Well today I have something I can share with you. It's the basics of using baking soda chalk paint. Oh sure I've blogged about it before, but I'll give you the pros and cons, do's and don'ts, ups and downs, yada, yada, yada with you all, so basically I'll tell you what I've learned using it.
First, why do I use baking soda paint anyways? (Notice I took out the word 'chalk'? It's not chalk at all, but I know if you're looking, you're using that word.) Well, first and foremost, it's way less expensive than the pre-made chalk paints that are out there. You can get a quart of flat latex for about $15, some more, some less, and some free! Baking soda is way cheap. I got one of those big bags at Costco, which means I'm spending pennies on each batch. That is way better that $35+, IMHO.
I also have more control when I make my own: both with color and consistency. The color possibilities really are endless, and that means I can pretty much get any color I can think of, which makes me a happy camper.
I had found that the pre-made chalk paint was way too thick for my taste, and yes I added water and lots of it. I noticed I had to load my brush much more often than I did with homemade.
How do I make a baking soda batch? Well, it's not very scientific at all. I put a rounded teaspoon into a container, then add water- enough to make a thick paste, then I pour in my paint.
Now here's an important bit: just make a small batch at a time.
Maybe between 1/4 and 1/2 cup paint to the paste. A little goes a long way, and if you store it for too long,more than two days, it coagulates, and then that paint is useless. So make small batches at a time. You'll thank me later for that advice.
You can add water to the mixture if you find it too thick. I wouldn't recommend adding more baking soda straight to the mixture you have because you will get clumps. Instead, make some more paste as described above and add that.
Once the paint dries, I give it about an hour, you will feel the grittiness caused by the baking soda. Don't fret, totally normal. Take a fine sanding block or paper to the piece. When you sand, it will become smooth. I usually do at least two coats of paint, but I have found that if you paint with a light color over a dark wood, stain, or paint you will need at least three coats. Don't worry about it, though, because you don't need to do the tedious prep work for your piece (i.e. sanding and priming).
What about finishing the piece, you say? Well, I use several different products, and I'm still exploring my options. I have used water based Varathane that is for porch and floor, Minwax Polycrylic water based polyurethane, Minwax paste wax, and yes, Annie Sloan's clear and dark wax (mainly because I bought them, so I should use them).
Each has its strengths and weaknesses: the Varathane is tough, but I have noticed it yellowed on certain colors, especially light or pastel colors. Also, it's expensive. I think about $50 per gallon.
I have found that the Minwax can yellow, too, but I suspect I may have put too much on at a time. Try several, very thin coats.
I really like the look and feel of Minwax paste wax. You apply with cheesecloth.
NOTE: Sand before you apply the wax, otherwise the cheescloth sort of disintegrates and leaves white residue, especially noticeable on dark pieces.
Once applied, leave the wax on about 15 minutes, then buff to a shine using a lint free cloth. I use microfiber cloths and they work great.
The downside is that the wax has a peach hue to it, and it shows up on white pieces.
It took me a while to get the hang of Annie Sloan's wax. I always put too much on and it seemed very streaky. I now use a very little bit and buff going the direction you painted- generally straight across a piece. I tried buffing in a circular motion and it just. looked. BAD!
It's nice to use the dark wax for antiquing a piece too.
Downside? You guessed it. Too expensive for this frugal little lady.
Oh, and I apply the Annie Sloan wax with a brush, it looks very similar to her wax brushes, but it is made by Purdy, Symphony is the line of brushes. It is called a pouncing brush. This baby is less than $7 and it works great!
A few weeks back I had someone tell me I had to use chalk paint (the pre-made stuff) if I wanted to paint furniture, but I'm here to tell you, that, nah, you don't!
Here are some samples of pieces painted with baking soda paint:
I hope you found this post helpful. I will update my findings periodically, too.
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