Only 48 hours after meeting Annie Sloan at a Boston workshop, Amy Chalmers signed a lease on a shop of her own where she would stock Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. Amy says that after meeting Annie and the other stockists, “We clicked and I was inspired to have a shop.”
While her store, Maison Decor, opened in Reading, Massachusetts in April 2012, Amy first learned about Chalk Paint® a year earlier when she wanted to refinish her cabinets. She did a quick Google search and discovered the then-lone Chalk Paint® stockist in the U.S.—Virginia Weatherby of Brandon, Mississippi. Soon after having the paint shipped to her New England home all the way from the Deep South, Amy found herself enamored with the product.
“I just loved the paint and how easy it was to use and manipulate,” she says.
To share her passion for Chalk Paint®, Amy includes her projects on the Maison Decor blog. For those in the greater Boston area, the shop also offers workshops and custom painting services.
Now, Amy is sharing an especially inventive Chalk Paint® project with fresh style. Amy painted the velvet upholstery on two antique chairs. The project got its start after a young couple brought the chairs to Maison Decor, explaining that they treasured the pieces, but their bright green upholstery didn’t match the rest of their home. Amy offered them a simple solution—use Chalk Paint® to change the color of the upholstery.
Amy explains that the couple wanted to keep the intricately carved walnut frame unchanged, but they were happy to see the tufted velvet upholstery painted in Napoleonic Blue. “It’s a rich, regal blue color that’s traditional yet modern all at once,” Amy says of the color.
As for how Amy went about painting velvet, she explains that it requires more patience than painting other fabrics. Maison Decor gave the chairs three coats of paint. They watered down the paint slightly by using a wet brush and spritzing the velvet lightly with a water bottle mister. Watering down the paint helped it spread evenly. Amy explains that watering also kept the fabric from soaking up too much paint, which can lead to cracking.
“The nap of the velvet needs to have the paint worked into it, but not so as to disturb the way it lies,” Amy adds.
Following the three coats of paint, with drying time in between coats, Amy and her team sanded the surface with 600 grit sandpaper, which helped restore the fabric’s smooth feel. Then they waxed the upholstery, which created a smoother finish and protected the chairs. Amy explains that she used a 50/50 mix of Annie Sloan’s Soft Clear Wax and odorless mineral spirits, and applied the mixture with a wax brush. They waxed in the direction of the nap, wiping away excess. The key element was allowing the wax to dry completely, which required three weeks.
As for people skeptical of sitting on waxed velvet, Amy assuages any fears. “Often people ask, can you sit on a waxed chair? Won’t it come off on your bottom? The answer is no!” She attests, “In our house we have a pair of painted and waxed chairs in our dining room, and it’s been two years now of daily use with no wearing off of paint or wax. Now that’s something I can feel comfortable recommending to everyone.”
Amy offers a step-by-step how-to for using Chalk Paint® on upholstery on the Maison Decor blog. There she also discuss other projects and offers guidance and inspiration for fellow Chalk Paint® enthusiasts. Amy loves to spread the joy of Chalk Paint® and uses the shop, its online store, and her blog to continue sharing her passion.