Furniture Painting Tips Using Chalk Paint

A sad old cabinet gets a much needed make-over.
and a few tricks and lessons I learned along the way.

This little lovely came from a flea market.

It was cheap and it needed a lot of repairs, but it was 
just the size I needed.

I'm pretty sure I heard them snicker as I carted it away.

The doors didn't close, one leg was broken, it had no shelves or pegs to hold any shelves... it was a mess!

But I did see a little potential... and did I mention it was cheap?

Often times I consider this kind of job a learning experience... and this one sure was, I learned a lot from a few mistakes!

The original greenish color looked like it was an oil based paint and it had knot holes bleeding through all over it. 

I added shelves, fixed the leg, and shaved down the doors.

I gave the cabinet a coat of primer to seal the knot holes 
and help with any imperfections. (that was mistake #1)

Annie Sloan chalk paint typically does not need primer but this cabinet was in such bad shape I thought it couldn't hurt.

Next, I gave the cabinet 2 1/2 coats of Primer Red.  The first thing I learned from this project was that if I had used a tinted primer under the paint, I may have been able to get away with fewer coats of the costly chalk paint.

Secondly... going with a darker primer is good when distressing the edges. On this piece white came through when I sanded and I sure wasn't loving that!

Right about now I was on Facebook looking for help.

I did not love the color I chose and wasn't sure if using dark wax was the best option.

I was disappointed with the blotchy look I got from the red over the white primer but I was pretty sure dark wax 
might save this piece.

Thankfully all the FB suggestions about using dark wax was exactly the way to go.

The dark wax darkened the color and gave it depth.

I used more wax in places I wanted it to look worn 

like around the handles.

Here it is put to work in it's new home in my craft room.

It works perfect in the space and was worth all the trouble
of fixing it up. 

Heck, I learned a few things along the way!

Right after this I found another piece I painted to match. 
It holds ribbon right above this cabinet. Take a look HERE.

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I am Susan, the author and creator at Homeroad. I am a wife, mother of 4 daughters, and a grandmother of 5 and counting. I am a retired teacher, a DIY blogger and an artist at heart. .


  1. It turned out perfect!!!!!!! What a beautiful transformation!
    I've been using the Emperor's Silk on a few dressers and have found when you're going to use the dark wax 1 coat is fine ( without primer :)
    which saves a lot of money !!!

  2. I had the same thing happen to me when I used a red. I was like ahhhhhhhh, that's not the right color! Dark wax worked like a charm.

  3. It looks great! I hate the primer-coming-through-upon-sanding syndrome!

  4. it looks awesome, susan! i love the rustic red! and great tips!

  5. wow! what a great makeover! I got some primer red last year, and it was a little thin. I didn't like it at all. After a few months of it sitting on the shelf, I opened it again to use for that dreaded kitchen center that I'll never be done with. I liked it much better! I even bought a new can to finish off the project. It was good as usual. I think that can I got was just a bad can. (the rep suggested leaving it upside down, which I always do) that didn't work. It just wouldn't cover at all.
    Anyways--your cabinet is awesome. love the color and the wax!


  6. HI. New to your blog, but loving your ideas. I recently took an ASCP class from a stockist here in So Cal. She gave us a tip about painting furniture when you aren't sure what the original paint is and also if there are knots and such in the wood. She told us to paint it with a coat of shellac. It seals the wood and gives you a 'even' painting field so to speak. I haven't had to try it as yet, but I thought it was a good tip. Another tip about wax was if you use clear 1st before the dark, it does go as dark if you don't want it that way. Hope you can use that.



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