This Chalk Paint Side Table Makeover taught me some important lessons about repainting furniture.
Have you ever been out shopping for furniture and you find something you really like but the color is all wrong? That’s what happened when I found this green gem and felt like I could totally pull off a Chalk Paint Side Table Makeover. I confidently convinced my hubs that I could take a perfectly fine (but green) $700 solid wood table (we paid $120 on sale) and make it fit in perfectly with our French Country decor with a little bit of chalk paint and wax.
I have never worked so hard to make something look worse in my life, lol! I take full responsibility for the outcome and for not researching products and techniques more thoroughly before starting. That being said, there are many, many great chalk paint and wax products out there that do an amazing job, so please don’t feel like you need to go drop a boatload of money on one particular brand as I did. The paint I used is probably one of the most famous out there, but honestly, I’d rather use the Marth Stewart brand from Plaid Crafts over it any day of the week.
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Chalk Paint Side Table Makeover Materials
- Chalk Paint in Linen (My Preferred Brand, Not What’s Pictured)
- Chalk Paint Wax in Clear
- Chalk Paint Brush
- Wax Brush
- Sandpaper or Hand Sander
- Knit Rags
Chalk Paint Side Table Makeover Steps
1: You really should sand your wood furniture piece before you start. I didn’t because all the videos I watched from the lady who made my chalk paint said it wasn’t necessary. Well, surprise, when you’re trying to completely change the color of a piece, and you plan to distress it afterward, the original color will, in fact, show through.
2: Wipe off all the sanded dust from the furniture completely. If you don’t, you will get textured and bumpy paint.
3: Use the chalk paintbrush to apply a coat of chalk paint to the entire table. I had to do mine in sections so they could dry before I turned it over. Really make sure the paint is dry before moving on or flipping it over.
4: Apply a second coat of paint if you need more coverage to cover the original color—I applied three. Let those coats dry completely, too.
5: Distress the table, lightly at first, in small sections with your sander or sandpaper. Wipe down the table to remove any dust left over from sanding. Do not wax before distressing.
(Here’s where things went off the rails for me. Both the paint and the wax cans say to apply a thin layer of wax to the paint before sanding or distressing it. That’s what the videos said too, but that was a huge mistake. When I went to distress the paint with my hand sander and sandpaper, the green was showing through way too much for my taste. So I wiped it down again and painted another couple of coats of paint to cover it up. But because I had applied a layer of wax, the paint no longer looked smooth, it looked very gloppy and thick. I should have stopped here and completely sanded the entire table down. I did not do that.)
6: Apply the wax generously to the entire painted table. If you need to flip it, allow the wax to dry for two days (according to the directions) before moving on so it can harden.
(Since the painting and waxing and distressing went so poorly for me, when I applied the second wave of wax, it was very bumpy, had bits of paint dust in it somehow, a hair from the paintbrush here and there, and looked terrible all around. But I waited the two days before moving on to the next step.)
7: The directions say to take a rag and just buff out the wax until it has the sheen you desire.
(You know, just rub the wax a little bit, no big deal. Well, that was a lie, lol! That wax was so hard y’all. My arms were so incredibly sore from trying to get that wax smooth. My hubs who couldn’t figure out why it was taking me so long to paint a little table offered to help (his mistake lol) and even he was worn out after a while. To this day there are parts of that table no one sees that aren’t completely buffed smooth. Shhh.)
Now I know some of you are looking at the pictures of this table and wondering what’s wrong with it and some of you may be chalk painting furniture gurus and see exactly what I’m talking about. Either way and despite how hard this was to complete, I would totally do another Chalk Paint Side Table Makeover, just with a different brand of paint and only after sanding the table first. I’ve chalk painted and waxed a few other items and never had the problems I did with this table. I will follow my own instincts next time for sure.
If you’d like to see a chalk paint project that turned out as expected, check out my Updated Thrift Store Candleholders.