After finally getting our new spring order of Illume candles in the other day, we decided that we really needed to spruce up our entire candle display. Since it sits right in the middle of the store and is the first thing that everyone who walks through the door sees, we really wanted to make it something unique. When the idea of a DIY project came up, Alicia was the first to suggest chalk paint. So, instead of buying a new table, we took a pretty beat up table and two mismatched chairs from the outlet and got to work with giving them a complete makeover.
Not really knowing what we wanted our end result to be (and without much time to research exactly how to use chalk paint), we just kind of went for it. The best part about chalk paint is that you can completely mess it up, but it will almost always look like you meant to do that.
Even though you typically don't have to sand your surface before you apply chalk paint, we wanted to make sure that it would stick for as long as possible since we wouldn't have time to use a sealer (don't follow our lead on that—check out how to seal your chalk paint here). Plus, not using a sealer for us meant that our table would look even more rustic and distressed, especially over time. We eventually decided that that's the look we'd be going for.
We finished sanding the surface and edges of the table just enough so that its lacquer wore off and a little bit of the original wood shined through. Although we would cover it with white paint, we were planning on taking a finer grit sandpaper and distressing the final coat so that we would get some of that original wood showing through the white finish.
We finished up the chairs with the same idea in mind. We thought the brown wooden chair would turn out pretty cool since it had such deep ridges, so we probably wouldn't have to sand too much to get that distressed look. As for the blue chair, having some of that light color come up through the white paint would be a really unique, subtle contrast.
When we started painting, we weren't sure right away if we'd get away with using the 1 coat of paint that the can told us was all we needed, but we figured that we'd do 1 coat on top of the table, 1 coat on the chairs, and then just see how it looked. Like I said, not only did we have absolutely no idea what we were doing, we weren't even sure what we wanted these pieces to actually look like when they were done at this point; all we knew was that we wanted it to be bright and rustic. And that's the beauty of chalk paint! Let me explain why:
We put on 1 coat of paint on the table, but by the time we started on the other half of it, the first half was already dry. On that beautiful 70 degree day, it probably only took about 10-15 minutes for the first coat to completely dry. And although the table looked kind of what we started to envision it looking like at the end, when we saw what it looked like dry, we knew that one more coat would be better. With a little light sanding, we'd get a close match to this distressed look, but more refined.
I think what I loved the most about Rust-Oleum's chalk paint was the texture that it left on the wood. While a blessing and also a curse, it was beautiful. The one thing I learned from this is that you definitely have to be extra careful with your brush strokes, and paint drips are a nightmare to touch up since chalk paint dries so fast.
We wanted to make sure that the paint was 100% dry before we started distressing it otherwise we would have completely messed up the finish on top. It probably would have been fine a few hours later, but we waited until the next day.
Even though we did really like the look of the natural wood coming through the top of the table, for what we were using this table for, we realized that it wouldn't really been seen anyway. So, we decided to heavily distress the edges and corners.
Luckily, from the brush strokes and chalk paint alone, this chair had tons of texture, so we didn't have to distress much of it at all. A little rubbing on the edges and corners was all we did to this one.
And just like we thought, because of the second chair's deep grooves, a lot of its natural wood was showing before we even touched it up with the sandpaper again. Just like the other chair, we roughed up the corner and edges to give it less of a perfectly finished look to match the spots of natural wood.
Right after sanding, we brought the table out onto the showroom floor and started stacking it with candles for our display. And I must say, I couldn't have imagined it coming out any better than it did! Plus, since we only refinished the table top, the off-white legs now looked a little more yellow, which brought in more color to it than it had before.
I've got to say, for never having used chalk paint or even researching the right way to use it, I think this new spring centerpiece turned out pretty good! To stay up to date on all of our DIY projects and other things that inspire us, make sure to follow us on Pinterest!