One of my favorite things to do is refinish furniture.
Its oddly therapeutic, and at the end of my projects I step back and just smile when I see a piece transform.
I’m 1000% an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint enthusiast, its the easiest way to refinish anything, but there are times when its not ideal to use it. This project was one of those cases.
I took the job of refinishing this table and chair set, her request was to have the base and chairs repainted black. It started out originally as an oak table and chair set, it had such good bones, it was an old Thomasville set and really would look nice. Annie Sloan does make a graphite color similar to black, but if you are going for true deep dark black, its not really right (even with using their black wax). That was reason 1 that I couldn’t use Annie Sloan, reason 2 was the condition it was in. The best part about Annie Sloan is that there is no prep involved. You can literally paint over finishes without having to sand or strip. This table though, it had been repainted years before. with good ol’ primer and latex paint. It was peeling, chipping, uneven in its application and was just not something you could paint over.
With that being said, I had to strip all 8 chairs, two leaves, 4 legs, base and top of this table set. It was NOT ideal. Stripping furniture is a real pain, and that’s putting it lightly. So, if you find yourself in. The same situation, with an old piece with uneven latex paint that you want to refinish, here is what you do.
Step 1: STRIP IT.
At first, I tried to just sand this without having to strip it. This did not go quickly, and I knew that I would have to remove the paint, just sanding would not be an option.
Use the strongest one you can find. I wasted SO much time trying to use a greener stripping product, called Citristrip. I then tried KLEANSTRIP and it was SO much better. Still lots of work, but much better.
Be sure to do this outside, theres no way you’d do this messy of a project inside, but I need to say in case, DO THIS OUTSIDE. Wear Chemical Resistant gloves!
Follow the directions on the product, and chip away it it. You will alternate between applying the stripper, and scraping it off with a putty knife. This takes forever, no joke. On flat surfaces like the table top, its quick, but on chair legs with nooks and crannies, its a nightmare. Just keep chipping away at it and eventually you will get it all off and you can move on to Step 2, Sanding.
Step 2: SAND.
Once you have all the paint off, you will no doubt have an uneven finish, its inevitable. Take your palm sander, or if you’re a superhero, regular sandpaper and use elbow grease and sand your whole piece until you get a smooth even finish.
Step 3: PAINT.
Depending on what you choose to paint with, paint your piece. In my case, I wanted an even application, and at this point, I had spent well over 60 hours stripping and sanding this project. I didn’t have it in me to hand paint anything!
If you wanted to use Annie Sloan, this would be the point you could. Like I said, graphite wasn’t dark enough, so I wasn’t able to use chalk paint. I don’t think I could have hand painted it though, I was so sore, tired, and just irritated. I estimated this taking 12 hours (I hadn’t seen the table) and was way past that.
What I ended up doing, and I had done this on a previous table and chair set, was to use a Rusteoleum Paint and Primer Spray Paint- in Satin Black.
So, I applied two coats on all pieces.
Stain- If Applicable
** This is sort of a step in itself, but its not totally necessary, you could paint your whole piece one color. It was requested that the top of the table be stained a dark color. So I took my General Finishes gel stain (my fave) in Java and wiped two coats on, letting it dry each time between coats. I used a glossy finish poly on top.
Step 4: SEAL.
I wanted to be totally sure this finish would be protected, so I took my wipe on poly in satin finish, and wiped all of the chair legs, table top, and sides down and it was finally done!!
After I was done, my faith in chalk paint was renewed. This was SOOOO much more work than (ideally being able to) just painting over a finish, and waxing it to seal. If I had to choose, I’d choose chalk paint any day. Like I said though, this wasn’t an option for this project.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope this gives you insight HOW TO PROCEED with it.