If you’ve used Chalk Paint® with any regularity, chances are you have run into a piece that just doesn’t cooperate. Knowing how great Annie Sloan’s paint is, it can be a head-scratcher when you meet a stubborn piece of furniture that doesn’t take to the paint the way you know it should.
As we like to tell everyone, Chalk Paint sticks to nearly everything. You also don’t need to sand, prime, or do any prep work. Almost always, this rings true. As with every rule, there are always exceptions. The biggest exception to the Chalk Paint rules are when you run into a piece that experiences bleed through. If you’ve never experienced it before, it usually starts the same way. You paint your first coat of paint and wait for it to dry. Once dry, you begin to notice pink or brownish spots and streaks bleeding through to the surface. If you’re stubborn or uninformed (like I was the first time I tackled this obstacle), you will cross your fingers and hope a second coat will hide all of the crap that has now come to the surface. The bad news is that if it is bleed through, it will come back again and again. (It’s okay at this point to admit if you’re super stubborn, as I was, and throw caution to the wind with a third coat, hoping that will do the trick. You could probably apply thirty coats and it wouldn’t matter. It would also be a waste of wonderful Chalk Paint.) This is where we deviate from the no prep work missive and call in the cavalry to slay our pesky bleeding. In this case, clear shellac is the cavalry.
Ok. So now you’re probably wondering, “How will I know what types of furniture bleeds?” For the most part, oak, mahogany, and knotty pine will cause problems, particulary stuff made in the 1930’s and 40’s. If you use wood filler to fix some divots in furniture, that can bleed, too. Up here in New England, there seems to be a plethora of antique mahogony furniture, and it can give you fits if not treated properly. I’m speaking bitterly from experience.
Anyway, fear not. Grab a can of clear shellac from any paint or hardware store. I like to use Zinsser brand (not paid to say that, but I would gladly take their money if they offered.
Shellac goes on quick and easy. Apply a thin coat and allow it dry according to drying time on the can. Once dry, paint away as usual.
Before I go, I should also mention that heavily pledged furniture can sometimes be a pain in the ass. The oils or whatever the heck that stuff has in it will resist the paint. In this case, I will wipe it down with mineral spirits. Just figured I toss you that bone while we were talking #chalkpainproblems.
As always, hit me with your questions in the comments.