Ever wondered how stores get that amazing vintage finish on old tables and chairs? I'll let you in on the secret: it's called chalk paint. Annie Sloan (the Martha Stewart of the U.K.) made this stuff famous and seriously makes a killing on it. She sells a quart of her chalk paint for about $39 bucks. It is the best, but when I'm rehabbing old furniture generally I'm on a budget and $39 seems a little steep.
So, I stopped by the mill shop at the Preservation Resource Center, where J.R. Portman showed me how to mix up a little concoction that offers a similar look. He loves the stuff and even uses it on his own line of amazing furniture and lighting.
J.R. combines one part baking soda with two parts flat latex paint. He says it'll mix a little easier if you dilute the baking soda with a water, but it's not necessary. Stir that baby up and voila, you have a home cooked version of Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint! What's so great about it is that it can be applied to almost anything: finished wood, unfinished wood, metal, etc. Once you've slapped on a thick coat and allowed it to dry, sand the edges to achieve that vintage look and make sure to seal it with a paste carnauba wax.
You can thank me later.