Homemade Chalk Paint: ugly thrift store armoire becomes shabby chic coat closet

Today I have another old project to write about, because I’ve been slacking on new things.  Therefore I might not have ideal photos, but I wanted to share about some of these past projects anyway.  Let me start with before and after shots side by side:

armoire before armoire done

When I moved into my husband’s flat I wasn’t too happy about the place.  Although it had some charming features there were quite a few drawbacks in its layout and location, and I did my best to improve what I could.  For example, I’d grown used to a conveniently placed coat closet in my old place, and not having one anywhere near the door in his our home was frustrating.  If you have read earlier posts you may have noticed that I like need things to be “away” and tidy.

Clutter makes me anxious and distracts me, and having coats, shoes, umbrellas and the like on a coat rack or arrayed at the door appear as clutter to my mind.  I wanted doors and drawers!  So, I began considering armoire options at Ikea although I don’t particularly like the style or quality of Ikea furniture.  Then I stopped by one of my favourite thrift stores, Unique, and spotted a great solution.  The armoire may have been extremely ugly, but it was solid pine, had a useful arrangement with drawers, and it was cheap.  (I believe it was 30$?)  Immediately I texted a photo to my husband for approval and assured him that I’d paint it.  He despises green, but he trusted me and said to go ahead and buy it if I really wanted to.

armoire at thrift store

The next problem was that I’d driven a sedan to the place, and DH’s car was even smaller and a two-door.  No worries…  I paid, took my trusty screwdriver out of my purse, and disassembled the thing before packing it into my car.  I’d checked out the construction beforehand and saw that it was possible.  😉

At home I put it back together and painted right away before anyone could freak out much about the lovely, almost fluorescent, semi-transparent green stain.  I had paint leftover from my flat in a greenish grey which I could use.  It had too much of a green cast for my husband to let me use it on the walls, but I figured he could deal with it on the armoire.  It was called “silver tinsel” and is a perfect colour for pretty much anything in my estimation.  Since there were some flaws and damage to the wood I decided to embrace the imperfections.  I’d been wanting to try chalk paint, and this seemed like a good time to.

Reading online gave me a “recipe” of paint, water, and plaster of paris.  There are other formulas too, but I wasn’t sure about using things like grout.  Plaster seemed brilliant, and I mixed up a batch then brushed on a base coat.  Next I mixed a batch that included a bit of white too, and I used it to sort of dry-brush over corners and panels in as artful a way as I could manage.  Meanwhile I added a little more white into the mix as I went, because I wanted to have a lot of depth and variation in the colour.

armoire brushing on the paint armoire brushing lighter mix of paint armoire while painting

When I was done painting, and it was dry, I sanded certain areas lightly with a fine sandpaper.  On the panels and corners I didn’t sand much; just enough to smooth things and show inner layers of the paint.  Only the handles were sanded enough to see bare wood, because DH warned me that he thinks distressed finishes are weird and uh… he doesn’t like it.  So, I just did a tiny bit to push the boundary slightly.  😀  (It has worked somewhat, and he now approves of certain imperfect looks if not when it comes to painted items.)

Here it is again, done, and some closeups:

armoire with coats armoire done

armoire done detail 2 armoire done detail

I seriously enjoyed painting with the DIY chalk paint and in this style.  Very fun.  Chalk paint won me over, and after this I used it quite a few times… whenever I had the chance.  So far I haven’t shelled out for Annie Sloan or even the types now available in craft and hardware stores.  I am curious to try some of the real stuff, but I have nothing to use it on right now.

I did not use wax afterwards, and I haven’t on any of the pieces that I painted with chalk paint.  I was really afraid to apply wax and worried it would change the colour.  In any case the coat closet looks just fine even after some three years of constant use, but I probably will do a few test pieces with wax eventually.  Everyone else out there waxes, and there must be a good reason for it, I’m sure.

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