31 July 2014

How to remove Annie Sloan chalk paint

A while ago I purchased a lovely midcentury teak coffee table. Unfortunately it was painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint and then waxed. I say unfortunately as there are certain pieces of furniture which shouldn't be painted as 1) they have historical value 2) the "shabby chic" doesn't go with every style. (Don't get me wrong- I have nothing against Annie Sloan paint- it's a great product and works marvellous!)

I couldn't find any information about how to REMOVE the chalk paint so I've contacted Annie Sloan via email and they recommended sanding down as the paint is water-based.

This was my first attempt at removing water based or chalk paint but hopefully I can share some tips with you that may help with your restoration.
I'm guessing that this tutorial will work with any water based paint.

You will need:
- white spirit
- sponges
- steel wool (I used fine 000 & ultrafine 0000)
- water. Lots of water!
- bucket or garden hose
- sandpaper (150 and fine 240)
- sander
- danish oil (or whatever your wood is)
- lint free cloth
- wax
- sunshine!

1) Firstly remove the wax using a white spirit and sponge. While I was doing this I realised the paint underneath comes off quite easily

2) Continue scrubbing with water and the sponge. The more water that I used, the more easily it came off. It's best doing this on a sunny day so the wood dries quickly and doesn't leave black marks. I used both sides of the sponge; the rough one and the soft one. I kept the sponge clean of the paint at all times, otherwise the the wood grain started to stain.

3) When most of the paint is removed, use fine steel wool to remove the paint from the grains.

3) After the paint is removed and the wood is dry, sand it down. For the flat areas I used a sander, and for curvy areas I used sheet of a sand paper. There are 2 simple rules when sanding wood:
 - Always sand in the direction of grains,
 - Never use sandpaper finer than 280 as it will fill the grains and the wood will look unnatural

This article has some great tips about how to sand wood furniture.

4) For difficult areas such as corners, I've used a small engraving tool with a sanding head (sorry no photo).

5) After everything is sanded down, clean it with white spirit. When it's all dry and dust free, rub in the dutch oil using lint free cloth. In total I used 3 layers of oil leaving 4-6 hour gaps between re-coating. Finally, I applied the wax. I like using clear Briwax brand as it leaves a lovely shiny finish.

There are still small remains of the paint in the wood grains and around the cane edges but hardly noticeable unless you're inspecting it very closely ;)

Ta daa! :)

For more tips and ideas follow my "upholstery & restoration" Pinterest board.

Here is a similar picture of the engraving tool I've used for difficult areas. I really can't remember where I got it from but the bits in the wooden box are from Lidl.


Klara said...

Wow, good job! The final fixed table looks like completly different piece of furniture as the one with terrible sloan color paint.

Unknown said...

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I purchased a previously-loved sleigh bed last weekend that the lady had smothered in chalk paint. It doesn't look "shabby chic" at all, instead, it looks like a child painted it.....the paint is smeared so thickly in some places that it had started to run and then it dried like that. Some paint has chipped off in a few places and overall, it just needs to be removed. I looked all over the internet and finally found your post. I'm going to tackle that bed this weekend and I just know this will be so helpful. I do have a question that I'm hoping you have an answer for: How can I tell if she put wax on it?
Thank you for sharing your project and tips - it's a nice piece and you did a lovely job on it!

Unknown said...

Hi Catherine,
Thank you for your lovely comment- glad you found this tutorial useful.
Wax. I would try to scratch the surface with your finger nail and if it's waxed the wax should stay under your nail. My table was so heavily waxed with a clear wax that I could see it with a bare eye (you can see on the second photo- inside the trim where the glass sits).
Also, if the paint on your bed has darker edges/corners than the paint it could be "dark waxed".
If you're still unsure there is a facebook "Annie Sloan before/after" group where they should be able to help com/groups/211380925666971/?fref=ts )
I hope this helps!
Just one warning- be prepared for lots of elbow grease!
Let me know how get on.

kirby612 said...

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!! You did a GREAT job. The table is improved 1000%

Anonymous said...

Came home to find the builder has not only chalk painted the black, shiny beams (good) but also the 17th polished oak door (not so good at all!)

Was overjoyed to see your blog & will try tomorrow; wish me luck


Morgan said...

What is a white spirit?

Unknown said...

Hi Morgan, I think it's called a mineral spirit in the US. Hope it helps. x

Erin said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Unknown said...

Beautiful work. Can you please post engraving tool with small sanding head, brand name, etc. I'm having trouble with edges and corners. Thank you.

melissa mosley said...

Nelida mejia... it is a dremel. you can buy them at wal mart but do buy the variable speed. if there is a Harbor Freight tool store near you they have a few great ones by chicago tools.

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you! I'm continually horrified by the terrible chalk paint I see on beautiful antiques but had no idea how to fix it. Now, if they would just stop adding $200 to the price just because it has globbed on paint...

Elizabeth said...

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Anonymous said...

Have just made a big mistake and painted a newly upholstered antique chair in this AWFUL paint. Thank goodness I now know how to remove it and will start to do so tomorrow. I will never use it again.

Unknown said...

Hi I was thinking of purchasing a hutch that has one coat of chalk paint on it & nothing else. If there isn't wax on it do I still need to use the white spirits, etc?

Unknown said...

Hi Dee (or Bernie)
I think no white spirit is needed, just skip that step. You can always try on a smaller "hidden" area to see it works.

Unknown said...

Any hints on how to remove from carpet as I can't get the dye out?

chris mcnally said...

I have been looking at a beautiful oak and ash art nouveau compactum wardrobe but unfortunately the gables or ends and the cornice has been painted . Looks like that chalk paint but how can I tell ?
I would but it and have a go
But would the paint have blackened the oak

Unknown said...

Excellent post. I appreciate this. It share valuable information about on this topic.But im my opinion farmhousepaint provides best quality of chalk based furniture paint

Patty Hertfordshire said...

I have always loved the shabby chic look, and was contemplating a make over on a small cabinet I had purchased to house my record collection. But after seeing your beautiful table, I am going to reconsider! The table looks absolutely stunning! In fact I may strip down a chest of drawers I have chalk painted & restore it to original. Thanks for sharing your tutorial

Unknown said...

Thank god for this blog!! I have an old blanket box, its painted in chalk paint (by myself) and still looks lush but I want it now as a toy box for my baby boy in the front room. All our downstairs is solid wood stained in oak satin varnish so wanted this box to be the same... I think a quick shop may be in order later x

ArtbyShanni said...

You can remove chalk paint easily with a handheld steaming device and the attachments make it a bit easier for those small areas. A lot less sandind and elbow power.

ArtbyShanni said...

You can use a handheld steamer and let that device do the hard part for you. It is also a lot faster. Hope this helps.

Tina said...

Thanks for this wonderful advice. I smiled when you had to justify removing chalk paint to the rest of us.;-)Shows how touchy we are about the subject.:-)

tara said...

Hi! any tips for removing chalk paint from Fabric?

jjflamingo said...

I cannot wait to try this! I have a potato and onion cabinet that I love, but it is painted red and waxed, and the red doesn't match my kitchen colors at all. I don't mind the wax, but I needed to know how to remove it before getting the paint off. Thanks so much for sharing! Your table looks Lovely after you finished it.

Unknown said...

If you just want to use ordinary paint on an Annie Sloan waxed surface can you just white spirit off the wax and paint over the paint underneath?

Anneliese Wilson said...

Hi .Ive painted our old samdwich board that was once a white board with chalk board paint. Now I would like it back to the original state. It is a bugandy colour . How do I remove the paint please.