How to Paint Realistic Bricks using Chalk Paint®!

Everyone loves the intimate atmosphere in my tiny little Roswell, Georgia store.

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Its hard to believe the space looked like this when I first saw it and signed the lease!  Kinda scary!

Roswell Store - Before

Within a few weeks, we made alot of changes using Chalk Paint®,

some beadboard, and a little bit of wood.

It was starting to come together, but the back wall still felt like an eyesore to me.

The space needed architectural elements and the first thing that came to mind was bricks!

I love bricks, all kinds of bricks, white bricks, red bricks, grey bricks.

But the more I researched, I realized it wasn’t in my budget to have real bricks installed.

So the second best option had to be painted bricks.

We bought 3 brick panels from Lowe’s (about $25 for an 8′ x 4′ sheet).

They are not pretty!!!

We glued and nailed them to the back wall.

The next thing to decide was what color to paint the bricks.

The space is small and cozy, with a cottage feel,

and I wanted the bricks to add to the coziness!

I looked at many bricks online and fell in love with the colors of “Chicago Brick”.

These vintage bricks were made in the Chicago area from the late 1800s up until early 1970s.

Their general hue is a terra cotta color ranging in shades from light pink to salmon, buff, and sometimes highlights of gold.

To help choose my paint colors,

I ordered a couple of samples of Chicago brick so that I could see them in person.

I used scrap pieces of the brick panels to make sample boards.

I tried out various combinations of colors before I decided to

 use Old Ochre Chalk Paint® as my basecoat.  This color would be the grout and the base color.

Of course, Chalk Paint® will stick to almost anything so I painted it right over the brick panels.

The surface of the brick panels is fairly smooth and doesn’t feel like real bricks.

In order to add texture and authenticity, I brushed some Artisan Enhancements Fine Stone over the dry painted bricks.

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Artisan Enhancements has created some wonderful products that work very well with Chalk Paint®.

You can see the white Fine Stone on the bricks below.

It is a gritty plaster that paints on easily with a chip brush.

I didn’t worry about applying it perfectly and used about a quart of Fine Stone for this wall.

The Chalk Paint® colors I chose for the bricks were Primer Red, Scandinavian Pink, Cream, Coco, Old Ochre.

I used small rollers and sea sponges to apply the colors.  Looking at photos and the sample bricks I ordered,

I realized that no two bricks are alike.

So I didn’t stress too much about it.   Sometimes I mixed the colors together to make new colors.

Sometimes I used the colors straight out of the pan.

I did stand back once in awhile to make sure the colors were spaced out fairly evenly.

I realized as I went along that the bricks looked better if I didn’t try to blend the colors on the bricks.

I started leaving distinct areas of color.  I still sometimes dabbed the surface with a sea sponge to soften.

Painting the bricks this way went alot faster,

although I admit that the project took alot longer than I expected!

When I finally finished the painting portion, it was looking good but still a bit too pink/red.

And definitely needed more depth.

The next step is what brought them to life!

Annie Sloan Dark Wax!

Mixed with enough low odor mineral spirits to make a thick soupy consistency.

Brushed it on, rubbed it in and removed the excess.

Worked in sections.

I lightly sanded the bricks after the wax.  It brought out the Fine Stone texture.

I was thrilled with the results but wasn’t finished yet.

The window with the air conditioner and fire extinguisher still needed some help!

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My wonderful cabinet guy made custom shutters for the window.

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I banged them up and “stained” them with Annie Sloan Dark Wax!  It was so easy and looks great!

We did alot of other updating to the space in the following months but the bricks are my favorite renovation!

No one believes that they aren’t real bricks – they insist on touching them when we tell them the story!

By the way, we sell all of the Chalk Paint® and Artisan Enhancement products in our stores and online also.

Click Here to see how I painted the bricks in my Cumming store!

Click Here to order Chalk Paint®, Artisan Enhancements, or Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint.

How to Paint a Restoration Hardware type Finish on a Table

Finished Table

I found this little table and 4 chairs at a garage sale.

The original finish was maple.  It needed some work and I decided to update it with paint. (of course!)

I really DO NOT like to strip furniture!

But I felt like I needed to strip the top of this table so that the paint would penetrate the wood and give a more interesting finish.

 After stripping the top, I made a mix of half and half French Linen and Old White Chalk Paint®.

This mix creates a light grey color.

I added about 20% water to thin it.

I painted the top with the French Linen/Old White mixture –

as you can see, I really didn’t try to cover it evenly.

Let it dry.  (Doesn’t take too long to dry!  Maybe 30 minutes or so.)

After it dried, I sanded the top using an electric sander.

I don’t usually use an electric sander when distressing Chalk Paint® or Milk Paint, but in this case, I wanted to do alot more sanding than ususal and the electric sander is much quicker.  I used 220 grit sandpaper.

The sanding makes the surface very smooth and shows up the grain in the wood.

The next step was to apply a second color.

I used Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint “Trophy”, which is a dark grey.

The great thing about Milk Paint is that it soaks into the surface more than other paint and really creates depth.

I mixed the Trophy powder about 1:3 with water to make a wash.

I covered the whole surface with the thinned out Milk Paint.

This layer will dry quickly also!

Sand with electric sander.

 

My goal with the sanding was to smooth the surface again and to show up some of the warmth of the wood grain.

At this point, the overall color was a bit too gray, so I wanted to add some lightness.

I thinned down some Old White Chalk Paint®.

Painted a thin layer over the surface, not a perfect coat, just enough to cover.

Let it dry and sand again.

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what I was doing during this whole process! 

I knew I wanted sort of a white wash look but with some grey tones.

The finish evolved as I applied each layer.  At one point, I thought I was going to hate this finish but it started getting more beautiful as I added each color.   Someone had once told me  (I think it was Annie Sloan!) that, when adding layers of paint, start with a medium tone as the first color and then add the dark and light over top.  I used this advice for this table top and it worked great!

The final step was to apply Clear Soft Wax, two coats.

I experimented with adding a layer of Dark Wax on top of the Clear Wax but I didn’t like it, so I wiped it off with a little bit of mineral spirits.

 

The base of the table and the chairs were painted with Old White Chalk Paint® and Clear Soft Wax.

Before and After

It really is a very pretty finish and is not hard to do.

Don’t be afraid to use layers and to experiment with using Chalk Paint® and MMS Milk Paint together on the same piece!

How to Transfer Flower Images to an Old Window

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I found an old window at an Antique Store. 

The color of the vintage paint was beautiful and

it still had its original rusty hinges!

But most of the glass panes were missing.

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The old green paint seemed like spring time to me

so I thought flowers would look pretty in the panes.

The first thing we did was cut plywood pieces to fit inside the panes.

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Then I tore some pages from an outdated encyclopedia.

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I adhered the pages to the pieces of plywood

using Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel.

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The Transfer Gel can be used as a decoupage medium as well as a Transfer Gel.

I applied the Transfer Gel to the plywood and the back of the pages.

After adhering the pages to the plywood,

I also applied a coat of Transfer Gel to the top of the pages to seal them.  Let them dry.

The flower images I used were in a book of Southern botanicals – they happened to be the perfect size for this project!

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I didn’t have to tear them out of the book to use the images.

The most important part of the process is to make laser copies of the images that are to be transferred.

Most copy centers have laser printers.

I took my book to Staples and made color copies of the flowers.

Its so easy and so much fun to use the Transfer Gel!

Just spread a coat of Transfer Gel on the surface (the plywood covered in paper)

and spread a thin coat on the front of the image to be transferred.

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Then place the image face down on the surface and smooth it out from the center with your hands.

There will be a few bubbles but they are fairly easy to get rid of.

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Once it is smooth, let it dry overnite for best results.

The next day, you will need a spray bottle to spritz the surface with water.

Spritz a small area (not soaked, just wet enough that you can see the ink from the image showing through),

then use two or three fingers to rub the paper in a circular motion until it starts to come off.

Its a messy process, lots of little pieces of paper!

And it takes a bit of patience to slowly remove the paper but its very rewarding to see the image appear!

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Sometimes its hard to know when all the paper has been removed

but I’ve found that I have to keep rubbing until I feel no more small balls of paper coming off.

Once all the paper is removed, it will feel a bit damp so let it dry

then you have the option to seal it.  I like to use either Annie Sloan Soft Wax or Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel.

I cut off the excess paper from the edges with an exacto knife

and glued the boards into the window.

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I love how the window turned out!

Can’t wait to do more projects!

There are so many things you can do with Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel!

One thing to remember is that if you are transferring an image that has letters or numbers on it,

it has to be a mirror image of the original.

We also carry Artisan Enhancements’ products in our retail stores and online store.

I’m Hooked on this Chalk Paint® Subway Technique!

A few weeks ago, I painted a dresser with a technique I learned from

Annie Sloan’s newest book, Color Recipes for Painted Furniture.

It was so much fun and I really love how it turned out!

Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint, painted in French Linen & Old White

Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint, painted in French Linen & Old White

 

  So when I found this very simple, Diamond-in-the-rough cabinet,

I knew I wanted to use the same paint technique.

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The first thing I did was clean the piece very well and roll on a coat of Shellac.

Shellac will seal the surface – I suspected the old, red stain would bleed into the paint.

Shellac will also seal in the musty odor of an old piece.

I rolled it on all the surfaces, inside and out, front and back.

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Then I painted the doors with two coats of Old White Chalk Paint®.

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I bought several different sizes of adhesive letters on Amazon.

A couple of the brands that I bought are Cosco Industries (not the same as Costco!) and C Thru Better Letter.

The ones that work the best are the repositionable ones.

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But it’s hard to find a large variety of those.  So I ended up buying some that weren’t repositionable.

They are hard to move around if you place them in the wrong place, but it is do-able if you are careful.

I didn’t do alot of measuring.  I eyeballed most of it because Annie says it looks more natural that way and I agree.

But I chickened out and used some blue tape as guides in some places!

After all the letters are in place, paint two coats of French Linen Chalk Paint® over everything.

When it’s dry, start removing the letters.

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I used my fingernail to pry up an edge of each letter then pull it off gently.  The repositionable letters will remove easily.

The other ones will make you a bit crazy, but it’s worth it!

Here is an example of a letter that didn’t want to come off.

I ended up using a bit of mineral spirits to remove the stubborn adhesive.

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As you can see, you will need to do a bit of touch up after all the letters are removed.

A small artists brush will work to fix the areas that need it.

After the touch up,  I used some medium grit sandpaper to sand all the lettered surfaces.

I wanted to soften some of the crisp edges to make the words look more aged.

For the final steps, apply Clear Soft Wax over everything.

Remove the excess Clear Soft Wax and apply Dark Soft Wax as desired.

Remove the excess Dark Soft Wax.

Add three wire baskets for see-through storage.

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I found some reproduction vintage knobs that look great!

This piece is more distressed than I usually like, but it works.

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Done!

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Linking to Furniture Feature Fridays

“DON’T PAINT THE BRICKS!”

We opened our new store in Cumming, Georgia a few weeks ago and we love it!

It was a lot of work getting it ready but worth it.

For a couple months,  I spent hours on Pinterest looking for store ideas.

Some of my favorite pins were rooms with old, white brick walls.

THIS ONE IS GORGEOUS!

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So is this one!

 Emily Wren Photography

 My vision for my store was a combination of whites, greys, and other neutrals.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy to achieve this look in a retail space in a shopping center!  I was on a tight budget and a tight timeline.  Unfortunately,  dirty, old white bricks were nowhere to be found!

So I settled for a mix of brown and grey veneer brick applied on the back wall of my store.

    Cumming bricks install

They definitely added character to the space but looked too new.  I mentioned to everyone who saw them that I really wanted white bricks.  Then I mentioned that I was thinking about painting them.  “DON’T PAINT THE BRICKS!”  they all said.   “You’ll ruin them,” they all said.  “They look good the way they are.”   So I didn’t paint the bricks, at least not right away.  But then a few days later we installed a new floor and the combination of all the browns and greys was just too much.  Too many colors and too much texture.  It hurt my eyes every time I walked in the door.

 

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So one day when I was all alone in the store, I poured some Old White Chalk Paint® in a small roller pan, took out my mini fabric whiz roller, and started painting the bricks!  I have to admit I was scared to death!  What if all those people are right and I ruin all these beautiful, expensive bricks!  But I kept going and just rolled the Chalk Paint® gently over the surface of the bricks.

 

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I tried to cover up the colors of the brick that I didn’t like and left the grey areas showing through.  After I finished a small corner, I stepped back and looked.  It was EXACTLY what I wanted!  I kept going and finished the entire wall in about 45 minutes.  I didn’t have to prep or clean the bricks because they were brand new.

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  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE BRICKS NOW!  And everyone who told me not to paint the bricks….THEY ALL LOVE THEM TOO!

It was the easiest and fastest “faux finish” I’ve ever done and totally transformed my store.

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Just another example of what the amazing Chalk Paint® can do!

 (The bricks and floor were installed by “Three Little Dogs Flooring & Interiors” of Cumming, Ga.  They did a great job and are fantastic to work with!  This is NOT a paid announcement.)

 

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