My Dining Table Part II: Painting the Table (aka Why Chalk Paint Powder is Overrated)

So, painting the table…I did A LOT of research before deciding to go with Webster’s Chalk Paint Powder.  I wanted to use some sort of chalk paint, but I wanted to be able to use it for multiple paint colors (for other projects) and I wanted to cut down on cost. (but,  I would still love to try Annie Sloan’s chalk paint some time!)  For those who don’t know, chalk paint is NOT the same as chalkboard paint.  (Although apparently if you don’t seal it, you can use chalk on it.)  It’s a paint that is meant to easily cover furniture without much prep.  It also wipes off easily before applying a sealant to create a distressed look.  I didn’t want a distressed look, but I did want to paint the table without much prep.  From Part I of the saga, you can see how intricate the legs of the table are and that the chairs have lots of slats; these would be a pain to have to sand completely and apparently chalk paint can be applied without all that prep.

I did have to sand out the spindle legs a bit because they had some damage.  I should have sanded them more than I did to get back the curvature, but it still worked well enough.

DiningTable-4    DiningTable-5

The chalk paint powder is meant to mix with any paint you buy (minus the high gloss variety) and turn it into a chalk paint.  I  ordered Webster’s powder and applied it to my Behr Interior semi-gloss (green energy).  I decided on semi-gloss because as a dining set, I wanted a bit of shine in the paint to keep it easy to wipe off.

The only prep I did on the chairs was to take the seat cushions off.  Easy-peasy, just turn the chairs upside-down and unscrew the screws holding the cushions in place.  I put all the screws into a plastic bag and labeled it with Sharpie so I wouldn’t forget what they went to.  (This is especially helpful for projects with more hardware.  You think you’ll remember what it goes to, but you won’t.)

I was now ready to paint; my plan being just to add the required amount of chalk paint to my quart and use a standard latex paintbrush.  As I started plowing through my quart of paint, I realized I was incredibly underwhelmed.  All the reviews said the paint with chalk powder goes further and covers in fewer coats.  After two coats on my chairs, I still had more coats to go and my quart was empty.  I went back and got a sample size of Green Energy paint+primer in flat (Behr’s samples are all flat paint).  I decided to try the flat paint without the paint powder and I was amazed.  The flat paint covered my chairs in one more coat; if I had stuck with my semi-gloss+paint powder, I’m sure it would have taken at least two more coats, thereby giving me four (4!) coats on my chairs.  Let me also remind you that two coats took up a quart of paint and my one sample size (8oz) jar of flat paint gave all my chairs a healthy coat with some leftover.

With my leftover paint, I began to do the table legs and got about a coat on.  So I had to buy another sample size, but the legs only needed two coats and I had paint to spare.  At about $4 a sample, I’m sure I could’ve spent $12 on paint had I not gotten the initial quart.  Lesson learned: no more chalk paint powder for me, just $4 sample sizes!  I’m pretty sure the success can be attributed to the sample sizes being a paint and primer in one and being flat paint.

The ladder-back chair slats definitely required extra attention because all the paint wanted to do was drip down the side but being aware of that helped me to do drip checks along the way.  Note: if you’re not detail-oriented, this might be tricky.  In fact, just don’t let anyone who’s not detail-oriented help you with this.  Not that I had to kick any well-meaning husbands off the project or anything….

  All six chairs:


The table legs:



You can see where I could’ve done more to smooth out the curvature of the damaged legs but I still think it turned out really well. With all the intricacies in the chairs and table, I was so happy I didn’t have to strip all the old stain off.  This was so much easier and once I figured out what I was doing, it went relatively quickly.

My final step was to seal the project up.  I used Minwax Polycrylic Projective Finish in a spray and applied two coats.  From what I read, it covers nicely, doesn’t yellow, and the spray is less drippy.  I was very pleased as how easily it went on and it shined the piece up a bit, which has helped it to wipe clean despite having used a flat paint.  Until I find a better way, this is how I’ll finish all pieces I buy from now on.  Seriously, with $4 paint samples and spray finishes, my projects are fast, easy, and inexpensive to complete.

The only thing left to do was reupholster the chairs!  So close!



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