For the most part, due to budget and time constraints, I limit myself to small, easy crafts: basically, crocheting. You can't do too much harm with some yarn and a blunt plastic needle.
But every now and then I get the urge to do a bigger project, like re-covering and repainting the kitchen chairs Or, say, repainting a nightstand with chalk paint.
My decorating taste tends to run toward French Countryside, but so much wood furniture can get a little dull with all that brown. The guest bedroom had been bugging me for a while, so a year ago (yes, a year), I had bought some inexpensive and pretty Carolina blue paint with the intention of repainting the nightstand, as a pop of color against my yellow walls (I love blue and yellow together). But as you probably know, life happens. And sometimes life sends you to France. So when you finally take a look at that paint and the receipt still with it, a whole year has gone by.
So now that I have some time on my hands, I decided to tackle this project. It turned out far easier than I expected. The nightstand isn't big, so it didn't take long. I had the whole first coat on in less than an hour. I let it dry for a day and then did the second coat in 30 minutes. I let that dry a day as well, and then I flipped the table and painted one coat on the underside. After letting that dry for a day, I finally distressed the paint and put the wax on, to give that yet another 24 hours to sit. (Side note: The paint doesn't actually take 24 hours to dry, I just happened to wait that long).
For my first chalk-painted piece, I was pretty pleased. This paint is great because it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, just kind of slap it on. The texture and the imperfections actually give it the look you're going for. I did learn that you need to distress after the first coat, not wait until after you've done two coats. It's impossible to do, especially with 220-grit fine sandpaper. I wound up having to go buy 180-grit because it was taking too long and killing my arm.
There are several kinds of chalk paint out there, the most well-known being Annie Sloan, but it's really expensive and also hard to find (you would need to go to a specialty shop). I used Martha Stewart paint (see below for details), and I was pleased with the quality and the price - even better if you have a 40% off coupon for Michael's. Also, you don't necessarily need to have a special chalk paint brush. I did some research online and almost everyone said you really didn't need a special brush, and some people actually preferred the cheap brushes. So don't stress yourself out about needing to purchase the most expensive materials.
See my pics below for details of my progress, as well as the finished product and instructions on how to do it yourself. I'm really, really pleased with how it turned out and how it looks in the guest bedroom. Now I've caught the DIY bug again, so stay tuned! :)
Want to do it yourself?