A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Chalk Paint 101: Sign up for my class! + CINCO

Here's the scoop: A Simpler Design [aka me, Jo] will now be teaching furniture painting and refinishing classes!  I'm partnering up with one of my absolute favorite Atlanta [or more specifically, Decatur] spots, Kudzu Antiques, and helping them feature the awesome paint line they carry, Amy Howard at Home. I've mentioned Amy Howard many times on this site, not because I have any affiliation with the company [because up until right now I haven't!] but because I absolutely love her products and the beautiful painted finish I can achieve with them.  The very first furniture post I did for the site featured one of my favorite Amy colors, Vintage Affliction, and ended up being one of my best painted pieces to date.  Read more about it here, or check out the before and after below!


I've talked [well, wrote] your ear off about painting furniture with chalk paint, but I don't know if I've ever fully described what chalk paint actually is.  Here's what it's not: chalkBOARD paint.  Okay, this was even confusing for me at first.  Chalkboard paint is amazing and really trending right now [#chalkboardzrawesome], but if that's what you're looking for, Chalk Paint 101 isn't it! [not to say there won't be a class in the near future involving chalkboard paint- it's actually on my list of classes to plan so stay tuned!]

Here's what chalk paint IS: there are several brands out there, and I use two pretty exclusively, but they all generally have the same key features: unlike with traditional paints [like latex, aka: the kind you'd paint your walls with and find at your local hardware store], chalk based paints can go directly on virtually any surface WITHOUT any sanding! This is a huge plus for someone like me who is churning out new furniture weekly and who may not have the time to sand constantly! [sanding is dirty and dusty, whereas painting is happy and wonderful, nuff said.]

Another one of my favorite before and after chalk paint moments!

The other major upside of chalk paint is its super speedy drying time.  With Amy's paints, I can have one coat completely dry in under 45 minutes [and if I'm working outdoors, it can dry in 15-20; crazy, I know!] which allows you to quickly transform a piece of furniture.  It's also helpful for super impatient folks like myself.  Sometimes when I'm painting, I feel like I'm on some kind Iron Chef painting show with an imaginary competitor and we're trying to see who can make the most beautiful piece of furniture and paint it the absolute fastest.  This may also be the reason why I've been getting really brutal muscle strain in my left arm, whoops...

But what I really love about chalk paint the most is the amazing finish you get.  Unlike latex which can have a sheen, and sometimes even oily look, chalk paint dries to a dead-matte finish.   It's got a beautifully rustic, chalk-like consistency, and it can take almost any piece of furniture and make it look like a thousand bucks.  What's even better is when I add waxes to the chalky finish.  That's when the real magic happens. I can add more depth, dimension and an antique quality to a piece of furniture, while still maintaining a satin-matte finish. 

In this introductory class, I'll talk about all the awesome qualities of chalk paint, as well as demonstrate how easy it is to work with. I'll also introduce you to the art of waxing; not many people are familiar with furniture wax and how it works, so this will be a perfect way to explore this part of the furniture refinishing process! Finally, we'll test out a unique product to the Amy Howard line, Dust of Ages.  [best. name. ever.] You'll also get to use the paint, waxes and dust, create something and take it home with you! I guarantee you'll learn a lot from taking this class, and it's a great way to spend a Saturday morning [or Wednesday morning if you're available!] with friends.  I love any excuse to get creative and learn something new, and I'm sure many of you feel the same! [otherwise, it might be just a tad odd that you're reading my website!].  

Check out Kudzu's Facebook page or their website for more details on the first classes, which are May 10th and 14th. To allow for me to work with students one on one, the class size is super small, so make sure to sign up ASAP!  I'd love to see some of my readers at the classes, but please tell your friends, family, or anyone else who might have an interest in learning how to paint furniture! Even if you may not want to start painting furniture full time like me, it's a great skill to learn and can be a fun weekend project to take on. Plus, chalk paint isn't just for furniture, folks- there are TONS of great things you can create with it!  That way, you can just leave the big pieces of  painted furniture to me and check out my shop [insert obligatory shameless plug here please!]. I'm in the process of setting up a page on the site with a calendar and descriptions of the different classes I'll be offering, so stay tuned!

So this was a longwinded post, but there was one last important thing I had to cover...


I hope you can squeeze in at least one yummy margarita on this Monday! [or as pictured below a tasty ginger beergarita!].  It's going to be close to 90 today in Atlanta [it's like the weather gods knew Cinco had to be hot n sweaty] so I'm hoping to have an impromptu margarita and taco gathering tonight.  There's only one day a year you get to drink on a weekday without feeling guilty [okay, maybe on St. Patrick's, and if you've ever lived in Boston, Marathon Monday...], so although I may not go hog wild this year, I plan to celebrate just enough :)

 Photo taken from  How Sweet it Is

Photo taken from How Sweet it Is