Vanity Makeover & Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Review

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Get comfy, friends!  This is a long post but one that I hope you’ll find informative and inspiring.  (If you get confused while reading this- don’t worry, there’s more helpful info at the very end of this post!)

Beginner's advice for using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and clear and dark wax.  Vanity makeover by Girl in the Garage

It’s no secret that I’ve used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® on a few of my recent projects: Provence on this table and this bookcase, and Paris Grey on this dresser.  I’ve also shared a few reasons why I like the paint, but I’ve never done a full review.  So when the folks at Annie Sloan Unfolded asked me if I wanted to do a project and a review, I said yes, of course!

These are the products I worked with:

Then I just had to figure out what I was going to paint.  I had several pieces waiting in my garage that would’ve been fine to paint (mostly side tables) but I wanted to do something a little different… Then I remembered I had this vanity that my mom picked up at a yard sale and surprised me with.

It was a beautiful, sturdy piece but the top was showing lots of wear and needed quite a bit of sanding.  Normally with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint you don’t have to sand, but there were scratches and little indentations so I wanted to be safe.

So I took the drawers out and the mirror off, and sanded the table top.

Then I painted the base in Old White which is a good off-white color, not too bright.  You don’t need to prime with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, but with the light colors you will need more than one coat.  I did have to touch up a few areas with a second coat after sanding away some brush strokes.

Then I painted the table top in Graphite.  Honestly when I ordered this color, I was thinking it would be black.  When I opened the can it looked more like medium-dark gray and I panicked!  I only needed one coat on top and then when it dried I was happy to see that it was a pale shade of black (if that makes sense) – like a chalkboard.

After the base, drawers, and mirror were painted, I got to the fun part – stripes!

I had heard good things about Frog Tape so I decided to give it a try.  I measured my stripes at 3″ each and then taped and painted.

Tip:  Always pull the tape off while the paint is still wet.  Those are some pretty straight lines!  (Since the paint is fairly thick I shouldn’t have worried about it running under the tape anyway though!)  After painting stripes on three sides, I reattached the mirror.

Then I noticed something… the mirror had paint on it!  Confession: I am not a “neat” painter – I make messes.  (You can also see in some of these pics that my garage floor has paint all over it from my projects.)  I did not tape the mirror like I should have, oops.  No worries!  I grabbed my bottle of nail polish remover and a couple of Q-tips and wiped away the paint from the mirror like it was never there.  Just like magic, as my boys would say.  😉

Next it was time for the soft wax.  I’ve used clear a few times and feel pretty comfortable with it, but I had never tried dark before.  I was honestly really nervous to try it!  I spoke with the helpful Annie Sloan Unfolded reps when I was at Haven and they warned me that I should always put a clear coat of wax on before using the dark or I would end up having a really dark piece… since the dark wax is kind of a stain.  As long as you use the clear wax first, it’s easier to control the dark wax and wipe away some of the excess by applying more clear wax after.  Maybe I should start at the beginning…

When you’re working with wax, it’s best to apply in thin even layers.  The best thing to do is use a plastic spoon to get a glob of the wax and put it on a paper plate, then put the lid back on.  This is so the wax doesn’t get contaminated with particles from the air, your brush, or the furniture you’re working on.  Get some wax on the end of your bristles and then blot onto the plate to remove any clumps.  Work in small sections, starting at the back until you get a good groove.  Then after each section, use a clean, lint-free cotton rag (an old t-shirt or bed sheet will work) to wipe away excess wax.

After applying the clear wax all over the piece, it was time for the dark wax.  Typically you’re supposed to apply the dark wax pretty quickly after the clear- but for me, as soon as I finished the clear wax my boys woke up from their naps.  (Happens. Every. Time.)  So I had to wait about 6 hours later to apply the dark wax, and I’m not sure if the outcome would’ve been any different if I had done it earlier.

This time I put globs of both clear and dark wax on my plate.  (I also used a different brush just so I’ll have one for each type of wax, and a new rag.)  Same as the clear- I got some dark wax on my brush and blotted it onto the plate to remove the excess.  Then I started lightly applying near the back of the piece and made my way forward.

When it went on a little too dark or thick, I immediately used the rag to scoop a small amount of clear wax and then rubbed it over the area I wanted lightened.  Although it wouldn’t erase any big mistakes, it definitely diminished the areas that I applied it to.

You can see that the dark wax tends to cling to brushstrokes and gives an overall more antique look.  I was really nervous at first but I really like how it turned out.  The dark wax makes the Old White more of a light taupe, which makes the vanity look less like referee stripes (haha).

After all the waxing was done, I added two fancy glass drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby.

And now for some fun staged photos on the porch (including an antique press camera I found at a yard sale this weekend that I am in LOVE with)…


*What is Chalk Paint®?   It’s a decorative paint developed by Annie Sloan in 1990 named for its matte “chalky” finish.  It is not the same as chalkboard paint.


  • Thick paint means it will last longer- you can also add some water to make it thinner.
  • Very easy cleanup as opposed to latex paint.  Comes off my hands/arms/legs (I told you I was a messy painter) and even paint brushes easily with some soap and water.
  • Paint can be used on any type of surface.
  • No sanding or priming necessary (but sometimes a good idea based on the surface you’re planning to paint).
  • Colors can be mixed to make infinite possibilities.
  • Low VOC’s and almost no odor.
  • Experts at Annie Sloan Unfolded and specialty retailers all over the country are well-trained to answer questions and provide guidance.


  • The price is higher than some other paints, but one quart does go a long way.  Also, the benefits of the paint are worth it in my opinion.
  • Only available through approved retailers, but new retailers are being added all the time.

Vintage vanity makeover and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® review by Girl in the Garage

*At the time of this review, I didn’t own a special Annie Sloan paint brush.  I was using chip brushes from the hardware store (about $1.50 each) and cotton rags for waxing and my regular paint brushes for the Chalk Paint®.  Chip brushes are not the best idea for waxing.  I highly recommend buying one of Annie Sloan’s wax brushes!

*Find an Annie Sloan retailer HERE.

*There are also lots of YouTube videos available by retailers and bloggers for using the paint and wax.  HERE is a link to the official Annie Sloan YouTube channel.

*You can also find Annie Sloan Unfolded on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

~ ~ ~

How are you feeling; more confident?  I know there’s a ton of information in this post but if you read through it all and follow the links provided you’ll be confident enough to try Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan and wax in no time!  If you have other questions please leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer – or contact your nearest retailer for expert advice.


Find tons of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® project inspiration Here in my Project Gallery!

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62 Comments on Vanity Makeover & Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Review

  1. laurie
    August 26, 2013 at 8:57 am (6 years ago)

    Oh Wow! This turned out so pretty. The stripes are such a great idea, and I love the colors you chose. I’ve done a couple of pieces with A.S., and I love it. The time I save by not stripping, sanding and prepping the piece makes it worth the price, and you’re right, it goes a long way. Great post! laurie
    laurie recently posted…OUR SUNROOMMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm (6 years ago)

      Laurie, I totally agree. It’s a total timesaver with prepping and cleanup!

  2. Angie
    August 26, 2013 at 8:57 am (6 years ago)

    It looks great, Jen! I love the piece and the colors you chose. And the stripes really add such personality to it! Nice job! ~ Angie
    Angie recently posted…How to Refinish Wood FurnitureMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Angie! You can never go wrong with classic black and white. 😉

  3. Sharon
    August 26, 2013 at 8:59 am (6 years ago)

    You and Annie Sloan make a great pair. The vanity turned out so cute! Love the staging too.

    I am probably the last blogger that hasn’t tried ASCP. I’m dying to use it though! Luckily, there is a stockist nearby.
    Sharon recently posted…Fall Burlap WreathMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm (6 years ago)

      Sharon, let me know if you try it and how you like it. That’s great that you have a stockist nearby to help you out- many stockists offer painting classes too!

  4. Danielle @ 2 Little Superheroes
    August 26, 2013 at 9:42 am (6 years ago)

    This looks so great. Love how to legs are white on the outside and black on the inside. I use milk paint all the time, but still have not tried Annie Sloan chalk paint. Need to try it out now that I see this.
    Danielle @ 2 Little Superheroes recently posted…Coral Coffee Table Using Milk PaintMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Danielle! I have never tried milk paint, because I don’t really like the idea of having to mix it myself. Let me know if/when you try Annie Sloan!

  5. Julie {Lilacs & Longhorns}
    August 26, 2013 at 10:24 am (6 years ago)

    I LOVE the way this turned out! It’s absolutely beautiful! What a great idea to do the stripes.
    I, too, am a big fan of ASCP — love working with it and the end results are always fab! 🙂
    Julie {Lilacs & Longhorns} recently posted…Pre-teen Boys Room IdeasMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm (6 years ago)

      I couldn’t agree more Julie- thank you!

  6. Holly
    August 26, 2013 at 10:50 am (6 years ago)

    It looks amazing Jen! ASCP is so reliable… I never worry about getting a great result with the paint and your instructions were terrific. I love the stripes and the contrast on the legs. Great job!
    Holly recently posted…Design Dilemmas in My Home… Beautiful BookcasesMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Holly, I was worried maybe I had too many instructions listed but I hope they’re helpful for someone thinking of trying it. 🙂

  7. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint
    August 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm (6 years ago)

    Jen, the vanity turned out gorgeous! What a fantastic job and I love how the dark wax turned out. Like you the dark was is something I’ve never used. But, I might have to try it.

    Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint recently posted…No Sew PillowsMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Denyse! I think the dark wax toned down the white just enough- and it wasn’t as scary as I thought. LOL Let me know if you try it!

  8. Kathy
    August 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm (6 years ago)

    The vanity turned out gorgeous, I loved the way you staged it the old camera. =) Great tutorial.
    Kathy recently posted…Monday MusingsMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks so much Kathy! I imagine that camera will make its way into many future photo shoots… 😉

  9. Carolyn Smith
    August 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Jen,
    What a cute little piece! I love the dark paint on the inside of the legs. It really defines the shape and give the piece a sense of whimsy! I love it.
    Carolyn Smith recently posted…Dinner With FriendsMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Carolyn, I love the legs too!

  10. Amy @ StowandTellU
    August 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Jen, what a great post on ASCP! I know a lot more about it now than I did a few moments ago, that is for sure. I had no idea they had a YouTube channel, or retail locations for that matter. Your vanity is just out of this world stunning!! Thanks ~ Amy
    Amy @ StowandTellU recently posted…End of August $250.00 Gift Card GiveawayMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks so much Amy! Glad you like it!

  11. Shanna Gilbert
    August 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm (6 years ago)

    You did a fabulous job Jen! I love the stripes, it was super informative and the camera is awesome!
    Shanna Gilbert recently posted…It’s Giveaway Time!My Profile

  12. Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads
    August 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm (6 years ago)

    Jen, you took that vanity from blah to fabulous! Love the contrast on the legs especially! I have used AS chalk paint on several pieces, and I love the dark wax! It adds another whole dimension to the paint color and ages things beautifully. Most of the time I just apply it with a cloth and I have buffed it with a shoe brush!
    Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads recently posted…White Pumpkin UpdateMy Profile

  13. Pat Good
    August 27, 2013 at 7:49 am (6 years ago)

    I love this. I am so happy I saw this before I waxed my chalk painted furniture. I really didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Now I feel comfortable attempting this. I have painted an old desk of my father’s a light purple (not sure what the color names were), the drawers a soft yellow and the drawer pulls dark purple and I think it looks great for someone who has not attempted many projects but wanted to do something different. Now I can wax! Thanks so much. If I can figure out how to send you the picture when finished I will to see what you think. Thanks again for your expertise.


    • Jen
      August 28, 2013 at 9:49 am (6 years ago)

      Pat, that’s awesome! I’m glad I was able to help give you the confidence to wax. I’d love to see your project when it’s finished.

  14. Meegan
    August 27, 2013 at 10:41 am (6 years ago)

    Oh my goodness! You gave this a whole new life and I love it! Pinned 🙂

  15. Sophie Blackwell
    August 27, 2013 at 10:51 am (6 years ago)

    What a gorgeous result! I just recently had my first experience with dark wax too and was very nervous. Like you, I found that applying clear wax to any areas with too much dark wax worked a treat. Great tip about the frogtape – must try!

    • Jen
      August 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Sophie! Now I’ll have to plan my next project with dark wax to get a little more practice. I’m excited to try it on a piece with more detail. 🙂

  16. Clydia
    August 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm (6 years ago)

    Jen — it looks fantastic! Great job on the post it was very informative! xoxo
    Clydia recently posted…ITS PARTY TIME! 8-25-13My Profile

  17. Jenna
    August 27, 2013 at 7:28 pm (6 years ago)

    Gorgeous, Jen! Love the stripes!

    • Jen
      August 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Adrienne, that’s so sweet! 🙂

  18. Kimberly @ Colors Mixed Together
    August 28, 2013 at 7:42 am (6 years ago)

    Hi Jen, your piece turned out wonderfully! I love the stripes. I’m wondering what your inspiration was? I am so afraid of the dark wax myself and have never tried it. I think I may in the future thanks to you! Looking forward to working with you on Throwback Thursday!
    Kimberly @ Colors Mixed Together recently posted…How to: Ombre Painted JarsMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm (6 years ago)

      Kimberly, I think my inspiration was just several different painted pieces I had seen on the web and in books – and then I’ve always wanted to try stripes. 😉 Glad you like it, thanks!

  19. Kathy
    August 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm (6 years ago)

    I love the piece… the painted stripes gives it such a fresh new look.
    Kathy recently posted…Wooden Decorative ArtMy Profile

    • Jen
      August 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Allison, that’s a big compliment from you! 🙂

  20. Susan
    August 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm (6 years ago)

    What a sophisticated vanity redo! You make it seem so easy with the clear steps in your tutorial. But I’m so intimidated by painting furniture. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.
    Susan recently posted…Inspire Us Thursday Link Party #14My Profile

  21. Katie Goldsworthy
    September 2, 2013 at 3:05 am (6 years ago)

    She turned out beautiful! Love those handles and the lines! Thanks for linking up at Monday Funday!

  22. Peggy~PJH Designs
    September 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm (6 years ago)

    I love your vanity! It turned out gorgeous! You gotta love that chalk paint. I know I do. Thanks so much for sharing at Transformed Tuesday.

    Peggy~PJH Designs

    • Jen
      October 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you Kathy – that’s a big compliment from someone so talented! It’s one of my favorites too. 🙂

  23. Alli
    October 23, 2013 at 5:49 am (5 years ago)

    I’ve never used Annie Sloan paint and had loads of questions. Then I noticed this tutorial on your sidebar and clicked on. You answered all of my questions including the most important one to me, “Where do I buy it?” Thanks! I love your makeover, by the way!
    Alli recently posted…Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan ToppingMy Profile

  24. Nina
    November 3, 2013 at 9:19 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks for the great tutorial on how to do stripes with ASCP, I have been procrastinating for about a month trying to work out the best way…and now I think I know!

  25. Christina
    January 4, 2014 at 9:28 am (5 years ago)

    Gorgeous transformation, and what great details and information regarding the Annie Sloan paint. I’ve been wondering what the difference would be between the Annie Sloan vs. Martha Stewart and other brands. Definitely gives me the info I need to feel more confident about tackling some small pieces.

  26. DeAnne
    January 14, 2014 at 10:13 pm (5 years ago)

    The Annie Sloan paint brushes are well worth the money! I use mine for the wax only. You’ll never go back!

    • Jen
      January 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm (5 years ago)

      OOOH I still need to get a wax brush! Thanks for reminding me DeAnne. 🙂 It’s definitely on my wish list. I hate having to throw my rags away after every piece I wax!

  27. Tina
    January 18, 2014 at 8:49 pm (5 years ago)

    I just painted grandmother’s mahogany armoire in Annie Sloan Old White. Looking for a great beige color to paint the bedroom walls that will compliment or make the armoire pop – any suggestions?

    • Jen
      January 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm (5 years ago)

      Tina, I wish I was more of an expert on wall colors but unfortunately I’m not the best person to ask. I usually just pick a color and hope for the best! (Thankfully I put a little more effort into my furniture colors!) I do have a blogging friend though who also works in a paint store and she’d be a great person to ask. Here is Angie’s site: She also regularly shares her favorite paint colors and I believe she’s started doing some consulting too. (If you contact her, please tell her I sent you.) Hope that helps!

  28. Marie Goodwin
    January 24, 2014 at 10:09 am (5 years ago)

    I am planning to paint my kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. I have white appliances. I am not sure if I should use pure white or old white. I am pretty sure I want to use light wax, because I don’t want my cabinets to look dirty. What is your opinion on White on white.

    • Jen
      January 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm (5 years ago)

      Marie, I think white on white would be alright if you have other colors in the room, for example your backsplash or walls with some color to them. Also, who lives in your home with you? If you have small children you might want to think twice about white cabinets because they’ll be harder to keep clean. 😉 Of course you can always start by painting a test area (one cabinet or door) and then see how it looks. I only have experience with old white, which has just a little bit of cream to it (not much at all). Here’s a post from one of my blogging friends who painted her kitchen cabinets with ASCP: – it might help you out. Good luck- I’d love to see how it turns out!

      • Marie Goodwin
        January 27, 2014 at 9:41 am (5 years ago)

        Thank you.

  29. karen melvin
    February 23, 2014 at 10:27 am (5 years ago)

    A friend and I wandered thru some antique malls yesterday and discovered many different versions of Chalk Painted furniture. We both pondered a similar question and I wondered if you could answer our question. I know that wax is used with the Annie Sloan painting techniques but does the waxy surface leave fingerprints or object prints on the surface of a desk or tabletop after the project is complete. Thanks, Karen.

    • Jen
      February 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm (5 years ago)

      Sorry I’m just now responding, I’ve had a sick little boy this week. 🙁
      Wax will not leave any fingerprints or marks as long as it’s had enough time to cure, which is about 30 days for Annie Sloan wax. When I’m waxing a table I usually give the top of it 2-3 light coats, waiting a day or two between coats. Also- it’s not recommended to wax any pieces that will be outside or in any kind of prolonged heat, because the wax will become soft. Finally, if it’s a table that will be getting a lot of use (like a kitchen table) you may have to reapply the wax every so often to keep the finish thick and smooth. I haven’t done a kitchen table but I have some friends who have. Hope that helps!


4Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Vanity Makeover & Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Review

  1. […] Chalk Paint and wax in an in-depth post I wrote HERE. […]

  2. […] Jen at Girl in the Garage proves you can add whimsy to a piece of furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The options are endless as you can also mix the paint to produce custom colors. After painting, simply apply clear or dark wax, laquer, or leave it as is. The paint is truly versatile. […]

  3. […] * Vanity Makeover and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® Review and Tips […]

  4. […] 1.  Chalk Paint Vanity Makeover – Girl in the Garage […]

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