Frequently Asked Questions
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Frequently Asked Questions
My furniture has been varnished and is really shiny, can I really use Chalk Paint without stripping the varnish off first?
Yes, you can! Chalk Paint™ was designed to be very easy to use and sticks to almost ANY surface including wood, laminate, concrete, walls, just about anything!
What about the price, is it really worth it?
Chalk Paint™ from La Deuxième Chance costs 27€ for a litre tin. You are able to paint with it without having to buy any paint stripper, primer, or sanding down. And that saves an awful lot of time and money! Chalk Paint covers more and uses less than traditional paints. Chalk Paint dries very quickly, allowing you to finish your project and move on with your life!
Why do I need to apply wax?
Adding a layer of wax to the paint protects your furniture. If you use Chalk Paint on it’s own it dries to a matt chalky finish. Over a period of time it can actually absorb things (oils from your skin, stains from coffee cups, etc) and can stain the paint. The wax finish is what seals and protects your work.
I have never needed to use wax before, how do I use it?
If you are new to waxes, it does take a little bit of getting used to, but it is really easy. The most common mistake people make is to use too much wax. Brush or wipe your clear wax on, working it into the paint. The paint will absorb the wax, similar to rubbing lotion into your skin. Then go back and wipe off the excess (Do not be tempted to skip this step). This is done immediately after working the wax into the paint. Wax on, wipe off. Then you can accent in areas with dark wax if you want to, wiping off as you go. Work in small sections on your piece, putting the wax on and wiping the excess off.Leave for as long as possible for the wax to harden before buffing.Overnight is ideal.
Why do I need to wax it before I sand?
There are a couple of reasons we recommend to wax first. One, it actually gives you a lot more control when you are sanding, it allows you to expose layers of paint or wood underneath gradually. This is how you recreate that natural look of furniture that has been painted layer by layer over the years. Another reason is that the paint is, well, chalky. It is very messy and dusty to sand chalk! By waxing it first, you really cut down on the dust. Another reason to use clear wax first is that it will protect your paint from the dark wax. The dark wax will actually stain the paint colour.
Why do you need to use clear wax first if I want a distressed aged look shouldn’t I just use the dark wax?
The reason you clear wax first is that it will protect the colour of the paint. The dark wax will permanently stain the paint if the barrier of clear wax is not there. When you apply clear wax first, then dark wax, you can control how much dark wax is applied and where it goes.A little dark wax goes a long way. If you just use dark wax first, where you apply it is exactly where it goes. That is it, and that is where it stays, darkened paint and all.
I’ve applied too much dark wax!
Providing you have applied your clear wax first (see above), then the dark wax, you can actually use more clear wax to remove the dark wax. If you did not use clear wax first, or the dark wax has dried completely and cured, don’t panic! You have a little more work to do, but all is not lost. One of the best things about chalk paint is that you can simply paint right over the wax and start again.
My wax is still tacky and hasn’t dried…
A common mistake is to apply too much wax and not wiping off the excess. Apply wax with a brush or rag, and wipe off the excess! It is better to take too much off then to leave too much on.The end result should not feel sticky or tacky.
How do I get a smooth finish? I see brush strokes when I paint.
Seeing brush strokes is one of the properties and charms of the paint, makes for more authentic aged look. If, however, you desire a super smooth finish, use a sponge roller to apply the paint. If that is not smooth enough, gently sand the surface prior to waxing with a fine grit sanding block.
What if I don’t want brush marks in the paint?
Some brush strokes showing in the finish are part of the “look.” A smooth look is more appropriate for a retro or contemporary look rather than a vintage look. A totally smooth finish is best achieved by diluting the paint a little and applying it with a flat ended brush in a virtually horizontal manner.
Is there only one way to use the paint?
Actually no; you can add water when needed for a smoother application, or alternatively you can allow the paint to thicken for more texture. If diluted more or rubbed with a damp sponge when dry, it can be applied as a coloured stain.
My piece looks contrived.Where did I go wrong?
Best advice here is don’t over distress the piece. Many finishes are best when just a little bit of paint is evenly rubbed away.Remember distressing should not be an arduous chore.
I don’t seem to have got the colours right. What should I do?
Try to avoid layering primary colours. Remember the colour wheel; opposites attract as long as they are muted. You can easily soften a colour with the addition of Old White.
How should I look after my furniture?
A piece of furniture finished with Chalk Paint and then waxed will stand up to “normal wear and tear.” Our advise is to treat your furniture as you would a fine antique. Allow the finish to cure. Avoid excessive water and scratchy objects. Use coasters under water glasses and place mats on dining tables. Clean with a soft cloth and avoid all liquid furniture polishes.
When I opened the tin I can See fluids on top of the paint
“Product separation” is typical for all paint products.Do not pour off the fluids on top; simply stir to mix the fluids back in. Turn the can over a couple of hours before using (the good stuff does settle on the bottom), and then shake it by hand to mix.
Help! I accidentally left the lid off the can of paint.
A skin can form on the top of the paint when it is exposed to air for a long period of time. If this does happen – the skin can be mixed back into the paint and the thickened paint can be thinned with a small amount of water, if necessary. If you are preparing Chalk Paint for an impasto technique, it is best to pour out the paint to be thickened into a separate container. You may want to stir it occasionally while thickening to prevent a skin from forming.
The paint has discoloured
Sometimes when painting a stained piece of furniture a discolouration in the new paint layer can occur. There may be times when a yellow or pink stain will bleed through the paint, particularly when using a lighter colour. This is known as “bleed through.” There are a couple of reasons this happens: The piece of furniture was previously stained with a bleeding stain (typically found on pieces from the 1930s and 1940s), or you are painting over an open grain wood where its tannin's are stored in the wood grain (oak is notorious for this). Apply one or two coats of clear shellac or clear knotting solution (Rustin and International are two good brands) using a cloth to block the staining effect. If you have already applied a coat of Chalk Paint, there is no need to remove the layer of paint, the shellac can be applied directly on top.
Is the paint safe for use on cots etc.
Yes, the paint itself is safe to use on furniture destined for baby and child use. However the wax should be applied and then left for several days to completely cure allowing all the spirit to evaporate before use. Expectant mothers should not apply the wax themselves but find someone else to help.
The paint is not sticking.
Not knowing exactly what has been used on a piece of furniture previously can be a problem sometimes.Clean the surface well and, if necessary, apply one or two coats of clear shellac by cloth or brush if you experience bleed through. Although prep work is not usually necessary sometimes a little more care is demanded.
• Remove any old greasy, waxy or oily residues with a soft cloth moistened with white spirit.
• Clean surfaces or parts that will be painted with soap and water (Use a Scotch Brite pad to lightly scrub the surface.) A soft brush can be used to work into open grain and intricate carvings. Avoid saturating the surface
• Rinse with a clean rag and warm water and let the piece dry completely
A good tip is test the paint first in an inconspicuous area to make sure of its bonding capabilities and also to ensure that the piece was not previously stained with a colour bleeding stain. If the test patch shows any of the underlying stain colour bleeding through, it will be necessary to first apply one or two coats of shellac (see above).
How long can I keep a tin of Chalk Paint?
We recommend that Chalk Paint™ is used within a year of first opening the tin.
All paints have a shelf life and Annie Sloan paints are no exception to this rule. While we know that Chalk Paint™ and Wall Paint can potentially last for several years when stored carefully, once the paint leaves the shop we have no idea how or where it will be stored. We therefore recommend using the paint within one year of purchase.
Shelf life can be reduced when stored in extremes of temperature or where temperatures fluctuate. Likewise, once a tin has been opened, the shelf life can be shortened considerably. Air in the opened tin can eventually lead to rusting, regardless of storage temperature. Reduce potential contamination of the paint by decanting before you add water, rather than adding water to the paint in the tin.
In most cases there will be no problem working with 'old' paint. If it’s thick, add water and stir well and away you go.
I have applied too much Annie Sloan Soft Wax
This is quite a common problem.Other common complaints are that the wax remains tacky or sticky, it shows fingerprints, or it looks streaky.
The solution is simple really – Use the wax sparingly! Always apply the Soft Wax in thin layers. The wax needs to be “spread and massaged” into the underlying paint using a cloth or brush so that it absorbs into the paint (just like hand cream!). Very importantly always remember to remove any and all excess wax. It is important to work in small sections at a time and to change to a clean rag frequently as an old one can become clogged with wax and become ineffective.
As a last resort it is possible to remove the excess wax by wiping over the surface with a cloth dampened with low odour white spirit. You will then need to reapply a thin coat of wax.
Have I applied enough wax?
It is necessary to apply enough wax to completely cover the surface. Skipped parts can result in an uneven or patchy look. When in doubt apply a second coat of wax, particularly in areas where some wax has been removed during the sanding process.
There is no sheen on my furniture.
Apply thin layers of wax – the classic rule of thumb is the thinner the coat of wax the more sheen in the finish. Personally I recommend allowing the wax to dry overnight before buffing.
I applied dark wax and result is a dark streaky or patchy look.
The Dark Soft Wax contains pigments that will “stain” the paint, making the colour difficult to remove.In almost all cases it is best to apply a layer of clear wax first. Failure to remove all of the excess dark wax after application can also result in a dark streaky or patch look. Remember – you can always use a small amount of clear wax as a “magic eraser.” Another suggestion is mixing dark wax and clear wax together for a lighter colour, or thin the dark wax with a small amount of low-odour white spirit for a thinner application.
When I opened my Annie Sloan Crackle Varnish (Step 2) it is too thick.
Place the container in a bowl of very hot water to warm it and make it more workable.Another trick is to moisten your brush with water, wipe it off and then proceed – a little water will help the Step 2 product to spread more easily.
A small amount of crackle varnish has peeled off.
The Crackle Varnish product is sensitive to heat and moisture and if the surface it has been applied to has any moisture in it or comes in contact with extreme heat it is likely that it will continue to crack and possibly lift. A room that gets steamy, such as a bathroom, is not the best choice for a Crackle Varnish finish.
The cracks haven’t appeared.
This usually happens when the top coat is allowed to dry before the heat is applied to force the cracking. Remember heat (a hair dryer is great) must be applied immediately after applying step 2 in order for the cracks to form.
CHILDREN'S ROOMS AND TOY SAFETY
Both Chalk Paint™ and Wall Paint are non-toxic and perfectly safe for children's furniture and walls. Further to this, samples of Chalk Paint™, Wall Paint and Chalk Paint™ Wax have been independently tested and certified as Toy Safe according to strict European regulations (BS EN 71-3:2013). We advise that for things that children might put in their mouths, the wax should be allowed to cure for 5 - 21 days to ensure that it has hardened completely.
For more information and inspiration concerning Chalk Paint and related products please see our blog.
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