A friend recently asked me if I would use Annie Sloan paint to transform her son's pine chest of drawers which was tired, dull and in dire need of an update. Her son's room is south facing — very sunny — and has blue accents and carpet, so we agreed that the fresh colour 'Provence' was perfect.
I have used this colour paint in my own house on an Ikea chest of drawers. However, where I accented my piece with ceramic knobs from Anthropologie as a finishing touch, for my friend's chest of drawers, I painted in the existing pine knobs.
Painting your piece of furniture with Annie Sloan
I have completed an Annie Sloan painting course — usually offered by local paint stockists — which I highly recommend for anyone attempting to use her paint for the first time. You won’t find Annie Sloan paint in paint shops, so be sure to check the website for your closest stockist. I visit Revamp Interiors (London SW18) for my supply.
The beauty of painting with Annie Sloan is you don't need to do any preparation — sanding or undercoating — you can launch straight into applying the paint.
Mixing paint with water
When you first open the tin of paint, it will be thick so give it a good stir and add some water. If the ambient temperature in which you’re painting is warm, the paint will thicken so add more water as you work. Don’t panic if you add too much water; just leave it with the lid off to dry out a little. To make this happen quickly you can pour some paint into a wide bowl so more of it is exposed to the air.
Master your painting tools
Take a look at Annie Sloan’s ‘All the stuff you might need’ article to familiarise yourself with some of the proprietary tools available.
- To apply the paint, I use a regular paintbrush — as large as I can handle to get the job done quickly.
- To apply the wax, I use an Annie Sloan brush specifically designed for applying her waxes. However, you can apply the wax with a dry cloth.
- Buff with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth at the end.
Finishing your furniture with clear or dark wax
Before applying wax, you need to know what kind of finish you’d like your furniture to have. Annie Sloan’s paint is chalk-based, which gives a dull finish; so, in most cases, you need to apply the Annie Sloan clear wax. In some instances, though, you don't need to apply any wax. A mirror can often look better without the wax. Also, while wax is great for protecting furniture from heavy traffic bumping or rubbing, a mirror won't be affected by traffic, so it's not always necessary to wax.
If you are going to use dark wax for an aged effect, remember to always apply the clear wax first as the dark wax will stain the paint if applied directly. With a layer of clear wax underneath, you can adjust the amount of dark wax by removing it with more clear wax until you get the desired tone. If you have painted a piece of furniture in a light colour, the effect of using dark wax over clear wax should create a noticeable colour difference with some of the dark wax in any little grooves in the paintwork or in the wood. Make sure the wax doesn't look as if it has been smeared on.
You need to let the wax dry before buffing it . The drying time depends on the ambient temperature. I recommend that you don't wax the whole piece of furniture in one go because the first part you waxed will be too dry before you have finished the last part. It's better to work on one area at a time.
To distress or not to distress
It is not always suitable to distress a piece of painted furniture. I didn't distress my Ikea chest of drawers as it is a modern piece of furniture. But I did distress my friend's chest of drawers as it was old pine and the effect of some of the wood showing through gives it character. You can either distress by rubbing on the edges of the furniture with the clear wax or you can use sandpaper. My preference is to distress with the wax.
How much paint will cover a piece of furniture?
Annie Sloan paint goes a long way as you add water as it thickens. I am always surprised by how little paint you need. A chest of drawers this size took less than half a tin of paint and I applied three coats, in some parts four. I often buy the small sample pots and have some fun painting two or three colours on a small piece of furniture. The paint dries very quickly if you paint in a warm, sunny environment. I managed to complete the work on this chest of drawers in four hours.
Satisfy your inner DIY dynamo
I get a strong sense of achievement and a warm fuzzy feeling when I transform a piece of furniture. It doesn't have to be Annie Sloan paint, but it's a lot quicker and easier with her paint. Given that society today is all about instant gratification, you will find it a lot more satisfying to be able to finish the work in less time than if you had to sand and undercoat.
So, if you have any old brown furniture at home, don't get rid of it: transform it with a few coats of Annie Sloan paint and wax. I recommend that you purchase Annie Sloan's book, Quick and Easy Paint Transformations, which has step-by-step illustrated instructions for 50 furniture transformations. It will give you the confidence you need to achieve something beautiful.
Help from the professionals
I understand that not everyone has the time or inclination to paint furniture. I am happy to help if you have any questions or concerns, and am available to revamp your pieces that need a new lease of life. Get in touch to have a chat with me.