I've been meaning to write about this chalk painted chests for a while now and since I showed them in my bedroom refresh I thought it was about time I got around to doing it.
Painted Chest of Drawers | Large
The large painted chest of drawers was one of the first pieces of furniture I ever owned. It was transformed into a baby changing table when my first son was born and remained in his room until we moved to Germany. In this house, it's been moved from room to room but it never really looked as though it quite fit anywhere.
It wasn't until after I started our bedroom refresh and was looking for bedside tables that I realised it was actually the perfect size for one side of the bed it just wasn't the right colour.
The paint colour in the bedroom is a light blue-grey so I knew Annie Sloan's Paris Grey chalk paint would look fantastic on this chest. Instead of painting the whole thing in Paris Grey though, I decided to do something a little different and use some Old White to lighten up some of the areas and hopefully make it look a little more interesting.
Large Painted Chest | Beginning to paint
Remove the hardware
First of all, I removed all the drawer knobs so that the piece would be easier to paint. This was a pine chest but it had already been sealed and had a very light whitewashed effect. If you are painting pine furniture which hasn't been sealed, you may want to apply a sealer first to make sure the knots don't bleed through your paint.
I painted the whole piece in Paris Grey first. I found that one coat was enough here but again if your piece is not already painted you may need two coats. It really depends how dark the colour of the wood is at the start. I painted the drawer knobs the same colour.
About twenty minutes later once the Paris Grey was dry, I took a new brush and used Old White to emphasize some of the edges of the chest.
Emphasizing the edges
Starting at the top of the painted chest, I slowly painted around the rim with Old White. I didn't want it to look too perfect so I wasn't really worried if I painted over the edges a little bit. I also knew that I would be able to sand some of it away afterwards anyway. I used two coats of Old White to completely cover the Paris Grey and make sure that the white really stood out.
The edges of the drawers on this painted chest were slightly bevelled, so I decided to see how it would look if I painted those too. I knew if I didn't like the look, I would just be able to paint over it again with Paris Grey.
The base of this painted chest has a lovely shape and I decided to emphasize that with Old White too. This also helped to balance out the colours a little.
Once the whole piece was completely dry, I gave it a layer of clear wax. I describe how I use clear wax in my coffee table makeover post here Riviera Maison Inspired Coffee Table Makeover or my bookcase makeover here Easy bookcase makeover using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint so take a look at those posts if you need to know how to use it.
Distressing & Waxing the Painted Chest
I used some 120 sandpaper to rough up the edges of chest and drawers a little and give a more 'used' look. Once I was happy with the amount of distressing, I wiped the chest down and using a cloth, I wiped some more clear wax over the parts I'd distressed.
At this point, the chest still looked a little too 'new' with its lovely coat of fresh paint so I decided to have a go at using dark wax to see what a difference it would make.
TIP: If you're not sure if you will like the look of dark wax on your furniture here's a tip for you. Always apply a layer of clear wax first. Then if you decide you don't like it, you can use more clear wax to remove the dark wax. If you haven't used clear wax first, the dark wax will be absorbed into your paint and stain it and you'll have to paint all over again!
Applying Dark Wax
I used the dark wax really sparingly at first. It's important to rub the wax off with a cloth before it's had a chance to dry so it's best to work on one small area at a time. Remember if it goes on too thick in one area, you can use clear wax to rub it off again. Here's a really great video from Annie Sloan herself where she shows you exactly how to use dark wax:
When it was finished, I left it overnight and the next day I buffed the piece with a clean soft cloth until it had a lovely sheen.
As always, I let the piece sit for a few weeks before using it to allow the wax to cure and harden.
Painted Chest Of Drawers | Small
The smaller painted chest was much less work and the actual painting and waxing process was finished in less than an hour! This is what it looked like before:
Using A Primer
I started by removing the hardware so that the piece would be easier to paint. Because the chest had such a dark stain, I used a water-based primer first. I describe how I use a primer in my bookcase makeover and you can read that in the post Part Two | Preparing to paint and using primer.
My water based primer dries very quickly and by the time I had finished painting the body and the drawers I was able to start again from the beginning with chalk paint.
Distressing & Waxing the Small Painted Chest
Because the little chest was so dark to begin with I decided to apply two coats of Paris Grey this time. I left roughly twenty minutes between each coat before applying a coat of clear wax.
The small painted chest seemed to have enough going on already with all the raised details and such so I didn't distress it as much as I normally would. I just distressed the feet and corners a little and then applied another layer of clear wax.
The following day, I buffed the piece as usual and left it to cure. One of the drawer knobs was missing so I decided to replace them all with some lovely silver knobs with a fleur-de-lys pattern.
If you've read my bedroom refresh post, you'll know that these chalk painted chests reside either side of our bed. The fact that they are not the same doesn't both me at all. I'm not someone who has to have everything symmetrical but I know it may bother some people and that's totally OK. I must admit though, that since we installed our new bed, the little painted chest seems a bit swamped and I may eventually replace it with something taller. Right now though, I'm happy with how the room looks – at least one side of it but that's another story and you can read it in my Bedroom Refresh!
I hope you found this post helpful and that it encourages you to have a go yourself! Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions and I'll be pleased to answer them if I can.