jenn jay tales

Jennifer Johnston shares her travel tales; life adventures; observations, photos and random thoughts

Freshen up your furniture

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Project DIY

A blog about my experience, with an “easy to use” product to give my old furniture a “face-lift.”

I have some pieces of furniture, purchased about 20 years ago, when hand made heritage style furniture was the “in” thing. The style also suited my traditional Queenslander house.

My heavy, dark set of Chairs, table and bookshelf.

My heavy, dark set of Chairs, table and bookshelf.

A few decades later, my circumstances having changed, (not to mention styles,) I tried to sell the furniture on E bay and Gumtree.  I didn’t think I was asking too many $$$ for the pieces, as they are hand-made and crafted using heritage timber. But they did not sell and I wasn’t about to leave them on the footpath for someone to pick up for free. (Well I could have, but I felt these pieces were too good for that.) The footpath has been the perfect place to de-clutter and provide the drivers by with a “treasure”, but that’s another story for another day.

Back to my heritage furniture – what to do?  I was thinking of  creating a distressed look (on already stressed furniture) – what I call a French Provincial style.

A search on Facebook revealed some clever people who buy furniture in garage sales and on ebay, then transform them, with a face lift  So I emailed them, with a few questions and the lovely Sandy Palmer came back with plenty of information and tips. She recommended I use a product called Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Soft wax

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Soft wax

With Annie Sloan’s chalk paint, there is no undercoating or prepping involved. I liked the idea of not having to sand or remove any old wax – it was as simple as turning my table top upside down and start applying the chalk paint.  I gave my table and the six chairs a couple of coats using the Pure White (purchased my paint and wax at the Antique Centre at Wooloongabba). It was dry and ready to re-coat in one hour. There are no nasty smells with this paint and the brushes wash out in water (YAY!)

Just start painting

Once a few coats of chalk paint are applied, start the stressed look.

Chair prepping.

Chair prepping.

Depending on how thick you want the paint, give the piece a couple of coats. (I ended up giving the table legs three coats.) Next is the distressing process. Using fine sandpaper, gently sand wherever you figure the stressed look is appropriate – you choose! As you gently buff away sections with the sand paper,  you get an idea of the type of look you are after.  This is the stage you understand why they call it “CHALK” paint – it rubs away like chalk from a blackboard. It’s a little messy, be aware of the fine dust that will spread wherever you are working! The final stage is applying the Annie Sloan clear wax. Be fairly generous, rub it in and then buff off any excess with an old rag.  In some parts I went over the painted parts with fine sandpaper for extra smoothness.

Table - repainted

The end product

I loved the easy process so much I did my book shelf – one tin (946ml) was enough to do the tables and six chairs. I had to purchase another tin for the bookshelf and still have enough left to do the hutch (when time permits!)

Bookshelf before Chalking

Bookshelf before Chalking

Bookshelf after

Bookshelf After – so much lighter

Thanks to Annie Sloan

A lighter look to my room and re-cycling of my old furniture!



Author: Jenn Jay

JennJayTales was created as a place to share my writing. I share random blogs about activities of interest to me and maybe to you. Writing is a passion and there is nothing I enjoy more than meeting people and capturing their stories through my observations and words. As TRAVEL is a huge passion of mine, I've created a travel blog Please enjoy Jenn Jay Tales and if you consider my writing style as something your magazine, book, blog, on-line publication, website or business may be interested in, please let me know - I'm keen to write for you. Email me at

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