Sunday, 19 March 2017

Faux Barn Wood Look - Part 1

I've always loved fixing and refinishing furniture, but when I discovered chalk paint I thought I had died and gone to heaven. No sanding or stripping required and so versatile, that what's possible is limitless. At the time I took a class on how to use chalk paint, but it is so easy, it really wasn't necessary.

When I moved into my condo it was an assault on the senses with dark blue walls in the bathroom, sage everywhere else, maple floors, cherry trim and port wine vanity and kitchen cabinets. Ouch! I've suffered with all that for two years gradually attacking a bit at a time.

First the bathroom walls went pale grey, the expresso mirror to platinum and the vanity distressed beigey/grey to attempt to make the camel and sage tiles look more congruent. I've heard that people worry about chalk paint being fragile, but my multi coloured vanity still looks perfect after a year of hard use, so I think it's fine. it's probably a good idea to use satin varnish rather than wax, but not necessary.

So now it's the turn of the kitchen cabinets. Last year I painted the walls pale grey throughout the condo. I wanted something pale to maximize reflected light and I dislike beige and magnolia, so pale grey was the best option. A gallery manager told me once that studies proved that grey was the best color for a gallery, so thats good enough for me.

I selected a slightly darker grey for the kitchen cabinets, but learning from my variegated vanity, I have since decided to variegate the kitchen cabinets so they are more forgiving of any spills. I bravely decided to try a barn wood finish, which has become very popular in our parts. This is how I did it.

I washed the cabinets with soapy water to get rid of grease etc. I filled some holes where unwanted handles had been and removed the doors and hinges to make everything easy to paint. I decided to start on the frame which is mainly hidden by doors, so less likely to show mistakes.

Stage I
I mixed a nice light grey, combining 16 FL oz Simply White Chalk by Art Minds from Michaels and four tablespoons Anchor Grey Cottage Paint. Any bright white and deep grey will do as long as it is chalk type paint. I mixed them really well in an old paint can.

Chalk paint is very thick and shows brush strokes unless you water it down, but that's the effect I wanted. It also sticks to everything like glue, so it is essential to cover everything with plastic and I wear thin surgical type gloves. (Learned this the hard way). I use cheap  1 1/2"  dollar store brushes
that can be tossed when done, and these were perfect to leave lines as well. I made sure each brush
stroke was vertical just like planks on a door. The only sideways strokes were on top and bottom

You can do a second layer in an hour or so, but it's best to leave overnight. Sand between layers if  you want it smooth, but I wanted the rough look. I planned on two layers of the first coat, but I liked the effect of the old port wine paint showing in places, so in the end I only did one.

1. Brush around edges and in corners to remove all drips and splodges because they get rock hard and difficult to remove.
2. When getting into corners use brush at a 45 degree angle and pounce it till the underpaint is covered. It's best to cover inside corners well or the job starts to look shoddy.

3. Chalk paint dries quickly, so it's best to work fast. 
4. Do some test runs on scrap wood first to try colors and brush strokes.
5. Two thin coats are better than one thick gloopy coat of paint.

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