Chalk Painted Child Dresser & Painted Furniture Care

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Today I'm sharing this darling blue and white, nautical-inspired dresser makeover using Annie Sloan chalk paint and Valspar textured lime wash as well as giving you alternate paints to use for this look. As I was writing this post I also realized that I have never discussed how to care for painted furniture so I'm also sharing a few tips about how I care for and maintain my painted pieces which have been finished with wax.

Let me begin by saying that you can achieve exactly the same look as the one that I created for this dresser by using a variety of other types of paint. Here are just a few examples:

  • Websters Chalk Paint Powder: mix the powder into navy and white latex paints, seal with wax.
  • Fusion Mineral Paint: simply paint using Fusion, no top coat needed.
  • American Paint Company: paint and seal with wax
  • Latex semi-gloss: Simply paint, no topcoat needed.

I know that there are several people out there who will tell you that a particular brand is the best for painting furniture but after over 35 years of painting furniture and having tried about 80% of what's available including all of the "big names" I can tell you that this is simply not the case.

All types of paint are virtually the same: some sort of pigment suspended in a "carrier" liquid. Sometimes it's latex, sometimes it's water, sometimes it's oil.  If you know how to use the paint correctly, anyone can create beautiful results using any type of paint; it's just that some are easier to work with in certain situations. For example, chalk paint and milk paint aren't recommended for outdoor use while latex and oil based products hold up beautifully.

I say this every time I write a painted furniture post: The surface preparation that I do is the same no matter what type of paint I use. I begin by I sanding the entire piece (even if it's only lightly with a sanding sponge). This removes some of the sheen from the existing finish gives the new finish something to adhere to. If the piece is especially dirty or greasy, I wash it first using washing soda, rinse well, and dry with a towel. I firmly believe that the new finish on the piece will only be as good as the prep work that is done.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for this piece simply because I had it on hand in the colors that I wanted to use. Yes, I use ASCP often because I paint a lot of furniture. It dries more quickly than latex and sands more easily. However,  the same can be said for MANY other brands including those above. It also requires a topcoat or sealer which Fusion Mineral Paint and latex do not.

I will talk about the different ways of finishing and sealing wood in another post. Until then, if you have any questions regarding what type of paint or finish to use for your specific project, please leave a comment or send me a message at I'm always more than happy to help!

On this piece, I removed the knobs and washed it. Then, I stripped and sanded the top down to the raw wood.  I tend to leave the tops of my pieces stained or lime washed because there's less chance that the paint on the top will become damaged by things like water, especially in heavy use areas.

On the body and the drawer fronts, I used two coats of a custom color made from a combination of Annie Sloan Napoleonic Blue and Graphite that is a fabulous shade of navy blue that I'm calling Serendipity French Blue. I painted the face frame of the dresser using two coats Annie Sloan Old White and used the same two colors for the hand painted numbers and letters on the drawer fronts as well as the knobs.  

I used Valspar Textured Lime wash applied with a soft cloth on the top. I checked for a current resource and it is no longer available but you can achieve the same look using Old Masters Wiping Stain in Pickling White. I've used it in the past with great results. I chose not to distress this piece because I love the crispness of the paint just the way it is. I gave it a light sanding to level off the paint and waxed the entire piece (including the top) using two coats of clear wax.

Care for this piece (or any painted furniture which has a wax finish) is as follows:
  • Allow the finish to cure for 30 days or more prior to placing items on the piece which may scratch it.
  • Use coasters and placemats when necessary to protect against water damage.
  • Keep waxed pieces away from extreme heat, direct sunlight and high humidity until the finish is thoroughly cured. Chalk and milk painted pieces are meant for indoor use only.
  • Dust regularly and use mild soap and water on a soft damp cloth or sponge to remove marks.
  • Painted pieces finished with wax should never be dusted using any liquid or spray as these often contain ingredients which dissolve the wax. Alcohol also dissolves the wax so it is not recommended for bar areas.
  • When necessary, recoat the piece with wax to maintain the finish.

I hope that knowing that you can achieve this look using other paint will inspire you to transform a piece of your own or, if you're local to Downers Grove, Illinois and have a piece that you'd like painted, contact me at the email address above to discuss how I can help to make your vision a reality.

When I first saw him, this solid maple dresser was badly in need of a little love but I knew that  once I spiffed him up a little, he would be perfect for a child's room I love the look of his new navy and white nautical inspired paint which I created using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, clear wax, and Valspar Textured lime wash and I know that caring for painted furniture with a wax using the tips that I provided above will keep him looking fabulous for years to come.

Thanks for reading!

By the numbers (what I used):
Navy Chalk Paint: 1 cup
Old White Chalk Paint: 1/4 cup
Wax: 1/2 cup
Lime Wash 1/8 cup
Dresser size: 42" high 15.5" deep 28" wide
Paint brush: natural bristle for body and craft brushes for letters and knobs
Sanding sponge
Soft cloths