I recently had the luxury of participating in another hands-on demonstration with Lisa Rickert of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I learned a lot the first time we sat down, but this time I was more focused on waxing techniques which I'd felt intimated by on my first furniture project. (In fact, after painting, I started applying dark wax, freaked out, and frantically wiped it all off.) I feel a whole lot more confident with it now - and really excited about the effects I can create.
Lisa uses pieces of lauan to practice on, inexpensive, lightweight wood that you can get at places like Home Depot and Lowe's. They're sold in oversized sheets that can be cut down to size or in some pre-cut sizes. I thought they'd be perfect for photo surfaces and backgrounds, as well as a place to try out different painting techniques.
I'll post them as I make them because the techniques aren't limited to backgrounds, you can certainly use them on furniture projects. However, if you're nervous, it's a great way to practice before you commit to a larger project!
Here's are the directions for the background pictured above:
Sheet of luaun cut to desired size
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color of your choice
A bowl or dish for your paint
Paintbrush (I use the brushes made by Annie Sloan)
Annie Sloan Soft Wax in Clear and Dark Brown
Clean, lint free rags
1. Pour the paint you'll be using into a bowl and let it sit for at least a couple of hours until it gets thicker (you can put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process as well). This way, when you apply the paint, the brushstrokes will be visible, creating texture.
2. When the paint has thickened to your satisfaction, start brushing it on the lauan in short strokes, haphazardly, brushing in random directions. When the board is fully covered, let it dry.
3. When the paint is dry, apply a thin coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax using a brush or lint free cloth (for this, I used a cloth).
This is what my board looks like after painting it with a single coat of thickened Chalk Paint in the color Florence, topped with a thin coat of clear wax.
In the photo above, you can see the difference in color as the dark wax is applied over the clear.
4. While the Clear Wax is still wet, immediately apply a thin layer of Dark Wax over the Clear Wax, working it into the grain of the wood and in the texture created by the brushstrokes. When you're finished, the wax should feel almost dry to the touch, not thick or overly tacky.
5. At this point, you can make a decision - If you like the color and the effect of the dark wax, you can leave it as is. However, if you want to bring up the base color more, with the dark wax simply emphasizing the texture, you can wipe the dark wax back with more clear wax. Personally, I liked the dark wax and left it alone.
My finished background
6. Let the wax dry for about 24 hours then buff it with a clean, lint free cloth.
That's it! I love how my background turned out and I'm already excited to create more. Not only will this give me options when shooting photos to put in my posts, I know it will make me a better painter as well!
Tip: A sample size jar should be enough for most backgrounds.