I’ve started my up-cycled furniture business in 2014 in London, England. At the time the only brand that I would think about using in my projects was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP). It’s one of the best brands on the market for chalk paint, amazing quality, great coverage and it’s a British brand, so it made sense. But since I’m here in Canada and doing some works, I’ve found out the ASCP cost $45 a can, I’ve decided that was time to try similar paints from other brands and see if it was worth to switch brands for a better price.
So far I have tried Rust-oleum Chalked, Behr Chalk Decorative Paint and I went a bit off from chalk paint and decided to try acrylic paint (latex) from Sherwin-Williams.
The Rust-Oleum Chalked, about $32 for 887ml, has similar chalk finish as ASCP, but the consistency is a tiny bit thinner, so you might need more coats depending on the colour that you will be using. I have done this beautiful chest of drawers for my daughter’s room and I have used 2 colour, the ‘Aged Grey’ on the frame and the ‘Blush Pink’ on the front of the drawer. Both colours are light to medium shades and I have applied two coats on both colours and it was the perfect finishing. The paint is easy to apply, smooth and dries fast. Then I’ve sealed with clear wax.
I’m happy with the results here, but I have used the ‘Linen White’ on another cabinet that I will show soon that I had applied a primer first and then 3 coats of this paint and still wasn’t perfect. I think probably because it was white on dark wood furniture which took more coats to cover it evenly. Nonetheless, I still liked the results and the price of this paint puts in a better place then ASCP. The downside is the colour selection, here in Canada they have available now 14 shades which are very low compared to 44 from Annie Sloan.
Now, let’s talk about the Behr Chalk Decorative Paint. It’s quite thick, almost like Annie Sloan, great coverage, easy to apply and dries fast too. Dries to a matte soft-touch finish and can be sealed and protected like ASCP and Rust-Oleum with clear wax giving a satin subtle shine finishing. The best part it cost only $26 for a can of 857ml. The paint has a deep base and a white base that is used to mix the colour that you can choose from a chart of 45 beautiful colours and neutral shades.
The cabinet on the left was painted using Behr Chalk in ‘Fresh Earth’ which is a kind of warm dark grey and 2 coats were applied and finished with clear wax. I thought the application was very easy, smooth and dried super fast. The inside of the cabinet I’ve used Rust-Oleum Chalked in ‘Linen White’ like a said before, see the close-up picture of the inside bellow and also a close-up of the exterior.
For the third option, I’ve chosen the Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel HP acrylic paint (latex) because I’ve seen some people online saying that is a good option if you want a durable surface without the hassle of the chalk paint of reapplying wax every 6 months. Latex paint doesn’t need to be sealed because the paint which is water-based but has similar appearance and results of oil-based paint, hardness, smoothness and without VOCs, which is non-toxic, fast drying and easy to clean-up. But the paint requires prep, like sanding down a bit and using a primer, definitely needs a primer.
On the furniture on the right, the desk needed to have a hard-wearing surface that wouldn’t require re-waxing every 6 months, so this was a good piece to try the latex paint. I’ve chosen a very dark navy blue (9178 In the Navy) because I thought that darker would require fewer coats. The desk is solid pine wood and had a glossy varnish, so I had to sand it down a bit, so the primer would stick well. Then I’ve applied one coat of the Extreme Bond Primer also by Sherwin Williams. When I applied the first coat of the paint, for my surprise I saw that 2 coats wouldn’t be enough. I had to apply 4 coats to have the desired even finishing, and I’ve used roller instead of a brush, because I wanted a smooth finishing.
Although the results were striking beautiful and the hard-wearing surface was perfect, what let me down was the fact that I had to apply 4 coats. Maybe I will try again with a lighter colour to see how it works. The paint 850ml was about $30 and the primer 923ml about $34 on a sale price, the regular price is $38 and $44 respectively, which is also quite high compared with Rust-Oleum and Behr. On the bright side, the selection of colour is much bigger than the other brands because you can practically ask to mix any shade they have on their colour palette, which is a large selection.
On these trials, I’ve got to the conclusion that you don’t have to stick with just one brand. You can use different types of paint and different brands to achieve the desired look and finishing. I will definitely be using Behr again because they have a nice selection of colours and their price beat all the other brands and the quality, in my opinion, was pretty perfect.
The Sherwin William even that it gave me a headache with 4 coats I still want to try again with a different colour, lighter one, for another desk maybe. I think this type of paint is perfect for surface that requires hard-wearing finishing like desk and table and for those who doesn’t want the maintenance of the chalk with wax. But like I said, it all depends on the desired look and finishing.
If you like the wear & tear distressed vintage look that you get overtime with chalk & wax duo, then go for it. I love that look too, but when it comes to working on this as a business we have to look with customer’s eyes and make the furniture with finishing that has more demand on the market. A quick search on Pinterest has shown that people are looking for inspiration on chalk paint finished with lacquer for a more durable solution, which means that some people don’t want the trouble to re-waxing a piece of furniture very often.
Just a last note to finish this post, the Rust-Oleum Chalked and Behr Chalk also have the option of spray paint, but the selection of colours is smaller but good for those projects where you want a modern smooth finishing with no brush strokes on it. Then you can finish with clear Topcoat also in a spray for easier and faster work. I haven’t tried spray yet, but intend to try soon and I will let you know about it.
For those who up-cycle furniture as a business, how much do you price your work? Do you base on the local market and how much others are selling? or do you get your price and stick with it? Next post I will talk about how do I price my work. See you.