Thursday, 27 November 2014

What happened when a chalk paint skeptic tried out a chalk paint powder?

We use Websters Chalk Paint Powder to upcycle an old table

Chalk paint. You either love it or hate it. Or you’re indifferent to it. Whatever. At one point or another, we’ve fallen into all of those camps.

We’ve used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and found it quick and easy but, more often than not, we’ve used it and found it a right faff – with a bobbly finish and a need for lots of post-paint work which kind of cancels out the paint’s ‘no-prep’ selling point.

As a result, we’ve been reluctant to try other chalk paints. We’re constantly told that Autentico is good, but we can’t shake that Annie Sloan feeling.

So, when we were approached by Websters about trying out their Chalk Paint Powder, we decided it was a great opportunity to shake off our chalky fears and see if we could be converted.

You wouldn't want to get caught at customs with this sample pack...

Websters Chalk Paint Powder has been available in the US for a few years now and has produced some great results from American upcyclers. See for a really inspirational gallery.

Now it has hit the UK and we were among the first British furniture painters to give it a try.

The idea is a simple one. By adding the Websters Chalk Paint Powder, mixed with a little water, to any emulsion paint of your choice, you create your own chalk paint.

Like chalky porridge

It's a bit like creaming butter with sugar

We used Rock A Billy Blue from the Crown Vintage range, following the easy-to-use instructions to quickly create our own chalk paint.

This is fun!

All mixed up, nice and smooth

The paint became slightly thicker, but there were no other noticeable differences once mixed – no colour change, no lumps or streaks.

Our subject was a table we’d picked up the weekend before and were just itching to paint. The base and legs had been varnished many many years ago and, under normal circumstances we would have sanded them back before applying a coat of primer, then our chosen paint.

Our next victim

In the spirit of all things chalky, we instead just gave it a once-over with sugar soap to remove any grease, dirt and dust, then went straight on with the paint.

The first coat went on with very good coverage

The adhesion and good coverage were immediately obvious and before we knew it the first coat was done. We’d wondered beforehand if one coat might be enough – and it wasn’t a million miles away, but we decided a second coat was in order.

The second coat went on as easily as the first, with none of the annoying bobbling that has sworn us off chalk paint.

With both coats done, we simply added some Annie Sloan Clear Wax and then Dark Wax before lightly distressing with sandpaper and a scraper. The distressing was easy, as the paint came away easily, but without any chipping or flaking, allowing us to control exactly how much or how little of the wood we wanted to reveal.

On goes the clear wax, which darkens the colour slightly

The fact the paint comes off quite easily does mean that if we were after a clean finish we’d probably still want to sand the wood first, but, for a distressed finish, painting directly onto already varnished wood is fine, and on a less varnished piece the paint would probably adhere better anyway.

It’s safe to say we were really impressed with the Websters Chalk Paint Powder – not only did it go on well and give a good finish, but we had loads left over – it really does go a long way.

The finished table - though we've since decided to paint the top, too

Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on. In the meantime, you can Like Websters on Facebook  or follow them on Twitter @WebstersChalk