How I chalk painted my dining room table

My dining room set is a solid piece of work, but it was a bit of an eyesore. Since it is the first thing you see when you walk into the house, framed by the pillars and archway that made me love this house at first sight, I wanted to spruce it up. I had considered buying a brand new one, but I shied away from that idea after seeing prices, and remembering that my boys are still young and not the most gentle of creatures.

Chalk paint seemed to be a reasonable choice. The surface does not need to be prepped aside from a basic cleaning, and I had heard it was easy. I was going for an old, weathered, and farmhouse-like look.

I bought the paint and wax at Home Depot. The prices were a bit much: $29 for each quart of paint and $19 for the wax. I didn’t know whether one quart of each color would be enough, but it was: I only used about half of each, and a negligible amount of the wax. I purchased the Varathane at Canadian Tire. After doing some research (and finding this blog post from Painted Vintage in particular) I decided that a clear coat would be wise given the heavy use and cleaning the table goes through. Plus, I was unhappy with the ultra-matte finish the chalk paint left, so the shine from the clear coat was welcome.

Painting was pretty straight-forward. I did lightly sand everything, but I don’t think it was necessary. I used regular paint brushes. You can tell from the photo with the Varathane that I left a lot of brush strokes. My advice to avoid that is to not over-brush (over partially dried paint especially), and not to dump a puddle of paint onto a tabletop and expect to be able to spread it around quickly enough. (Oops!)

I did two coats each of paint and Varathane. I was very happy with the coverage! The original color of the chair back and legs was a very dark green.

You can see the difference between paint-only (it’s not fully dry in the photo) and with the clear coat. I’m very happy with how it turned out. I had a lot more confidence in the, uh, clean-ability of the surfaces after the Varathane.

To apply the wax I did use a special oval-shaped Rust-oleum Chalked brush. I just dabbed the tips of the bristles in the wax a couple of times and lightly brushed the red surfaces. The wax color is pretty darn close to cocoa brown, so I didn’t bother waxing that. My kids and I began using the table and chairs less than 24 hours later, and the waxed surfaces are still a bit tacky, but I’m hoping once it cures fully it will be better. The wax did tone the red down a bit.

I am also happy to report that smudges and drops of chalk paint that were left on my tile floor were easily removed with a wet cloth and a scraper!

I completed this project during a week where my kids were with their dad. They were very excited when they saw it today. My three-year-old said “I love it!” and my five-year-old asked if the table was going to be like this forever. Then he asked if we could paint it every day. I don’t know about that…