Friday, August 14, 2015

Painting The Stairs With DIY Chalk Paint


I love my our big, beautiful old staircase.  When we bought the house (as a foreclosure on an online auction) it was obvious that there had been a carpet runner going up them.  There was some of the backing or padding or something still stuck on some of the steps, and there were all the metal clips that held it in place on each step.  They were stained and looked dirty, even when they were clean!

This wonderful lady Sue, wife to our realtor John Rockey, came one day to lend this overwhelmed lady a hand.  My little girl stuck by her side!  After they scrubbed up the mildewy front door...

She took to taking off all the metal pieces that held the runner in place once upon a time.
They were extremely difficult to pry up because like I've said before, nothing in this house was ever meant to come apart!!!  Quality is not an issue we have with anything! :)  And by the way, she did this all with a broken hand, and my little Tori next to her making sure she yelled a big "OOFTAAAAAH" after each one came loose!

And here is my hard-working mom scrubbing the daylights out of the stairs to prep them for paint!  Whenever she comes from Iowa for a visit, it's work, work, work.  "Mom, can we please break for a coffee?"  "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  There's SO MUCH work left to do and there's only about thirteen hours of daylight left!  NO TIME FOR BREAKS!".  And now you know why my friends all nicknamed her Sargent Hayes.

After my double-the-energy-of-5-year-old-boy wonderful Mama scrubbed the daylights out of the stairs, it was time to paint.  

No it wasn't.  There were big gaps, and I had to caulk them with paintable caulk first.  Ugh.  I hate caulking.  I think I'd rather go to the dentist.  Well, I just like going to the dentist because of the bag of freebies they hand you at the end, actually.

So after CAULKING, it was time to paint.

I had some dark charcoal-y colored blackish brown paint that I bought as a $5 mistint.  
First I dumped about a 1/4 cup of plaster of paris into a container and added hot water.  
I stirred this until it was well dissolved, and then added my colored paint.  It was pretty thick.  I made enough to almost fill a Cool Whip container.

I used my DIY chalk paint as the "primer".  I made sure to paint the left half of the stairs first, so we had the other half to use.  The cat got the memo and did great at using the dry side.  But after the third coat of doing opposite sides, the cat got confused and ran up the wet side and into my WHITE GUEST ROOM - HEART ATTACK!  After cleaning up all the kitty paw prints, she got locked in the dreadful basement.  (It's not that bad, kitty just thinks the boogie man lives down there.  I kind of do, too).

Why use chalk paint you ask?  Why add Plaster of Paris?  Because, folks.  Let me tell you something.  IT DRIES HARD.  Good and hard and is much more difficult to scratch or chip.  Unless your little girl has a friend over who decides to clunk down the stairs in a pair of stiletto heels from your closet.  So yes, I do have a very small chip or two, but they are pretty unnoticeable and it's been almost a year.

After the chalk paint was good and dried for a couple of days, I painted the plain paint (as in the mistint I was using all by itself - with no Plaster of Paris mixed in) for the final top coat.  It was a semi gloss.  The top coat can not have the Plaster of Paris in it because it dries flat and its harder to clean.  You would have to use a polyurethane or other sealer on as the top coat and I didn't want to mess with that!

They lead up to the spot I drink my coffee and read every morning: 

2022 updated picture:

So let's have one last look-see and compare the before and after:

And ohhhhhh the mirrors!!!!  I know.  I want them gone.  I get so many mixed opinions on that wall of mirrors!  Some are in love, some hate them, I'M CONFUSED!  But if I didn't think they were glued, and screwed, and hung under crown molding, and attached in every possible way so they wouldn't come down if there was a 9.5 Richter scale earthquake (remember what I said earlier about how nothing done in this house was ever going to be undone?) .... I'd probably have them off by now.

Oh I forgot to mention?  I used white semi-gloss on the risers. :)
And so sorry that I don't have a name for the color I used on the treads.  It is an almost black, with a little brownish gray.......

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  1. The stairs look great! I planned to paint our back (servants') stairs, then decided that wouldn't cover the sloppy paint job someone did before the stairs were carpeted wit the gaudiest pattern ever made. Now the paint it gone, but I still have to use some denatured alcohol to take the film off. Your mom has the same energy level my mom did. Even though she was petite, she could accomplish twice as much as a woman half her age & twice her size---the prototype for the Energizer Bunny. Wish I'd interited that ability!

  2. Wow-another gorgeous project! Amazed at how beautiful the house is... personally I like the mirrors and how they reflect the fantastic staircase! But love love the reading nook. well done.

  3. Wow, big work but totally worth it!
    I have painted my hardwood floor with chalk paint so I love what you did in your staircase!!
    Congrats and enjoy!

  4. Hard work usually pays off. In this case for sure. Beautiful staircase and home. Love it!

  5. So beautiful! Good to know about the top coat not needing to be chalk paint to avoid using a sealer. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Kammy, great job on your stairs! I would love to do my stairs that way too!

  7. Those mirrors would drive me bonkers! If they are really hard to get out , can you glue some bead board over the top ? When they bug you enough ... you'll find a way to get ride of them. Just be sure to use lots of tape all over the fronts so you don't have glass flying .

  8. You are one blessed lady, Kammy! Kind Angels to help you AND a library landing -- you got it all, Girl! Enjoy your lovely stairway!

  9. What an awesome house you have! What fun you must be having putting your own stamp on it. Great job on the stairs!

  10. The stairs are beautiful. Looks like it was a big project but the results were well worth your effort. Love the transformation!

  11. Are your stairs slippery with the semi-gloss?

    1. Surprisingly, no! I worried about slippery steps since my sister had super slippery ones but nope. :)

  12. I'm late to this fabulous house party, but just thought I'd add this thought: I'm not a fan of the mirrors, but if you trimmed them out with wood trim (at each joint) it might be kind of interesting. Then if still too boring, you could hang empty frames on top. It wouldn't cost too much to do, so even if you eventually take them out, they'd feel more in context with the house for the time being.

  13. Gorgeous, everything! I love the mirrors and how they reflect the beautiful staircase, kind of giving you TWO of them! I would really love to know how much you paid for the house. I know you won it at auction. What a TREASURE it is, and you are doing it up in all the right ways. It would be my dream to do this. My cousin in upstate New York bought a house very similar to yours, many years ago,but they never had the funds to do much to it and so it has languished in gentle decay, with no hope of renewal.

  14. Hi! I just painted our stairs with fusion mineral paint as a temporary fix for a party this weekend. We are replacing them in a month but this was a quick fix to hide the bare wood stair. I don’t plan to seal them or anything, but do I need to be concerned with the chalk/milk paint if there are wet shoes on them? Will the black transfer even if it’s fried for 5 days?

  15. How much plaster of paris do you put in the paint and do I use a primer paint? Your steps came out beautiful.

  16. I didn't see where you mentioned what color they are. Do you happen to know? I think the color is great. It goes well with the wood in the area and it's not too light or too dark. I'm about to paint my staircase and I need a good color!!


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