Listen & Craft: Chalk Painted Furniture and A Breakout Summer Listen

If you’re inspired by coastal or cottage decor, and love shades of whites accompanied by bleached wood trends but don’t have the budget to buy all new furniture, I’m serving you an easy paint hack you can apply to almost any piece of furniture you have in your home. Better yet, here is an audiobook that is making its way into everyone’s summer must-read list, by debut author Carley Fortune. Every Summer After, is sure to delight and pull on every teenaged nostalgic heart-string you didn’t know you had.

Embracing loved or tired-looking furniture and making it fresh and new again is a hobby of mine. My favorite pieces in my home have been Facebook marketplace finds, revived to their former glory through an easy application of chalk paint. It’s an easy way to update furniture without sanding, stripping and refinishing.

Simply speaking, (though no DIY project is necessarily simple) all it takes is two layers of chalk paint in any color of your choosing, allow it to dry, and finish it off with a wax that hardens the painted surface. The wax application makes it wipeable, washable, and virtually incapable of chipping. The beauty of chalk paint is that you can apply it to a finished wood surface (even glossy!) and it will last. Today, I am tackling my dark stained wood dining set that makes no sense in my now coastal inspired home.

Here’s a quick photo progression of what the set looked like, halfway through the project, and the finished, newly painted set:

My work station, also known as my kitchen, is set up with the following items: a quart of chalk paint by the brand Rustoleum in “linen white”, a flat synthetic 2 inch painter’s brush, a bottle of dark sealing wax by Howard, a circular horse-hair brush to apply the wax, and my first dining chair with the seat removed. I press play on Every Summer After, and promptly forget what I set out to do.

The first chapter sinks its hooks into me immediately.

The audio is soothing, and fresh, exhibiting a narration style similar to The Summer I Turned Pretty, using the forward-facing subject matter of Sex and the City laced warmly with the nostalgia of Now and Then. In other words, it is a binge-worthy TV series for your ears.

Chapters later I have painted all four chairs, and my entire dining table white, with two thick coats of chalk paint. My husband shoots me a look upon seeing the questionable all-white outcome, and I am slowly coming to terms with the possibility that I may have just destroyed it, rather than improving it.

There is no turning back now, and while it feels like a mistake, it is no match for the myriad of mistakes the protagonist Percy makes. it’s time for the wax application to save this project from becoming a total loss.

I chose dark wax by the brand Howard, called Chalk-tique because I want this set to emulate bleached wood. Though this part is intimidating, it’s really not technique driven at all. The idea is to dip the round horse-hair brush into the jar, and really rub the wax into the surface of the table or chair in a circular motion until it’s the darkness or lightness you want it to be. When you’re finished with an area, wipe it down well with a dry old towel or cloth and let it cure overnight. When it’s completely cure, it will be smoothly hardened (not tacky, not soft to the touch) with a semi-satin finish.

I took this entire project one step further by covering my 19 inch seats with 3 yards of stain-proof grey fabric (found on Amazon), stapled over the existing leather in the underside of the seat, and screwed the seat back into the chair frame without any struggle. (This part of the project however, warrants a whole new blog post my friends.)

With the last wipe-over of the excess wax, the set is completely painted- and the outcome is exactly what I wanted. A coastal-inspired table that brightens up the room, for a fraction of the cost of a new table.

Every Summer After checks all the boxes for the quintessential summer read. There’s heart-fluttering romance, and simultaneous moments of grief and lightness expertly woven into this coming-of age meets missed-connection love story that leaves you breathless at the end- and a little relieved. It was the perfect accompaniment to a rather sizable crafting project- just try not to stop working every time there is a shocking, gasp-worthy or heart-stopping moment. Which is quite a challenge.

Do not miss this book.