Crafts: Chalk (Paint) It Up

Hey there! Let’s talk about paint, yes? We moved into a new house in February and I wanted to update some of our old furniture to go in the new space. In addition to the couple of pieces of furniture, the cabinets are old-school 1980’s and I knew I’d want to redo some of those. But I have zero painting skills. Zero. I also wanted to get all the projects done before we moved into the new house so my time frame was super tight. I had a desk, a bed I bought for Tesla off of Facebook, and the cabinets in the communal bathroom that I wanted painted.

I knew that I didn’t want to do any prep (remember, zero skill), so I opted for chalk paint. Because all I had to do was wipe the pieces down to make sure they were clean and get to painting. I’m sure there was more I could have done, but I didn’t want to. Seriously, I’m a very lazy painter. Although I wanted the ease of chalk paint and I generally like the look of projects done with chalk paint, I didn’t want my pieces to have the antique look and I knew that they’d need more than just the wax coating on the top because they’d have some hard wear and tear.

Tesla’s Bed

I didn’t have any other furniture in mind for her room (she’s only ever been in a room with William and me and in her crib), so I wanted the color to be a little more neutral. However, I also wanted some color. I decided to do a yellow base with a silver-gray topcoat. The bed was the first piece of furniture I painted,  I did it in the garage just after I’d had surgery, and I had really bad paint brushes. Basically, perfect painting conditions. I even ran out of the yellow and had to get a different paint for the foot board. My point is, chalk paint is easy, y’all. I did a single layer of the yellow first, let that dry for a couple of hours, did a layer of the silver-gray, let that dry for a couple of hours and then did the three layers of the varnish (I used Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane). I wanted the yellow to peek thorough the gray, so the gray wasn’t a very thick layer. With the yellow peeking through, there is some brightness on the bed. The varnish dried a few hours between the layers. I’m happy with how it turned out, but didn’t love the stink of the varnish.  I am calling it a success.

Trust me, it has hints of yellow too.
Trust me, it has hints of yellow too.


I have had this desk for more than decade. It’s a good size for me, but haven’t liked how it looks for a long time. A friend had some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Graphite left from a project, and she shared it with me. Lucky! I did get a better brush for this job, but that is the only concession I made to pretending like I knew what I was doing. I still used the stinky varnish on it though. I did two coats of the paint, but noticed that there are some spots I missed. Unfortunately I noticed after I had moved it into our new place. I will get back to it eventually. I am still counting this as a success.

Pretend you don't see any spots that need touched up.
Pretend you don’t see any spots that need touched up.

Bathroom Cabinets

There was nothing wrong with the bathroom cabinets before except that they are a standard 1980’s brown wooden cabinet that I don’t love the look of. However, it’s not in our budget to replace them right now, so paint it was! Because I was going to paint these cabinets inside I looked for non-stinky varnish and found a water-based top coat from General Finishes and I got it in a Satin finish. I also used a different brand of chalk paint called Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint in American Dream. These cabinets also took two coats of paint and three coats of varnish. I used foam brushes this time and found it substantially easier than bristled brushes. I love how these cabinets turned out you guys! The color makes me happy. Of course there are some touch ups needed, but I am calling it a win.

Blue is better than 1984 brown!
Blue is better than 1984 brown!

More Projects

I have a couple of additional pieces I think I’ll paint (including our front door), but I’m going to live in the house a little while and see how things look and how we use the furniture before I do.

Have you used chalk paint? What’s your favorite way to use it?

*None of this is sponsored content, I’m just sharing my wisdom with you all 🙂

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply