Painting highlights and lowlights with chalk paint

painted green and grey table

After that initial coat, a great way to add dimension and interest to painted furniture is to subtly layer another color or two on top. But please, no sanding! It’s too much work. In this YouTube video, linked right below here, I’ll show you how to get that layered look, no sanding necessary.

If you don’t want to watch the video, the transcript follows right here below.

Transcript

Hey this is Kathleen from the blog oldworldfarmhouse.com and we’re back with our Gustavian Swedish style table. So I have covered the whole thing in one coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue and now I’m going to go back over and dry brush in some highlights.

Using a paper plate as a palette

So I like to put my paint on a plate when I’m brushing on the highlights or if I want to mix colors. I’m going to brush on some highlights of Paris Grey into this Duck Egg Blue. And I’m going to do that for a couple reasons.

One is, one coat – come over here and I’ll show you – one coat doesn’t fully – fully cover. You can still use brush marks still where you could touch up, and instead of going over that again with another coat of Duck Egg Blue I’m going to take this opportunity and touch up or brush on highlights in Paris Grey to give it some more interest. But I also have a little Duck Egg Blue on my plate, and obviously my brush is
full of Duck Egg Blue paint.

Dry brushing highlights and lowlights

And I’m – I’m just gonna blend them together on the plate and then kind of touch up my piece. and I am just, doing this um, just by instinct and just kind of what I want as far as what I would imagine I want it to be, a little shadowy or have a little highlight.

I learned this technique from this wonderful blogger who sadly doesn’t blog anymore, Leslie Stocker, um she still keeps her blog up though, I believe, and she taught me this.

Sanding technique for highlights and lowlights

Instead of – Annie Sloan recommends painting in two colors and then sanding back so that you see, um, the base color underneath the top coat and then maybe some of the wood if you like, as well, but the sanding is – is very time consuming and then of course you end up wasting your paint and then you sand the paint off and it’s kind of frustrating especially because her paint’s kind of expensive.

Leslie Stocker, her method is just to dry brush on highlights and just avoid sanding all together and I love that because it saves me time, saves me money, and I – I do think the effect is pretty much the same, having done both I – I really think the effect is the same. So I just wanted, I want to kind of highlight these rosettes because they’re interesting and then back here I missed some spots so the brown is poking through so I’m just gonna stipple with my brush, get some gray in there and I’m just gonna go around the whole piece with my plate and just use it as a palette and get some green in with the gray. So I don’t want it to be, you know, really blaringly obvious, “hey hey here’s a highlight!” But just, you know, just a little bit of subtle variation and change and that’s what I’m going to do around the whole piece.

More DIY Resources for Swedish Country Style

If you’d like to know more about Swedish/Gustavian Country style paint colors, check out my video here. I’ve also got a video on how to get nice, thin coats of wax over your chalk paint for an irresistible hand-rubbed patina, and if you’d like to complete the Swedish Country look on a side chair, check out my video on how to make simple tie-on chair covers.

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