My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1211: Box Transformation Using Chalky Finish Paint

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-06-2014 12:45 PM 2317 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1210: Sanding, Sanding, Sanding! Part 1211 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1212: One Bunny Toy Finished »

What began as a storage solution turned into quite an interesting project. All weekend I was thinking of the phrase “necessity breeds invention” as I worked on the storage box for my new line of paints.

On Friday, I received a shipment from DecoArt of their new Chalky Finish paint. This is a totally new line of high-adhesion paint that has a beautiful, soft matte finish that is becoming very popular. Many people are working with flea market finds and pieces of old furniture and re-purposing them instead of throwing them away. This paint is geared to be used in that market, as well as to make coordinating pieces such as frames, boxes, trays – you name it.

The paint itself comes in wide mouth 8oz and 16oz sizes. It is available exclusively through Home Depot until the end of May (USA stores only) and then will be reviewed for other marketing options. I am hoping that it will be available on the DecoArt site after that, as there are plenty of people here in Canada that are waiting to get their hands on it. The Home Depot link to it is here:

DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint

The good news for the USA folks is that Home Depot will deliver it free if your order is over $45. Not a bad deal.

I was able to receive samples of the paint because I am in DecoArt’s Helping Artist Program . DecoArt has always been very supportive of designers and artists, as they realize that we help get word out and test their new products. From my standpoint, it is wonderful to work with a company that is so dedicated to the creative industry. Their products always seem to spark my inspiration.

My first thoughts when receiving these samples was “where the heck am I going to put them?” Those of you who read regularly know that I live in a small place. I wanted to keep them close at hand because I have several new ideas for using them, but I didn’t want them underfoot either. I rooted around and on my bedroom closet floor I saw a good sized box that I thought would be suitable. It was from some sub-woofers that Keith had ordered many, many years ago and was the box that they were shipped in.

It was pretty ugly, but it was made of plywood and was good and sturdy, which is what I needed to hold the 35+ pounds of paint. I tried the paint and it all fit perfectly inside – as if it were made for it!

I was even able to fit the 12” x 12” stencils that came with the paint.

I could have stopped there, but a wonderful idea came to me. Since I was planning to use this paint on my next project, I needed to test it out first and see how it would perform. What better way to test it than to re-paint this ugly box and make it look a little nicer? It would be the perfect opportunity to see how things would work and practice on. Besides – if it didn’t look good, what did I have to lose? The box was going to be stored back in the bedroom closet anyway. So I began working on it.

Since the paint needs no real “prep” – all I needed to do (after removing the hardware from the box) was to give it a light sanding. I base coated the box in a warm, deep brown tone and applied a crackle medium over it. (The Chalky Finish line has its own crackle finish) After that dried, I applied a somewhat heavy coat of light cream colored paint. The heavier the top coat, the larger the cracks would be. The box crackled very nicely, and the crackle hid most of the flaws and banged corners and raw edges of the plywood.

I then used one of their stencils and applied a nice one to the top of the box:

I then applied one of the stencils to the inside cover. I really liked doing the stenciling, as it was fast and fun.

After finishing the sides and edges of the lid, I continued to crackle the entire outside of the box. I left the bottom and inside to do later on, as they didn’t need the crackling on them. Here is where I was yesterday morning:

I thought it looked pretty cool. But it looked a bit “sterile” and plain. Since I had several more stencils to choose from, I decided to do more stenciling on the box to dress it up a bit.

I used a cool “Distressed Harlequin” stencil on the box sides. The irregular diamonds went perfectly with the “French” theme and crackle finish:

Even my new elf friend Edgar got in on the action and helped me out:

I didn’t want the design to be boring, so I added a portion of the stencil from the lid design to carry down on the front center, under the lock. I also added some of the harlequin design on both the inside and outside of the lid to tie it all together.

Now it was looking pretty nice. But it still looked a bit stark. I decided to try the DecoArt Tinted Acrylic Wax Finish and tone it down a bit. I sparingly applied this wax to the outside and inside lid of the box:

This gave it a beautiful, warm finish. I continued to apply the wax to the entire box.

Now all I needed to do was paint the inside and bottom. I chose DecoArt Multi-Surface Satin paint for that. I LOVE the satin finish on this and I felt it would be more durable for both the bottom and the inside of the box which will have the most contact with items. As with the Chalky Finish paint, the adhesion is excellent and it needed no prep or top coat finish. I think it looks beautiful:

My only dilemma now was the hardware. With the box looking “distressed” and crackled, I didn’t want to put bright silver hardware back onto it. I looked on Google and found a recipe for rusting out hardware. You mix a concoction of bleach, apple cider vinegar and salt and put the hardware in a jar with the solution for a couple of days. It is there now and looks like something out of a horror movie.

So that is where I am at today. I may leave the hardware another day or so to see what happens. I hope it works.

In the mean time, while I was allowing all the layers of paint and finishes to dry on my box, I worked on my bunny project. I made good headway and I should be able to assemble them today.

I used the Chalky Finish paint on them as well and they look amazing! Almost suede-like in appearance. They are going to be a wonderful project I think!

I hope you liked this little walk through of this new product. I am going to do a detailed article later on with the process. I think that for this new paint will be a wonderful product for painters and woodworkers alike – even if you don’t like to paint.

I will show a final picture of the box when the hardware is finished. It may take a couple of days, but I need to allow the paint to cure before I fill the box anyway. Now my only problem is that I don’t want to put the box away! I need to find a place to have it where I can see it! :)

I wish you all a happy Monday today. Stay warm and safe. Stop back to see how the bunnies turned out tomorrow.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1575 posts in 2155 days

#1 posted 01-06-2014 01:49 PM


-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2096 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 06:02 PM

The box turned out beautifully. Too bad it will be stored in a closet! It should be on display. It just shows what can be done with a bit of paint and great imagination. The bunnies are looking very Spring like. Looking forward to seeing how they come together.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2827 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 06:23 PM

Way kool Sheila.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3059 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 07:57 PM

He’s good, Edgar, isn’t he.

Seriously. Good work, Sheila.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View CFrye's profile


10229 posts in 1862 days

#5 posted 01-06-2014 10:01 PM

Beautiful box transformation Sheila! Looking forward to the finished hardware and bunnies.
A Facebook friend of a friend shared this this morning and I thought you’d like it. Caption read: “She ran out of toner.”

Have a great week!

-- God bless, Candy

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2945 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 11:42 PM

Another new technique in a modern world using the old stencil method. I remember how my father let me draw school pictures in the stencil paper for memeographing the exam paper. Beautiful finish on a box! As the saying goes… Judge the book by its cover if you had read it. ... from “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” Your box looks amazing from the cover and more wow on the inside part.

-- Bert

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3241 posts in 3735 days

#7 posted 01-07-2014 05:07 AM


Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. That box looks great!

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#8 posted 01-07-2014 11:44 AM

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. I apologize for being so tardy on responding, but yesterday was a busy and full day and I really didn’t get to my computer much. When I did finally sit down here, I had a slew of emails and things to answer and honestly just tired out before answering here. I do appreciate them though and I appreciate your thoughts and support.

Yes – Edgar is turning into quite a wonderful apprentice. He is quiet and attentive and doesn’t argue (much) with my methods. Coco is in love with him, as she spends the day curled up next to him, practically on his lap. When she is awake, she just gazes at his face, as if expecting him to speak to her. It is rather fun to see.

In any case, it is nice to add another member to the “Sheila Landry Designs Team”. Like myself, Edgar has a pure love of creating, and it is his driving force.

Have a wonderful day today! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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