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DIY: Chalk Painted Cube Organizer

A few months ago, one of my neighbors posted a picture in our neighborhood Facebook group of an old table she wanted to refinish. Another neighbor commented with a picture of a table she refinished using Chalk Paint. The table looked gorgeous. I immediately turned to Google.

“What is chalk paint?”

I quickly learned that Chalk Paint® is a decorative paint created over 20 years ago by Annie Sloan. It’s known for it’s versatility and it’s easy to use–chalk paint can be used on almost any surface and without any preparation. That means no sanding and priming. While Annie Sloan is the original creator of this style of paint, there are many varieties on the market today.

After doing my research, I got the itch to try my hand at a little DIY. I looked at at several chalk style paints online and ultimately decided to try the original. I was lucky to find a decor shop less than 10 miles from my house that sells the brand.

My first project was a brown cube organizer that we’ve had for YEARS! It’s functional, but the color didn’t really match anything in our bedroom. I figured it would be the perfect piece to start with.

First, I wiped the entire piece down remove any dust and then I just started painting. The Annie Sloan line includes special round brushes for painting, but really any style brush can be used. I started with a regular paint brush, tried a round brush that I purchased at Lowe’s and eventually used a small paint roller to finish it off.

After one coat of paint, I realized this project wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. And while the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® can be used on most surfaces, the material of this cube organizer was a little hard to paint. I thought I was only going to have to do two coats of paint, but I ended up doing four! Perhaps it was beginner’s error, but I suspect the material of the organizer also played a role as well.

On my last two coats, I found that using a the paint roller and watering down the paint a bit helped a ton! I ended up with a much smoother and even finish.

The inside of the cube organizer was also difficult to paint, but I wasn’t too concerned with how the inside looked since it would be covered up.

The final step of this project was to seal the paint with wax. I used Annie Sloan Clear Wax, but there are different options, if you prefer to give your furniture a more distressed look. The clear wax, helped to deepen the color a bit, bringing out the graphite look I was hoping to achieve. I initially started applying the wax with an old t-shirt. That took forever! I eventually switched to using the round paint brush, which was much easier.

The Results

This project took longer than I anticipated. Between balancing work and family life, this piece sat in our garage for more weeks than I had hoped. In hindsight, I think I would have had a better first experience had I picked a smaller, wood piece to start with. And I probably could’ve watched a few more tutorials. Regardless, I am happy with the results and this project gave me something of my own to dedicate my time too.

Lessons Learned:

  • A paint rollers work best on larger, flat surfaces.
  • Water down the paint for a smoother finish.
  • Take your time.
  • Have fun!

I look forward to more adventures with chalk style paint!


Have you tried chalk style paint? What DIY projects have you done recently?