Tips You Need to Know Before Using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™—Thrift Shop Upcycled Headboard

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Tips You Need to Know Before Using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™—Thrift Shop Upcycled HeadboardThis week, I found a cute bookcase headboard at a local consignment shop that I thought would be perfect in my daughter’s room. You may recall the fantastic project where I turned a plain dresser into a beautiful library card catalog for her book-inspired room. Having a bookshelf in the headboard would give me more space for all her nighttime storybooks. I used Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™ for this project. It’s a great way to revive and restore old and outdated furniture and other projects, and its popularity has been rising thanks to Pinterest. I had never used chalk-based paint before, so it was a learning experience for me. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the paint but after doing the following tips and tricks, I was able to create something beautiful! While I wasn’t going for an antiqued look, I do love the look of other Amy Howard At Home® pieces and was anxious to try it out for myself. 
Here are some of the tips I have before you take on a project.

Take a class / watch some videos. Ace Hardware offers instructional classes and they also offer videos on their YouTube channel on how to use Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™. Chalk-based paint is unlike other paints I’ve used, and it has been labeled a more advanced project. So it is suggested that you test it out, play around with it, and learn as much as you can before starting a project. These workshops are a great way to learn and get your hands dirty.  

Tips You Need to Know Before Using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™—Thrift Shop Upcycled Headboard

Clean your surface with a degreaser. Especially if you take home a used piece of furniture, you’ll want to clean it the best you can to remove any residue that has accumulated over the years (dust, smoke, etc.). The headboard I found had sticker residue on it, so I made sure to scrub that off before beginning.

Lay it on thick. Chalk-based paint is very thick, so it takes a lot more to cover the surface. While it is one-step paint (meaning you will not need any primer), you will have to cover your surface with a few coats, especially if you are covering a dark wood with a light-colored paint. (My project took about 3 layers to cover it.)Tips You Need to Know Before Using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™—Thrift Shop Upcycled Headboard

Use the right tools. Because it is so thick, you need a good, high-quality paintbrush to help cover the project. If you use a hog-hair brush on your project, I highly suggest that you prep the brush and test it out on a test piece before using it on your project. Natural-hair brushes can leave behind hair and debris that becomes a challenge to remove from the chalk-based paint. Despite instructions claiming that you won’t need to sand the surface, it is something I recommend before and after you are done. Because you will probably be working with a used piece of furniture, you’ll want to smooth out any rough spots from wear and tear. When the project is dry, I like to run a sanding cube over it to smooth out paint lines. You may be looking for a distressed look also, so just grab some sandpaper with your paint. *Note: I tried the Amy Howard brushes and the bristles came off all over my project ?*Tips You Need to Know Before Using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™—Thrift Shop Upcycled Headboard

Finish it. Unlike most chalk-based paints, Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™ does not need to be sealed. However, I chose to finish my project for added protection and an enhanced shine. There are different waxes, lacquers, and antiquing finish that you can choose from to get the desired look for your project. DO YOUR RESEARCH on each finish so that you’ll not only know what it will look like, but also the technique to achieve it. I wanted a glossier finish on my project, so I chose the Bright Idea lacquer. Tips You Need to Know Before Using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™—Thrift Shop Upcycled Headboard

Those are my tips for using Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™. There are tons of colors to choose from in the line, so you can have fun with lots of new projects.

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  1. I loved your projects. I am now painting my kitchen cabinets with Amy Howard. I love the look. I am a little concerned about how to clean them. What is the proper way? I am putting the Liming wax on them. Thanks.

    • Honestly, I’m not sure. Unless you put a clear coat on it like I did you may need to consult the Amy Howard website. I used the spray clear coat so wiping it with a damp cloth may be fine but I would advise against heavy scrubbing with chalk paint.

  2. What about clean up. Is this a water based paint or oil based. Wondering if we will be able to clean the paint brushes with soap and water or will need thinner.

  3. I am having a very difficult time sanding the edges of my chairs to distress them. I used the Amy Howard One-Step in black. 2 coats. The paint just doesn’t want to come off to give it that distressed look. I have used all kinds of sandpaper from fine to coarse. Sheets and blocks. It just doesn’t want to come off.
    Help please!

  4. I painted a table with Amy Howard Chalk paint by now my whole room smells like like dirty feet. What ncanci do other than throwbthebtable out

    • Aside from letting it “off-gas” outside or in a garage, the smell did go away. I just left it in my garage for nearly a week! I thought I was going to have to do that same because it was my daughter’s bed, but it finally went away.

    • You should be about to shake it really well. Get a stir stick to blend the chalk better. I would not add water to any kind of paint because when you apply it to wood it could damage the wood or get moldy. I think you just need some heavy stirring like peanut butter that is super separated.

      Hope this helps!

    • I suggest another shake-up or make sure it’s really stirred up. This paint is really thick and can be challenging to work with. It takes a lot to cover a surface.

      I know this isn’t a ton of help but I wish you luck!

  5. I have done a lot of painting with Amy Howard one step and found thinning it with water as directed was essential to getting a smooth finish. That being said it took more coats to cover but turned out great. I did my kitchen cabinets 6 years ago and I really use my kitchen. I have only done some touch ups. And it looks great.

  6. I love the Amy Howard Chinese Red in the One Step Paint. As its not in stock right now I have a little time to decide if it’s the right thing for my wooden outdoor rocking chairs. I have been buying them used/weathered for my long front porch. I would definitely clear coat them after painting but I am in the very humid South Carolina Lowcountry and while I can take the time to clean, sand and prep I’ve had issues with paint drying in this environment, especially multiple coats. Do you have any suggestions?


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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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