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Creating a space to work and inspire – How to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint as a Wood Stain

As we continue to self-isolate amid the coronavirus pandemic, home schooling has become the new norm. This has presented some challenges to say the least, don’t get me wrong I love teaching painting techniques and craft projects but that’s not going get them a maths GCSE! All I can do is try to maintain a nice calm environment for learning, so having set their routine, even made packed lunches it soon became apparent their little old desks no longer seem accommodate all the books, tech, papers, experiments & robot building paraphernalia. 

Time for a little painting and DIY!  Mr C found some planks of pine and I set about making them look beautiful before he put them together. Nothing overly complicated, simple bench desks but using what we could find in the garage proved a little tricky without the usual dash to the DIY store for supplies, but needs must.  

I decided to stain the wood with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to make it a little less yellow! I tested a few colours – the lighter ones were lovely but just too subtle, we finally settled on Oxford Navy, bold colours are what we like! 

I diluted it with water and applied as a wash over the boards. Hey presto the blank canvas of the yellow pine popped into life. The stain penetrates into the fibres of the wood like a sponge absorbing water, it was so satisfying.

Here’s the finished result, a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Lacquer, a couple of pin legs and taadaa a desk! Seriously the whole project took a couple of hours on Saturday, left the lacquer to dry on Sunday & it’s in use today! A few finishing touches of some repurposed cork tiles to make a pinboard and old paint tins as pen pots and we’ve got the perfect space for study.

Just as well they can get on with their remote learning without any help from me, phew!

Here are my tips for using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint as a wood stain:

  1. Check the wood you are painting for any wax or varnish. If you do find it has been waxed or varnished, you can remove this by sanding it down with coarse sandpaper. What you want to do is get to the wood underneath so that the paint you apply can be absorbed and not sit on to the varnish on top.
  2. Dilute your choice of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and water to a ratio of approximately 50/50 in a bowl or paint tray. Tip: the more yellow the wood this will affect your end colour. 
  3. Load a large Chalk Paint Brush with your paint mix and start painting in the direction of the grain. 
  4. Wipe over the paint with a cloth while the paint is still wet. Keep going, wetting your cloth with water as you go. 
  5. Go over the surface one last time with a dry rag, taking off any remaining excess and drying the wood as you go.
  6. You will notice that the wood grain will rise, so once it is completely dry with a fine grade sanding pad lightly sand in the direction of the grain until smooth. 
  7. Finish with your choice of Soft Clear Chalk Paint Wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer