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  • The Vintage Nest

DIY: Up-cycling Furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Decoupage

Updated: Mar 11

Looking to spruce up or revitalize some of your used furniture pieces or consignment finds? Decorative furniture painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® has long since been one of our favorite routes for creatively (and sustainably!) transforming pieces of all kinds. As a cover-up paint, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® is a fantastic choice for this process. Additionally, we can pair the chalk paint with decoupage tissue paint to take the piece to the next level. While the outcome will impress, the process isn’t too hard! Follow along to learn how we transformed an old table in the shop into an eye-catching masterpiece. The piece ended up selling before we even finished waxing it!

The steps are below!

Select Furniture, Prep, & Paint

  • First, select furniture. We picked a small table that was in the shop. Previously, it was painted Chicago Grey, but we felt the grey color didn’t do the piece justice or highlight its unique features.

  • Select decoupage tissue paper. We used the sheets sold at the shop, selecting a verdant bird’s nest scene to put on the top surface of the piece.

  • Select paint. For this piece, we chose Annie Sloan Chateau Grey® because of the green hues in the gradient. We thought this color would be a striking compliment to the naturalistic decoupage paper and its many shades of green that we are using.

  • Sand the entire piece using 220 sanding paper or a sanding block. Complete using light and even circular sanding motions. When you have roughed up all table surfaces, wipe them down with a damp paper towel (squeezed out) or microfiber towel.

  • Paint the legs of the table piece first and flip the table over (flat top surface facing downward) to help you cover all surface area of the legs of the piece. Use small, even strokes with thin layers of paint.

  • Paint the top of the piece (where the decoupage will go) with Old White Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan, so colors don’t bleed through when you put the decoupage on it. This step should be done for whatever area of the piece you are decoupaging, thus, in this case, the top of the table. The white background also makes the decoupage tissue paper images lighter and more vibrant.

  • Let dry (overnight- for a full 24 hours is best); then time to start decoupaging!

The Decoupage Process

  • To begin, place the entire piece of decoupage paper over the area you want to cover with it while it is dry.

  • Next, trim the decoupage paper to size, leaving it a few inches larger than the space you cover around its perimeters.

  • Prepare for the next step by using a paint can to hold the sheet down while you work. Place the can in the center of the paper to hold it even without the opposite side getting in your way.

  • Working section by section (i.e., only put lacquer on one section at a time), paint Annie Sloan Gloss Lacquer Topcoat® onto the piece using an oval brush, preferably.

  • After painting on the lacquer, gently and evenly, place the decoupage tissue paper onto the wet surface. Then, you will need to smooth out the paper.

  • (Repeat the same steps on the second/additional sections of the furniture piece)

  • Smooth out the decoupage paper in small sections because it moves easily, and its’ fibers start to separate from your fingers, damaging its integrity against the lacquer. To avoid ripping the decoupage paper, you may want to wrap your fingers in Saran Wrap (which will break the friction from your fingerprints) and rub them smoothly across the decoupage paper to smooth it out. Alternatively, you can use a credit card to smooth out the decoupage paper. However, proceed with caution if using this method also!

  • Allow the piece to dry again.

Topcoat & Waxing

  • Then, using 220 sandpapers again, sand off the remaining edges of the piece. Sand with a straight up and down motion, as close to a 90-degree angle as possible.

  • Using your selected color of chalk paint, you will then want to paint around the trim to cover up the sanded decoupage edge areas.

  • After the chalk paint has dried on the edges, apply your topcoat. We used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Lacquer® in Clear Gloss and Flat. You will want to use the Gloss topcoat first; since Gloss is more durable, it should go down first. Next, apply the topcoat directly over the decoupage paper. We used three coats of gloss topcoat on this piece.

  • Next, after the Gloss topcoat, we applied two coats of Flat topcoat. Again, you can use the topcoat of your choosing, as the primary point for using the Flat topcoat is to reduce the sheen level of the piece.

  • We are almost through with this masterpiece! That said, we still need to apply clear wax to the table's rim and dark wax to the edge and legs of the table.

  • Apply clear wax with an Annie Sloan Wax Brush® (the brush layers and density will help the wax go on even), starting with the clear wax first. To apply, swirl the tips of your wax brush in the open wax can, evenly coating all the bristles. Next, gently wipe the wax-covered brush across the chalk-painted surfaces of the piece. Apply the wax small section by small section to ensure complete coverage. Finally, wipe off the wax after applying. The wood will naturally absorb the amount of wax it needs, and what can be wiped away is, therefore, excess. ***If you plan to add dark wax, apply clear wax first. You must use clear wax, so the dark wax pigment is not directly absorbed into the piece. Adding the clear wax first allows you to adjust the dark wax amount and wipe away dark wax pigment to achieve the desired look.

  • Let the entire piece dry, stage your photo op, and enjoy!!!

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