Chalk Painted Clock
I have really enjoyed the chalk painting craze. The most effort comes in NOT applying that velvety matte finish on EVERYTHING! That would be too much. But, oh, what fun getting to "too much!" After an office overhaul, the wall over my desk has remained blank for months. I believe in negative space, but this was too much of it, especially since the rest of the room is done in my signature “critters, literature and vintage prints” décor all tied up in a big toile bow. It sounds like a design nightmare, but it must work for me as I get plenty of work done there. It’s home to my many interests, from embroidery and quilting to gift wrapping and crafting, and keeps them from spilling out into the rest of the house. I’ve searched all my favorite local and online haunts, Fort Defiance Antiques, Marshall’s, The Old Red Barn, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn and Overstock, to name a few, for something to put up there. Anyway, nothing clicked, although eventually I found myself concentrating on wall clocks.
We had a large clock hanging in the family room – very inexpensive – picked it up at Lowe’s a while back for $50. It’s made of resin, paper and plastic. For our 40th anniversary, the kids gave us a gorgeous ceramic platter that was hand-carved by my sister Hope. We don’t have a lot of wall space in the family room, especially after opening up the back wall to the backyard with a new door. The only area left for such a sizeable object was where the clock was hanging. The style of the 30-inch wide timepiece leaned a little toward rustic-industrial, and was very dark in color. Not really right for my office that is painted “Homestead Resort Antique Lace. The dormer wall is covered with robin’s egg-blue toile wallpaper. Throw in a soft yellow arm chair, an ancient hutch, the aforementioned collection of stuff, along with my pride and joy – a custom desk chair upholstered in a warm gray check. Trust me, trust me, somehow it all pulls together. And, yes, wallpaper is making a comeback – although I have always loved it and put it up in a few places, ignoring the many expressions of horror on peoples’ faces when I even utter the word.
Just writing down the process of how I got to this particular project reminds of me of several interesting ideas that might be fun to share – like how to keep all your paint chips and fabric swatches organized and why you should carry them with you always.
I had to make a couple slight repairs to our chalk painted dining room table (another interesting story) and poof! I knew what to do. I chalk painted the clock. As you can see by the photo, it really worked well. I never know how a project is going to turn out when I charge in, and there are often intervals along the way as I try different techniques until I get that “step away from the paintbrush” feeling and I know it’s complete. You may have guessed that I am not much of an instruction reader, usually only unfolding the piece of paper covered with directions, cautions and disclaimers when I run into a problem. It drives Tim right over the edge. I’m also real big on using what I have on hand, even if it means improvising with household objects and supplies. I’ve employed everything from shoe polish to tea bags.
1. Preparation: clean with a Windex type cleaner without any oils and let dry.
2. For small, quick projects, parchment paper works well and prevents getting newsprint on other surfaces.
3. Tape off glass with painter’s tape – I usually skip taping because I honestly get a better edge just hand painting with a good 1 or 2-inch angled sash brush. Doesn’t keep it out of my hair, though.
4. I used Valspar Chalky Finish Paint in a soft, creamy tint called “Her Dainties.” Isn’t that a hoot? It took 3 to 4 coats to cover. The neat thing about chalk paint is that a primer coat usually isn’t needed. Because the beaded detail of the clock had a little metallic touch to it, to allow it to shine through, I simply used a damp paper towel to wipe off this area after painting.
5. Since the color was a little stark in comparison to the clock face, I lightly brushed on a little “Oatmeal” chalk paint, along with some watered down wood stain. I used them sparingly, especially paying attention to naturally occurring cracks, crevices and embellishments, wiping away a good deal after applying. When aging or distressing a project, it’s important not to just slap it on here and there. And to not get carried away removing too much of the surface. Give your piece a little “back story,” as they call it in the theatre. Think about where dirt and dust normally accumulates, did it spend years undiscovered in an attic? Did it get moved around a lot? Where would the most wear occur?
6. Allow to dry before distressing. For the clock, I used a tiny bit of finely grained sandpaper, just hitting some exterior edges and the tops of the beading.
7. If you like a very matte finish, stop there or apply a clear matte sealer. I like the little bit of shine wax gives chalk paint finishes, so I used a white wax, although clear would have worked, too. Let dry overnight. Buff with a soft, lint free cloth until that little sheen comes through.
8. Pat yourself on the back for not spending a single penny on a nice home accent.