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Chalk Paint workshop gets the thumbs up!

Creative centre at Little Gems Interiors

At Little Gems Interiors we love helping people discover how easy it is to make impressive transformations with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  

Recently we opened our very own Creative Centre where we hold regular workshops giving an insight into the exciting techniques you can use to upcycle furniture and much more, run by the team who have been trained by Annie herself. 

Chalk Paint newbie Clare came along to our recent Techniques 1 session which offers an introduction to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. She told us about her experience. 


“Recently I had a few pieces of old family furniture passed down to me. To be fair, although they have lots of sentimental value, they have seen better days and I was keen to see if there was a way to bring them back to life while helping them to fit in with the décor of my home. 

I did a bit of research and upcycling with Chalk Paint seemed like a fantastic option, though as a self-proclaimed perfectionist I had the feeling I might struggle with some of the techniques. After all upcycling seems to be about celebrating the imperfections of old pieces – whereas I tend to be more of a straight edges and smooth finishes kind of person! 

So, rather than just go for it, I decided that a workshop trialling some of the basics would be the best option to see if it was for me. 

The Little Gems Creative Centre is an easy drive from Colchester. Our session started at 10am so it was perfect timing after dropping the kids off at school. 

Lynn led the course and she instantly made me feel at ease. The space itself has a really creative vibe which put me in the mood to take a few risks and leave my perfectionist ways at the door! 

We each had a work bench set out with an apron, silicon mixing mat, brushes, paint, colour chart and a large plank of wood to test the techniques on. Lynn offered an introduction then we were quickly on to the fun part – getting hands on with the paint. 

First, we learnt how chalk paint can be mixed to create the exact colour you are looking for and our task was to create our own bespoke colour. I easily managed to mix a beautiful teal which I loved. 

Then we moved on to some of the different techniques and I was impressed by how the same paint can be used to create so many different looks. 

I really liked the simple vintage look, brushing the paint in any which way.  

It was also interesting to try the antique vintage look, although it was probably a step too far for my love of order! For this one you dab the paint on for a more textured finish, using a hair dryer to heat treat the paint and introduce cracks to age the end result. Although not for me I can see on the right piece of furniture this could look impressive. 

More my style were the modern flat finish and the wet distress (which has a very ‘in’ Scandi feel about it that I love). Finally, we tried a two-colour distress, which I would like to play around with further.  

Throughout the workshop Lynn had lots of useful hints and tips to help get the most from the paint and no question was too silly!  

I have always loved not just the look of chalk paint but the feel of it too – somehow, it’s softer and warmer to the touch than bog standard finishes and it turns out a lot of this is down to the wax you use to seal your piece. We got the chance to test out both clear and coloured waxes to see how they altered the end result. 

I came away from the session feeling really inspired to get started on my first project, confident that I had learnt enough to turn my old furniture into something I can love again.” 


Take a look at our Creative Centre pages for more information about all of our forthcoming workshops