Thank you so much for all the love on my most recent post, a new series of Room Redesigns working with other bloggers to rethink their spaces. I broke my view record and am well on my way to accomplishing a few of my goals. I’m back today with a new post all about a question I’ve had for years: Can I use chalk paint with a regular brush or do I HAVE to buy the fancy ones? Do I HAVE to use a roller? Or will I be happy with just a regular brush applied with a little extra care?
But first, check out this beauty. Don’t you love all the scratches, dents, and carvings?
This is what I was starting with – a free table that I found on Nextdoor that actually also came with a media stand (but I’ll refinish that later). It was solid wood, with great bones, but it had clearly been a ‘kid’s table’ for many years. And the kids liked to carve things into it – not just draw on it with permanent markers! It’s heavy, too, so I knew it was good quality!
The things that these kids carved into it crack me up.
“Lol lol lol lol lol”
“Holla at ya homie”
It’s like a pre-teen’s text message but carved into the wood. But I’ve got news for ya kids…I don’t think anyone was going to respond 😅 There was also a long and curvy line curved all along one of the sides of the table, which was a little harder to get rid of, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
First up was sanding the whole thing down – if you were watching my Instagram Stories, you got a little bit of a sneak peek! This wasn’t hard at all, just a little time-consuming. I usually don’t sand things down when I cover them with chalk paint, but since the table had been carved into, I had to. I used my trusty Ryobi sander to take down the wood enough to get everything clean and smooth. Afterward, it looked like this:
I used the same chalk paint that I used on the dresser in Emma’s room, and just a regular Wooster Pro paint brush. It’s actually cheaper on Amazon right now than it was in the store at Home Depot! The paint dries really quickly, so I was careful to work efficiently. You need to be able to finish this project once you start – no coming back in 30 seconds to touch it up to tend to something.
I just dipped my brush into the paint and painted as one normally does, being careful to paint with the grain and not against it. By the time I finished the first coat, the first places the paint touched were ready for a second coat. One little once over and I was done! Seriously the fastest paint job I’ve ever completed.
One thing that changed during the length of this project was that I originally had it planned for the office. My brain saw the living room coffee table as occupied, and that meant the new white one needed to go upstairs. We took it up there, plopped it down, and even though I love the look of the table, it just didn’t fit. It was too stark white in the darker style of the office. So a little switching around happened, and now the white one lives in the living room and the dark one lives in the office.
Anyway, here’s the result. Smooth, clean lines, and not a brush mark in sight. I will say, it took two coats, so if you left it at one you could definitely see the brush marks. One of the main reasons I wanted to try this method is that using the foam roller that Rustoleum recommended resulted in a bubbly, rough texture on Emma’s dresser. I don’t mind it, but it’s not what I was going for.
Embracing a More Traditional Style
I’m really happy with it in its new home. I probably would never have bought something with such traditional lines if I walked into a store to buy one, but how can you say no to free? I already had the paint since I used it on Emma’s dresser, the brush has been reused on several projects, and the table was free from a neighbor. Total for this project? $0. Hoorah! If you were to find a similar coffee table on Craigslist, let’s say for $25, and a can of paint and a brush for $30, you’re still looking at a brand new and beautiful coffee table for less than $60.
On another note, I think my style is changing. I bought a traditional rug, and now I have a traditionally shaped coffee table. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because we bought a more traditional home. I’m not sure, but I’m not mad about it. I think it’s a cozier, warmer feeling, and I certainly won’t mind as much if Emma draws all over this table as opposed to the expensive one that we used to set our drinks on. My mom always told me that the older you get, the more traditional you become. I wonder if that’s true for anyone else…thoughts?
A New Home
I love the visual lightness that the bright white brings to the room. It’s so clean and crisp, and the traditional legs are actually awesome with the more modern sectional we have. The fusion of the two styles is really working for me – it’s a more contemporary take on traditional. It’s not a coffee table with a traditional shape AND the traditional stain, but instead a more modern all white look. I’m digging it.
My biggest words of advice with this whole project are: paint with the grain, start on the top, watch for drips, and don’t waste your money on the fancy brushes. I don’t think the result is all that different, and it’s not worth buying a specialty tool that you’ll only ever use to apply chalk paint.
Using a regular brush worked just fine, and there are seriously NO visible strokes. I’m convinced that chalk paint is a magical substance brought to use by the DIY gods. What else can you paint with no prep, regular brushes, and it dries almost instantly? I’m even thinking about trying a DIY chalk paint option for the media center I mentioned before. If I end up doing that, I’ll let you know how it goes!