Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shabby Paints on our arts & crafts snow day!


Several months ago, I happened upon this really cool chair at a thrift store:
It's oversized and oddly proportioned yet low to the ground.  It'll be perfect for some beautiful spring portraits out in a big field of grass.

But it needs a paint job.

I'd heard lots about chalk paints, but the process of waxing and buffing all of those spindles did not appeal to me.  Not one bit.  So I started spray painting.  A can and a half of white later... well, can you see the white on the chair above?  Nope, it didn't cover so well.  So the chair stayed in the garage, then moved to the back porch and waited.

And then the other day, I saw something on Pinterest that took me to the website of Shabby Paints.

Shabby Paints are an acrylic-based, no-VOC chalk paint.  Instead of finishing with a wax that you have to apply and rub off or buff, they have a product they call VAX (or reVAX if you want it tinted) that you just apply with a wet sponge.  That sounded much more like something I would be able to do!
I did some reading and research, joined their FB group for Q&A, and then ordered paints and supplies from Carole's Collections. (The Shabby Paints website has a tool to find a local retailer.  There are none in the Raleigh area, so I ordered from this shop in Florida and it was a great find!  Delivery was prompt and well-packaged.  Thank you, Carole!)

The paint arrived yesterday and I could hardly wait to start, but we had snow-day prep to do, and then it seemed too late to lug that chair in off of the porch and make a mess.

This morning, I rolled a coat of paint on our dining room walls, and since the tarps were already protecting the wood floor, I set out the craft table, laid a drop cloth over it, and got all the supplies ready to start my Shabby Paint project.

But I'm a big chicken.  I didn't want to waste the paint on getting it wrong, and I didn't want to do something to the chair that I'd have to sand off.  So I dug an unfinished picture frame out of a box of craft supplies and decided to try out the new paints on that.

The unfinished frame and my supplies (VAX applicator sponge, Shabby Paints in Alamo White and Licorice, 1.5 in. ClingOn Brush, sheer VAX):

Other supplies I used (bowls and spoons to separate out a little bit of the paints, plate for VAX application, water and a rag, of course!):

First, I applied two coats of the Alamo White.  You use a wet brush to apply and the paint spreads really far.

While that was drying, I went in search of an old candle.  No luck, but I happened upon an old box of paraffin wax would would suit my purposes just fine.  I like to use wax as a paint "resist."  I just rubbed the block of wax gently along the edges of the frame, concentrating on the corners and details.  I find that this makes the sanding off of the top layer a no-brainer, and there's less danger of sanding through the bottom coat to the wood.

After the dry time, the wax application and rinsing the brush really well, I applied a thin coat of Licorice.  I think the brush was a little too wet, but I'd rather err on the side of applying it too thin, and add another coat, then too thick and not be able to take it off evenly.

I wasn't happy with the look of just one coat of the Licorice.  I wanted the frame distressed so that some white would show through, but this just looked streaky to me, so I added another coat of Licorice.  See how very flat the finish is?

I let this dry thoroughly...about half an hour.  Then I gently wiped the whole piece with a small piece of medium grit sandpaper.  A fine grit would probably work even better.  This particular piece had been well loved already.  I cleaned off any dust with a damp tack cloth.

Finally, I applied the VAX.  (For more information on how to apply VAX or reVAX, check out this YouTube video. I found it to be just as easy as the video makes it look!)

And voila!  The finished frame.

Can't wait to get started on that chair!!


  1. Love this and the picture you chose to put in it. Your step by step was great and makes me want to pull out my paint and brushes.

    1. Thank you, Tara! I'm so excited now to get working on the chair. I couldn't believe how well the chalk paint covered. It should go much more quickly than the spray paint.