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.

First Post: a thrift store score, and perhaps a helpful tip for a troublesome dishwasher basket.

Hi!  Welcome to my blog.

I am not exactly new to journalling online, but this sort of dedicated and focused blog is new to me.  After years of writing in one or two places about every subject that came to mind I decided it was time to dedicate a blog to household projects.  My husband has never been too keen on my treasure hunting (things left at the kerb for trash pickup, Craigslist, and thrift stores,) but he has begun to appreciate the results of furniture makeovers.

For a long time I’ve not had many chances or space to work on treasures or make home improvements, but we are in contract on a house now, and this seemed like a very good time to begin the blog.  There are many makeovers, a few renovations, and other projects in mind thanks to the house, and I’ll try writing about some old ones too.

As for today’s post… I thought it would be a good place to share an awesome thrift store find.  My husband doesn’t exactly appreciate them, but hopefully anyone reading this will be a little more excited about treasure hunting.  Yesterday I was running some errands, including buying a few items for an upholstering project that I’ll be writing about, and I couldn’t help but stop at Unique.

I used to go to that thrift shop often, but it has become rather pricey, and I haven’t really found much to buy either.  Yesterday there was nothing of interest to me again, until I ran across a bit of linen in the tablecloth section.  I’m always on the lookout for linen even though I sometimes only have vague ideas of what to use the fabric for.  As I examined the cloth, in case it had any bad stains or holes, I noticed some lace-y stuff and looked closely.  Upon inspection it appeared to be hand done, in perfect condition, and of very high quality.  The lace-work decorates one side and the others are a simple hem with picot.  I began to think that the “tablecloth” was actually a flat sheet, and I put it in my cart.  Just about then a woman who’d been eying it asked if she could see.  She volunteered that it was a sheet and very nice.  Then she begged me to let her have it, but I was selfish… :shrugs:

I just finished washing it, and it is hanging to dry, but I took photos beforehand.  (Please bear with me… I had intended to make a collage rather than having giant photos.    It did not happen.) Oh, and it measures 91″x101″.

IMG_4760 IMG_4761 IMG_4762 IMG_4758 IMG_4759

I think it may even be antique?  Oh, and I forgot the best part!  I was sad to find nothing but the sheet to buy and make the stop worthwhile, but I *was* okay with the $4.99 price.  Then at the register the cashier  rang it up with 50% off, yay!

This is about all for today, but I also wanted to try sharing some potentially useful information too.  If any of you have a Whirlpool dishwasher you may know that the flatware basket on the door can *also* be set onto the lower drawer.  (Or you may not know, as I didn’t for a year or two until shopping appliances for my MIL and being shown the neat trick!)  I much prefer having the basket attached to the drawer instead of spilling out each time the door is opened, but there was a problem.  The basket easily falls off of the drawer.  All.  The.  Time.  It was so irritating, so I fixed it.

Here is how: You need two silicone (I think they are silicone) hair-ties.  I keep these around to use like rubber bands that will not eventually deteriorate.  I bought mine at a store down the street, but here are some on Amazon to illustrate the sort I am talking about.  Take one and thread it around the wire of the drawer.  Then hook the loop over the nub on the basket, obviously repeat with the other side, and ta-da: a nicely secured flatware section.  🙂

IMG_4764