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  • Writer's pictureAzie

The Tutorialist – How to paint your stairs using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Our basement stairs needed a refresh. They were originally painted in a butter yellow latex by the previous family, and I opted not to change them until just recently when they started looking worse for wear. Since they lead to the basement and are only visible to us. I decided to use leftover Chalk Paint at home and create an ombre rainbow effect for fun.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Thoroughly clean the stairs. I did this using a mild floor cleaner then rinsed with water and allowed it to air dry. Once the stairs were clean and dry, I began painting. Each stair was a different color, many mixed with Pure (the lightest, brightest white of the Annie Sloan range) to lighten them. I used Emperor’s Silk, Burgundy, English Yellow, Antibes Green, Florence, and Napoleonic Blue.  I chose these colors because I already conveniently had them on hand. I am resourceful like that. To paint, use the Annie Sloan Natural Bristle Brush in either small or medium size and paint two light coats with the grain, allowing 30 minute dry time between coats. You will have to be strategic since you are painting stairs. (I chose to paint every third stair to allow myself to walk up and down as needed.)

  2. Once the paint is fully dry, use the Annie Sloan Sanding Sponge in Medium and lightly sand the piece (opposite the grain/brushstroke) to smooth the finish and remove any noticeable ridges. This is optional but will provide you with a modern finish. Wipe off the sanding dust with a Shop Towel. 

  3. The final step is sealing your stairs with Lacquer. I chose the new Gloss Lacquer by Annie Sloan because I really wanted to try it on a project and it had just come out. It’s pretty easy to use and very hard-wearing so it’s the best option for high traffic areas like floors and stairs. I stirred well, added about 10% water to my coats, and used a small foam roller to apply. It dries in an hour and so I rolled a second coat over the first for extra protection.

It’s a straightforward process and as long as you plan it so you can walk on the dry steps, it’s not too tedious.

Fun fact: we had a minor mishap after I finished painting ours. As I painted myself into the basement, I started a load of laundry and realized I smelled gas. I called the fire department who concluded we had a gas leak (gasp!) but only after 7 big firemen stomped down my freshly painted stairs!! Needless to say, I then had boot prints on top of each stair. (WAAAAAH) I had already remixed each color and couldn’t touch up, so my solution was to go with it…I opted to decorate them more and hide their imperfections. Lucky for my kids, my idea was to paint Pokemon characters on each stair so we ended up with these:

I ended up painting the sides of the stairwell in Graphite for a moodier descent.

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