DIY- Table & Chairs Chalk Paint Update

Have you ever had a piece of furniture that was given to you, maybe passed-down in the family, a piece that is far better constructed than you could afford today? Many times those old family pieces are, well…stuck in time. And that time is not yours it belonged to your grandma, your mom. Maybe it isn’t even a hand-me-down; you bought it a decade (or more) ago and now it’s not your style. (Television) interior designer, Joanna Gaines would say, “It is ready for a New Story.”  So, Get Over-it! It may be beautiful wood and have beautiful memories… BUT, it is okay to NOW make it your own. Grab a brush & some courage, Let’s Paint It…Make it shine!

I’m sharing my young friend’s (KS’s) Chalk Paint Update of her old oak kitchen table and chairs. I recently gave a quick peek on Weekend Wanderings. The set is the same one she and her brothers grew-up sitting around for family meals. It has a lot of good memories and is a quality piece of furniture. KS’s mom was supportive of the Update, so the only hurdles were to choose a Look and carve out DIY Time to Make it her own. I was invited to help with the DIY, since she had never used chalk painted, but as it turned out, I also learned this new free-stylin’ chalk paint technique.



We went to our local Annie Sloan Chalk Paint store, 3 Oaks Studio, to get white paint for the table set – originally the tabletop was going to be a gray stained wood and everything else white, BUT, within 5 steps into the showroom, KS saw exactly the technique she wanted for her table & chairs DIY!

Photo taken at 3 Oaks Studio, in Old Town Clovis, California

We gathered 4 containers of Annie Sloan chalk paint colors used to create the Inspiration  paint technique, then we were told the tools to use and we were told that the paint technique was, “Well, I just kept working-it, layering ’til I got it to where it looked this way.” “Scrape, dry brush, build colors in layers and use chippy paste”…that’s it for directions! We left with gallons (not really) of AS Chalk Paint and a pint (between us) of Confidence…Okay, WE can do this, right? Ha, WE drove back to the store the next day to take (many) photos of the tabletop and to get more supplies. In the back of our minds we knew, “It’s only paint,” expensive paint, but still just paint.


This is a free-style process so it’s hard to give a How-to, it really depends more on your individual taste, so I will share the photos as we painted and a few tips…BUT first, let’s get this out of the way…red wine and loud music will show up in KS’s process. Those two tools helped at the end, after I’d left late Friday afternoon and KS was alone with her partly layer-painted table top. Knowing I would not be back for two days, as I left I uttered something like: “The only mistake you can make with a layering technique, is to stop too soon.” Hmm, where did that sage advice come from? Must have been once said to me at a time when I needed Courage To Create.

Painting the TableTOP:

  • Tips: remember to put all leaf sections, you may have stored away, into the table to be painted at the same time. Thoroughly clean all parts of dust.
  • We painted the pedestal & drop edges of the table (AS Old White) prior to starting on the tableTop, then we colored the carving details grey and later waxed those white areas while the tableTop was in periods of drying. It kept the ball rolling : )
  • We made a color “cheat sheet of paint samples on a plate ” to refer to for mixing paint colors, using each paint color at 100%, and combinations of mixing those together at 50/50%.  (See photo.) It helped to have that visual reference as we chose which color to paint with next.

  • Get a VISION of what you are going for. Even with our Inspiration photos we put some words to where we were headed. The vision helped to know that the tabletop’s main chipped-off paint color would be Old White, and that the paint streaks would give an illusion of “planked” weathered-grey wood under the peeling white paint.

The photo below (left) shows the table’s top painted with it’s first coat of French Linen (grey) and the table’s pedestal & legs painted with French Linen (grey) blotches on areas we wanted to distress. Originally we distressed those same blotched areas down to the oak, but it was too orange. In later photos, after we paint white over the blotches it is French Linen (grey) peeking through the distress. Photo below (right) shows our paint palette mentioned already. Upper section of the (right) photo shows table with dry-brush using 4 combinations. The table under the plates is the table with 2 coats of base color French Linen. We loved the brown undertones of AS French Linen.

  • Dry-brushed streaks of all paint colors that have been mixed in various 50/50 ratio, using your cheat-sheet plate sample.
  • Spread on some County Grey with a credit card (the flatter you lay the card as you scrape/smear on the paint the more texture it creates. Experiment with the scrape technique on test wood first using credit card, also try dabbing the scraped paint with paper towel or brush for additional effects. Dry-bush some Country Grey too.
  • Dry-Brush and Credit card paint Old White  in long lengths.

  • Chippy Paste to some areas. Follow container directions, let dry, then paint over the chippy paste with lengths of heavy Old White. Scrap off the chippy pasted areas with a credit card. The idea is give the look of the most recent (Old White in our case) paint chipped off over time. You can also use a credit card to apply the chippy paste to create interesting worn looks.

  • Here we go now…the only mistake would be to stop Too Soon. So Keep layering until you are satisfied. ***Apply red wine & crank up the tunes, if needed.

More layers to do…Friday night!

  • When you are happy with the table top, let dry and apply either AS clear wax or in our case, we chose to use Poly Clear, in a matte finish, for a more durable tabletop finish.

Painting & Waxing Chairs, Pedestal and sides of table: (Yes, we had only 4 chairs it was easy)

No prep-sanding needed, paint 2-3 coats Annie Sloan (AS) Old White Chalk Paint. Lightly sand & distress painted areas. Apply AS Clear Wax with a small piece of soft t-shirt. If working with white paint be sure to use a white t-shirt! Wax an area the size of the seat, then removed the wax. No need to wait between wax-on, wax-off. * See Supplies, for my new favorite wax remover/buffer paper towel.

We divided the chair into waxing sections, like the seat, the 4 legs, the rungs & curve. After wax-on/wax-off of one section we would do a second coat of wax immediately (wax-on, wax-off) before moving to a new section. At the end you are totally done. It has two coats of buffed wax and just needs to dry 24-hrs before sitting on.

For the Old White table edge, we rubbed the (dry painted) carved design with French Linen using a soft t-shirt rag and immediately lightly wiped excess off with a barely damp cloth. The grey paint accented the carved design beautifully. Be sure to let carved grooves dry thoroughly prior to waxing.


Paints: Annie Sloan chalk paint. Colors listed on cheat sheet plate photo above.

Annie Sloan Clear Wax: A low luster finish for chairs, pedestal and table edge (Old White paint areas.)

Minwax Polycrylic Clear Coat (matte finish!): used as clear top coat for tableTop (only). This was great. Can be wiped-on with a rag or brushed-on with synthetic bristle brush. We used a 3″ synthetic brush from the dollar store. So simple, you can do a hatch-swipe brush motion. We applied 2 coats. Cleans up with soap & water. Tip: buy 2 brushes so you have a dry one for the second coat.

Prior to applying clear coat, KS vacuumed the tabletop using the brush attachment to get into the chipped areas. At this point the entire table was finished except for the clear coat. After, we noticed a few to obvious distressed spots on pedestal (see?) so we lightly dry-brushed them with Old White and re-waxed the tiny areas. Perfection! Although, no photos.

Chippy Paste: use for creating a barrier between paint layers that can be easily scraped off to reveal under color paint. Very cool stuff. Buy small container. Follow package directions. See photos above.

To Apply & Remove (buff) AS Clear Wax: lint-free is the key words here. We used a piece of WHITE t-shirt, and a cheesecloth, but our favorite was Scott Shop (blue, heavy-duty paper) Towels(do NOT use regular paper towel.) Scotts are rough enough to remove & buff wax, yet super strong. Affordable at 1 roll of 55-sheets for $3.

Paint Applicators: for AS chalk paint use high quality natural bristled brushes. For dry-brushing chalk paint we used cheap but good quality chip brushes. They are cheap and with so many layers of paint colors, 6 chip brushes gave us enough to move forward with a non-wet brush. Old Credit Card or Hotel (key) Card to smear a thick swipe of paint for effect. Smaller cheap art flat or fan brush for touch up and tight areas, if you don’t have these use a chip brush for touch ups. We also dabbed on paints using a paper towel or small piece t-shirt on the table top rim and inside leaf edges.

My biggest concerns…

I had concerns and questions going into this project, after all the kitchen set had a nice thick protective clear coat on it so… “Can we REALLY apply Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to the table & chairs without any prep-sanding?? The answer is, “YES!” I know… I had to try to be convinced, honestly, NO sanding. The only sanding we did was on the chairs – a light sanding of the dry chalk paint before applying wax to give a nice smooth soft finish.

My other question was, “Do we distress-sand before or between clear waxing?” Here’s what we did – distress after paint but prior to waxing. So BEFORE waxing. But either way works. We lightly hand-sanded-out the paint brush stokes and distressed it at the same time prior to waxing.  I don’t think we even bothered to lightly sand the pedestal and table edge!  You also can use a wet soft cloth square to distress and smooth-out paint strokes. Note: move outdoors for sanding, it is messy, then clean off surface thoroughly before waxing.

More Tips…

Complete each process on all pieces before moving to next process. Paint all, Sand all, & Distress all, then Wax all. You will be glad when you get to the waxing not to have to deal with dust in the air that could mess up your waxed finish.

Distressing tips for old chair look – we did a distress on the seat to mimic that of jeans scooting across the seat over time. And added extra distress where legs would have rubbed the front seat, and hands would have gripped the top curve of the chair back while moving it.

Allow wax or poly top coat to completely DRY before using your furniture, or as in a sectioned table, before closing sections together.


This kitchen set turned out so amazing – fresh, and ready for new chapters!


Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!

Did you notice this Post was on the late side? I’m working on other projects that have kept me busier than ever learning new things. I will get them into Posts to share soon.


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