Restoring old garden furniture using Annie Sloan’s chalk paint

I’m sure most people have seen, or even have owned, a set of cast-iron (or aluminium, depending on their age) garden furniture a bit like this.  It’s not in vogue at the moment, but I really like old-style furniture, and it suits my Queenslander home.

Mary and Grandpa at the fair 21 06 15 028

My mum noticed a set of 4 of these chairs and a table (in terrible condition!) at a garage sale near her home not long ago.  She snapped them up ($40 for the lot! Bargain!) and I have been very slowly doing them up so that they can go either on my front porch or into my garden.

This weekend, I knocked over chair number 3.  The photo above shows the restored chair on the left, and the remaining one which is untouched on the right.  In fact, the photos don’t really show the full extent of the contrast.  The restored chair looks amazing compared with its former self.

Mary and Grandpa at the fair 21 06 15 030

Before restoration

Mary and Grandpa at the fair 21 06 15 033

After restoration

Annie Sloan’s chalk paint is not all that easy to get (Bunnings doesn’t keep it, for instance) and it is a bit more expensive than ordinary paint.  It is worth the trouble to find it and the extra money because:

– it doesn’t require the stripping of the old paint (all you need to do is ensure the surface is clean and remove any loose flakes of paint)

– It is pretty safe:  there aren’t nasty fumes to worry about, so I can paint despite being pregnant and having a little one running around me while I work

– It is really easy to use

– It washes up in warm water

When you factor in the money and time saved when you don’t have to strip the old paint, prime it or varnish, it’s a good deal, in my view.

Before restoration

Before restoration

Mary and Grandpa at the fair 21 06 15 032

After restoration

I really like the white, but the paints come in a range of colours (most of which I think would look better diluted with white, but that might just be my preferences showing through).

If you are using the paint on indoor furniture, it also has a wax finish that seals it in (I’ll show you this in a future post).  However, the Queensland sun is just too strong for it, and you don’t need it in the outdoors, so it is better to just go without it.  I’m told the really high summer temperatures we get can melt the wax right off outdoor furniture!  It’s much better to keep the wax indoors.

The paint is the perfect surface if you want to try and distress the finish.  I don’t plan to do that with my outdoor setting.

Mary and Grandpa at the fair 21 06 15 029

The original condition is on the left, the restored chair is on the right. The back of the chair wasn’t as bad as the front, so the contrast between the before and after isn’t quite as stark!

Anyway, if you are the kind of person who would prefer to fix something up than throw it away, consider restoring using Annie Sloan’s chalk paint.  It’s easy, hardy and gives a nice new lease on life for well-built classics like this outdoor setting.

I’m one chair and a table away from a brand-new setting for my home.  It has been such an enjoyable project so far.

If you are looking for the paints, you can get them from Paint Me White in Brisbane (Woolloongabba) or on the Gold Coast (Mudgeeraba).

Have a great day!