Painted Captain's Chair Tutorial

painted captains chair chalk paint

I'm excited to bring to the blog my most recent chalk paint project! This captain's chair is by far the most advanced I've gotten with chalk paint. It features two paint colors, hand-painted detailing on the rungs, stenciling, and a white wash over the whole thing. I'll walk you through how I created this piece so you can try it out for yourself! But first, the obligatory before pictures.

captains chair before chalk paint
captains chair before chalk paint

What You'll Need:

(1) Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in 2 colors. I used French Linen and Duck Egg Blue for this project. I'd suggest buying the larger paint size for your main color and a tester pot for the accent color. Read more about chalk paint here and where to find it locally.

annie sloan chalk paint project

(2) Annie Sloan tester pot in Old White (Only if you're doing the white wash technique) 

(3) Annie Sloan Soft Wax (small size here)

(4) Small Stencil (I got mine here from Martha Stewart. It includes the alphabet, symbols, and designs which have come in handy in other projects)

(5) Foam Pouncer (I got mine here- also from Martha Stewart) 

(6) Wax Brush (similar here)

(7) Small Detailing Brush (Martha to the rescue again)

(8) Paint Brush (this is one I love)

(9) Dusting cloth or clean t-shirt you don't mind ruining (here)

(10) Cardboard surface to work on (unless you don't mind getting paint on the floor)

Mid-way through the project & before the white wash.

Mid-way through the project & before the white wash.

The Steps:

1. Start by using a damp cloth and dusting off your chair. Annie Sloan paint is notoriously awesome for easily painting over any surface without prepping it; but it's important to keep in mind that any raises or dips in the surface (paint drips, chipped veneers) will remain. I suggest making the surface as smooth as possible before starting. I had a few drops of old paint on my chair that needed to be scraped off.

2. Paint the entire chair using your painter's brush and the main color you've chosen. I used French Linen here. Let dry for 30 minutes or so.

3. Paint a second coat and let dry up to an hour.

Created using French Linen & Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Created using French Linen & Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

4. Using your detailing brush, use your accent color to add some pops of color to your piece! For mine, I painted the feet of the chair, a section of the lower rung, and rounded elements of the upper rungs. But feel free to put color wherever you see fit! It's okay if this doesn't come out perfectly since you're hand-painting these details. To me, that just adds to the charm. Note: I only needed one coat of paint for the accenting.

5. Using the foam pouncer and the stencil pattern of your choice you can stencil the top rail using your accent color. I just eye-balled the spacing here and held the stencil in place without tape; but feel free to measure and tape if you need to. I chose to do only the front of mine, but you could also do the back or even the seat of the chair. Get creative!

6. The white wash: not for beginners. I let my chair dry overnight before applying the wash. Check out a picture of what the chair looked like before the white wash and see if you think your piece needs it. I think the wash added to that beachy look I was going for. You can also do a wash in any color- doesn't have to be Old White!

  • Put some tap water in a tupperware bowl you don't mind throwing out. You know, the one with the missing lid.
  • Using your paint brush, dip it in the water then dip it in your white paint. You only need to put the brush in 1/2 inch or so. You don't want it to be dripping but you also need enough water there to keep the paint from going on too heavily.
  • Using the same motion with the brush (I worked from top to bottom) apply the wash to a small section of the chair at a time. I did the whole seat at once, then did each rung individually.
  • Immediately use your dusting cloth to wipe off the wash. You want to move in the same motion in which you applied it. This gives the chair just a hint of white but it really makes a big impact. Note: wipe off the excess wash gently and be careful of dripping. I accidentally wiped off the base paint in some small places and had to go back and re-paint.
  • Let dry overnight.

7. Lastly, you'll want to wax the entire chair in Annie Sloan soft wax with the wax brush. I worked in similar small sections here like I did the wash. Once you apply the wax, use a dry dusting cloth to rub the wax in and wipe off any excess (wax on, wax off). This gives the chair a nice finish and protects it from damage. Feel free to use two coats if you feel you need it. 

annie sloan chalk paint project
annie sloan chalk paint project

Painting Tip:

If you're in the middle of painting and need to stop for any reason, instead of cleaning off your brush, wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. The paint won't dry up and it's an easy way to avoid cleanup in between coats.

White wash details.

White wash details.

Now I won't lie, this piece took quite a few hours to complete. So, if you'd like to skip all that and you live in the New England area, feel free to email me at and we can commission a custom piece for you! If you want this exact chair that's negotiable too.

I'd love to see what your completed Chalk Paint pieces look like. Tag @AtHomeNE on Instagram so I can see what you've done!