chalk paint,  design + style,  house reno,  Valspar chalky finish

Rock Chalk

(I have zero affiliation with the state of Kansas or their basketball team, so I apologize if that title gives offense. But it was irresistible.)

Earlier this month, fed up with the 4.3 million to do items that it turns out are actually too hard for me to accomplish on my own (y u give me inflated sense of my home improvement abilities, HGTV?), I decided that if nothing else, I could paint.

But not, you know, walls. It turns out those are really, frustratingly hard to paint. To date I’ve done 3 bathrooms, most of the kitchen, the dining room and living room, and I’m done. I don’t care what color anything is any more, not if it involves me buying yet another pack of roller refills and spending 3 hours making lackluster progress.

But furniture, now that’s another story.

So I wandered into Lowe’s to pick up some of that fabled chalk paint that everyone has been talking about for 4 years or so, and after dropping more than $70 after the helpful guy at the paint desk convinced me I could “easily and much more cheaply make my own!” I returned to my senses and then returned to the store, sheepishly, to return the ridiculous amount of ingredients he’d talked me into and instead opted to just buy one measly quart of Valspar “chalky finish” in woolen mittens. And it was $33. Which is horrifyingly expensive for a quart of paint. Let’s just acknowledge that. Plus, I purchased the finishing wax for another $15. So, this is a project with a little upfront investment. But! But. Here is the biggest but of them all: the stuff is never-ending.

It has almost magical stretching abilities, and I can hardly believe how many pieces of furniture have been coated, to date. They all look incredible, as I will soon demonstrate for you using my lackluster cell phone photography skills. I mentioned on Facebook earlier today that of that original can I still have maybe 15% remaining. And that is enough to do at least one more medium piece of furniture, which I will hastily slop paint onto as soon as I’m done tapping this out and before the two younger kids wake up from their naps. Because no priming. Zero. And no sanding. It’s a harried mommy miracle.

chalk paint

Also, it’s low VOC (I would say no VOC, because it has no discernible odor) which was key, because I did not want to move heavy pieces of furniture back up from the very unventilated basement to accomplish this feat. (Not a sponsored post, I just love this stuff.)

The breakdown for time invested was probably around 6 hours, all told, for painting, waxing, and touching up. And in that amount of time I was able to refinish a china buffet, a twin bed frame from IKEA, a piano bench, an antique chair with attached half desk, 2 children’s chairs, and a small bookshelf.

Our little homeschool nook in the basement looks adorable. Which is important since I’m not homeschooling, you know?

And Evie’s big girl bed which she will not sleep peacefully in under pain of death is completely charming, too. Which is nice, seeing as she is so repulsed by it, and the crib was donated nigh 3 weeks ago now. Typical.

I also plan to turn this buffet my mother in law passed down to me (she’s fine that I painted it) into a media stand for all the TV we don’t actually watch, except during football games, so basically it was really essential that I focus on all these Very Important Projects to make the house feel pulled together.

Girls can be weird.

I swear that I am sleeping more deeply and more contentedly with a few more “settled” spaces in this home of ours, though. And it feels great to check some things off the ‘ol to do list, even if I had to scan all the way down to the 79th position on the list, in terms of importance, because it turns out hanging drywall, installing baseboard, and resealing caulk lines in the shower are not my forte.

Anyway, want to see how some of it turned out? Okay, good.

bench desk library




 bed 2

You see now why I am clearly meant to be transitioning to a lifestyle blog in 2017, no?

The only thing I did more than one coat with was that large buffet piece, because I cared more about how it turned out. Oh, I guess I did multiple coats on the twin bed frame too, now that I think about it. Because it was raw natural wood from IKEA so it was much “thirstier” than some of the other stuff I was painting. But this stuff really worked so well for me. There were brush marks when wet that just sort of faded away as it cured, and it required zero sanding, which I think we can all agree is just the worst. It’s the worst. Plus, I never wear a mask and then I feel very anxious about mesothelioma or whatever inhaling particulate matter can give you. For about a day. And then I go back to worrying about whether my kids are wearing enough sunscreen, eating toxic produce because I can’t remember which ones are the dirtiest of the dozen, or being adequately spiritually formed because their mother is chalk painting thrift store furniture instead of catechizing them.

The 21st century is a real hoot for anxious mothering.

But where was I? Oh yes, here are my next 2 victims, provided that Mary Poppin’s-esque can of paint doesn’t run out on me: bednext bench

Nap time sirens are wailing, so it may be a longer wait than I’d hoped, if the noises I’m hearing from upstairs are any indication.

Though last week I did paint “with” Luke, which went about how you’re imagining it might have. Still, stuff’s nontoxic and it was a memory making moment.


If you’re intrigued about details like these, I used this paint in “Woolen Stockings” and these brushes (chip brushes, the cheaper the better!) and I used cheesecloth to apply the wax, which is still somewhat present on my hands 5 days later, so, minor regretsies about not buying the actual wax brush there.


    • Jean

      I was wondering the same thing given she was talking about wanting a calico kitty a while back. Maybe it’s just one of those retro cat pajama bags?

      • Jenny Uebbing

        Yes! That’s Pia. She’s our darling little 8 week old kitten. And she has survived our crew for 2 weeks so far, so it seems like it’s going to work out, haha. 🙂

        • Jean

          Aha! Well congratulations on adding a kitten to your family. It will be fun to watch her grow. Nice paint jobs, too. Always great to re-purpose furniture.

  • jeanette

    “…it turns out hanging drywall, installing baseboard, and resealing caulk lines in the shower are not my forte.”

    Our first home we bought when we married was stripped down to the frame by my husband, so we spent lots of time together hanging new drywall, such a romantic way to spend one’s newlywed days together….ha!

    Although I’m with you…not my thing to install baseboards or reseal caulk in the shower…that’s his category. But he did teach me lots of other useful things. Like you, I did lots of painting, too.

    You sound like you are having fun making your house a home. Good for you!

  • Ashley

    You had me at low/no VOC! My kitchen table has been in need of a redo for…years, hah….maybe I can knock it out with some crazy nesting energy these next few weeks. Thanks for the tip!

  • Cami

    I’ll be painting raw wood for Emily’s big girl (IKEA) bed too. Good to know I can paint with this indoors. I planned to use chalk paint and already have the wax from an older project. Thanks for the thumbs up on the paint you used. Now I don’t have to spend hours reading reviews on paint performance since we have no money to waste or experiment with.

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