RSS/Atom Feed

Top techniques | The Rustic Chippy Look

Rustic look garden furniture

Are you a perfectionist who likes neat lines and a consistent finish? Then this is probably not the technique for you! 

Rather than just using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ to add colour, the rustic chippy look is all about texture, forcing the paint to create an uneven surface which in turn adds interest and character. Thick layers of paint are applied and then knocked back to recreate years of natural wear and tear. 

It’s great if you want to celebrate the uniqueness of your chosen piece of furniture, enhancing and recreating imperfections.  

When it comes to this finish, the thicker the paint the better. And that’s one of the bonuses of using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™. Because it is water based it’s quite easy to alter the consistency. Need thinner paint? Simply add a little water. Need to thicken it up? Either leave it in the fridge for a few hours or if you are in a hurry blow dry the bottom of the tin and the consistency will be perfect for the task at hand.  

As well as your chosen the item of furniture, you will need thickened Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ (you want the paint to be almost gooey so that it sticks to the paintbrush), a round bristled Chalk Paint™ brush, sandpaper, wax and a lint-free cloth.   

The sort of finish you want to achieve will determine how you apply the paint, though usually you will need two or three coats to get the best results. 

Typically, you would put the paint on thick and quick as it will continue to thicken as it dries. As you can go you can speed up the drying process with a hairdryer which in turn will help create cracks in the paint giving an aged look to your piece. The more intense the heat the more dramatic the cracks. 

It’s impossible to guess exactly how the paint will react when you use a hairdryer, so if you are looking for a more uniform result you can apply Annie Sloan Craqueleur crackle varnish once your paint is dry. This will give a much finer hairline classical effect. 

For a different end result, use your brush to stipple on the paint. At Little Gems we used this approach (and about 11 different colours of Chalk Paint™!) to create a concrete-look table which was such a success it sold before it was even finished! 

You don’t necessarily need to use the rustic chippy approach all over your chosen piece of furniture. Some pieces such as French-style dressers or cupboards can be taken to another level if this technique is used just in the areas where there would be a natural build-up of dirt over the years. 

Once your paint is fully dry it’s time for the fun part - creating the chipped part of the look.  

If you are using this technique all over and you really want to age your piece you can use coarse sandpaper or even a chisel or screwdriver to knock away some of the paint to create a natural, worn look. 

It’s important to think about how distressed you want your furniture to look before you begin. If you go for a dramatic finish straight off but realise half way through it’s not for you it will be much harder to recover than taking it slowly with the distressing stage.  

Finish the piece with a coat of clear wax, applied using a brush or lint-free cloth in all directions, wiping away any excess as you go. A final coat of dark brown or black wax pushed into all of the crevices will add real contrast and the perfect finishing touch. 


Keen to find out more about the different results you can achieve with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™? Little Gems Interiors hosts a variety of workshops and creative craft courses tailored to suit a range of abilities. The sessions take place at our Creative Centre in Mount Bures and they are great fun. Find out more here Workshops | Little Gems Interiors