June 19, 2017
Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and Waxes create a superb patina for this Asian inspired table.

Dear Debbie;
My partner and I are redoing an old table and wood back chair. We enjoy the rich patinas in the style of Japanese furniture lacquer. Have you any tips on how to create the look? Thank you.

Dear Akiko;

Traditional Japanese lacquered furniture pieces show a mirrorlike, silky smooth finish that glows with colour and depth. The effect is created by applying many thin layers of lacquer and sanding carefully after each application is dry. It takes time and patience. You can get similar results using a few layers of wax rather than lacquer. Here is a technique from artist and paint designer Annie Sloan’s new book Annie Sloan Paints Everything, published by Cico Books. Sloan transforms a reproduction table she found at an antique store. The table’s upturned ends, crossbar and gently splayed legs are reminiscent of Shinto shrines.

Sloan uses her signature brand Chalk Paint and Clear and Black Waxes to build up layers of texture and colour. Her Chalk Paint works beautifully on furniture without priming or sanding. For this Japanese-style table the base coat is Chalk Paint in Barcelona Orange. Two coats are applied moving the brush back and forth to create texture, but not excessively A fairly thick coat of paint is brushed on then feathered out so faint brush lines are visible. Sloan’s Clear and Black Chalk Paint Wax are used over the paint to graduate the colour and intensity. First, clear wax is brushed over everywhere but the top side edges and legs. Next, use a small wax brush to apply the black wax first to the edges and legs that have no wax, then to the rest of the surface over the Clear Wax. Wipe off the excess black with a soft cloth, leaving some behind in the brush strokes. Use more Clear Wax to rub over the black, it acts like an eraser. Once the black edges are almost dry, polish them with a soft cloth to remove a little of the black giving a worn appearance.

It’s easy to paint like an artist with Annie Sloan’s quality products. also shows step by step instructions and videos. The most important lesson is to practice a little on an old board until you see for yourself what different brush strokes and rubbed on waxes can do. Mix Chalk Paint colours to create your own shades. I know you will love your renewed furniture pieces.

Dear Debbie;
My daughter and I are making up some curtains for her to take away to school in September. We like the idea of tie-dye. Can you use paint? Do you have other fabric projects? Love your ideas.
Marina and Marlee

Dear Marina and Marlee;

Shibori is the ancient art of dying fabric to make patterns. This is a great idea for decorating a college room at little cost. You can make pillows, curtains, makeshift room dividers and cupboard doors with a few yards of fabric and dye. Why not make up a lampshade? In Annie Sloan Paints Everything, the book I have sourced above, Sloan uses her Chalk Paint to dye the fabric. Chalk Paint in Napoleonic Blue is mixed with water to thin it down. The fabric is folded lengthwise in concertina folds and then back and forth into triangle shapes. The edges of the triangles are dipped into the dye, leaving white space in the center. Open up, hang to dry, and iron to heat set.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to You can follow Debbie on Twitter at, and visit Debbie’s new website,