“It’s girls’ paint, but boys can use it too!” Annie Sloan
Late last year I was issued a challenge by the Australian PR team handling Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®—find a piece of old furniture and use Annie’s paints and waxes to turn it into a masterpiece.
Okay, perhaps they didn’t say masterpiece exactly, but that’s totally what I was thinking after watching hundreds of different DIY shows over the years.
The beauty of Chalk Paint® is that it has been made specifically for painting furniture, painting floors, and for giving walls a completely matt, velvety finish. It also sticks to just about any surface.
It seemed so simple that within moments I was daydreaming of quitting my job to spend my days in an over-sized man’s shirt with paint splattered across my face as I transformed old discarded pieces of junk into in-demand refurbished pieces of furniture.
Obviously, I jumped at the chance to take part and was soon pouring over the catalogue of colours trying to choose which two paints and waxes to test run.
But before I unveil my masterpiece (and I warn you, it’s pretty impressive), I’d like to introduce you to the woman who has been hailed as the UK’s answer to Martha Stewart … but without the prison stripes!
Annie Sloan is a trained painted, an author and a former rock star.
She studied Fine Art at Reading University before branching out into painting murals for commission and then running paint courses where she taught students about paint finishes, gilding, découpage and furniture restoration.
But it’s the easy-to-use chalk ‘paint for girls’ which she developed in the early 1990’s that has made her a household-name among the DIY-set.
But is it really just for girls?
“The full quote is “It’s girls’ paint, but boys can use it too”,” Annie said, adding that she stopped using the line when people thought she meant something sexist.
“What I meant is that previously paint had always been sold in what I call ‘boy’s’ shops—places where you find ladders and buckets etc, and going into those shops in my early years of painting always left me feeling intimidated.
“I had been to art school for 7 years but they always treated me as if I knew nothing; they felt there was a right way to paint and a wrong way to paint and in these shops, there was little acknowledgement of colour and decoration.
“My paint is about colour and combinations and the ease of application—there is no preparation needed and more emphasis on the creative part.”
That’s right … there’s no need to sand or prime your furniture before painting.
“I encourage people to get on with it and paint with freedom rather than applying it in the traditional way—straight up and down applications.”
Born in Sydney, Annie’s family moved to England when she was 10 years old, but despite her English ways she remains an Aussie at heart.
“Those first years are what form you and although I am very English in many ways now, there is an Aussie kid dying to get out!”
“I still find a lot of my inspiration from old painted furniture and travelling; France has to be my favourite place. It’s a cliché but it really hits the spot every time.” Annie Sloan
Annie says the development of her paint range stemmed from her own frustration at the decorative paints available at the time.
“I was interested in the concept of making paints; I wanted it to be absorbent, be able to give me texture, to give a wash and to be able to do smooth coats too,” she said.
Despite amassing a loyal following, it wasn’t until the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2007/08 that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® became an ‘overnight success’.
“We had always done well in a recession but it wasn’t until this very deep worldwide recession that the brand really started to take off; vintage pieces and trawling second-hand shops for finds became fashionable and this has all been fueled by the internet,” Annie said.
Social media has also contributed to the company’s success and a quick Google of ‘Annie Sloan Chalk Paint’ reveals almost two million mentions.
“Vintage pieces and trawling second-hand shops have become fashionable again and Facebook, Twitter and bloggers have all contributed hugely to our success,” Annie said.
“I also wrote the right books which caught the mood of the zeitgeist too.”
Despite her success, Annie remains an artist first and foremost.
“I am a real person who is very much doing it; painting and writing and involving myself and my ideas. It’s me first, not company first. It’s all quite holistic; it has depth, knowledge and history,” she said.
“I have to keep painting; it’s my time to be and to think or un-think.
“I still find a lot of my inspiration from old painted furniture and travelling; France has to be my favourite place. It’s a cliché but it really hits the spot every time.”
Many of Annie’s favourite pieces are painted in romantic vintage-inspired hues—colours that can be found around the winding roads of France, Italy and in England
“I have a Barcelona Orange table I love which is painted over Aubusson and Chateau and rubbed back; I did it years ago and still love it,” she said.
“There is no one colour I love because colour is about combinations and about context. All the colours have a place,” she said.
“In my new book, Colour Recipes, I write about colour and colour mixing—it’s one of my great enthusiasms. (A colour that is) perfect in one place can be terrible in another.”
Here’s a sneak peek of my project for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®.
Click here for my tips and tricks for using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® as well as before and after pictures of my project.
To find out where you can purchase Annie Sloan Chalk Paints, click here.
Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®. All opinions are 100 per cent the author’s own.