How to get a modern look from Annie Sloan paints

i hosted a fun painting party earlier this week.

my friend Peilin has been wanting to learn how to paint with Annie Sloan. she’s an incredibly talented food stylist and whips together a mean sardine, hummus, olive, fried egg and avocado sandwich when you’re not looking.

but don’t tell her that i’m allergic to avocados, am afraid of sardines, and have an aversion to runny eggs.  i still ate most of it and it was delish…and i only had a few hives….no worries.

a few girlfriends came together to paint.  this is what Peilin brought.

dark wood pottery barn round dining table

i’m not totally sure how she got this heavy Pottery Barn dining table into her car by herself…but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

and let me tell you…this girl has the will!  Peinture in Costa Mesa, our favorite Annie Sloan stockist was closed, so Peilin hustled like a true addict to find another supplier. haha!

shelf of Annie Sloan Chalk Paints

of importance is the fact that Peilin’s hubby was freaked out that she might bring home a chippy paint, rustic-looking table.  ‘this isn’t a barn!’ i believe were his exact words.

so she worked hard to find something that would work in their home.  her inspiration was this whitewashed Armitage dining table.

Armitage round dining table

Armitage round dining table

we started with two coats of Annie Sloan Old White to ensure the dark dark dark wood covered well.  did i mention this wood was DARK?  people are always surprised that ASCP doesn’t require sanding or stripping the furniture before you start painting.  but it’s true…you just paint…and that’s why it’s so fast to turn out pieces….and why it’s worth the price.  time = money for this busy mom!

the table had a pretty wood inlay that looked like a four section pizza with each slice’s wood grain going in different directions.  to cover the grain and replicate a single direction modern wood grain, we used straight brushstrokes across the entire table top.

a rougher steel wool was used after each coat.  i was a bit eager on the first round and didn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry.  typically ASCP dries in about 15 minutes here in So Cal…but this was a particularly humid day….so my impatience led to taking off too much paint on one spot.  it left a weird mark that look like Cher.  i didn’t snap a pic of it, but trust me, i kept hearing “i’ve got you, babe!”  oh well.

then…and this is where it gets good…..we used a French Linen wash of 1:1 paint to water ratio.  it was very watery.  and using it, again, in long single direction strokes, totally lifted the faux wood grain we created with the Old White.  oh, the depth was incredible.

ASCP French Linen wash over Old White

we immediately wiped off (gently) with a soft white rag.  and it really was amazing how well the wash just made the look happen.  like magic.

ASCP French Linen wash over Old White

we used steel wool again, and it was almost like we wouldn’t have had to use wax.

ASCP French Linen wash over Old White

the finish was so soft, smooth, and starting to get a sheen.  it was gorgeous.

close up of dining table in Annie Sloan Old white and French Linen

doesn’t that look like real wood grain?!

dining table in Annie Sloan Old white and French Linen

the distressing was so subtle, that her hubby would never ever think this piece should be relegated to a barn….and btw, what’s wrong with a barn?  i’d LOVE to live in a converted barn…

side shot of dining table in Annie Sloan Old white and French Linen

because this piece will get heavy use in the dining room, we waxed it with three coats of clear wax and really buffed it in (great for the summer arms!!!).

that brought out the sheen even more, which i love.  not sure that Peilin loves it as she mentioned buying Modern Masters Dead Flat.  i’ve used Dead Flat before, but not on a piece that gets as much usage as a dining table…so i’m very curious to see how future pieces hold up with the ultra matte MM varnish.

and here’s an iPhone shot of the completed table.

Pottery Barn round dining table painted with ASCP

it looks so pretty, don’t you think?!

close up of Pottery Barn round dining table painted with ASCP

based on the number of return trips to Peinture made in the past 24 hours, i have a feeling Peilin may need an intervention soon.  she’s got the bug….ain’t i wholeheartedly support the addiction!  🙂

have a great weekend everyone!

linked to:
Strut Your Stuff Saturday

About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.


  1. Helen says

    Hi there, I’m about to start a very large very dark table & would like to use this idea for the top of the table (the legs will be done in original white) I just wondered a couple of things,
    Did you water the 1st coats of white down or use straight from the tin?
    When using the steal wool did u do this in one direction to creat a deeper grain?
    Also as this is such a big table would u recommend doing the coat of French linen in sections so I can gently rub off before it’s tried?
    Hope all this makes sense.
    Kind regards.

    • imeeshu says

      Is start with a watered down (maybe 1:1) light base as a first coat then later in the other colors. The great news about chalk paint is that you can always tweak and refine. I enjoy painting with diluted paint to see the dark wood beneath and to create depth.
      I always go with the grain when sanding. You may consider sandpaper for a more distressed look. My friend and I were trying to go with a more modern look on his dresser, so we used steel wool.
      For a large table, I’d paint all the way across the full length in a single stroke if possible. Otherwise, you may see brush strokes. Yes, I’d then work in sections to wipe off.
      Good luck and pls send pix when you’re done!

  2. Hello
    I know this is an old post, crossing fingers you’re able to read.
    I have a dining table from Pottery Barn and want to paint it with ASCP but have heard it’s impossible to do, that they use something on their furniture when ASCP will not adhere.
    Did you have this problem with your friends table, did it hold up after time or become chippy?
    Thanks much!

    • Interesting, and I’ve never heard that. We had no problem with the paint. I’d suggest cleaning the table very well to remove any oils first. The table held up well, but I’d recommend using two coats of either Modern Masters Dead Flat, or Zars Antique Flat Ultra. They both resist water very well, though Zars will yellow a bit over time. As with any type of non-plastic or glass dining table, you’ll find that you’re going to get marks unless you’re vigilant about wiping every bit of water off immediately. That’s why I have everything very rustic and distressed in a home with two boys. 🙂 Good luck!

  3. I love, love, love this table and I am going to try the replicate this look on a dining table I bought at a thrift store. Silly question.. I am completly new to painting with ASCP, but when you mentioned using steel wool, did you use it just on the edges to acheive the distressed look or did you use it on the actual table top to help create the “wood grain”? I realize I should probably take a class on how to use the paint, but work and 3 kids makes it a little tricky… ha ha.. I would appreciate any advice or tips. Thank you!!

    • TheresaB says

      I have the exact same question! (And same reasons for doing all my research on Pinterest!)

      • I’m so lame and for some reason have not been getting notifications when people add comments…so apologies for my very tardy response.

        For those still interested, yes, I use the steel wool to hit the edges and to make the paint buttery smooth on top. Since steel wool is such a fine grain, it pulls off some layers of the top paint to very delicately reveal the under colors.

        Good luck!