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Chalk Paint Fan Turns Pine Bedroom Set From Basic To Blooming Lovely For £60

November 10, 2020, 12:00 PM
  • Chris Townsend revamped her pine furniture with the help of free, online tutorials
  • Chalk paint devotee used a stencil in a peony design to add a point of interest, and shares her tips and tricks for getting a great result
  • Retiree, from Bristol, is “very happy” with the “fresh and pretty” makeover of her guest room

Pine furniture – we've all got some. But if you're not a fan of the warm hue of the wood, the good news is that it’s one of the easiest materials to paint.

Take inspiration from Chris Townsend, 69, a mum of two grown-up children and grandma to five, who is retired and lives in Bristol. She painted her basic pine furniture bedroom set in her guest room an English country garden style shade of green complete with a pretty peony design. What’s more, she spent just £60 on the new look.

“I saw this peony stencil design some time ago on a Facebook page I follow. It’s a really popular design and I bought it for £14,” she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

Chris chose Autentico Vintage Pitch Green chalk paint to complement the hues and style of the curtains and bedding she already had. One tin, costing £22.95 (for 1-litre), was all it took.

The peony design was added using a small amount of Annie Sloan Old White from a tester pot she already had. A £13.95, 500ml tin of clear wax to seal her handiwork was the final piece of the puzzle.

“It took me about a week to complete the job – mainly due to the size of the wardrobe, but also because I like to work in stages, rather than continuously,” she says. “For instance, I tackled the chest of drawers, headboard and mirror as one stage, left them overnight and came back in the morning to work on them again. After that, I moved on to the next item. This also allowed the paint to dry thoroughly between coats and made the project seem less overwhelming.

"There was still some paint leftover once I'd finished,” she says. I used around three quarters of a tin, so it’s not bad value, and I can use the stencil again and again.”

Some finishing touches helped to complete the look.

“I changed the knobs to faceted glass style ones, which I picked up at my local TK Maxx, but a similar set at Dunelm will set you back around £8 for four,” says Chris. “I also painted the table lamp with the Old White and upcycled the shade with leftover curtain material.”

The result is an entirely new look that brings a sense of femininity to the room.

“I am very happy with the result – it has transformed the old orange pine into something fresh and pretty,” she says.

If you’re eager to give furniture painting and stencilling a go, Chris outlines the steps you need to take to achieve a similar result…

Do the prep work. “First, thoroughly clean the piece. Lightly sand it down if it’s very shiny, although Annie Sloan says this isn’t necessary, I always do it anyway – ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ as the saying goes! If you use something like washing-up liquid to clean your piece then be sure to rinse it off and allow the piece to dry.”

Choose your brush. “For this project I used a regular Harris paintbrush with synthetic bristles for a smoother, more modern finish. I do also have a special natural bristle brush that I use when I’m seeking a textured finish.”

Build up the colour. “Expect to apply at least two coats of paint to achieve an even coverage.”

Add the detail. “I have found that adding a coat of wax before applying the stencil design makes any mistakes easier to correct. I always use low tack Frogtape to hold the stencil in place. Plus, it's good in that it won’t strip off any paint underneath. Use a very small amount of paint and offload any excess onto a piece of kitchen paper before applying it to the stencil. This way the brush won't be overloaded, so there’s less of a chance that any paint will seep under the stencil.”

Seal it. “Once finished, all chalk paint projects need to be sealed with wax or a lacquer or varnish. For this project, I applied clear wax with a small sponge and then buffed it with a rag.”

If, like Chris, you're hoping to dip a toe into the world of furniture painting, it pays to do your research.

“I love browsing Instagram and Facebook so I am constantly researching new ideas without really realising it,” she says. “I just soak up the information. But I have also been to a few classes, including one with Annie Sloan herself many years ago.

“The paint is quite expensive, but it does go far,” she adds. “If you're working on a small chest of drawers you will need approximately half a tin of paint.”

Bear in mind that patience is a virtue when it comes to painting large furniture sets.

“A small bedside cabinet would take me about three days, but that's because I prefer to do it a stage at a time, such as preparing the piece, applying the first coat and leaving it overnight. I'd then do the second coat the next day,” Chris explains.

Starting small before aiming big will help to build your confidence.

“I have always liked upcycling things for my home, mainly due to necessity, but since discovering chalk paint I’ve found the process even more rewarding and satisfying,” says Chris. “I will literally paint anything, from picture frames to wooden bowls, boxes, table lamps, flower pots and vases – they're all potential subjects for a bit of paint.

“There’s also something so lovely about a piece that has a bit of history and has had a previous life. Although I wouldn't describe myself as ‘artistic’ – I can’t draw, for instance – stencilling, in particular, gives me a creative outlet.

“My advice to anyone, especially during the winter lockdown, is to have a go, as it’s only a bit of paint,” she adds. “Start with something small such as a tray or picture frame, get a tester pot of paint, have a look online at some Annie Sloan videos or other online tutorials, as there are lots of free ones out there. If you're on Facebook, join one of the many painting groups. I have always found the people there to be kind and helpful if you have any questions.”

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk comments: “The chalk paint movement has given us reams of fantastic ideas for updating old or pre-loved furniture on a budget.

"It can take some practise, but with the great range of stencils on the market, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating a design you love.

"It's a fun project to tackle. Plus, it can save you hundreds compared to investing in a brand new set of furniture."

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