Jan 6, 2014

White Washing with Chalk Paint

I picked up this coffee table at one of my favourite furniture markets last year.  It's a heavy, solid piece and I only paid $4 bucks!!!  Originally, I was going to turn it into a clock, but I've been searching high and low for a clock movement kit large enough, and can't find anything for a decent price.

When I'm not sure what to do with pieces, I let them sit in my workshop for a while until they 'speak' to me... sometimes, it hits me like a ton of bricks - that's what happened with this piece. It sat there for months, and then one day it clicked - WHITE WASH it!! It's the perfect colour wood, perfect grain... so I went for it!

Here is the piece Before & After... and you can scroll to the bottom for step by step instructions.

White washing with chalk paint is quite simple, but very messy.  You need lots of space, lots of rags, and no interruptions (which is hard in my house - have you met my husband??).

I used half paint, half water.  Brushed it on quite thick, then wiped it off.  Let it dry, then sand.  I did this about 3 times before I got the consistency I wanted.  Then waxed the sucker a million times.  

I had a customer wanting to purchase the piece, but last minute, my husband wanted to keep it.  That's a huge compliment in my books, so it's in my family room waiting to be destroyed with kraft dinner and hot wheels.  

A few more pics.... and step by step instructions:

How to White Wash your furniture:

1. Most Important!!!! Choose the right piece of furniture to white wash.  Choose a piece of furniture that has wood dark enough to show through the wash, but light enough to be able to see the grain.  My piece has very visible wood grain lines, and was a nice medium brown colour.

2. Give your piece a good clean.  You can't have any dirt, dust or grime.  It will show through.

3. Choose your colour - I used Annie Sloan Old White.  Pure white, or another light, neutral would work.

4. Dilute your paint.  Half paint, half water and give it a good stir.  Don't worry about bubbles.

5. Brush the paint on a small section, then using an old rag (I used an old towel cut up), wipe the paint off.  Don't wipe it all off.  Wipe enough off so you can kinda see the wood underneath,

6. Continue this process for the whole piece.

7. Let it dry for an hour or so.  Then give the piece a light sand.  I used 120 grit.  Just clean up the heavy sections and sand it down so the white is consistent on the whole piece.

I did this process about 3 times to finally get the colour I wanted.  No one said painting furniture is quick and easy my friends....

If you have any questions, just send me a quick note! 


  1. Not only is this one my favorite in real life (the honey oak one was really cool looking too).. Every piece you put up here is awesome. I love the fact that the two books on it are about Steve Jobs and John Lennon - not hard to tell who reads in this house :)

    We still get to keep the table right? It looks so good in front of the new fireplace..

  2. Hi Cait, thanks for this great inspiration! I have two questions -- (1) am I correct in understanding you didn't remove the finish on the piece first?; and (2) what kind of wax did you use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa! Thanks for stopping by. That's correct, I did not remove the finish at all. That's the great part about chalk paint. No need to sand your surface first.
      And I ALWAYS finish with Annie Sloan soft wax. It's the best wax out there!!

    2. Fantastic! Thanks so much -- I can't wait to get started! :D

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