June 3, 2011

Painting My Vintage Suitcases {Testing Annie Sloane Chalk Paint - Part 2}

I've finished painting my set of vintage suitcases and testing out the Annie Sloane chalk Paint. I like the new color (you can see what they looked like originally here)--the cases can now go anywhere in my home for extra storage. What follows is my experience in working with this paint. Let me preface the review by saying
I am most definitely not a professional painter, so take this review with that in perspective. I paint furniture and vintage smalls for my own use and have worked out my own preferred paint method through that experience. This review is simply my experience as a consumer and hobbyist with the product.

I did wipe the suitcases with a wet rag and let them dry to remove the dust and dirt. One of the advantages I have read about with this brand of paint is that no prep work is necessary to the surface before painting.  The first coat of paint went on really nice. One coat was not enough to hide the olive green color.

I was originally going around all the silver hardware and then when I was just about through with the first suitcase I decided I didn't like the look of the silver hardware so I painted everything... lock, hinges and all. It's all still fully functional, and I like the cleaner look.

I painted the second coat the next day, and this coat didn't glide as easily. I think it has to do with the texture  and finish of the paint.  It's a flat, rough chalk finish. It makes sense that the second coat, brushing onto the rough finish, as opposed to the slick plastic surface of the bare suitcase, would be a little slower.

 I was a little worried when the paint was scraping off the bottom when I began to apply a clear wax finish. I didn't have the Annie Sloane Wax--I used Briwax. I didn't want to invest in the cost of the brand's wax... $25 was rather high and I wanted to check out the products bit by bit. After all, if I didn't like the the paint there was no need for the wax. The sides of the suitcases were fine--no chipping there.

The paint was a little chippy around the metal edging and the plastic suitcase handle... and I was definitely starting to get nervous about the time and money I had invested in this paint so far.  I contemplated covering the suitcases with one of my usual latex paints or even adding a coat of poly, but in the end I decided to finish the project as I had started out and embrace the chippy shabby look.

After finishing the wax coat, I noticed that it did change the color slightly--just a slight tint of yellow. The wax also seemed to make the paint a bit more transparent. Keep in mind I did not use the brand's own wax; perhaps this makes a difference in the performance of wax on the paint. The wax did give the finish a bit of a sheen and some protection as well. Hopefully it will keep the paint from chipping any more.

I have one more suitcase to paint... a little one that isn't part of the set, but the style is the same. I can't decide if I'll use the Annie Sloane Chalk Paint on this one, just to make a matched set, or revert to my old standby of American Accents latex.

I painted a few other pieces at the same time and I wish I would have slowed down a bit. One of them is a really cute end table that I believe I will add a coat of latex and poly to. Currently it has two coats of the Chalk Paint on it. The other item was a small brass decorative piece that I'll leave as is with the chalk paint--I kind of like the velvety finish on it and we'll see how it stands up over time. I am not going to put a coat of wax or anything on it. I'll share both of these items in a future post.

I don't think I'll be painting any more furniture with the paint. It's about $35 a quart, plus shipping, and I am hesitant regarding the durability of the finish and I am not going to make an additional purchase of the brand's wax to see if that would make a difference. It was fun to try, but I don't think it really saved me much time. I do have my favorite latex colors for painting furniture and I think I will stick to them. I didn't do any distressing to the finish of the cases; this was another advantage posted by other bloggers--how nice the paint distresses. The suitcases were distressing themselves with no help from me in the areas where there was metal!

I still have about a half a can of paint left and I do love that the brush remains pliable even after sitting for a week or so with paint on it. When I finally did clean the brush the paint came off very easily. I always purchase quality paint brushes and it's nice to be able to keep them clean.

Here's my pros & cons for this paint...

I like...
  • that the paint did not need to be mixed; there was no settling of the product
  • that the paint-coated brush stays pliable even when sitting out for a week and cleans up easily
  • how smooth the first coat went on
  • the velvet-chalk finish of the paint.... for decorative items
  • that you can dilute the paint with water if it becomes too thick
  • that you can use it on a chalkboard... I think a white chalkboard would be a great look and I will be using the paint to change an old pottery barn chalkboard I have.

I didn't like...
  • that the paint did not seal certain stained areas of a small table I painted it with. Even after two coats the stain came to the surface. I ended up going over these spots with some Kilz to seal the stain.
  • the cost; $35 on average plus shipping
  • that I had read that one coat was sufficient for most items and all three things I painted needed two.
  • that the paint chipped off the metal surfaces on my suitcases when it says it will work on this type of surface
Make up your own mind, there are lots of blogs out there singing the praises of this paint... and many of them certainly paint a lot more furniture that I do! I was intrigued enough by their reviews to give it a go and this post is simply my opinion. Please comment with your own experiences with the paint and let me know what you think and include ways that I might have improved the resulting finish.

Linking this post to...

Domestically Speaking

DIY by Design
Mod Vintage Life
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Vintage Thingy Thursday at Coloradolady
My Romantic Home

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