An Annie Sloan Non-Tutorial

It was a Monday morning and I glanced at my to do list … start painting … I read.

Uh, I’m always one for planning DIYs and never quite getting around to them, but today, today was going to be my day. Especially since we’d lived with this Goodwill find for a year now. Plusalso, I’d had the Hobby Lobby knobs tucked in my desk drawer for a good 6 months. It was time. More than time.

I love this piece because – 1) it was only $30 2) has drawer slides for smooth opening 3) will transition well from a changing table to a dresser or even maybe a homeschool resource center. Total winner. I heart thrifting furniture. <3 <3 <3. And Dominic would wholeheartedly agree and grimace at the same time because this is one of a few “project” pieces I’ve managed to bring home and have yet to start/finish. But THAT is neither here nor there, because this day, I am finishing a project.

I fed the babes brekkie, cozied them up in a blanket and turned on the week’s favorite feature film, Mulan. Max is obsessed with “Moo-on” and Jem happily obliges his ever movie whim. Once they zoned in, I hustled out to the garage and propped open the door so I could keep a watchful ear while working on my project.

Now, usually Dominic undertakes such things. He did our first Annie Sloan project and I stood by to snap a few photos. That was literally all I did. Never touched the paint brush. Granted, I did all the Annie Sloan research and planning, but when it came to execution, it was all Dom. But, after a friend’s success project and her encouragement, I decided it was my turn.

I told Dominic I would be painting while he was at work so he wouldn’t feel the need to “check in” and “make sure I was doing it right”. He’s the guy who watches, no, studies, the DIY network and his favorite, This Old House. He doesn’t appreciate my knack for cutting corners and eyeballing things. Whatevs. We’ve each got skillz and today, I was going to traipse into his land of home improvement, paint brush in hand.

The night before Dominic and my sister (the one who works out and therefore has muscles) carried the changing table to the garage. I had expertly laid out the drop cloth and as Dominic assessed my work zone he asked if I was putting down runners for my project. Runners? I mean, if you think that would be helpful … so, we did. And yes, it did in fact turn out to be quite helpful.

Alrighty. So, Babysitter Disney is hard at work and I’m in the freezing garage gathering my supplies on a ticking time bomb schedule. Spritz cleaner, old rag, sanding bar, paint and brush. Boom – I’m set. I dusted and scrubbed up the piece, then sanded down a few rough spots. With Annie Sloan there is no real sanding, you just paint over any ol’ surface and it sticks like magic. I removed the knobs and drawers and haphazardly arranged them on different parts of the drop cloth and then started mixing my paint.

Wait? Paint mixing? Yep. So, the friend who had Annie Sloan success had purchased Antibes Green and we had planned to each use 1/2 the pint for our two projects, respectively. Her project took a little more than 1/2 though so I decided to error on the side of caution and not run out of paint mid-project. Look at that DIY forethought! I purchased a small container to add to the remaining 2/5ish of Antibes. Being the risky DIYer I am, I opted to blend the Antibes and Florence together for a custom Annie Sloan color! I had originally envisioned more of a deep emerald green for this project, but after assessing the Annie Sloan green options and then mixing my own it has morphed into more of a mermaid aqua. Mermaids are great, so I’m happy. I’ll chalk that up to the evolution of DIY projects. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. This time … it works. So, moving on.

I whipped that paint with all my might and starting covering my piece. It took a solid two coats for good coverage and I went back over a few spots with a third coat. The little railing was the hardest part. Don’t buy pieces with crap like that. It’s a headache.

I averaged a kid check-in every 7.2 minutes for one reason or another – potty help, sippy refills, Max getting the remote and accidentally turned off Mulan, blanket fell, we-need-a-snack emergencies. You know, all the normal stuff. This worked out well because I was FREEZING in the garage and couldn’t get Dominic’s space heater to turn on. Plus, apparently there are some boring parts in Mulan so we switched over to PBS during one of my check-ins.

I finished the second coat and then it was time for lunch and naps. I asked Jemma what shows were on while I was painting, to which she replied, “viewers like you, thank you”. Ha! Thank you PBS for ingraining such a crucial message into my child. After naps I touched up a few spots and left it to dry overnight before waxing.

Except three days passed. We’ll call it the “very thorough drying” phase. I mostly took a break because I caught a cold and sometimes you just can’t work productively with a paintbrush in one hand and a box of tissue in the other.

Also, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to rough up/sand the edges for a distressed look or not. Decisions, decisions. Being a DIYer can be so stressful!

After my painting vacation, I opted to skip sanding and just waxed on the Annie Sloan clear wax. It’s a funny texture and you kind of brush/pound it into the piece and then scrub/wipe with a old rag. In my case, a cut up husband undershirt. The wax sets fairly quickly so I busied myself installing knobs while it dried. Then, I did a second wax coat just on the top.

And just like that – DONE!

Well, kind of. When I asked Dominic to come out to the garage to see my final project and take a photo (and yes, the above is the best he could do, I guess … blurry and without fitting the whole piece in the photo) he asked why the knobs were spinning. “Uh …” I stuttered, “I think that’s just how theses knobs are and they were a good deal, so they’ll work. And, I mean, don’t you love the color and see how smooth I rubbed the wax on?”

Turns out I put the washer on the wrong side. So, we took off all the knobs and fixed it together :)

So, the takeaway tips from this non-tutorial …
  • Thrift the right piece – something that has good bones. Like when you have a friend that has a good heart, but not necessarily the best jeans. It’s what’s underneath that counts.
  • Always buy Annie Sloan, and yes, it’s expensive, but you get what you pay for. Magic ain’t free or on sale, folks. Find a local retailer here.
  • If you have Anthropologie taste on a less extravagant budget, buy your knobs from Hobby Lobby.
  • Kids + TV = project progress. I’m all for integrating your kids into everyday projects. Not painting. I don’t have that kind of patience. Especially when it would have been my two hands against their four.

Questions? Comments? Can’t wait to see what I paint next? A little hint, it’s going to be Annie Sloan’s Pure White and will most likely find a home in someone’s bedroom.

Have you used Annie Sloan? If so, please oh please link your post or Instagram photo!

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  1. says

    I think it looks great. I have thought about doing my own paint project but i just haven't gotten to it.

  2. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Thanks so much :) When you start your project, totally go Annie Sloan. Especially if you're a first time painter/furniture projecter :) Can't recommend it enough!

  3. says

    LOVE it! I have a couple of these sorts of pieces that I haven't gotten around to actually even buying the paint for yet. Mostly because I know I can't afford both the paint AND the anthropologie knobs at once. Thanks for the inspiration and the Hobby Lobby tip.

  4. Laura Burns says

    Oh. Em. Gee. I laughed so hard reading this! Husbands who "supervise"? Huzzah! And yes, I love the drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby… I am addicted to using them in all our diys! I really like the color you chose, too!

  5. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Hopping over to check it out now!

  6. says

    Your welcome. I haven't heard of it before but after seeing your projects I am going to try to it out.

  7. Mallory says

    Look at this – so stinkin' cute! You're amazing.

  8. Not your mama's says

    Gorgeous. I mean, I want it!

  9. Bianca says

    NICE work! We are still sitting on my current project, and that was bought right after the new year. So I don't feel *that* bad, but in the meantime Penny's clothes are still in plastic totes (as they have been for the last 2 years) and Ruby's on the same track. Driving. Mama. Nuts. But, it is what it is. I keep telling Adam that "But Gretchen and Dominic SAID that Annie Sloan is a MUST! And they are FRUGAL like we are!!" yet somehow he is just not convinced. Husband, sometimes you gotta trade cost for 'get it done ASAP.' Alas, sanded and waiting to be primed are the stage of our pieces. I vow – this summer. It will happen. Thanks for another inspirational project <3

  10. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I officially give you until Ruby is 18 months old to complete your project :) No stress or rushing. It took me that long, lol!

  11. says

    Great work!! This is something everybody would try t home! Interesting! The green color is amazing!


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