Paint me like a French girl

October 28, 2014












 Images: Nicole Leftwick

Last weekend I spent my Saturday morning doing just about everything that encompasses a perfect girls day out – and that would be painting, drinking tea and eating cakes of course.

I have always adored the look of shabby chic French furniture and decor, so when I heard about at the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® workshop at Bon Bon Maison in Umhlahi I jumped at the chance to book a seat! By way of background, Annie Sloan is one of those super women that does it all – she’s a trained artist from Oxford England, who has combined her love of colour with a successful career as paint designer, teacher, entrepreneur and writer – with over one and a half million of her books sold so far. And of course, she is the founder of the amazing decorative and most brilliant paint in the world; Chalk Paint®.

As her brand is all about giving people the tools to create, Annie started developing her own line of paints because she was not happy with those on the market – and when you try Chalk Paint you will know why it’s revolutionised the way we see decorative painting. The unique paint is so flexible and easy to use, it even allows furniture to be painted without priming or preparation as it adheres to almost any surface from different wood finishes, fabric, ceramic pots and tins – I was amazed at how easy it was to apply! It comes in 32 beautifully rich colours that you can mix and match, it dries fast and has great coverage – because ain’t nobody got time to watch paint dry these days!

The lovely and talented Su from Suzanna Jane Furniture took our ‘Introduction to Chalk paint’ class – Su lives on the North Coast and upcycles furniture for a living – and she’s an absolute Annie Sloan ambassador. Her vast knowledge of the product, combined with her passion for painting and patience with those of us less experienced than others made her the perfect candidate to teach us all the tricks of the trade. Armed with our own pieces of wood, a plethora of brushes and pots of paints and even a hair dryer, Su took us through a few different techniques including whitewash, one-colour ‘chic’ finish, adding texture, two colour distressing and the use of clear and dark wax.

I found the workshop thoroughly enjoyable, inspiring and enlightening and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring paint techniques, DIY projects or creative ways to up cycle old furniture. Like anything creative I think it’s best to experiment practically first hand, so I won’t spoil it for you all but rather provide some of my top tips I took from the day –

  • It’s always advisable to clean your surfaces before painting to remove dirt and grime and give you a clean base – you can do this with sugar soap and water
  • Some woods with heavy natural oils e.g. teak, can bleed through the paint, to prevent this use Knot Seal to prime the wood
  • Use a separate brush for waxing
  • Always apply a coat of clear wax before dark wax
  • Wax can be applied a s quickly as 40 minutes after painting
  • To maintain your pieces, wax them once a year and clean with a feather duster rather than chemical products
  • After painting you can use a coat of deck seal on outdoor furniture to keep the paint from weathering
  • To prevent surface marks, ideally wait about 30 days before putting things on top of your painted furniture

Most Annie Sloan stockists in South Africa offers paint technique workshops. Bon Bon Maison is an ideal stockist for North Coast residents, but recently the range became available at La Maison in Durban North. To find your nearest stockist go to I’d also recommend jumping on youtube if you’d prefer to teach yourself or even if you need a little refresher post workshop.

The Annie Sloan half day workshop is R500. To book visit Bon Bon Maison’s Facebook page here




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