Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Latest using latex and chalk paint

Big deep breath...exhale....the kids are back in school...YIPPEE!!!!  Finally some down time, finally some cleaning that lasts, well, for 8 hours at least.  Sit down, catch up on your magazine subscriptions, go for a walk, exercise without needing sitters, grocery shop without needing the Cadillac sized carts, go back to work without needing to pay for childcare, etc. etc.
It's all good until homework starts :)

I have a few projects I worked on over the summer, and some just this week that I thought I would share.  Some were done using Latex, some with Chalk Paint and I will group them that way to help give a visual as to the differences.  See my previous posts where I talk about the differences and my personal tips for working with each.

I picked this dresser up via craigslist from a woman who let her teeny Teacup-Yorkie bite the heck out of my ankle while I was introducing myself.  It didn't hurt but I was a little taken back when she didn't stop it. Then she had the audacity to tell me there was no way this was going to fit into my van and I was wasting her time...a-hem.  Luckily her husband came out and swiftly replaced her to help me load it into my all too roomy, more than accommodating Odyssey!  He then explained their 26 year old son was finally moving out, and they were selling his stuff.  O-kay, all was forgiven.

I'm still in search of the before pic, and  I KNOW I have it..but here it is, in a nordic blue latex, after:
This sold to a med-student moving into her new place. Her sweet parents picked it up for her along with her 2 dogs and cat inside the trucks cab and a washer/dryer in the back!  In my head I thought 'this is your future'. I hope I can do it with as much energy as they had! ;D
I love me some deco, I know it's not so popular these days but it is so unique and if you can stay true to the style when refurbishing it then you will always find a buyer.  This was a waterfall style vanity that I was anxious to try a turquoise on.  It sold to the perfect person for it too!
I applied a dark wax to the details to make it look authentic and aged.

The wax warms up the brightness of the turquoise and makes it look like it has all been there for years.

I just finished the below set today-we are having a big labor day sale at the Antique Mall and I wanted to get some new stock in. I used latex, in a robin egg blue shade that I am fond of.  I recovered the seat this morning, distressed it all, sealed it, loaded and unloaded it.  I've earned my glass of wine tonight!

Perfect for a little or big girls room :)
Highboy Dresser with crystal knobs

Matching vanity with mirror, original stool.

And here are a couple chalk paint vanities I did this summer.  I have to share the story of this first one...I picked it up from a guy who travels a lot for his job.  It took weeks to schedule a day to see it. He said he was selling it for his buddy who had moved with his girlfriend, out of state.  He was simply the middle guy, and his buddy was asking $100 for it.  Well when I showed up, it was covered in melted candle wax and missing some of the hardware.  When he couldn't get one of the drawers open, he took a butter knife to cut through the wax and jostle it open.  When he did, we found one very should I say toy.  I swear, honest truth.  I immediately bartered for 1/2 off the asking price.
Before (that drawer was being 'sanitized' when I took this!)
After-Good as new!!
More dark wax along the edges, legs and details.

Okay, shake off that last story.  So here is another vanity (not much variety in this post I know!) but college students are getting settled this time of year, so desks, vanities and dressers are in demand.  Plus they are just so fun to do and I really love meeting the 'kids' that come to buy them. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint on this one as well, but this time used a glaze (wood stain mixed with a glazing agent) to darken and age it a bit more.  Click on pics for more detailed images.
Original stool, recovered in a textured velvet.
Anthropologie crystal knobs with gold accents-so pretty!

That's all for now-my 8 hour break is officially over ;)  I'm off to feed, bathe, and practice writing with my future college students (fingers crossed!!!) :D

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Part Three-Milk Paint vs Chalk Paint vs Latex

Part One-Milk paint
Part Two-Chalk paint
Part Three-Latex  

Latex, do I love thee?  Not just any latex though, as all are not equal. The wrong Latex can be a rubbery mess sometimes that doesn't adhere well or will scratch at the slightest scrape of a nail. But a good brand of latex applied properly can achieve anything!  While chalk paint or milk paint would help a piece achieve a certain look easier, all can still be created with latex.  You can distress it, glaze it, chip it, wax it, clear coat it, etc.

There is oil based or there is water based, and you can use either for furniture.  I like to use water based latex because it's odorless (almost) whereas oil based latex smells toxic immediately.  Water based latex washes off your skin and other surfaces easier, and it also dries much faster.  I have only had problems with it when I have bought a can of 'oops' paint (paint mixers mistakes, usually in a gallon size that sell for 7 bucks-beware of these!) or if I hadn't mixed and remixed it enough between uses. 

I have used a few different brands of latex and I will say that by far my favorite (I am NOT getting paid to say this, it's strictly my personal opinion) is the Behr brand sold at Home Depot.  Valspar isn't bad, but on occasion it's had more of the 'rubbery' feel to it and takes more paint to cover a piece at times (not to mention it took DAYS to get it out of my nose ;p sorry but it's the truth).  I have had both negative and positive outcomes with Glidden for the same reasons.  Martha Stewart's brand is really nice too, though I think it's being phased out in the stores?

No matter what brand you use, make sure you let latex dry completely before doing any other techniques with it.  It's a good idea to wait 24 hours if one to two coats were done, 48 hours if 3 coats were applied before you distress or seal it.  The reason being latex, by virtue of it's rubbery nature will shrink and expand depending on the climate until it's fully cured. In fact, latex takes a good month to cure completely, so if it's going to be a highly used piece of furniture (like a dining table or chair) let it sit in your garage or a low traffic area long as you can first. It doesn't have to be a month, but the longer the better for the finish to hold up.  Just my two cents.

Some other benefits of Latex are....

You can distress it easily;

Click on the pics to see better detail

Chair and table were both water based latex and distressed.

Example of the distressing on latex

Desk painted with interior latex and distressed with a fine sanding block.

You can wax it
This little table was painted with 'Creamy White' which is a dead-ringer for 'Old White' by Annie Sloan (you're welcome) by Behr and then sealed with a clear wax. I then added some age back to it by applying a dark wax onto the carvings and along the edges;
Before Dark Wax:
After Dark Wax:

You can give it a 'Chippy' look;
I used Glidden brand on this desk, then scraped the paint off.
I use butter knives, scrapers, whatever I have on hand.
This was a moderate chippy look-you can be much more aggressive with it and peel more back.

Glazing it is easy;

I don't always like to glaze with chalk paint as the dry 'stone' like texture of chalk paint can soak up too much to quickly.  You don't have that problem with latex though and can control the application of it.  I have glazed it with watered down stain, or a stain mixed with a glazing agent.  Both work great!

I used stain mixed with a glazing agent and wiped all over for a subtle yellowing affect.
This time, I applied stain directly with a brush and followed with a rag.

You can buy additives for latex to achieve different consistencies;

For example, if you are painting by hand with a brush and want to decrease your brush strokes as much as possible then buy some Floetrol. It won't alleviate them entirely but it does help!  Just follow the instructions.

Buy here or in store
You can also create something close to chalk paint which I discuss in detail here and here.  By adding either unsanded grout, calcium carbonate or plaster of paris, you can give your latex a more chalky consistency and matte finish.
Applied first coat of latex mixed with calcium carbonate

After, and I applied an all over glaze as well as dark wax to seal it.
Lastly, the cost and color options!  

Endless colors to choose from, I have an entire drawer filled with paint swatches that I open whenever I am in a bad mood ;)  They inspire me for some reason.  Both milk paint and chalk paint are limited in their color options however both can be mixed with their own colors to achieve different ones.

Latex comes in sample sizes for $3-$5, quarts for $12-$15 or gallons which range from $20's to mid $30's depending.  A gallon is more than you would probably ever even want of one would last you longer than it's shelf life.  One quart will paint 1-2 dressers or desks and a sample size will cover a vanity or console style table.  Pretty good bang for your buck!!

Well that's it for my series on the three types of paint.  Click on the links at the top of this post to see my advice and thoughts on working with Chalk paint and milk paint.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Part Two-Milk Paint vs Chalk Paint vs Latex

Part One-Milk paint
Part Two-Chalk paint
Part Three-Latex 

There are many tutorials on chalk paint in the blog world, but I wanted to share own personal experiences with it. You can never have enough info when you are trying to learn this stuff yet sometimes simple tips are and advice are easily overlooked.  Click on the above links (Part One, Two or Three to see my thoughts on other paint types).  Here are my tips for Chalk Paint;

 Part Two-Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

So many fans, so many testimonials, new stockists popping up all the time and a whole industry built around this stuff.  Many feel it is worth it, and honestly I have spent the $ myself and will probably continue to on occasion.  But I am blogging about the three different paint types to be completely truthful and give advice from my own personal experiences on each, and so I have to say - I feel a lot of this is hype.  I do like chalk paint for the right piece, and I keep a can or two on hand but I feel it is an unnecessary expense most of the time. 

Just humor me and let's see if you can tell which of these pieces is chalk paint and which is latex?

Any guesses which were Annie Sloan Chalk Paint?

None...all of these pieces were done using latex.  The only exception being that the last one-the teal green vanity/console-was done by making my own chalk paint (calcium carbonate + latex) which I've blogged about before.   My hope is that those pictures demonstrate you don't have to spend a fortune on 'special' paint to make something special.

That said, here are some of the things I like about Chalk Paint;

-The ease of distressing with it.  If you want to create a heavily distressed, very 'worn' look to your piece then it's very easy to accomplish with this.  It truly does sand off as a powder and you can get it done quickly!  (However if you are going for 'chippy', then stick with milk paint or even latex)  This also makes it easy to sand any brush strokes out before sealing it with a wax.  Here is an example of the distressing;

-It can make any piece look shabby or vintage.  This can be achieved with latex too, and I will get to that in the next post.  But chalk paints lack of any sheen is what helps to create that time-worn effect like the finish is decades old.  For instance if you have a newer piece that you want to look more aged or shabby, this paint achieves that pretty easily by virtue of it's 'chalkiness'.
1980's desk with hutch, had thin particle board on back.

 I used French Linen Chalk Paint and gave it a glaze to give it a farmhouse/country chic look.
-It CAN be used in a sprayer!  I have many times and you don't have to water it down (chalk paint is thicker than most), but I live in Texas where my garage is 85 degrees in the morning so all the paint is nice and thin already.  If you store yours somewhere cooler, then place in a nice warm location and let it sit for an hour or so before using, this will thin it for easier use in a sprayer. Another idea would be to sit a sealed can about half way, in a bowl of hot water for 10 mins or so.

-You don't have to buy the Annie Sloan clear wax to seal it.  I use Minwax finishing paste instead which is less than half the price of Annie's and I love it.  It forms a hard, more durable seal as opposed to the soft and tacky feel of Annie's that never seems to completely dry or buff out.  You can also use clear coat products as well, for instance the hutch and desk above I used varathane instead to protect the top and it worked beautifully.  No matter what you seal it with, it will change or darken your color slightly....that can't be avoided.

Things I don't' like about Chalk Paint

-It dries really fast, some see this as a plus but when applying this by hand, your paint brush will start to dry too, creating small clumps or larger grooves in the paint strokes.  I always have a few different brushes on hand to switch to as this happens.

-It's claim that "you don't need a primer" is false, false, false!  You will still have bleed through with this, maybe some things are covered easier than others but I have always had to get my can of Kilz out for something seeping through and then reapply the paint.

-Lastly, the expense.  One QUART (not gallon) costs an average of 38.00 not to mention shipping costs if a 'stockist' isn't near you.  I paint to resale, so for me it's an added expense I have to work into my prices though I do keep a quart or two on hand just in case a piece would really benefit from it (ie; newer, smaller, lots of distressing). Another down side is the limited amount of colors, though all are beautiful and can be mixed with each other to achieve other hues...but I guess I find more benefit in finding the perfect swatch color at Home Depot for half the price.

Up next, Latex....XOXO