Annie Sloan Paints Everything


Annie Sloan Paints Everything
By Annie Sloan
Cico Books – £14.99

[…] I didn’t want it to be about all the weird and wonderful things people paint – skateboards, tubas, and even caravans! – nor just about all the multitude of surfaces that can be painted, such as fabrics, concrete, plastics, melamine, marble, and metal, as well as all the usual surfaces like wood. This is an important point, of course, and one that I certainly took into account […].

From Warehouse Rustic to Shibori Lampshades, from a Painted Chandelier to Printed Table Runners, Annie Sloan Paints Everything might well traverse everything (and a whole lot more besides) that we have come to expect from one of the world’s most respected experts in the field of decorative painting.

It’s the sort of book that is bound to inspire any free-thinking home-owner with a quantum leap of varying ideas and dare I say it, opportunistic mayhem. Each of it’s three chapters (‘Furniture and Lighting,’ ‘Fabric and Other Surfaces’ and Walls and Floors’) cover an exceedingly wide terrain of the home – as mentioned at the outset – all of which are augmented with a spectacular array of photographs.

In fact the photographs alone, will have you running for the brush in next to no time!

As Annie Sloan writes in the Introduction: ”In this book, I wanted to excite you and encourage you to paint everything. I wanted to show how my own range of paint, Chalk Paint, which I developed in 1990, has retained its classic identity and continued to evolve and develop with new techniques and treatments.”

Having already written rather extensively on the subject of paint, texture and design (her previous books include Quick and Easy Paint Transformations, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture, Annie Sloan’s Room Recipes for Style and Colour and Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint Workbook among others), the authoress most certainly knows how to convey a grand idea, but more importantly, put it across.

For instance, on page 34, there is a wonderful colour photograph of a completed Waxed Bureau, on the opposite page of which she writes: ” Oak is a very distinctive wood that is characterized by a deep grain. It also has interesting irregular markings, depending on how it is cut. I particularly love oak when it’s very old, unvarnished, and natural because it is a lovely, soft, light gray in colour […]. This particular bureau is from the 1940s or so, and had been lightly varnished with a dark colour. The grain was still textural, but the wood was darker than I would have liked. I could have removed the varnish – a rather long and tedious job – but this would have made the whole piece lighter. So, instead, I opted for the easier method of applying white wax to lighten the varnish and bring out the grain of the wood. If I had taken the varnish off, the finished effect would have been a lot lighter and the grain probably more pronounced.

The trick is to allow the wax to harden for long enough that it hardens a little in the grain, but not for so long that the wax does not come off where you want it to.”

That every section comes replete with a drop box called ”You Will Need” (in the above instance: White wax, Small wax brush, Clean, dry, lint-free cloths, Clear wax, Annie Sloan Valeska stencil and a project pot of Graphite paint, to decorate the edge of the bureau’s desk – optional), reiterates the practicality of both Sloan’s work and approach.

So why not start the New Year with some terrific new ideas for the home; of which this most fabulous book is literally uber-jam-packed with.

David Marx


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