I recently wrote about various things that, as I snappily said ‘I love so much that I can’t decide where to put them, and therefore currently don’t have anywhere at all in our house‘. As part of this, I resolved to, over some as yet unspecified period, include the following stuff in our home, somehow, somewhere:
- a garland
- a wall sticker (or wall stickerS. I might go crazy.)
- tissue paper spheres
- chalkboard paint
So here we are. After hearing some words of doom concerning blackboard paint, largely concerning how hard it was to remove and sand off, I started off small, and decided to paint our little Ikea table first of all.
Here it is. This is the ‘before’. I love this little table, which I bought with two chairs when Rosa our eldest was probably about two. The idea was for her to have a table and chairs to draw at, and it has been used variously as a place for playing, drawing, reading, and eating snacks from. It was, of course, from Ikea. As is almost everything in our house (apart from those things which I bought from ebay). I love the shape of it. I love the little chairs. I love everything about it, apart from the finish. Slightly too shiny, slightly too orange, slightly too wrong. I decided I needed to paint it almost as soon as we got it home.
I knew I wanted to spray paint the table a neutral colour, and then paint the top in blackboard paint. I thought the girls would enjoy
scribbling on it writing on it with chalk. Truthfully, I thought *I* would enjoy writing things on it. I thought it would only be a small job. Easy.
But then every time we reached a point where we might begin to wrest back some control over our lives, and might possibly be able to find a moment to paint some furniture… well, we developed the habit of just having another baby. Hurrah. After all, why not?
So here we are. As with so many things. Emerging from the abyss of tiny babies, with our youngest now just days away from being 18 months old, and staring down the barrel of all the things we should have done years ago. The sun was out a few weeks ago, the girls were happily romping around the garden, and I had a sudden rush of blood to the head: ‘I could spray paint that table!’ I thought to myself.
And so I did.
I just did it. In the words of my previous post, I carped the diem. I did the whole works: lightly sanded the table, then sprayed it with grey primer, before getting stuck in with the almond colour paint I wanted to use on the legs. In retrospect I am not quite sure that grey primer was the right call. Even after about three thin coats of almond paint, the overall impression of the colour is still… well… very grey. I don’t mind that so much. I’m all up for a bit of grey. It just wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
But undeterred, I pressed on, and painted the top with my trusty tin of blackboard paint. I have to explain here how had a slightly hilarious episode with a magnetic tin of blackboard paint some years ago now where we painted a wall in our old kitchen with it. We were then mystified by the wall’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge its magnetic properties in any way. We couldn’t persuade even one small word of magnetic poetry to cling to it for longer than a second, before sliding slowly and sadly down the wall. Turned out that we had failed to stir it properly, so all the magnetic stuff (iron filings?) was sitting at the bottom of the paint tin, being resolutely and uselessly magnetic there.
So this time I was pretty determined to stir it properly. I wielded my weapon of choice (a knife from our cutlery drawer) and stirred it as well as I could. It was hard. Trying to get it all to mix together was nearly impossible. I have searched hard for an adequate metaphor to describe how difficult this was. It wasn’t like whisking up salad dressing. It was more like…. like… well, imagine a bucket half-filled with gravel, then topped up with water. Imagine usng an implement, let’s just say a knife from your cutlery drawer, and imagine trying to whip up the gravel into a gentle emulsion with the water.
Can you imagine that?
So. I did my best. I stirred and whipped valiantly. Then I painted. And the effect was pretty good. You can see above. It has just the contrast I wanted between the pale neutral and the black.
But… but… what’s this? I was perplexed by its shininess. I kept thinking it would dry matte, and it kept… well, not being matte. Turns out that shiny blackboard works just as well as matte. You can still write on it with chalk. The girls don’t mind one bit.
I mind. I consulted the Oracle on such matters, who goes by the name of my Dad.
“Why is my chalkboard paint drying shiny rather than matte?”
And do you know what he said?
“Ah. Yes. You need to stir it properly.”