Lara Roberts from Roberts Vintage Frames shares all her tips and tricks on how to use chalk paint to paint a picture frame. Laura is also a member of our Home Decorating, Upcycling and DIY Facebook group. If you would like to share a project to be featured on this site, you can do so here.
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- Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey
- French Linen and Old White
- round head brushes
- round head waxing brush
- baby wipes
- Annie Sloan’s clear wax
- Annie Sloan’s dark wax
- microfibre cloth
How to use chalk paint
First, remove the canvas from the frame (if there is one) and rest it on two scraps of wood on a table top. I always recommend painting at table height as it saves your back and gives you a better view of your project. Elevating it further on the wood stops your brush from accidentally hitting the table top/ floor and picking up bits.
Paint in your choice of colour. I went for a grey to compliment the mustard yellow wall it’s going to hang from. I’m using Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey applied with a round head brush. I recommend using a quality round head because you can really use them to stab at the detail to ensure full coverage.
If it takes you a while to do a coat don’t worry,a frame like this takes more time than you’d expect.
This is after two coats of paint have dried.
You can see here I have gone for a textured finish, simply achieved by dabbing rather than stroking with my brush. I find Paris Grey usually covers in one coat but because of the dabbing it took two.
Next, I dry brushed in French Linen. Dry brushing is when you lightly brush over the piece with very little paint on your brush. You dip your brush then vigorously brushed off most the paint on a piece of scrap.
Lightly brush over the whole frame which will really pick up on that texture and the detail of the frame.
I also dry brushed in Old White to really make the detail stand out and create a more layered paint effect. Here’s where you should be so far.
Next you distress. Using baby wipes you rub any area that you would like to be gold. Unlike sand paper, baby wipes will only take off the paint and not disturb the gold. If you have dry brushed, be careful not to knock any areas you don’t want distressed because it will blend the effect.
I decided to only distress the boarder to highlight the lovely shape. You might want to distress a lot more, or not at all. The gold does stand out against the grey but the dark wax makes it all work nicely together.
Now you wax. I apply wax using a sponge rather than a rag. It’s much easier to work with. You only want a little on your sponge. Just rub the wax over the paint, pushing as you go.
Next comes the dark wax. Dark wax looks daunting but the more you use it the more you understand how it works. Using a waxing brush, apply dark wax to every inch of the frame. You’ll need to use quite vigorous brush motions again to get in the detail.
It will look like you’ve ruined all your hard work so far, but I promise you haven’t!
Clear wax removes dark wax. So you go back over the whole thing with clear wax, not really paying much attention to getting in the detail. That’s where you want the dark wax. So this will lift the dark wax back off leaving the shaded effect.
Here you can see the difference dark wax makes.
Expect to go through a lot of sponges to lift of the dark wax!
Finally, you buff with a microfibre cloth. You don’t get a lot of excess wax if you’ve applied with a sponge but buffing will give a nice shine.
Here is the end result, a beautiful effect! You can shake things up a lot depending of the colour you choose, how much you distressed and whether you use dark wax. Crackle glaze also looks great on these picture frames.
Thanks for taking the time to read this tutorial. I hope you found it useful!
Visit Lara Roberts Facebook page Roberts Vintage Frames to see more of her work and don’t forget to leave her a LIKE!
Hi! My name is Lara Roberts and I hand paint furniture over at Roberts Vintage Frames, with a focus on ornate frames. I’m from North Wales but based in East Yorkshire now. I hope this tutorial is useful, feel free to ask questions if you have any!