what i had done to Sunny (imagine me putting my forearm across my face in embarassing detest) and I would keep her updated. 

The second coat was better, but she was still a hot mess. 

By the 3rd coat, i understood why everyone is into that shabby chic, banged up edge kinda look, because you can hide all the flaws and it looks PERF, but as with anything massly awesome, I renounce it, and so, coat number 3 went on, and Sunny was looking a bit happy. 

After her 4th coat, I felt okay to call my friend again and tell her that after a surgery that lasted DAYSSSSS, I had saved Sunny, and she was on fleek. 

Applying the wax coat was super easy, and both it and the paint dry SO fast, it makes it so easy to get a project done fast, which is more my impatient style. 
The wax has to cure for 24 hours before you start spilling milk and leftover ham on it, so she made it inside the next afternoon, (with our current chairs, since hers are still in the garage with their vintage clothes on.)

Some things about plaster paint from a plaster paint virgin:

Plaster paint is thicker than chalk paint, so be mindful of which way you use your brush strokes, because they're staying that way.
Long strokes across the whole table as opposed to short back and forth ones get you a much prettier, consistent look. 
You'll see brush strokes, so if you're one of those anti-brush stroke people like my hubby, grab a roller and latex paint instead (and sanders and primer) bwah ha ha 
It looks like poo the first coat, especially with white/light colors. The pros say usually they do 2 coats. People who can burn water do about 4-5. Just sayin. 

Have you ever used plaster/chalk paint?? What have you painted?? I need to know and I need to see!!

I have six chairs waiting for me now...wish me luck!

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  1. it looks so good, Heidi! I love the colorful chairs, quite honestly!!!

    1. Thanks Stacy! I'm still in debate on the colors of the chairs. White? Rainbow again? Monogrammed?! Lol!
      I'll need a therapist by the time I'm done...😅

  2. We just did this to a dresser and it took 3-4 coats. Total panic as we were told only two coats needed. Umm...really? Two looked awful but now I am in love with the finished product. Hope the holidays were good


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