If you’ve been looking for a detailed tutorial so you can try your hand at chalk painting, you’ve come to the right place! 

What a transformation! A 19th century washstand got a chalk paint makeover that completely changed her from ordinary to extraordinary.


Back when it was below freezing and the snow was driving sideways and the drifts were rising an inch an hour, my friend Alice asked me if I would be willing to help her paint her antique washstand.  We live half an hour apart and there was no way I wanted to drive in that crazy winter weather, so I told her I’d love to, in the spring.

Spring came and with it an opportunity to try out the new FolkArt Home Decor™ Chalk. This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Blueprint Social and the wonderful people at Plaid Crafts who sent me FolkArt® Home Decor™ Chalk to use for this furniture makeover and provided compensation. The tutorial and opinions are all mine.

So, late one night I sent Alice a Facebook message about the opportunity and she agreed to bring her antique washstand to me and let me give it a chalk paint makeover.  But before the project could begin, Alice needed to select her chalk colors.  It’s a good thing she had a vision in mind for her washstand. With 16 great colors to choose from it could be hard to make a decision.  I think I heard Salmon Coral calling my name for another project.

Did you know you can mix the colors to make more colors too? I wonder how many different colors you could make?  Hmmm….that might be fun…but I digress.

folkart-home-decor-chalk-color-chart AnExtraordinaryDay.net

That night, already in her bed, Alice selected Sheepskin for the undercoat and Castle for the topcoat and we were off to give the tired antique washstand a bright new look.


Antique Washstand Before :: FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


As I was prepping this lovely washstand, she was adamant that I used her name: Louise.  A beautiful Victorian name and one that fits her well, don’t you agree?  So from here on in, I will refer to this beautiful vintage washstand as Louise.

It was a cool cloudy day when I brought Louise outside for her before shot.  She did her best to look proud.  In spite of her years, she is in excellent shape and has amazingly good bones.

Before we get too far, here’s what I used to give Louise her extraordinary makeover.

Supplies for Washstand Louise’s Chalk Paint Makeover


I love that FolkArt Home Decor Chalk is a no-prep acrylic paint.

Since I’ve been known to create on a whim, it’s great to know that when painting previously used furniture and home decor accessories, all we need to do is clean the surface with window cleaner to remove dirt or dust particles.  Glass and ceramic surfaces should be wiped down using rubbing alcohol.  But, I confess that as an over-achiever I did a wee bit more than that.  Yup.  I gave Louise a very gentle sanding with my fine sanding sponge, just enough to take away the faint patina that comes with her years and prepare her for her facelift.  As I was doing so, I noted that she was held together with some lovely square nails.


Beauty in the details.

While sanding Louise’s pretty, but plain drawer, I discovered the most beautiful dovetail construction I have ever seen.  I was so intrigued that I did an internet search for more info and discovered that this is considered to be a “non-dovetail machine drawer joint innovation of the 19th century called the scallop and dowel joint or the Knapp joint, named after the inventor.”  Learn more here.  I was careful not to apply paint there so that this fun and unusual joint could still be seen.


19th Century Knapp Joint :: FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover of an Antique Washstand :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Next, I made sure that Louise was dust-free.  This an important part of a project…don’t skip this step.  A slightly damp lint-free cloth or paper towel will work to grab any dust.


FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Ultra Matte Acrylic Paint :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


It was time to apply Louise’s first coat of color.  Her “foundation” choice was Sheepskin.  To apply the paint I used a two-inch angled paintbrush.  The paint is like pudding, so a stiffer bristle was helpful as I brushed it on.  I poured some FolkArt Home Decor Chalk into a one-pound sour cream container rather than using it out of the plastic jar, after stirring it, about a quarter of a container at a time.

FolkArt Home Decor Chalk dries in minutes so you can layer and sand it to give you the perfectly distressed look and feel.  So, immediately after each coat of color, I carefully cleaned my paintbrush with warm water and a little dish soap.  Did you know if you shake your brush hard it releases more water and dries more quickly?  I usually do this outdoors.

As per the directions on the label, I waited 2 hours for the chalk to dry and then took my fine sanding sponge to a few areas that would be naturally worn with time and removed a wee bit of paint.  And then ever-so-lightly sanded over the entire piece again to lessen the brush marks and dusted it well so that the surface was squeaky clean.


First coat of paint :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Louise was looking younger already.  We next gave her a beautiful finishing color, Castle.

Here she is with one coat of Castle after I gave her a little distressing.


First coat of Castle :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Earlier as I was preparing Louise’s drawers, I went to remove her pulls only to find that they were actually pegged and glued drawer pulls.  They are so cute, I don’t think I’d want to change them anyway.  But, they were a little bit of a challenge for painting.  I discovered that you can also work this FolkArt Home Decor Chalk with your fingers.  Although I brushed color on the drawer’s knobs, I worked the color around with my fingers to achieve the look I wanted.  And it was much easier than trying to use sandpaper to get the distressed look I hoped to achieve.  When I added the second coat later, I worked the color on the knobs a little more.

 Distressing Cabinet Knobs :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint ::Makeover AnExtraordinaryDay.net


At this point, I decided to give Louise one more color coat for added depth and richness.  Be careful to not apply the paint too thickly, though.

Here she is looking so regal in her Castle color.


Second coat of Castle before waxing :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint :: Makeover AnExtraordinaryDay.net


After another drying session, which was overnight, I got out the fine sanding sponge and some medium sandpaper to give her a little bit of an aged or worn look.  Just enough to give her the character of the era.  We didn’t want her to look like a painted lady…that would be over the top!

One thing I discovered here was that it was more difficult the next day to distress sand her with fine-grit sandpaper than it was after just two hours.  I made a note of that for next time.

Being the finicky painter I am, I very lightly went over her entire surface with my fine sanding sponge again.  You. Do. Not. Need. To. Do. That. At. All.  Chalk shows more brush strokes and I prefer a finer finish for fine furniture like Louise.  This is a personal preference.  A style thing, if you will.  I would have finished my project a lot sooner if I wasn’t such a slave to that sanding sponge. 😉

Here she is….looking fabulous and ready for her waxing.


Final Distressing Before Waxing :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Wax on wax off…


FolkArt Home Decor Wax :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


I love FolkArt Home Decor Wax.  It’s virtually odorless and water-based for easy cleanup so I felt free to use my good paintbrush to stroke the wax all over Louise (But, you can use a soft lint-free cloth, if you prefer.).  To make it easier, I poured a little bit at a time into a one-inch-tall deli container.

As you stroke on the wax, be sure to cover every little bit of surface area.  I missed a few spots, so I had to go back and give Louise a little extra coverage.  Allow the wax to dry an hour and buff with a soft cloth.  I used a soft old washcloth for the first rub down and some cheesecloth for the second to even out the areas where I put the wax on a wee bit heavier.  The more you rub, the more polish or sheen you’ll get.  If you’re waxing a piece of furniture, be prepared to get a bit of a workout.  It’s a good time to work on your ambidexterity.


Supplies for Waxing :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Here comes the scary part; applying the Antiquing Wax.  Just kidding!  If you’ve never applied an antiquing wax before and you rub it on the surface of your project, you just might start to freak out.  Seriously, all this time and effort and your project is looking extraordinary and here you go and mess it up with some dark color.   That’s what I was thinking.

Don’t freak out!!  

If you follow this helpful tip, your anxieties will be calmed immediately.

Fill a small container with clear wax and have your paintbrush at hand.  The clear wax when painted over the antique wax will soften and blend it out, so that when you begin to rub it off you will still retain most of the color of your project with just a little antiquing in the recesses or surface as you choose.

I used a 3-inch chip brush (see above), with just the bristles at the far end of each side of the brush dipped into the antiquing wax, and giving a quick stroke or two of the wax on my project.  Don’t get overly ambitious and paint on a lot of antiquing wax at one time.  Trust me.  Almost immediately after stroking on the antique wax take your clean cloth and rub down the wax to create the look you want.


Distressing then Antiquing with Wax :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Also, if your antiquing wax gets a little stiff and doesn’t seem to be coming off the way you like.  Again, give it a quick coat with some of the clear wax.  I can’t tell you how great the two work together.  The artist in me came out when I started playing with the antique wax.  Aside from having tired hands by this time, it was fun.

Be careful to not work the wax with too much pressure.  Some overzealous person (I don’t know who that would be!) managed to rub off the paint all the way to the wood in little minute spots.  It worked out well for my distressed look, however, everything is water-based, and you are wetting everything again as you apply the liquid wax, so consider that when you get to rubbing hard on your project.   Another possibility would be to let the wax cure an hour or so after buffing between clear and antique applications.  At least that’s what I will do next time.


Close up of antiquing :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint :: Makeover AnExtraordinaryDay.net


At some point in Louise’s life, someone decided that they needed to change out her doorknob to something more practical.  I’m not sure if it should stay or if it should be replaced with something more whimsical.  What do you think?


Antique Washstand in Castle over Sheepskin, distressed and antiqued with FolkArt Home Decor Wax :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


So what do you think of Louise’s chalk paint makeover?

Isn’t she beautiful?  FolkArt Home Decor Chalk and Wax transforms your everyday items into one-of-a-kind treasures or gives your one-of-a-kind treasure a lovely facelift.


Painted Canister :: Antique Washstand with a FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint :: What a transformation! A 19th century washstand got a chalk paint makeover that completely changed her from ordinary to extraordinary.


Since I had plenty of paint leftover, I thought it would be fun to paint a glass nut jar with FolkArt Home Decor Chalk for the photoshoot.  I painted the color Castle first and then overcoated it with Sheepskin and gave it a light sanding to distress it a bit.  I could wax it at this point, but I really like the ultra-matte chalk finish and since it is simply for decor I just might leave it.  Then again, I love antiquing with wax, so you never know!

Doesn’t the nut jar turned old-time canister look fabulous?

To make arranging the lilacs easier, I placed a tall glass filled with water inside the nut jar.   It’s the little things.  Always.


Antique Washstand Chalk Paint Makeover :: AnExtraordinaryDay.net


Now it’s your turn!  


Click HERE for more fabulous Furniture Makeovers!



Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.

Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!


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  1. Kim says

    Just gorgeous, Diane! Louise is truly outstanding. I have never used chalk paint ~ you can’t argue with the results, they are stunning!

    • Diane says

      Kim…you are so sweet. 🙂 Thank you for your kind thoughts. I hope maybe you’re inspired to paint something that needs to be refreshed too.

  2. Alice Bugbee says

    Diane I love Lousie! My dad would love her too! Beautiful!

    • Diane says

      Yay!! I’m so glad you like it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do this…a win-win for both of us!

  3. Glenda Kremer says

    pretty but I cannot imagine painting my antique wash stand given me by my Mom-in-love. tho she died in Jan. she told me I also get the one in their retirement apt. when Dad is no longer here! I so love the beautiful wood on them!

    • Diane says

      Thanks Glenda! I know you have a love of wood and wood grains. How wonderful you to acquire such wonderful treasures to enjoy and have as sweet remembrances.

    • Alice Bugbee says

      Glenda, the washstand had quite of bit of scratches on it and had water stains. I wanted the washstand to look beautiful again and Diane did just that. I have some antique pieces that I would never think of painting my Dad. Refinished them and have been in the family.

  4. Oh my what a pretty piece she is now! I didn’t even know folkart paint had chalk paint! Nice colors too. I hope you won’t mind me saying this, I find it difficult to read your blog, the font is really small. Blame my old age, but I want to read every line!

    • Diane says

      Cathy…thank you so much! Chalk and wax are brand new to the FolkArt line. I agree the colors are outstanding. 🙂

      Thank you for telling me that my font is too small. Recently I was thinking that maybe I should increase the size. I just don’t know how to do that. [sigh] But, because you asked, it will give me the courage and determination to figure it out. I also would love to tweak the headlines, too. (If there are any WordPress experts out there…share away!)

      Best wishes for an extraordinary Memorial Day and weekend!

  5. That looks great, Diane! The new color makes the pretty shape stand out so much more.

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much for stopping by Stacey and leaving your encouraging words!!
      I know what you mean about the color. It really gave life to the piece.

      Best wishes for an extraordinary holiday weekend!

  6. I love it! You did such a great job. I really love the effect chalk paint and wax have on a piece of furniture, and It really does look so much better.
    I’d love for you to share this piece (and any others you may have) at The Weekend Social. http://thequestionablehomesteader.com/weekend-social-21/

    • Diane says

      Thank you so much Ricki! And thank you for your lovely invitation as well!

      Best wishes for an extraordinary holiday weekend!

  7. Cindy says

    Turned out very nice, love the color. Thanks for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY…


  8. Pondside says

    Beautiful. This is a chalk paint project/tutorial that I think I just might be able to follow. Thank you for the very clear directions and tips.
    Visiting from Amaze me Monday.

  9. Kim says

    I had no idea Folk Art was providing chalk paint! I’ll be checking that out, for sure. You did a completely lovely and perfect job on this beautiful wash stand. I love that dove-tail alternative, too! I’m so glad you didn’t paint over that. 🙂 I love how you were very detailed in your instructions. You covered it all, every aspect of your steps, and I appreciate knowing all the details. You’ve inspired me to get busy with some more chalk paint projects around my home. So little time…so much to do…you know. Louise is gorgeous, thanks to you! 🙂

    • Diane says

      Kim…this is a brand now product from the people at Plaid (FolkArt). I love that they sell 8 oz. containers of their chalk and wax…just right for so many projects.
      Thanks for the words of encouragement about the tutorial. I second guess myself more than you will ever imagine. 😉 I’ll share the compliment with Louise. I know it will make her day! 😉

  10. Suzan says

    What a beautiful transformation Diane !
    Saw it over at Homework and had to come see – just love it!

    • Diane says

      Awwww sweet friend….that is so nice of you! Thank you!!! 🙂

  11. This turned out beautiful Diane.

  12. You did a fabulous job on the washstand Diane! Great tutorial too! I’m thinking a whimsical knob would be a great addition to the simple lines of this piece, but it is lovely as it is too. Blessings to you my friend!

  13. Great job!!

  14. Louise is beautiful! I think she looks much happier! I haven’t used chalk paint – some people complain about it, but I’ve only seen beautiful results, like yours… I love the color. You did such a great job! Please come and share your fab projects with us Sunday night (6pm PST) on Merry Monday Linky!

  15. Oh how pretty. What a difference. I have never used chalk paint but I want to. I have a tea cart.
    That I would love to paint white. Maybe someday. LOL.
    Great post. Thanks for the tutorial.
    Come by and see me.

  16. BEAUTIFULLY done!!

  17. Stopping by from BFF Open House Link Party. The whitewash look great. I love all the bright colors it comes in too.

  18. Wow, that turned out beautifully!

  19. Becky says

    Your project turned out beautiful. I sure hope they have the Chalk paint in the store and not just online! As JoAnn’s hours are so much easier on my paint on a whim lifestyle.

  20. Helen says

    What a transformation and such a detailed blog post! I have just found (and started following) your blog and I am not getting much else done at all now! 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!

  21. Tracy Parker says

    Absolutely adorable! What great work you have done. Love the process you documented. I love seeing the process and it helps others appreciate all that goes into restoring or transforming a piece. The Wood worker is working on transforming a farm table today and I am working on a typewriter table that will get a pretty robins egg blue color transformation. There is such satisfaction in seeing things come to life again. Great job Diane!

  22. Janet says

    I’ve been wondering how this is done. Thank you for sharing step-by-step!

  23. Wonderful job! Louise looks fab!

  24. Louise is a great looking gal with good bones. Amazing what a little “war paint” will do! I am glad I found you — visiting from That DIY Party. I didn’t know about this brand of chalk paint. I do a lot of painting, and will definitely check it out.

  25. Great post! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams , starts on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  26. Marti says

    Diane, I love Louise she looks beautiful in that coat of paint! Pinning 🙂

  27. Judy says

    You did a great job. I will be featuring this tonight at my Swing into Spring party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I’ve Been Featured button. Thanks.

  28. Kathy says

    Your washstand is wonderful, Diane. I will be featuring your post in this week’s Home and Garden Thursday,

  29. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful makeover at Knick of Time Tuesday! I’d didn’t realize Folk Art made that kind of paint, so I’ll definitely be looking for it!

    Be sure to “like” the Knick of Time FB page, so I can promote your page and blog on FB.

    • Diane says

      Yes…this is a brand new line for Plaid. I love all the great colors.
      Thanks Angie…I had previously “liked” your page from my personal FB page, so I added you to my “like” from An Extraordinary Day. 😉
      Hope your week is extraordinary!

  30. Stunning makeover! I’d love for you to share this at my Motivational Monday Link Party that I just started yesterday! Feel free to share other old or new posts that fit the theme as well if you have them!


  31. MP says

    Louise looks beautiful after her makeover. I really appreciate your post as I would like to use this paint to paint 3 tables in my living room but I am kind of hesitant. So far I have been using this paint for mason jars and small things, and was kind of apprehensive to use it on furniture. You’ve given me the confidence to tackle my project! Many thanks.

    • Diane says

      MP….I felt that my results were better on the furniture than on the jar I painted. Though maybe I was in too big of a hurry when I painted my jar. 😉
      Best wishes for a successful makeover!

  32. Sara Reed says

    Hello your washstand is stunning and unique. Thank u for sharing. Saw it shared on MMS ‘s FFF.

    There is an old washstand next door at a garage sale! I’ve fought myself to purchase it at lease five times today, imagining ways to paint it. Do not need any pieces, but itching to paint, and this post inspired my decision to get it tomorrow lol. Can only hope turns out as full of charachter as yours is!

  33. Teri says

    I used the cascade color of Folkart Home Decor on an old dresser and it came out beautiful. Then I applied the clear wax and waited over an hour to buff out and white streaks remained all over the dresser. It never did dry clear and now I am going to have to apply another coat of cascade paint all over the dresser to attempt to get rid of the blotches of white that the wax created. I don’t know what happened? I tried buffing it out — even applied a little water to it when trying to buff it out … nothing seems to work. LOVE the paint without the clear wax, though!

    • Diane says

      Oh Terri….I would love to paint something “cascade” – it’s such a yummy color.
      Regarding the wax. The wax does not dry clear, per say….but when you rub it out it will be totally clear. But…yours is still streaky?

      Terri, before I would repaint, I would take an area and reapply some wax, lightly, and then rub it out. That should get rid of the white streaks. I’d then let it dry overnight and I would re-apply the wax again in that area, let it dry 2 hours and then give it a good buffing. If that doesn’t work then I would contact Plaid (FolkArt Decor) here: http://www.plaidonline.com/contact-plaid.aspx?mode=ask

      Please let me know how everything turns out!!

  34. marian says

    I just painted a piece with Folk Art chalk paint and decided to google it to see how people like it and found your blog. (I’ve used Annie Sloan before, but they only sell it in another county, and Folk Art is available close to my home.)
    Have you used Annie Sloan before, and how do you think it compares? I notice that Folk Art has an odor which Annie Sloan’s doesn’t. Besides that, I’m not sure what the differences are. Would appreciate hearing your opinion.

  35. plain jane says

    where is the pitcher and bowl? i made one in ceramic for the washstand my dad made 50 yrs ago. i would never paint it.

  36. Cheryl says

    I have been wanting to try chalk paint for years. But the “purist” in me couldn’t believe the whole “no sanding” first part. After reading your blog and fantastic directions here, I decided to give it a shot. Plus, love that I could buy this at Joanne’s, no ordering online. I have always been a kind of “go big or go home” type of person, so decided to give it a shot on an old very large ugly china cabinet. When I first brought it home the hubby told me I should have just put it out on the lawn with trash. However, a few coats of sheepskin, some sanding, clear wax and antique wax (as well as refinishing the hardware to look like antique bronze) it looks like a completely different cabinet. Not only is it gorgeous, my husband absolutely loves it and brags about how I refinished it to anyone who will listen. I have refinished many pieces of furniture using traditional methods, but finally your blog gave me the confidence to enter the chalk paint world and I am hooked… almost finished with my kitchen table and chairs. Thank you so much!!

    • Cheryl… thank you so much for sharing your success with chalk paint. I am so excited for you! 🙂 And blessed to have been a small part in helping to inspire you.
      Thanks for popping over… you just made my day!!!!!

  37. Penny says

    I just started working with Chalk Paint and I love it. Well obviously im just learning. My question is I have a dresser I want to redo and I know normally no priming & sanding required but the old paint is chipping leaving uneven marks. What should I do?


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