January 08, 2015

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

If you've been reading my blog, by now you've heard me talk about 'Annie Sloan' and 'chalk paint' a fair amount of times. I'm sure some of you are wondering, "Who is this Annie Sloan chick? And why does Ashley keep talking about her?"  I thought I'd clear up this confusion and use today's post to give you a little background on chalk paint, and in particular, Annie Sloan chalk paint.

Annie Sloan indeed is a real person. Although I don't know her personally, she has become quite influential in my life. Annie developed this new type of paint a little over 20 years ago. She was in search of a product that could be used on a wide range of materials, was low-maintenance and easy to use. She wanted a product that was easy enough to use that you could start and finish a project in the same day. With her art background, she developed this new formula known as chalk paint. No, there is not chalk in the paint. No, you don't use this paint on chalkboards. And despite what some people think, no, you can't make it yourself by adding Plaster or Paris to latex paint. It was  given its name due to its chalky, matte finish, however the recipe remains a secret.


Chalk paint differs from your average latex paint on several levels. First, it's safer than your average paint. It's a non-toxic and odorless product so it is safe to use even on "high risk" pieces such as cribs. My personal favorite quality of the paint is its ease of use. Because it is highly pigmented and slightly thicker than latex paint, there is no need to prime your piece first. Just grab a brush and get at it! Some people even claim you don't need to sand your piece either, but I think that depends on the condition of the furniture you're painting.

Although it may seem like there is a limited color pallet, the possibilities are endless. The base colors were inspired by 18th and 20th century European decor. They range from bright, vivid hues such as Primer Red and Napoleonic Blue to soft, subtle shades such as Antoinette and Paris Gray. Because of the special formula Annie uses in her paints, they can be mixed together or layered on top of each other without the colors dulling or looking mucky. You can achieve practically any shade desired by mixing various colors together. And if that's not enough for you, there's more...Annie Sloan Wax!

Think of wax as your polyurethane protector, but on steroids. Not only does the wax finish protect your piece, it also allows you to add various effects. Regardless of the project (with some exceptions) you need to finish it with a coat of clear wax. This wax layer protects the paint and makes the surface durable. It also gives the piece a smooth professional looking finish. An alternative option is the dark wax. It has the same protective qualities, but gives the piece an antiqued, aged look as well. If I use the dark wax, I always do a coat of clear wax first. This step protects the paint color and prevents the dark wax from bleeding into the paint. It also gives you more control over the dark wax. Below are some examples that show the effect of the dark wax.  

Annie Sloan has expanded her line to include pretty much everything you need to complete a project start to finish...brushes, lacquer, craqueleur, gold gilding wax, decoupage varnish and even work aprons. In addition, she has written over 20 books on painting, interior design, etc. She also has a fabric and fragrance line. Overall, she's a pretty cool lady who has achieved some very impressive accomplishments.and has inspired people like me all over the globe. And while some people dream of the day they get to meet Brad Pitt, I dream of the day I can be in the same room as Annie Sloan. (However I'm not sure if she tops George Clooney...that's a tough one in my book).

So are you sold yet?! Well before you jump up and head to your local home improvement store to pick up your own Annie Sloan paint, hold on. She's exclusive, and doesn't mingle with the common folk like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. Annie Sloan products are only sold by "stockists" at specialty locations. Although you may have to hunt a bit to find one, the good news is that anyone able to sell Annie Sloan paint meets certain requirements and is extremely knowledgeable about her products. They can help guide you when deciding what to buy and how to use the various products.  

If you want to learn more about Annie Sloan paint, below are some helpful links.




One thing to remember is anyone can do this. You don't have to be a professional or have a degree in art. There is not one correct way that the paint must be applied. Part of the fun is trying new techniques and experimenting with new colors. And if you don't like the results, you can always paint over it! If you have a piece of furniture at home that you've dismissed for being dated or scratched and worn, I encourage you to give it a shot. I think you'll be surprised at the transformations you can make to a piece of furniture with just a can of paint.