Use local or lose em!

FB_IMG_1443551657800_resizedHaving recently seen this on social media I thought it was extremely appropriate, I am proud to say my father has been a local business for almost 50 years, he supported me through his work with our customers to allow me do my hobbies, then learn my trade and remain within the town I was born continuing the business, which in turn has given me the means to allow my children to do the things they enjoy.

We have generally always tried to purchase locally and certainly any businesses that have asked us to work for them, I endeavour to give them repeat trade.

What troubles me is the way my trade is going, in my father’s day an apprenticeship meant you were indentured to an employer to learn you trade for up to 7 years. You started at the very bottom and had to learn every aspect gradually building your skills.

Those principals were applied to my apprenticeship also, although at the time there was only three years at college available to gain your “craft and advance craft certificates” there was still plenty to be learned after that and Dad made sure I gained sufficient knowledge to begin with and for there on I have continued to learn as time has progressed.

Today’s apprenticeships are woefully underfunded and far too short, much of the course is based around health and safety, which is important naturally but I miss good old fashioned common sense. Practical skills are taught but usually in a disjointed fashion, where a small cubical is used and each week a little task is completed giving no sense of urgency or planning skills for real world timescales.

Many teaching practices are dated, apprentices not knowing how to hold a brush more than one way being a classic, or how to work methodically. Product knowledge is almost none existent. Focus is either more about pushing apprentices towards early self employment when they really aren’t ready. Or in many instances courses have been geared to suit the type of work a local major industry employer might do and not in the direction of domestic decorating.

This leads to the colleges and employers having a high turnaround of apprentices, many of which don’t end up with jobs at the end of this limited training. The danger is all too often some many drift through various casual jobs.


All too often are adverts displayed either on social media sites or supermarket notice boards about “cheep or cut price painting” figures of £30 per room are common place. This does make me concerned about the future of my trade, not actually competing against these unrealistic prices but the actual detrimental effect it has on us as a whole.

Let me try and explain, would any of us jump at the chance of bargain basement dentistry? How about letting anyone with a set of spanners service your new car or perhaps an unregistered handy man service your gas central heating.

Most trades are regulated by some professional body or other to raise standards and give the customer some piece of mind and protection. Sadly painting and decorating never has been, it’s always been the poor relation because everyone can do it…..right?

In theory yes everyone can wield a brush should they choose and many enjoy a little do it yourself, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Which returns me back to the £30 per room painter, honestly an average room would mean this person working for less than £2.50 per hour. Would you expect a professional tradesperson to work for that?

At these rates it’s probably someone supplementing their wage on days of or worse still their benefits. A Gas fitter wouldn’t even come to your house without a call out charge higher than that.

Bringing us back to how is a tradesperson supposed to support his family; firstly unrealistic pricing means there would be hardly any disposable income to spend locally, secondly many give up or decide to chase work in the cities which takes trade away from local rural areas again sadly.

Our efforts to support local trade extend to our youngest musical instrument obsession which at last count is five different instruments; we are on first name terms with the music shop owners.

Our oldest is away in a city university, apparently there are no butcher’s shops or supermarkets selling meat, they phone home, their mother goes to our local butchers and I’m expected to make a meat delivery every couple of months…

Adding skills to your portfolio

Although many of us as painters and decorators have a wide skill set, few master everything, this blog looks at adding skills to your portfolio relatively easily. Usually during our apprenticeships we are focused on honing preparation technique and perfecting our ability to paint to a reasonable standard.

As we become more proficient with painting we may delve into faux or fashionable paint effects. Perhaps begin to experiment with wallpapers, although often apprentices aren’t trusted with that at first.

Then there is wide choice of diversity to explore if you have the inclination to look beyond what the perception of a “painter” by many. You could specialise in areas such as furnisher or kitchen painting which demands attention to detail.

There are various specially made wall coverings that require particular techniques to hang them.

Despite being less demand in rural areas there would generally always be work in larger towns and cities for those who went down the sign writing, gilding route providing they studied these arts correctly.

This is all very well and good I hear you say, many of these advanced techniques may take years to master to make them profitable, and “what can we do now to add additional value to our work.” and as the topic suggests add skills to our portfolios.

As a professional decorator we are supposed to have creative flair and sometimes customers need a little inspiration. Some of us will be happy to discuss the use of colour with confidence, perhaps many won’t.

So what enhancement would we suggest to a customer’s home?

Personally when introduced to a plain room one of the things I recommend is a standard 5” plaster coving. This is usually a good feature if the corners between the ceiling and walls have started to show signs of cracking or unevenness, a coving will enhance any room.

Predominately to install a plaster cove it’s all about working methodically. I prefer to mark a line around my walls to the depth of the cove, don’t worry too much about the ceiling edge at the minute. As the old phrase says “measure twice, cut once” if you’re not sure check your measurements.

I prefer Gyproc Coving and purchase longest lengths I can to avoid excessive joins. Have a good mitre box, mine is custom designed and made by a local joiner although generic ones can do a good enough job. Cut your first internal mitre, measure length of wall from mitred end, if your wall is longer than your length of cove I cut a mitre on both ends as a diagonal join works better than a straight one.

If you wish to check offer the cut length up to your wall, then support it at a comfortable level to apply adhesive. I generally use the correct Gyproc power adhesive, mixing only a portion at a time enough for each length of cove. You can use tile adhesive, plaster and several other power fillers if desired.

Adhesive is “buttered” onto the back edges of the cove, then its offered to it position, using your pre mark line as a guide, ensure its pushed on securely, I like to screw a couple of plaster board screws in as additional support. Scrape of excess adhesive that’s squeezed out as you fix the cove; use it to fill any gaps in the top and bottom edges. I have a small brush and water bucket handy to lightly clean and smooth the filled edges and remove residue from the coving face.

Repeat the process with each subsequent lengths, measure from the mitre of the fixed one until the corner.  Cut mitres to correspond if joining on a flat wall an internal and external mitre works best in my opinion. Internal corners usually butt together but minor gaps, can occur if walls throw coving off, can be filled as can any screw holes or joins.

External corners are best done in pairs with both parts been placed up together, bearing in mind the amount of cove that needs to protrude past the corner edge to allow for creation of an external mitre. Hence the need for accurate measuring as these look best if the mitres are precise, it’s better to have slight gap in the internal mitre side, which is easier to fill, if it ensures the external mitres look correct.

On the whole a standard room should take no more than a morning, with a little ingenuity one man can fix even long lengths of cove, but it’s often easier to have an extra pair of hands to support you getting them fitted to the wall.

If you’re lucky you may even have chance for a little cake as my customer kindly provide on my last coving job.

Easiest way into dust free,

Those that know me will be aware I am a quite a traditionalist in many ways. I was taught about old fashioned techniques while serving my time. I remember it well “Roller…roller…never mind those new fangled things get that 6inch flogger brush in your hand and paint that room properly, make sure it’s laid of accurately to” Dad would say

So it’s the same story with preparation which after all is at the heart of our trade. After exploring the virtues of dust free sanding via mechanical means and trying to assess if it could be done on a budget I would like to take it a step further. Going back to my traditional roots let’s try sanding things by hand.

Okay now I have your full attention I wasn’t actually recommending going right back to the good old days of quiors of glass paper on cork blocks sanding until tips of your fingers bled and room was completely full of dust. There is actually a modern alternative which is extremely useful.

As mentioned in the previous blog Mirka has a good name in mechanical sanding. What decorators use now are basically derivatives of machines used within the car body repair industry. The abrasives that accompany them are Abranet and the first time I used them was on this hand sander, attached to my trusty Henry hoover via the hose supplied with the starter kit, or the Handy kit

You have the benefits of an almost dust free environment, the excellent abrasive properties of Abranet and using these also has the added advantage of manual input from the user. Think along the lines of the 80’s film Karate kid.

So if you would like to improve your working atmosphere I would definitely type these into your interweb search thingy and notice the difference.

Cost effective: Dust Free Sanders


Decorators of my generation or older were probably  not as aware of some of the potential damage done to our bodies, what with the lead in paint or worse chemicals or solvents emitting toxic fumes. Then there were textured coatings and other substrates containing asbestos powder. All of which used to be abraded by hand atomizing a contaminated dust into the atmosphere we were working amongst. Dust free sanders can help combat these concerns.

Brief Description

I have mentioned before about me being a bit of a decorative dinosaur, in many aspects I still try to keep alive traditional skills where ever I can. This does not however mean I also do not embrace new techniques or ideas. For the last five years I have encouraged us to become totally water based on internal jobs and within the next couple of years I believe exterior jobs will evolve naturally along the same route.

Health and safety is an integral part of any business no matter how big or small we happen to be, of course it used to be called common sense which sadly met its demise. Modern decorative apprentices are taught varying amounts of health and safety depending on what college they attend. In my personal experiences most of it suits site work or industrial scenarios more than the domestic market I tend to focus 85% of my business on.

Yes it’s important to learn how to lift correctly, but funny how lifting a ladder isn’t taught, also it’s not often a fire extinguisher and warning signs are located in most domestic households. Obviously courses have to cover all aspects but I think there are some areas many colleges miss out on.

Personal health is very important in this day and age, anything that could make your job more productive, improve the finish or most importantly produce longer term health benefits is definitely worth looking at. Having employed various apprentices I have seen some of the course work they need to complete. Some of it is very dated when it speaks of manual sanding or scraping of old lead based paints and recommends the use of a paper dust mask I think times have moved on.

Due to a rise in respiratory system diseases we need to reduce the amount of dust and debris ingested into our lungs and bodies as we carry out our work, one of the best ways to achieve this is to remove as much of the contaminates as possible through a dust extraction system.

Over the last few years there has been a rapid rise in the availability of dust free sanders with some very good systems being introduced from names such as Festool & Mirka. Both these manufacturers have top of the range sanders and dust extraction systems, although with the exception of the Mirka handy, a manual sander and hose for any vacuum cleaner predominantly their systems are fairly expensive.

I therefore set about seeing if I could organize a backup system for my own Mirka for a fraction of the cost. Alright I cheated as I already owned the extractor I was going to use on my budget system, good old faithful Henry.

But contrary to popular belief as despite contributing to a review site where you might expect I’m given things for free to receive favorable reviews, I researched and purchased the items without anyone’s knowledge of my purpose.

It did take several nights of reading various retailers review threads to decide which was going to be a suitable test subject. After a bit of deliberation I choose not one but two sanders from Screwfix for just under £50 which I thought was very reasonable.



Having owned and used these sanders for almost six weeks now I am pleasantly surprised by what you get for your money. Admittedly you need to fabricate a bit of an adapter to make the extraction work but there is a little short pipe that Henry comes with that serves this purpose, even if you wrap a bit of insulating tape around for added tightness.

Both sanders seem fairly powerful, the orbital one has five speed setting which can be useful. They are both a little heavier and probably noisier than their more well know rivals, but for occasional use it’s not to laborious. I have tried using both for various tasks many decorators will encounter to gain a broad spectrum of their capabilities.

Having initially used the orbital to abrade coatings of two oak tables for restoration and subsequently the detailed sander on the more intricate areas, they performed well on the first outing. Since then I have done various walls and woodwork areas.

As they both have the hook and loop fastening system a variety of abrasive papers can be used from standard Flexovit in the usual grades right through to Mirka Abranet which can be cut into shape for the detailed sander and purchased in the correct 125mm size for the orbital.


Very cheap entry machines for almost dust free sanding

Ability to attach various abrasive papers

Quite powerful considering cost

Variable speed on Orbital


Bit heavier or noisier than established brands

No dedicated Hoover attachment as standard


For the sixth of the price or either a Mirka or Festool “head unit” I managed to purchase both these useful sanders, if you can overlook their short comings of being a bit heavier to hold and manoeuvre and the additional noise, which isn’t to obtrusive theses are certainly worth a look as a step towards healthier sanding . I will continue to use mine perhaps a couple of times a week and test the longevity of both sanders but if they are connected up to a half decent hoover such as a Henry they are certainly better than nothing. Fifty pounds investment to the future of your lungs can’t be bad thing really.

Since writing this article the little Titan detailed sander eventually gave up the ghost, at first it was under guarantee and replaced with no quibble from Screwfix, on the second occasion I upgraded to this Erbauer.


Certainly powerful enough for many jobs and as before can use a variety of abrasives. Only minus point is there is not facility to attached it to a hoover, which makes it rather obsolete in this test, although I actually use it for externals and occasionally fine sanding internally to perhaps key a surface, where there isn’t going to be as much dust, just a quick run over with a hoover afterwards.

There are now many ways to achieve a “dust free” sanding set up, even on a budget, I focused intentionally on machines under £40 to see what they are capable of. Having done so I would not disregard any of the machines I have tried as good entry level tools.

Wallpaper, Where do I paste?

This week’s job was for a good regular customer. Straight forward enough, prepare a bedroom and ensuite. Emulsion ceiling and three walls. I used Dulux Quick Dry Eggshell for ensuite ceiling to offer added durability. Abraded the door casings, skirting and shutters applied Dulux Quick Dry Undercoat and Gloss as we are moving with the times.

Finally I was due to paper the feature wall. My customer had shown me the wallpaper she had bought. Even shown me the sample swatch she had initially been sent, which felt and looked a quality product, so I was anticipating having am enjoyable morning hanging it.

I set up my paste boards checked wallpaper labels, “as you do!”, then opened first roll and stretched it out across my paste board to get a proper look.

As usual I took a customary glance at the instructions on the rear of the label. More often than not these are all very similar.


  • Inspect rolls prior hanging – check
  • Mark a straight line on the wall – check
  • Use manufacturers recommend paste – check
  • Paste the wall and apply the paper – ch…….hang on a minute…..looked again at label…. so you’re telling me a wallpaper costing £80 a roll is a paste the wall one…I must admit it surprised me a little.


Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against paste the wall, wallpapers. I used quite a bit of Novamura in its day which was lightweight generally small patterned hence hung directly of the roll.


I also understand the reasoning behind them, especially with non woven papers pasting the wall reduces or even eliminates the chance of uneven stretching that sometimes occurs when you apply paste to it.
Noticed in last few years more manufacturers producing paste the wall versions.
This one was a respected name Cole & Son, the reason I was surprised was until I actually looked at the back of the label no mention of pasting the wall had cropped up.

I was however please with the end result as was my customer.


Extracurricular activities in decorating






Recently I have been doing extracurricular activities from my day job and decorating at home. It’s surprising how these jobs help your home life run smoother.  During this project it made me think more about a potential customer’s process of actually employing a professional decorator.

This is naturally something I do consider but until now have never written about.  Obviously in most households I assume there will be a discussion between the partners involved about doing a bit of decorating.

I wonder at what point some people decide to involve a professional decorator.

Perhaps they value their free time and don’t want to spend it painting a chore many people dislike.

Or they simply do not feel confident to undertake the task at hand, knowing what tools and materials are required and how to carry out some jobs can be daunting if you have never needed to do it.

There is the occasional job a customer starts, but becomes overwhelmed by it and asks a decorator to step in and complete.

Of course there are those who would always know the value of employing a decorator for a culmination of the reasons above usually.

So once a potential customer has began the process of employing a professional decorator, the initial impression has been made when the prospective job was viewed to be estimated and the price has been accepted ….what happens next?

Some customers like a firm date to be arranged others are flexible, especially if it’s an exterior job as we can’t always guarantee the weather.

Usually on my jobs I have found predominately any exterior work is discussed with the husband or male partner of the house, while interiors are generally the lady. Naturally in both situations a good decorator should be able to recommend the best specification and be able to offer impartial advice towards colours and finishes.

This brings me back to my own little project, my wife is also involved within the home decor market for over twenty years she has designed and made curtains and soft furnishings for a local furnisher store. As she knows a thing or two about colour coordination it lead to some interesting discussions when she mentioned how she would like the rear hallway redecorated.

I was extremely sceptical at first towards her colour suggestions but once again I have to admit as I am sure in many cases “the wife is always right”.

Despite the rather bold accent colour she managed to break it up with the additional features of a black board and cork board, one wall painted white , even managed a Luxury textured painted panel with crystal sparkles  the inspirational quote was actually my input and idea but the curtain & blind where once again left to the wife to arrange


Big Wipes: review


Judging from the picture below, it will come as no surprise I am a fan of these Big Wipes, Heavy Duty 4×4’s cleaning wipes. I’m also a fan of the firm’s Power Spray cleaning solution, too; in my experience both products are the best on the market. 

Short Description

Living somewhere as isolated as I do, new products take time to filter onto the shelves of my local decorator centre. Until recently, we didn’t have as much access to the internet either, so we just got by with what was available locally. The first wipes I used were self-branded ones a from a local builder’s merchant called Travis Perkins. They were okay; you could just about clean your hands with them, but they were little more than repackaged baby wipes.

A few years ago, I found a small display of Big Wipes in Travis Perkins, so I purchased a tub to try. The difference between the products was like night and day. Big Wipes heavy duty wipes are much harder wearing than any builder’s merchant own brand or any of their recent competitors such as Grime boss or Hippo Wipes.

Having used various types over the years, I always return to what is my opinion the best on the market. Big Wipes are not only good at cleaning your hands, but tools or spills are easily mopped up from various contaminates such as paint, oil, grease, caulk, foam, silicone and general grime.

I have used the Big Wipe Heavy Duty 4×4’s as a light degreaser and mild abrasion pad on some jobs, too, and they performed the task with no issues.

Having gone through a period where I had relatively poor skin, (a form of eczema so I’m told), I need to be careful about the chemicals I use. Again, using a Big Wipe hasn’t aggravated my skin and I have looked into their composition to ensure they are free from solvents that may cause irritation.



Tough durable fabric

Excellent cleaning properties

Pleasant smell

Dermatology tested


Prices sneaking up

Shouty advertising video



My preferred Big Wipe is the heavy duty 4×4 ones as they have many uses. Expanding foam or ready mixed light weight fillers are renowned for clogging your tools, but Big Wipes can easily remove both. I found even when filler has almost dried a Big Wipe will still remove it from filling blades, hands, van door handles and anywhere else it gets to.

They really are an essential piece of kit in the van now and even after using all the wipes we often recycle the packaging as a handy container.


Cleaning ability 9.5/10

Durability 9/10

Kindness to skin 8.5/10

Scrubbability 8.5/10

Value for money 8.5 /10



Latest product review

Coral Paperwiz


Ok let’s be totally up front and honest here, this isn’t really a new tool. It’s a bold copy of our old friend the Wall-wiz.  Nothing wrong there I hear you say, if Wall-wiz has gone out of production fair play to Coral for reintroducing a replacement copy.

Short Description

These types of tools do have their uses admittedly, although I sometimes think they are not as versatile as the manufacturer would suggest. Perhaps it’s only because I am such a dinosaur I still like to use my papering brush when hanging the majority of wall coverings.

Using a cutting guide to knife wall papers probably started with the use of an artex caulking tool and things have evolved from there. The Coral Paperwiz and its predecessor the Wallwiz introduced these standalone tools which have been designed to replace at least three traditional ones.

I find it will only work as a replacement for my papering brush on certain smooth surfaced papers, hard wearing vinyl’s are quite good and recently the current trend of paste the wall papers seem to work ok if smoothed with the Paperwiz.

In my opinion it’s no use on textured wallpapers or those which go very soft when soaked as it can take the surface of delicate papers, where a soft papering brush can be used gently.

Not sure about its suitability as a seam roller, rubbing a hard piece of plastic over a seam on some papers would just shine the seam like many plastic seam rollers used to.

The Paperwiz’s final trick is it can be used as a cutting guide, yes despite  it being fractionally thicker than the original Wallwiz which in turn was thicker than most plastic caulkers, I like it, I like it a lot.

I always reach for the Paperwiz now when wallpapering, recently I hung some paste the wall paper and never used my papering brush once, just Paperwiz’ed for smoothing on and cutting guide.

Admittedly as a cutting guide you need to pay attention, push the Paperwiz into the desired position and get the blade of your knife resting right against the curve at a slight angle so you get a close cut, but once your there you can create straight consistent cuts every time.

As decorators it’s also fun that these come in a range of translucent colours, bringing a bit of fun into our tool boxes which I applaud.


Lightweight translucent design

Solid Construction

Tactile feel

Fun Colours


Trimming guide edge takes practice

One radius corner adequate.


Priced at under £5 from various outlets there is no reason why everyone who hangs wallpaper should have one of theses in their kit, even if you only use it for one of its multitude of abilities it would be a worthwhile addition. Easy to use, easy to keep clean and useful little product

Comfort   9/10

Cleaning 10/10

Application 7/10

Value for money 10/10

Victorian ceiling restoration

As you will read in my posts the majority of our work is reasonably straight forward. Having said this it’s much more than just painting our goal is to provide a quality customer service from the start and leave a pleasurable end result with all our customers which has been our philosophy from the beginning.

A recent local project allowed us to use a fuller extent of our skills in restoration. I was invited by a new customer to offer advice, colour scheme and redecorate the lounge in their Victorian home.
Part of my remit was to repair an ornate ceiling. I have always assumed these ceilings to be an early Superglypta type of wallpaper, but after discussing it with a good friend and professional decorator Russ Pike from Nottingham’s prime decoration he suggested the correct term for this particular type was a Camiod ceiling, so it’s true you learn something every day.
I had assumed that most of the ceiling edges that appeared loose would simply stick back but after closer inspection I found the situation was more serious so as this was a special ceiling I devised a rescue mission. The ceiling is actually made up from 20 individual ceiling panels creating the raised ornate border, with a period paper in the centre.
Each pane of Camiod border was inspected, if it wasn’t soundly adhered to the ceiling I carefully cut around it and took it down. Once on the floor each piece had to be cleaned, numbered and a thin stabilising solution brushed on the back to seal and strengthen them.
My attention turned then to the original ceiling and the reason for poor adhesion in the first place was down to distemper or whitening the products very much used at the time the house was new.
So I needed to prepare and stabilise those surfaces also.
Once I was satisfied both surfaces were dry and solid I began the slow process of piecing the ceiling panels back together. Each piece had adhesive applied and was returned to its original position. The large corner panel took two of us to hold in situ and had to be held in place with a few screws as the adhesive set.
The ceiling paper strips that had come down needed double soaked with Solvite flake adhesive before they were pliable enough to rehang.
Once everything was returned it was left overnight to fully dry.
The next day we needed to dress the joints of the Camiod paper with powder filler.
Also we were preparing the walls and woodwork stripping the old wall coverings and abrading the woodwork.
The walls were being lined to paint apart from the chimney which was receiving a feature paper
After all the preparation was completed the colour scheme we advised was a classic simple one of Dulux pure brilliant white on the coving, Gardenia on the repaired ceiling and newly lined walls, Rosepetal on the frieze with Dulux Trade Brilliant White QD undercoat and gloss on the woodwork.

Finished of with feature wallpaper on the chimney I helped chose to complement the period of the property and give the final wow effect. Which I hope you will agree in this video was worth the effort.










Totally absorbed in decorating

Ok I have previously mentioned I am the unofficial stunt double for the Dulux Dog, well that’s my excuse for the graying uncut hair anyway.

Also the fact my father has been involved in painting and decorating for a while now and by default it must have “abraded” of onto me.

Its not enough I try and run my small family business, spend time with the family and do a bit of gardening hahaha!! I also try and write reviews. If you wish to have a look at an early review I wrote please continue reading. Will share more as we continue our journey.

Rust-oleum  Chalky Finish Furniture Paint


My project with Rust-oleum’s Chalky Finish Furnisher Paint was to modernize three items of pine furnisher. I had never used this particular product before, but I had gathered together the preparatory products I would usually use on such a job. These included a degreaser, some abrasives and an adhesion promoting primer and some masking tape.

Short description

Despite initial reservations after reading the Rust-oleum instructions I decided to follow them as close as my professional pride would allow, so I placed my adhesion promoting primer to one side and began my preparations. After removing items that were not getting painted or that needed to be painted separately I degreased all the surfaces, Rust-oleum recommends White spirit for this task, as I was attempting to remain environmentally friendly  I opted to substitute Krud Kutter.

After Degreasing and washing over each piece of furnisher, I waited until the surface had dried, before I could key each area using a 240 abrasive on a manual dust extraction system, finally wiping over again with a clean lint free damp cloth. I protected the areas I wished to remain pine with another new product from Stanley, their professional masking tape.

I was then ready to apply my first coat. Despite it only being a 750ml tin the Rust-oleum felt heavy, things looked promising that it would be a concentrated paint as promised by the manufacturer. Opening the tin revealed it was “thick creamy consistency” after thorough stirring. I had different parts of a bare pine coffee table, a previously varnished pine box and a factory finished television cabinet to decorate.

I choose to start with the pine table, the Rust-oleum could not be brushed about due to its viscosity and again I was tempted to add a little water to assist flow out but I managed to resist as I wanted to see if it lived up the manufacturers claims of “exceptional coverage in one coat”. I continued to coat each piece of furnisher and observed the coated areas bleach out as they dried. Naturally the bare pine table was the quickest to dry as it was the first done and the paint was easily absorbed.

In my opinion all three items of furnish would not be up the required standard with just one coat. I was trying to achieve a smooth uniform finish and with one coat they were still a little translucent. I waited 4 hours before returning to continue as recommended by Rust-oleum . Prior to applying a second coat I performed a basic scratch test on each item. Just with my nails, which are quite tough at the best of times I scraped them across the surface of each item. Out of the three as you would expect the bare pine table performed the best with not visible signs of damage. The varnished box and factory finished cabinet didn’t do as well both were marked in the test with the box fairing marginally better.

So as recommended once again I did not abrade the surface, just simply applied a second coat. On this occasion it went on a little better, although I did think it had a similar properties to the limewash products of time gone by where it appeared to soften the previous coating a little, Once they were all coated I just left them over night to fully dry again.


It’s a fairly straight forward product to use

Creates a fashionable finish

Rust-oleum suggests you can use two colours to create the popular shabby chic look.

Pleasing finish once dry both in appearance and touch (*although read below)


Bit DIY focused

Adhesion to pre varnished or factory finished surfaces questionable.

*Resilience to every day wear and tear on high traffic areas will need additional protection, Rust-oleum recommend their finishing wax.

Disappointment from your average DIYer that one coat coverage isn’t realistic.


If I am totally honest I didn’t really want to like this product because of its DIY aspirations. Despite the fact I would have preferred a proper adhesion primer and it would have been better if after two coats it was more durable.

I actually liked the finished effect it created, which was as described a Smooth Chalky Matt, you would pay a premium for if you bought pre finished furnisher like this. So if you are a DIYer or professional I wouldn’t be ashamed to recommend this product as long as you are aware of its limitations.

Rust-oleum is a long established business associated with many famous brands; many decorators will recognize them from the Zinsser and Blackfriars products.


Value for money 75/100

Opacity                  75/100

Application            70/100

Finish                      85/100

#furniturepainting #chalkpaint

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