September 26, 2014

Trying Martha Stewart's Chalk-y Paint

Martha Stewart has come out with her version of the popular
chalk-y finish paint.  She calls it "Vintage Decor Paint" with a
subtitle of "matte chalk finish". The instructions say that you 
can "create a matte, chalk finish with this no-prep paint". 

It is readily available at craft stores in a variety of colors for
about $10 for 8 ounces.  Of course if you use coupons, you 
can get the paint at a lower price. Michael's Craft Store had a
 coupon for 25% off of this new paint product line so I used
 that  to purchase two colors of paint and a container of
 the clear vintage decor wax. The line also has a dark wax. 

My original plan was to have a base of the green (Eucalyptus)
with a top coat of blue (River Rock) and distress the finish so
that some of each color would show on the chairs. 

The main subjects of my experimenting with MS Vintage Decor
Paint are two rocking chairs that were given to me by a neighbor.

They are wooden chairs with fibre rush woven seats and backs. 
They had been painted white, then black and now they need
a new coat of paint.

The black paint is ready to just fall off in some places. 

I lightly sanded the rocking chairs outside (even though the paint
said it was no-prep, common sense tells you to go on and sand
off the flaking paint so your new paint won't fall off too). 

After sanding, some interesting places started showing up on 
the chairs. It seems a shame to entirely cover up the other 
colors (wood, white and black) that were emerging. 

For the first coat with the MS Vintage Paint in Eucalyptus, I put 
it on in a dry brush manner in some places letting the original
colors show through also.  Another technique that was used was
more of a wiping distressing where the green paint was painted on
and allowed to dry for about five minutes and then wiped off. 

If the green paint dried too long, it did not wipe off easily so more
of a wet distressing technique was used.  Since the chalk paint is
water-soluble, if you use a damp rag to wipe over it after it has 
dried, some of the paint will come off of the rag.  Some places
this worked well and some places too much (for my taste) of the
paint came off like in the photos below.

To fix this (if that bothers you), you can just put more paint over
the over-distressed part, let it dry, and then try lightly sanding  
with actual sand paper the next time to distress it.  The MS web-
 site suggests using 220 grit sandpaper to distress the paint with. 

When I got the first color on the first chair's wood parts, I realized
that I had to decide if I wanted to continue with the distressed look
(swapping one peeling paint look for another one) or to freshen
up the chairs with more of a one color look. 

I was just too in love with some of the multi-color places that
were developing to cover them up with more paint (even though
the distressed look takes longer to achieve). 

Here is a side-by-side comparison of one chair with some paint
on it and the other chair in it's original (to me) condition:
Opps! This picture reveals that I would rather drink beverages and paint chairs
than clean up my house.

I decided to ditch the cushions even though there were in good
condition because they were now too much of a blue-grey color
to look good on the green/blue chairs. 

Here are the chairs in progress:
yes, my husband is putting up with me painting in the house 'cause it is still hot outside in Alabama 
AND we still have mosquitos too. 

The green paint went on first and then the blue (River Rock)
paint was dry brushed on top of the green.  Also in some places
it was distressed by wiping or sanding to let the paint layers
 below come through and be seen. 

OK. So the paints are doing great and acting like other chalk
paints that I have used.  When I got through with painting, I 
tried the MS wax.  At first I though that it was easy to put on
because it was more like a paint consistency BUT it started to
take the paint off of the chairs even though I was using a soft 
brush to put it on. This is horrifying when you have worked to
get a certain distressed/layered paint look.  

I went to the MS Vintage Decor Paint website and on there it 
says not to put the wax on until the paint has dried for 24 hours.
The bottle does not mention this time frame. Then I repainted 
the portions where the wax took the paint off and waited 24 hours. 

The liquid wax took so long to dry.  The bottle said to put on a 
thin layer and remove the excess with a damp cloth.  Then you 
are supposed to wait another 24 hours if you want a second coat.

I thought this was too much time and trouble so I just went
 back to waxing with my cheap Johnson's paste wax that is
available even in grocery stores. Minwax Finishing Wax is
also inexpensive and is available at home improvement stores 
and Walmart. There are also premium waxes you can get in
the paint sections of home improvement stores.  They all seem
to work fine to me to seal the chalk paint finish. 

Just be aware that when painting a piece with chalk paint,
you do need to seal it with some type of wax or it will not 
hold up well.  I have never had a problem waxing a chalk
paint project as long as the paint is dry but it dries pretty
quickly. The chalk paint soaks up the wax so much that it
some times hard to see where you have waxed.  You can add
more coats (of the paste waxes) if you want it to have sheen.

Here are the rocking chairs after being painted and waxed. 

In the end, one chair ended up being more blue than the other. 
Each chair had its own unique places that emerged during the
sanding/painting/distressing process.  

With the fiber (paper) rush weaving I decided to go with 
alternating the blue and green colors but not in a definite
pattern.  The rush ended up looking kind of like blue and
green yarn to me.  I didn't try to cover the black completely.
I wasn't sure whether to wax the rush or not but I did and
after it soaked in to the paint, it did not feel waxy or like it
would get on people's clothes that sat on the chairs. 

Here are the chairs from behind.  Just like us, they have their 
quirks and differences so I'm not that concerned over them 
ending up slightly different colors overall. 

Not everyone trying the MS Vintage Decor Paint will want a 
layered or distressed look.  I pulled some old plastic pots out of 
the back back yard and gave them the "painting plastic" test
with the new line of paints. 

The smallest pot got painted a solid coat of River Rock blue and 
the largest post got a coat of Eucalyptus green.  The paint covered
the plastic well and stayed on even during the planting process.

Here are the painted and waxed pots:

The medium sized pot got a two-toned paint job of the green 
AND the blue and then got sanded lightly to expose the 
details on the pot. 

The two smaller pots got a coat of clear paste wax when 
their paint dried and the larger pot got a slightly tinted wax.

  I had read from Sherry at No Minimalist Here blog that you 
can add a little paint or stain to clear wax to make dark wax.  
This was the first time I had tried it making my own dark wax.

I just added a little dark brown acrylic
paint to a small amount of clear wax and worked. 

 I will be braver about adding more color next time. 
It did not add much color to the pot when it was wiped on.

I like oranges and blues together so I got orange zinnas, mums
and marigolds to go in the chalk-y painted pots.  The pots,
 flowers and newly-painted rocking chairs will be a bright
                addition to the porch at my parent's apartment.                  

I would give an endorsement to the Martha Stewart Vintage 
Decor paints.  They covered well and also were pretty easy
to distress if you wanted to.  They were a reasonable price
(very reasonable if you have a coupon you can use).
  I still had paint left over in each bottle after these projects. 

The MS wax seemed overly complicated as to drying times, 
having  to wipe off excess with a damp rag, etc. but it did even-
tually dry and had a nice slight sheen to the places I had used it. 

(I purchased the products myself and have no association with the Martha Stewart or 
Plaid Paint companies...this is not a sponsored post.)


  1. They turned out soooooo good!! I love the pattern you painted on the rush...The whole porch looks so pretty!

  2. The rocking chairs turned out great! You did an awesome job with the colors. So unusual! Your parents must be thrilled to sit and rock on these. I love rocking chairs! I feel so content in them. Adding the flowers and pots just makes it perfect!

  3. Beautiful! The pots match so well with the chairs and the orange flowers are a fun pop of color! Loved reading this post on the Martha Stewart version of chalk paint, you were very thorough in testing it out.

  4. These turned out lovely and I love the contrast with the fall flowers! Blessings, Cecilia

  5. Your chairs look great transformed! and I love the pots - they all make a fabulous showing on your porch with that pop of orange for fall!

  6. Hello!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and I was amazed that i was the first one to link up to Stephanie Lynn's party!! How did that happen???? LOL!

    LOVE this post! I have seen the paints in Michaels as I am there quite frequently because I can walk to ours as I live behind it!!
    I have wondered about them but now I know about them!! LOL!
    LOVE how your chairs came out and love the color you chose! Wonderful transformation and very informative post!!


  7. I love the transformation of your chairs and the way your porch has come together - so pretty. Thank you for all the information and steps for getting the same result - when I find my rockers I will definitely be referring to this post. Cathy

  8. The chairs look phenomenal!! I just started using chalk paint and I got mine from JoAnn Fabrics pretty inexpensively. That is the best part!

  9. The chairs look amazing! I am not very good at this kind of thing but if I ever need advice on using chalk paint I know where to come! Thanks for sharing at the Say G'Day Saturday linky party!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  10. Wow Kitty! This was such an amazingly detailed post and you did a fabulous job!

    I love the color you choose for the chairs. I did something similar but I used milk paint. Up until recently I never tried milk paint, but for certain projects I prefer it over the ascp. Good to know there's a line of chalk paint from MS that seems to be fairly reasonably priced and available locally.

  11. They are perfect! You are one of the features at the Anything Blue Friday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. Hope to see you again at the little soiree. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  12. Thank you so much for the comparison. I've been looking for something that compares the MS to other brands because I hated paying the high price for the others. I've used the MS and have good results also.

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