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May find of the month: Upcycle with paint

At GDP Interiors, we bring you a little insider peek into some special products on a regular basis, with our “Find of the month”.

We need to upcycle more furniture. It's essential to fight the war against landfill, it gives your home a unique stamp and the process of restoring something is good for the soul.

Why you need to upcycle:

Perhaps you have a piece of furniture you’re hanging onto because it’s wasteful to get rid of it, but it’s just not your style. Maybe you like a bit of a project outside of the daily grind or you want to mix things up at home but cannot afford anything extravagant.  In my case, I’m not ashamed to say I picked up this chest of drawers from a nature strip, and I just knew it could look better than it did!

There are all sorts of paints on the market, brands, types, colours, prices… it’s a bit of a haze of choice.  I finally tried the Annie Sloan chalk paint which I purchased from French & Co, of North Carlton.

I wanted to use Chalk Paint because the finish is perfectly imperfect. Even with the most precise application, it will look a little bit loved, like an heirloom. If you want bright and shiny – then you’d go with 2pac or high gloss. The other reason is that it adheres to almost any substrate without painstaking preparation.

Here's how:

  1. Depending on the state of the piece, you might like to give it a light sand. Chalk paint will adhere to varnish and older paint, but if there is previous flaky paint it will get stuck into your brushwork. In this case I only lightly sanded the spots that had some raised areas. Brush off any dusty particles.

  2. Dismantle the item to the extent of any moving parts and removing handles and hinges. If the drawer interiors are in good condition, consider only painting the drawer faces. If not, don’t cake on too much paint as it will affect the movement of the drawer and possibly scrape off.

  3. Start painting in a nice linear motion. Keeping it in direction of the grain is best. Don’t worry if it looks thin, you can do a second coat if you wish. You might even like the original colour to shine through. Be sure to wait until areas are completely dry before you flip it and paint undersides. Resist the temptation to touch it up prior to it being dry!

  4. Assess whether you’d like a more opaque look and do a second coat, or leave it as is. You may be into the shabby chic look? If you’d like the original colour to be seen on edges, now is a good time to lightly sand the (newly applied) paint off on the corners.

  5. The next application is the Anne Sloan Clear Wax. This penetrates into the paint, gives it a nice satin shine and protects the finish. You can use a brush or lint free rag. I used a pair of nylon stockings.  My advice is to either do linear wax application or circular, not both. Work your way from one end of the piece you’re working on to the other.  Allow to dry completely for at least 24 hours before use.

Finishing touches:

  1. At this stage it is finished, but you can alter the appearance again by adding Annie Sloan Black Wax or White Wax, to darken or whitewash the look. Any Annie Sloan distributor will be able to show you sampling to this effect. I’ve decided to keep it clear at this stage – although I’m tempted to blacken it!

  2. As an option, you can re-line the drawers or interior to give more personality. I cut out some wallpaper segments (left overs) and used some adhesive spray to line the drawers.

  3. There are so many beautiful materials to be used for handles, but be sure to select something compatible.  I did look at lots of exciting new handles, but settled with some plain black shaker style knobs from Bunnings to tie in to other black décor.

It may sound like a lot of work, and sure, it depends on the piece. Start small is my advice, so you won’t feel the need to abandon the project half way.

You’ll soon get the feel of it, and tackle something larger! Take a look at this fabulous range of colours…

Discover Annie Sloan stockists here, and watch her informative videos of different effects!

Unlike any household cleaning I do (that immediately looks undone again), these drawers will now remain “Aubusson Blue” and form part of our home scene.

I am proud to say that not only do I enjoy looking at this labour of love (and styling it) but my husband recently admitted he hated the drive-by find until now! Oh, and if it was your nature strip – no, you cannot have it back.

Until next month,


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