So, let's take a vote: Stain or paint? I repeat, stain or paint? Hmmm...? Well, if the post title didn't give it away, you guessed it! It's paint! Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, to be exact.
For about a year, our stair rail and our banister rail did not match. One still possessed its original golden oak stain while the other had a new dark walnut stain. I knew we needed to make the two match, but I absolutely dreaded stripping and re-staining the massive rail that led upstairs. The mismatched railing bugged me everyday, but the project loomed before me.
Then, Mark suggested painting it. At first, I balked at the idea. I knew I didn't want to paint it solid white or black-- the craftsmanship of the piece was too good and the wood grain too pretty. But then the idea struck us...
Maybe there was a way to chalkpaint the piece in such a way that it would mimic stain.
Here's a glimpse of the original railing before we began our Chalk Paint makeover. Not bad-- it just didn't match. Also, please pardon our carpeted stairs. Ugh. I sincerely wish we could rip out the carpet and replace it with lovely stained risers. But since we haven't won the lottery... that's not happening anytime soon.
Anyway, back to the rail.
As Annie Sloan Chalk Paint has continued to prove time and again... anything is possible! This project took about an hour to complete and was mind-bogglingly easy. Today, I want to share how we achieved this "stain look" without stripping, sanding, or staining.
What You'll Need:
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite
Annie Sloan Soft Dark Wax
clean buffing rag
What You'll Do:
1. Make sure the rail is clean and free of dust
2. Mix the Graphite Chalk Paint with a few tablespoons of water. Some people recommend doing a 50/50 mix, but I felt that this was a bit too runny for the amount of coverage I wanted. Mine was probably more like 60/40 or 70/30. You do want it to be a bit drippy, however.
3. Dip your brush into the water-paint mixture. With a spare paper towel, dab some of the paint off so that only a little remains on your brush. Then, paint onto the railing with quick, even strokes. Work a small section. I probably did about a foot or two of railing at a time.
4. Go back with a clean paper towel and wipe away the excess paint. This will behind leave a "whitewash" affect. You can even work the paint into the wood grain somewhat.
5. Continue down the length of the rail, repeating steps 3 and 4. If your opened can of paint begins to thicken, just add a little more water.
6. Allow the first coat to dry, then repeat with a second coat.
7. Once the paint has dried, apply a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Dark Wax using a clean rag or paper towel. Remember that a little bit goes along way with the wax. Tip: you may want to wear gloves when using dark wax so your finger nails don't look gunky.
8. Allow the wax to dry, then buff the rail to a high sheen using a clean rag. It make take the wax about a week to fully "cure."
You would not believe how easy this was and how closely it matches the walnut stain on the rest of the railing. As you can see in the above picture, the rail's brackets were outdated brass, complete with paint chips. After these photos were taken, we ended up removing the brackets and spray painting them black to match the wrought iron balusters upstairs. Much cheaper than paying $6 a bracket to replace them all.
What do you think? Feel brave enough to try out a Chalk Paint wash over staining? The best part: zero prep work. I just wiped off the dust and got to work. It cut down on time, money, and yucky stain smells. Finally no more mismatched railing!