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The first in a 2018 series, How-To Tuesday that incorporates both brand new and updated posts from the archives. Let’s begin with an updated and newly edited post that seems to be a topic of interest to many fellow furniture painters!
I’ve been asked quite a few times to write a post on How To Create a Smooth Finish with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The steps below will create a super smooth finish without brush strokes! It also creates a hard as nails topcoat. Here goes!
- Wipe piece clean. I typically take a paper towel and go over a piece to get rid of cobwebs, etc. I use a Mr. Clean sponge to get off any stuck on grime, glue or residue. I’m telling you, these sponges are miracle workers!
- Wood filler. If a piece is missing any veneer or is deeply scratched, apply wood filler and let dry. Sand off wood filler and repeat the process until surface is smooth.
- Mix your paint. If the Annie Sloan chalk paint has been sitting in your workroom for a long period, you may need to add a splash of water (about 2 tablespoons) into the paint and stir.
- Apply the paint. Annie Sloan uses her round brush to apply the paint in a more haphazard way to create texture and I do enjoy this technique and frankly, her chalk paint is perfect for those aged finishes. However for a smooth finish, I apply my paint using a Wooster short handled brush with slanted bristles. For the first coat, work it in back and forth or in different directions to cover but the final pass through needs to be in the same direction. With even strokes, go over the paint stroking in one direction.
- Apply the second coat and finish by stroking in the opposite direction from the first coat. It is very important to make sure your paint is not too thick when you apply your second coat. You may need to add a splash more water and stir the paint before applying to keep it thin.
- Sanding. Let dry and go over entire piece with 400 grit sandpaper before applying wax. I wrap my sandpaper around a sanding sponge and work it over the piece in a circular motion. It will first create scratch marks but don’t worry. Keep at it until the marks disappear. Note: You will find yourself and your work area covered in chalk paint dust after sanding. I recommend doing the sanding outside and wear a mask. I actually have a leaf blower that I use to blow off the dust. You can also wipe it off with a paper towel.
- Distress. While sanding, (if desired) distress your piece. You may need to use 150 grit to distress back in places.
- Wax. Using Annie Sloan clear wax, take either your wax brush (I highly recommend the Annie Sloan wax brush) or a clean old t-shirt or cloth and apply the wax. I apply it in a circular motion. Don’t goop it on – take your time and add section at a time. Dab your brush into the wax, apply and repeat. If applying dark wax, apply it now and wipe off excess using clear wax. Keep at it until desired effect.
- Buff Finish. After the wax has cured overnight, take a cloth (I use cheap Target washcloths that come in a pack for a few bucks) and rub it in a circular motion on the finish. If there are any tacky areas left on the pieces, buff these out. This will give the finish a super smooth sheen.
- Sand again. If you desire an even smoother finish, there is one more step. After the wax has cured, take 600 or higher grit sandpaper (nothing more abrasive than 600) or a very fine sanding sponge and go over piece in a circular motion. Wipe off the excess debris as you go. Yes, you can sand it after the wax has been applied! It makes the piece super smooth. And, there you have it! My step by step instructions on how to create a super smooth finish (without brush strokes) using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint! This technique will also give your pieces a hard as nails topcoat.