I’ve been a big fan of chalk paint for several years now. I’ve used it on countless projects including some dining room chairs my mom helped me update.
It’s supposed to eliminate the prep work, like sanding, before you get to the actual painting. But I’ll admit I’ve always cheated on this step. I couldn’t help but at least lightly sand my pieces before painting. Knocking a little of the sheen off of stained wood before painting over it just seems to make sense.
Well, this time I decided to try it without ANY prep work on this old hand-me-down coffee table from my parents’ house.
It used to reside in our formal living room growing up until my parents remodeled and redecorated that room 10 years ago. (Can’t believe it’s been that long!!)
Since it’d basically been in storage for the past ten years, it’s a little more worse for wear than it used to be. Several deep gouges in the stain that go all the way down to bare wood.
I like to paint the underside of furniture first so I don’t ruin the top after painting it by turning it over to get underneath.
It also makes it so much easier to get the legs covered completely.
After painting underneath, flipping it over, and painting the top, everything seemed to be going really well and my plan of no prep work was working.
Then it started to dry and the gouges didn’t fill in with paint like I had hoped. Plus the paint covering the bare wood spots was yellowing…
So I’d say my chalk paint experiment was a FAIL. BUT the project of refinishing the coffee table was not a total loss. I waited for the paint to dry and then sanded the entire top down, mostly to remove the paint. Then the old varnish got gooey under the heat of the sander and I had to sand the varnish off, too, in some spots. It was way less than ideal. I sanded the whole surface with a finer grit sandpaper (220) once the heavy-duty sanding was done to make sure everything was smooth and there weren’t any ridges left.
Then I used some white spray primer I had on hand to quickly coat the top of the table to prevent any other discolorations from showing through. The legs and cross supports were fine with the first round of chalk paint, so fortunately I didn’t have to strip them down too!
Once the spray primer was dry, I recoated the table top with my homemade chalk paint (The color is Simply White by Benjamin Moore color matched in Behr flat paint) and let that dry.
Thankfully that did the trick this time and I was able to apply my trusty top coat, let it sit for 24 hours, and put the coffee table back into commission in our living room!
It’s a little ‘dressier’ than our previous coffee table which was also a hand-me-down from my parents’ house! And in true Lipford fashion (where nothing gets thrown away), the old table will be replacing this one in storage until we find another use for her! We should really start a furniture rental business with all of the furniture we store and move around between my parents, my sisters, and me. Ha!
So the process didn’t go as planned, but I had to find out for myself how necessary prep work is before using chalk paint. I’ve learned, and hopefully you did too, that prep work makes the paint job! And it’s totally worth doing it before you paint so you don’t have to go back and do it after you paint. And then have to paint again…☺️
In chalk paint’s defense, though, it did ‘stick’ just fine to the surface without the prep work. But not all furniture is created equal. So inspect your piece before going all-in with ‘no prep work’ chalk painting!
Have you had any experience with chalk paint? Was it good or bad? What about furniture makeover fails? Share in the comments so I don’t feel like the only one!
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea