This past winter was long and cold, and as I anxiously waited for the days where I could work on my garden I couldn’t help but look around my house at things that needed to be changed, updated or replaced. We bought new appliances (I finally got a gas oven!) and my husband surprised me one weekend by painting my office. Changing or renovating anything beyond what we had already done just wasn’t in this year’s budget.
Then, one day during March Break, while my daughter was playing in the family room, I couldn’t help but stare at my fireplace mantle. Boring wood. I have a lot of “wood” in my house and wanted a change. I suddenly realized that I had the perfect paint sitting in the basement just waiting to be used.
I love repainting furniture and have refinished a few large pieces, but the fireplace mantle would be my first large focal point project. It would also be my first complete project using chalk paint.
When I asked my daughter if she wanted to help me repaint the mantle she jumped up and said, “okay, let’s do it!” And so we did. I opened my can of Annie Sloan’s Old Ochre chalk paint and started painting. That’s right – no sanding or refinishing. I just wiped off any dust from the mantle and started painting using one of Annie Sloan’s round paint brushes. My daughter helped me paint the first coat, but became bored after that. I applied the second coat myself (my daughter was an excellent supervisor, making sure I didn’t miss a spot).
Once both coats of paint were dry, I applied Annie’s Sloan’s Dark Wax. When I first applied it I thought I had made a terrible mistake. My husband was content with the mantle in the Old Ochre colour, and thought the project was complete once the paint dried. Nope. The dark wax gave it a very different look and not one that I was used to. I worked it into the natural lines of the wood with a brush and then a cloth until I liked the look of it. If a spot was darker than I wanted I just used Annie Sloan’s clear wax to reverse the effect.
The wax takes a long time to completely dry and the more wax you use, the longer it takes to dry, but 24 hours after applying the wax we were able to set up our TV and gently touch the mantle. The project took 3 and a bit days to complete. It took one day to apply two coats to the mantle (including the top of it), one day for the wax application, another day to let it settle and fix any “errors” and then a night to let everything dry.
I loved working with chalk paint because you really can’t make any mistakes with it. If you don’t like something you just “fix” it! My boring wood mantle now has a unique antique look and I love that it isn’t something you see everywhere. And now that it’s done, I am thinking my stair railings could use a coat of paint or two… but this time I may try using milk paint, another easy to apply and fun paint I keep hearing about.