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  • Writer's pictureAzie

The Tutorialist – Layered and Luxe

A friend of mine (& fellow decorative painter) asked about this finish today and I couldn’t believe I never posted the tutorial! Things have been really busy with {verdigreen} because of all the design work we’ve taken on, and it somehow slipped through the cracks…but this was a fan favorite for sure so here’s the story.

I was hired to modernize a dining room for a client. She has a “Z Gallerie” style happening in her home – trading out her old Tuscan pieces for light, modern, glamorous aesthetic. It was a challenging job because the pieces are large and the samples were hard for her to visualize on a larger scale. There was a slight detour with the version of the sample…but these things occasionally happen during customs and the wonderful thing about Annie Sloan paint is that it layers beautifully so you just keep rolling with it and the finish just gets better until you finally nail the look!

Here’s how we did it:

  1. Wipe down the piece of furniture you are painting. No sanding or priming is required when using Chalk Paint as long as the surface finish isn’t peeling – so decant your Old White pick up your Annie Sloan paint brush (we used the Medium) and start painting with the grain. Allow the first coat to dry for 30 minutes then coat again, lightly, with the grain for full coverage. We also had some details that required “stippling” the paint (a stabbing motion) deep into the carvings as we painted.

  2. Once the paint is dry, mix your color wash. A Color Wash is a mixture of paint and water (thinned down paint, essentially) and we typically use a 50:50 ratio to keep it easy. In this case, we chose Paris Grey as the paint color however you can do a Color Wash with any color. Apply the Paris Grey Color Wash with a synthetic brush, with the grain, a small section at a time. Immediately wipe off the Color Wash with paper towel and a light hand (light pressure) to allow for a striated layered look. Repeat this on the entire piece.

  3. Seal your paint and wood with Clear Wax. This will give it a slight sheen and protect your painted surface. The Clear Soft Wax doesn’t add any color to the Annie Sloan paint, but it does bring the color to life and give depth to the piece. To use Annie Sloan Soft Wax, swirl the tip of your Wax Brush in the Wax tin, loading about a half tablespoon onto the brush, then sweep it on the surface of your furniture, a small section at a time. Immediately wipe off the excess with a lint-free cloth (we use Shop Towels.)

  4. Your waxed finish should feel dry to touch immediately after waxing. If it is still tacky, you’ve used too much wax or not wiped enough off so make sure to do so before continuing. Now you are ready to use the Black Wax! The Black Wax has a cool grey tone to it and will add another layer of dimension to your piece. Please, for the love of all things holy, please do not overload your wax brush with Black Wax or you will be removing the excess for days. Just use a small amount at a time on your wax brush, wipe off the excess Black Wax from your brush onto a paper towel, then wax as per usual. Sweep on the surface lightly like you are painting, and immediately remove the waste with a Shop Towel.

  5. This step is optional. If you want the exact look we used in the photos, do this: Use a teeny splash of Mineral Spirits (paint thinner) or Clear Wax on a paper towel and rub onto the flat surfaces of your furniture, a small section at a time. Wipe off the “loosened” Black Wax with shop towels. This essentially lightens the finish on the flat areas and keeps the depth in the low points. It also keeps the Black Wax inside your brushstrokes. It is an extra step but it’s worth doing to get the most authentic look. Yes, you could have used a smaller brush to apply the Black Wax in the details only, but the look is still different, trust me. Yes, you can use Mineral Spirits in your Black Wax to create a glaze instead of using the wax thick, but again it is a different look.

  6. Now for the fun – GILDING WAX! We used Gold Gilding on the high points to give a subtle shimmer to the piece as a finishing touch. Use your finger and lightly touch the surface to glide the gilding wax on. It cures on its own. We buffed it a bit with a soft cloth to shine it up, too. Also optional.

  7. ** If your piece has an interior like this one, you can paint it Old White then paint over it with Champagne Modern Masters Metallic to get this same look. We use Annie Sloan paint first so the metallic covers properly because metallic paints on their own aren’t fully opaque.**

  8. Step back and admire all the work you’ve done! It looks gorgeous, darling.

Even professional decorative painters are rewarded by the process of witnessing how painted finishes evolve! I am in awe every.single.time. It’s such a cool experience to know you created something beautiful and original. We hope this inspires you to have patience with the process and allow it to take shape.

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