As I mentioned in a recent post, we’ll be moving to a new home in August, and I have been doing my best to sort through all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve been donating, recycling and trashing stuff for weeks! It feels great!
The boys have always shared a room (with almost no complaint), but our new home will allow each of them to have their own room. Simon is really looking forward to personalizing his space, but Elliot is “letting” me help with his design. Because they’ve been sharing we are a little short on furniture, so I’ve salvaged our old and forgotten, (read: buried under a mountain of junk) play table and decided to repurpose it…
Step 1: Choose A Design!
Choosing a table top design was a no brainer! It’s no secret I’m an anglophile! A lover of Cadbury, Mini Cooper, English Breakfast Tea, Penhaligons, rainy days & wellies, and of course the Union Jack. It doesn’t hurt that my favorite color is red with blue coming in a close second! Lucky for me Elliot agrees!
Step 2: Gather Your Supplies!
The Union Jack is a somewhat complicated design with multiple colors, so I chose to use chalk paint, which is versatile, requires almost no prep, and dries very quickly. I found a great drawing of the flag online which helped ensure that my flag would be “flying” correctly!
Supplies: Blue Dawn, chalk paint, chalk paint brushes, lintless shop towels, microfiber cloths or an old t-shirt, blue painters tape, paint stir sticks, razor blades, drop cloth, ruler, scissors, clear wax or polyurethane (your choice), kraft paper.
Elliot already has quite a bit of blue furniture, so I used Napoleonic Blue, Emperor Silk Red, and Pure White for the flag and painted the legs and underskirt Aged Grey.
Step 3: Choose & Prepare your work area
Cover your work area and set up all your supplies. I chose my front porch for this project and not only did I have to contend with rain, wind and sun, but the bugs and dust were also quite troublesome. Chalk paint has little to no odor, so if you have the space you might consider painting your project indoors. I found that the paint works best if it’s not too hot or cold.
Step 4: Let’s Get To Work!
Before you start painting it’s a good idea to give your table a quick wash with Blue Dawn and then rinse with water. Now you’re ready! I was so excited to get started on my design I chose to paint the flag first!
I taped off and painted one color at a time, the downside was that this created a few extra steps when it came to taping, but the upside was that I had been undecided about the color of the legs and underskirt, this gave me time to think about it. I applied three coats of paint with 30 minutes drying time between each layer and then left it to completely dry overnight. I repeated this process again for the white and the red.
Once the flag was complete it was covered with a protective layer of paper and the legs and skirt were painted with two coats of light grey.
Depending on the look you’re going for there are different brush options. A round brush will give you less control over your brush strokes and if you’re going for a more aged look this might be the one for you. I wanted a very uniform brush stroke and used a flat brush to achieve this look. Chalk paint is quite thick, but I found that first dipping my brush into water and then into the paint made it much easier to spread.
Don’t worry if the first coat of paint looks a bit streaky, it won’t look like that after your second coat and by the time my third coat dried the finish was smooth and even.
Now that I’d finished painting it was time to remove the blue tape. It looked great! I used a small flat brush to touch up a few spots and again let them dry overnight.
Step 5: The finishing touch!
Your last step once you’ve finished painting is to apply a sealant. Initially I planned on using a wax sealer, but thankfully I decided to test the waxing technique on a little chair first. I discovered that the waxing technique is harder than it sounds and in order to achieve the finish I was after I needed just the right air temperature, amount of wax and applied pressure. Not to mention practice!
I was worried my inexperience with waxing would destroy the design I had worked so hard to create. Not only that, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to put that much muscle into three more chairs and a table. Tim mentioned that spraying the table with polyurethane would be my best option, and after quite a bit of research I decided he was right! This would not only seal the paint, but also provide a more forgiving surface. It is a play table after all!
Tim was kind enough to assist me with this final step as he has some experience using this material and I was happy to accept! We picked an open area in the yard, away from the driveway or anything else that might catch some of the overspray. Before getting started we used a microfiber cloth to wipe away any dust and then applied the first coat of sealant. In total we applied three coats of sealant allowing two hours set time in between each coat.
Stay tuned for part two of this post, the chairs…