I love shopping at thrift stores. I usually like to customize the things in my home, so most of the time buying something brand new just doesn’t make as much sense as buying it second-hand. Another great thing about thrift shopping is the hunt – you never know what you’ll find!
Take this little shelf, for example. I found this shelf at Goodwill for 79 cents. It wasn’t exactly the look I was going for, but with a little bit of paint it became something completely different! I could have bought a shelf new that looked exactly how I wanted it to out of the box… But it would have cost way more, and wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun to do.
I like a good fixer-upper.
Upcycling this shelf was really easy, thanks to chalk paint. Have you tried using chalk paint yet? I was a little intimidated at first because there are so many instructions out there for the proper way to use chalk paint. Then there are all of the different wax finishes, the special brushes, the sanding…
But I’m so glad I finally tried it out because this stuff is the best, easiest paint to work with! Since this was a small project and I wanted it to have a distressed look in the end, all I had to do before applying the first coat of paint was lightly wipe the shelf down to get rid of any dust.
I used a foam brush for this project – I use foam brushes for most painting projects if I can get away with it because (1) they’re really cheap, and (2) they’re easy to clean. There are special brushes you can buy to use with chalk paint, but I thought for a small project it wasn’t really worth it. If I ever do a large furniture project, I’ll spring for the special brushes.
Here’s how it looked after one coat:
The paint stuck to the surface really well considering I didn’t do any sanding at all before painting. And even better – it dried incredibly fast! If you’re an impatient crafter like me, you know how amazing fast-drying paint is. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve ruined by checking paint or glue too soon.
But not this one! Here it is after the second coat:
(I was really excited to start distressing my shelf at this point, so I moved it outside in hopes that it would dry even faster.)
Now comes the best of working with chalk paint – distressing. The instructions recommend waxing first, but I just went straight to the sanding. Use some sandpaper to lightly distress the paint. I recommend stopping just before you think it’s enough, because when you buff the wax on it will distress a little further.
I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for this project, so the wax I used was Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax. I had never used wax like this before, but it was so easy! All you do is use a clean cotton rag to buff the wax onto the surface in circular motions. Make sure you use a very small amount of wax, and cover your project a little at a time. You don’t want to get overambitious and cake the wax on – just add a very light coating. The purpose of the wax is to “set” the paint – over time, the wax will cure and harden, protecting your beautiful paint job.
The finished product after sanding and applying the wax:
Not bad for 79 cents! I will definitely be using chalk paint again – the coverage was great with just two quick-drying coats, and the texture of the paint makes it super easy to distress and get an aged look. This was a small, quick and easy paint project, but I can’t wait to try it out on something bigger!