Upcycling Varnished Wardrobe using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint


Upcycling Wardrobe with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Untitled copyI have been dying to Upcycle a wardrobe that came with the house. I believe it to be Victorian. I must admit I didn’t instantly fall in love with it, but it soon proved to be a very useful piece of furniture. It lived in the upstairs hallway and housed our bed linen and towels. Unfortunately  because of the dark varnished wood it made the whole hallway dark, absorbing a lot of light. I always had it in mind to paint it but thought for many years it would take an absolute age and a lot of effort. What with sanding, priming etc. Until, I was inspired by our very own Upcycling contributor Nessa Wrafter, who regularly uses Annie Sloan.Chalk Paint. Result!! So researched Annie Sloan paint and it various techniques. And through practice now fully understand the personality of the paint…yes, I said personality….Which is what I would like to share with you.

It’s really simple Annie Sloan Paint will cover EVERYTHING, including varnish, metal, everything.

Here are the steps I used:


Decide on where you would like to paint your piece and lay down some coverings. I must say the beauty of this paint is it is water based, so any spillage can be easily cleaned using a damp cloth. I chose to paint my piece indoors. Firstly to prevent flies, insects or dust getting stuck to the paint, also the piece is huge. Annie Sloan paint is non-toxic so doesn’t have that toxic  “paint” odour. Prep; clean the entire piece using warm water and a little soap, leave to dry. Then gather your apparatus for use and have it close by. This paint dries quickly!! Annie Sloan herself said she wanted to create a paint that was incredibly fast, versatile and easy to use. She would be upcycling her children’s furniture and wanted them back in their rooms by the end of the day.

I mixed two paints Old Ochra and a tester pot of Pure White to achieve the colour I wanted. She has a gorgeous range of colours. The paint retails at £18.95 and tester pots for roughly £4.95. Expensive? The paint certainly goes a long way. So for smaller pieces a tester pot will be enough. You can only purchase the paint from independent interior stores, her website has a local stockist locator.


Apply masking tape around the areas you wish to avoid.

The Annie Sloan range includes round flat brushes, that help add texture to the piece..especially if you going for an aged look. But this can also be achieved using the paint brushes you might have at home, it just takes a little more effort. Get painting… If you want to achieve a smooth finish, I suggest watering down the paint. Or simple dip your brush into water before you dip it into the paint. But if you require some texture make sure paint strokes are ‘any which way’ for a Shabby Chic look and use less water or none.  Ok, don’t be horrified after painting your first coat. At this point my husband entered the room and looked on in horror.. “Oh ye of little faith” I said. After applying the second coat, which you can within 10-20 mins (paint dries quickly). You will start to see your piece take shape.


Once the second coat is dry and you are happy ( you can go in for a third if desired). Start to look for the areas you might want to distress, which is what I did.  Funnily, I’ve had this piece of furniture for some years and hadn’t properly noticed the beauty of it until this project. I removed the masking tape from the handles and decorative metal and applied a little paint on these areas to bring out the detail.

step-4-upcycling-wardrobe-using-annie-sloan-paint-thoselondonchicksI really liked the detail and wanted to highlight that. So using a sand paper, I sanded those areas and places that would through time naturally age and sanded there too. Some people use wire wool, but I found the colour of the wire rubs off a little and this is a light coloured piece. If you don’t mind that, then that isn’t a problem. I went over with finer sand paper over the main body of the wardrobe and metal hardware to achieve a little of the aged look.

2015-08-07 17.06.09Now for waxing, which protects the paint and amplifies the colour. Annie describes this process like applying moisturiser to ones skin. Really try to work the wax into the wood. This can be achieved by also using a lint free cloth or an old t-shirt to buff afterwards. Use sparingly. Allow the wax to soak in.

That’s it!!

I have a lot of paint left so I’m in serious danger of painting ANY inanimate object!! The paint goes a long way, so you might want to go in with a friend and share a pot or pass on once you’ve finished yours. You can also use any surplus paint as a mixer to make a custom paint colour?

My conclusion on this paint, how quick and easy it is to use and it’s results…..I LOVE IT!! 

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