Have you ever been at a second-hand store and found an item you really like, but the color just won’t work in your house? I found myself with this dilemma about a week ago when we were out looking for a table for my new sewing machine. (More on the machine in a later post.) Our local Restore, a place that resells furniture and the profit goes back in to Habitat for Humanity, had a huge donation of solid wood desk, chairs, beds and dressers from a college. They were remodeling a dorm, and all of the previously used, but still in great condition, furniture had to go. After much soul-searching, and on-site searching, I found the desk I wanted. I originally didn’t want to buy it because oak just isn’t my thing. We’re slowly trying to eliminate all of the less modern looking items out of our house, and I just felt this didn’t “fit”.
Twenty minutes later, and with much convincing, we paid for the desk and set upon figuring out how to transport it back to our home. Have I mentioned that we don’t have a truck…yet…so the desk needed to fit into our Altima. Ten minutes later, some cussing, grumbling and thrusting later, somehow, we fit the desk through the back doors and into the back seat. I still don’t know how it fit, and especially after trying to get it out of the car, I don’t know how it was done. We actually had to unhinge one of the back doors to get the desk back out. For a brief fleeting moment, I was certain that we were going to have to drive around forever with a wooden desk in the back of the car.
Lesson learned, buy smaller things, or just get a gosh-darn truck already!
So now the desk is home, and it doesn’t match, and in bright sunlight, we’re seeing the dings and scratches that we didn’t see in the store. Sure, we could sand it and re-stain it something darker, but that wouldn’t completely cover the wood laminate on the top of the desk. For a while now I’ve wanted to try the fancy (read super expensive) chalk paint that is en-vogue with interior decorators at the moment. I’ve seen some really great projects completed with the paint, but again, it’s a limited range of colors, and it just doesn’t match my aesthetic.
We went to the local Home Repair store to see if they carried their own brand of chalk paint, hoping that they would have a better selection at a cheaper price. Unfortunately they could only point me to a small section of paint that was chalkboard paint, not chalk paint. Not to be foiled, I searched online, looking for local retailers that sell the paint. Instead, though, I found an awesome DIY recipe to make your own paint.
You’ve probably been thinking, “What is chalk paint, and why is this kid so hooked on using it?” Chalk paint is a “new” way of updating furniture or other wood items. You don’t have to sand or strip the piece first, just apply paint and go. Usually with two to three coats, the piece is completely coated. It’s way faster than the old refinishing methods, and allows for a wide range of colors.
The recipe I found was actually on a Lowe’s website. It’s very simple, 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris, 1/3 cup cold water, 1 cup latex paint. Mix the plaster of Paris with the water until completely mixed. Add in paint and stir. Apply with brush or high-density roller. When mixing this, I found that using slightly more than 1/3 cup of the Plaster of Paris worked better, making for a slightly thicker medium when painting.
I went with a more neutral color for this desk, as I want the fabric to be the star of the room. I chose a Glidden color, Swan White (), which is a softer white with a slight grey undertone. The Plaster of Paris is naturally white, so it didn’t mute the color in any way. The quart of paint that I purchased is enough to make the recipe a total of 6 times. more than enough for this small project.
If you’d like to see how the project finished up, click here. Needless to day, I’ve been very happy with it, and learned a lot in the process.