Chalk it to Me!

What is the use of even the most fabulous sewing table if it’s not ready to actually be used?

I had been looking for many long months to find just the right combination of vintage, good price, and specific design in my future sewing table. Finally, this past December, the PERFECT table for me manifested itself on the craigslist free section. It’s mid-century modern, solidly built, opens width-wise instead of length-wise, and it was FREE! The woman who was re-homing it had bought it from an estate sale and attempted to spray paint it this genuinely stunning shade of purple. But, since she didn’t use a primer, paint began chipping off and the poor thing collected dust.


After I adopted this fine piece, I waffled for far too long about which color to paint it, then it began to collect dust yet again in my garage. But then a little bird told me our sister site, Artist’s Club, would begin carrying DecoArt’s chalky finish paint. I was sold for several reasons:

  • Chalky finish paint is ultra-matte and as much as I adore shiny things, matte is a handsome contrast to those shiny things.
  • According to basically all the reviews and tutorials of this paint I could find (as well as the manufacturer’s directions), no primer would be needed. Score!
  • They carry one of my favorite decorating colors, a pretty teal, which DecoArt calls “Treasure”.

So, I picked up a couple containers of it as well as DecoArt’s Soft-Touch varnish for durability.


A lot of people tend to use chalky finish paints for a lovely distressed look, but I knew that wasn’t terribly practical for a work surface, let alone the fact I have a serious affinity for crispness in my workspace. (Ignoring the fact I’ve used my kitchen table for my sewing machine for far too long.)

Anyways, I brought the table out to my back patio and dismantled the whole thing. The previous owner was incredibly thorough with her “purpling”, which was inspiring to be equally thorough!



So many screws! So. Many.

Once it was dismantled, I used a superfine sand paper to just even out a couple blemishes. After wiping it down with a gentle household cleaner, I let that dry and got to work.

Since I wanted a really smooth finish, the foam brush was a clear choice for me. If you want more textured or distressed, a bristled brush would accomplish that excellently.


The paint itself goes on really smoothly and it really does have a low odor, as far as paint goes. I was still outside in a really well-ventilated area and would suggest similar for a larger project like this one. One thing I was most impressed with during painting was how FAST the paint dries! I worked my way through painting all the sections on one side and the piece I had started with was already dry!

In total, I painted three thin layers on the table to fully cover the dark paint. I think with lighter starting surfaces, you could do well with just two, and if your goal is distressing, one would probably be plenty.

I let the paint dry and then moved on to the final step before putting it all together: varnishing. I chose the soft-touch varnish over any of the waxes since this is going to be a work surface and the last thing I want is to be dainty while working on this table! I once again used a foam brush, mostly because it was already out, but it did to a fine job. I think a bristled brush would have been a little faster and still produced a smooth finish. It goes on looking like school glue, but dries quickly to a clear finish. I did three thin coats on the legs and top surfaces.

I was good and took apart almost all the hardware, meaning I inevitably had to put it all back together again. While I did take reference pictures, there were seriously at least two dozen screws I assumed I’d remember. I enlisted my husband’s help to puzzle a few pieces back and to generally make this part go much swifter.


The end result:


Riley is definitely glad to have the rest of the patio back to trot around on.


…and (La Hen) Nikita was quick to get in front of the camera, she’s quite social!

All in all, I am really satisfied with DecoArt’s chalky finish paint and look forward to finding another excuse reason to use it!

Now to place this table in its new home, be sure to keep an eye out in the coming months for a post on my sewing/craft room overhaul.





  1. Ann - May 28, 2014

    Love the color and the style!Your new sewing table will be a colorful and practical addition to your sewing room. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dawn - May 28, 2014

      Thanks Ann! I’m REALLY excited to get it set up in the room.

  2. Linda - May 28, 2014

    Your cabinet turned out really nice and you will get so much use out of it. My sewing spot is the kitchen table since we moved and I lost my sewing room. Have fun and enjoy.

  3. Joy - May 28, 2014

    Great job! I have always wanted to try chalk paint.

  4. Jenni - May 28, 2014

    That table is an amazing find and super cute design! Nice job! I’m sure it will feel so nice when you work on your first project there!

    • Dawn - May 28, 2014

      Right? We drove to outer SW PDX to go get it, that’s how amazing it was/is! There just so happens to be a a pillow project coming up that will be great to “break it in”. 🙂

  5. Joetta Haynes - May 28, 2014

    Love it. I think I will try this.

  6. Stephanie Dunphy - May 28, 2014

    Squeal — what a fabulous piece of furniture for any price but FREE is awesome. Fun color. Thanks for the paint review.

    • Dawn - May 28, 2014

      Seriously, free is the best for something so nice!

  7. Teri - June 17, 2014

    It turned out fabulous!

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