Project Challenge #1, Paint/Stain – Chalk Paint and Dark Wax

Some talented bloggers and I have challenged each other to come up with a unique item/project made with a different product each month.
This month our challenge is using paint or stain. Luckily, I have been up to my ears in painting this week so I am super excited to share something that you’ve seen being used a million times already but I am just barely there.
I want to share my review and thoughts with you about chalk paint and dark wax after using it on this all natural wood piece that has a lot of pretty detail. To me, the best way to bring those details out is to paint and glaze it. I have never had good luck with the store glazes so if you read further you’ll see what else you can do to get that look besides what I am showing in this post.
After sanding the shine off the wood surface (still a little skeptical about the not having to sand with chalk paint) I decided to try my own mixture of chalk paint as so many DIY-ers are doing.
To make my own chalk paint I just added 1/2 cup of plaster and 1/2 cup of water together in a disposable bowl and mixed it really well. Then I added that to my favorite color of paint – Northampton Putty by Benjamin Moore (about a quart or a little less).
To reduce the brush stroke lines I used an eggshell paint finish along with applying the chalk paint with a sponge roller then back brushing.
Rolling on paint and back brushing is the key to NO brush stroke lines.
I like the thickness of the chalk paint mixture and it seemed to dry fast and hard.  I used a little mouse hand sander to distress the paint once it dried.

OK… so the other new thing I tried is this dark wax. I read HERE that applying clear wax to the painted surface first is important so I did. The detailed areas were then brushed in the dark wax full strength after the initial clear wax coat.

(I painted the drawer white because I love two toned furniture.)
I used a cheap paint brush to apply the dark wax into all the nooks and crannies in the wood. Then using a piece of an old t-shirt dipped in clear wax I rubbed in circular motions to spread the wax around.
It was beautiful after I rubbed it all in. I seemed to use a lot of clear wax and I thought I was working with it for a long time but maybe I wasn’t – I didn’t look at the time.
The embellished areas are accentuated with the darker color. I don’t think my results would have been good without clear wax. It helped dilute the darkness.
I have to tell you though – I get this same look with another technique by using stain as I did the dark wax here and then baby oil as the clear.
(You can view that post tutorial HERE. I think the baby oil way is easier and cheaper but I had to see what all the rage was with these new products).
I don’t know why I like the look of painted hardware but I do. The great part is that chalk paint will even stick to metal.

New knobs went on the white drawer and I lined the inside with chevron contact paper. It’s an “old with the new” look. 🙂

Isn’t it pretty? So let’s re-cap:
The paint color is Northampton Putty by Ben Moore in an eggshell finish.
The drawer is just a white wall paint I have around – it’s semi gloss.
Both are mixed with plaster of paris.
Roll and back brush!
Sand with about a 220 grit paper for a distressed look (distressing techniques can be found in THIS post)
Use clear wax on the whole surface first (and not just a little).
Apply dark wax to the details with an inexpensive paint brush.
Use an old t-shirt or cloth dipped in clear wax to blend it all by rubbing the surface in a circular motion.

Will I use chalk paint again? – YES!
Will I continue to use dark wax? – Some of the time 🙂
OK….so go see the other bloggers that are sharing their Project Challenge today and enjoy!
Thanks so much for reading and happy Friday!!!


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LOVE the piece. I also am a new be to painting furniture, can you please tell me what BACK BRUSHING is???? I think what you are saying is to go over what you painted with a brush, am I right?. I would really appreciate if you could explain what back brushing is so that I have a clear understanding. Just discovered your blog and I will be signing up for more of your posts. Thank you for sharing all of your techniques .

Holly, what a beautiful piece of furniture. I know so many people that would love to have you work for them. You truly do have a gift and talent that is rare. Thank you for your insight and enthusiasm. People like you make the world go around. I love Chantel's post and family picture also. love ya, mom

Holly,This piece is gorgeous. I love that you used the clear wax and then the dark. I have never worked with the dark but love the tip of clear wax first to control the darkness. Great re love of this piece.Kris

Holly, this is such a gorgeous transformation!

That is really lovely Holly! I don't have much luck with dark wax, so I'll keep this in mind when I paint my next piece. Thanks for all the tips!


Can you please explain \”back brushing\”? The table is gorgeous!

Look at the new life you gave that thing! Who knew before it could be so BEAUTIFUL!! I always wondered what you would think of chalk paint and wax. So fun to hear your review! XO 😉

So pretty Holly!! I would have passed over that piece of furniture for sure! You have totally transformed it! Such a pretty shade of gray!

I love this blog it always blow my mind with amazing new things which I never ever think. Superb….. TETJOB2014

Hi Holly, you never disappoint. . .this piece turned out fantastic. . . ! I would like to link up to this challenge but I have never joined a linky party before. Can you explain to me how to do it please? I know, I'm way behind the times. I just finished a painted project that fits this theme perfect. Have a good weekend. . . ~debi

Holly, do you remember me from a 100 years ago when I dated your brother, lol? Someone liked your post and it showed up on my Facebook feed. I clicked on it and was so happy to see it was you. You are so talented. I am so amazed. Hope life is treating you well. You were always so nice to me. Take care, Chantel

I have never used chalk paint before… Honestly, have been waiting for someone I can relate to to try it first :)Thanks Holly!!PLUS you gave us a recipe.Pity I have a house full this weekend as I am dying to get it done now!Beautiful piece!!Hugs, Gee

Thanks for the instructions on mixing for the chalk paint. It looks fabulous. I love the color and the one white drawer is a very nice touch. Thanks again.Rowena

Oh my goodness i am sure most people would not believe what the before looked at. Such a beautiful piece NOW! The perfect poster child for painted furniture!

Gosh, I LOVE that piece! Your last pic with it in the room is just gorgeous! I like the wreath hanging on it too. thanks for sharing the tutorial. I've never made my own chalk paint before. I have used the other brands before though and really like it.

This is really awesome! I don't ever use dark wax without the clear either. I always but a layer of clear wax on first and then dark wax – that way if I want to pull the dark wax back off it will come off with more clear wax. And I'm with you – it takes a lot of time. I'm intrigued with the stain and baby oil – that's a cool idea too. I'll have to try that cause it sounds way cheaper than the wax! Good job my friend, it's so fun to be in this challenge with… Read more »

I love this aged appeal, Holly! You did a fantastic job reviving this piece. :o)