DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture

My set of hard wood garden furniture were new the summer of 2003. And they have suffered tremendously from large neglect, bordering abuse…:-O The last couple of winters I did not even bother moving them under the small roof I have on my deck, they were left out during the terrible winter storms, and the rain… the endless rain. Was I secretly hoping for a miracle? Or maybe for a lottery price, so I could afford to buy new furniture? I don’t know, but as the story goes, when spring arrived this year, the furniture looked beyond salvation, and I still could not afford buying a brand new set… So I came up with the idea of chalk painting them:

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

Here are some BEFORE pictures, and these are not completely bad, since it is a-f-t-e-r I cleaned them with a strong detergent – trust me, had you seen them the way they looked, you would have told me to throw them out! I have a total of 5 chairs, one biig table, and a cushion box.

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

The chair to the left is looking more like the starting point… I felt I had nothing to loose, so I was willing to do a little experiment! Chalk painting for the outdoors! Of course, with this much to cover, I wasn’t going to use my precious Annie Sloan chalk paint, so I did some research, and landed on a recipe that I think combines the best of all the different recipes I have seen:


  • Supplies: Water, unsanded grout, white latex paint
  • Recipe: Mix 2 tablespoons of unsanded grout with one tablespoon of water (mix well so the grout dissolves completely) Add 1 cup of paint, mix well.

If you are painting a lot (like we were) I’d make up a bigger batch. I set up a container where I had pre-measured how much goes into it so I could quickly make big batches. The paint will thicken if stored, but it CAN be stored for a few days. My favorite way of storing it is using small(-ish) airtight plastic containers. When you open up a stored container, add a little water, bring out your paint stick and mix it up really well. If it stills feels a little thick, mix in more water!

This is the paint I used for my Can Planters and for the Seed Catalog Pictures Frames. (Click on images to go to the original posts):

Wings of Whimsy: Antique Seed Catalogs Reinvented - 1907 Lippincott Can Planter #vintage #epehemera #freebie #printable #seed #catalog
Can Planters
Wings of Whimsy: Antique Seed Catalogs Reinvented #vintage #epehemera #freebie #printable #seed #catalog
Rose Picture Frames

Now, for most of my thrift finds, I only clean them well and start painting. No sanding! But for these furnitures, I swear they had FUR after the cleaning, so there was no way to avoid it. I sanded them with a coarse grit paper, I believe mine was 60. Not a perfect sanding, but just to take off the worst…:-P

Here is a chair after being sanded:

IMG_3312And with two coats of chalk paint:

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

After the first coat I sanded again, this time with a finer grit (80) paper, and quite quickly, to take down the fibers from the wood.

Luckily, I got my super-assistant Guro all fired up about this project, so she has helped at lot with the sanding and painting:

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

I did NOT seal these with wax. I read that wax used outside can trap moisture inside the wood, and make the furniture rot from inside…:-O So I am going to see how they hold up without being sealed. I plan to keep them under the canopy all summer, and of course store them under my roof when the times come to take down the canopy, so they will not be exposed to direct rain (or snow!) anymore 😛

Here are the first two chairs and the table ready to use:Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

And the table set for our first outdoor meal (ice cream, of course!) with the revamped furniture:

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

And here is the super-assistant, enjoying the new furniture:

Wings of Whimsy: DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture #diy #chalk #paint #outdoor #garden #furniture

I have just finished the other three chairs. I will leave them so the paint can cure for a couple of days before I start using them. I have not yet started on the cushion box, so this is a slow (especially with all the rain we have had this spring and early summer!) and labor intensive project, but totally worth it when you look at the results 🙂

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6 thoughts on “DIY Chalk Painted Garden Furniture

  1. WAUW your garden furnitures here looks really beautiful sweetie. I just love that white shabby look on everything, sooooooo beautiful and romantic, and somehow it reminds me of my childhood summers, where my grandparents had some furnitures that look very alike. You´ve really done an amazing job with these and the result is truly amazing. Very very beautiful and just by looking at them, it gives you a relaxed feeling. Can almost feel the cosy in sitting there with a nice glass of cider and enjoy a warm summer evening ha ha ha, so I really hope, that you´ll get some nice sun and summer to enjoy it to the fullest.

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