DIY – Upcycling a Chinese Chest with Chalk Paint 🎨

I’ve recently been quite taken with the trend of up-cycling or creative re-use. Our new home is a 1940’s cottage, so decor wise I’m wanting to pay respect to the character and era of the house without spending mega-bucks re-furnishing to the latest in-store trends.

We’ve had this Chinese style chest for many, many years now where its spent majority of that time not doing whole lot in the back room. After a few minutes ‘pinteresting’ I thought it would scrub up well as a coffee table after a lick of chalk paint.

Here’s a photo of the chest before I revamped it:


Chalk paint is a great option as it doesn’t require any pre-sanding or priming, so perfect if you are impatient like me and want to get straight to the fun stuff!

aint nobody got time for that GIF-source

What you’ll need:


Lets get started!

You’ll want to complete this work in an area that’s well-lit and ventilated – the garage is perfect for this and prevents any debris being blown onto your piece whilst the paint is drying.

STEP 1 – Give your piece of furniture a wipe down with a damp cloth, this is to have a clean surface by removing any dust but also any grime that might have built up.

Next, lay some newspaper underneath to catch any paint spillage

STEP 2 – Shake your paint, open and give it a stir – you’ll also need to stir every once in a while as you go. Get your brush wet down with water and dip in your paint and get painting. You can adjust how thick or thin with your water, around the detailed parts of this project thinning out the paint definitely made it easier to get in all the crevices.

This is the fun part!

How many coats you apply is up to you and the look you’re going for.


You can see here that there is still some water staining showing through so I went for two coats.  By the time the first coat was completed it was dry enough to start the second.

Leave your paint to dry overnight.


STEP 3 – Distressing!

We can’t have that antique piece looking brand new, it’s now time to roughen it up around the edges. As rough as how you feel on a Saturday morning after a few too many pinot’s. #rustic

Grab your sandpaper and start rubbing, there’s no real technique here just start around the edges and along any lines, corners, and cracks to bring out the detail. You really can’t ruin it.



STEP 4 – Wax on wax off

This step is optional – it’s probably the hardest part but does give your paint a lovely soft matte finish.  If you’re wanting something more durable I’d recommend looking into more heavy-duty sealant. As this is my first attempt, I’ll see how it holds up.


Before you get started wipe down the surface to get any paint dust left behind from sanding. Swirl a clean rag around and into the wax then apply with the grain


STEP 5 – Behold your masterpiece!

best gif wow GIF-source.gif

I have to say that I LOVE how it came out, best part is that it only cost $80.28 to complete this and I still have half a tin of paint left for more up-cycling projects (maybe a matching side table?)

I still need to take some paint off the latch and polish it up but that can be for another day.



So tell me what you think? Have you had any great results with chalk paint?

Thanks for reading!




One thought on “DIY – Upcycling a Chinese Chest with Chalk Paint 🎨

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