French Blue Armoire Makeover Using Amy Howard One-Step Paint


It feels great to be back!  We had a lot of fun visiting friends and family on the west coast and in Austin this summer, spending time at the pool and getting our money’s worth from our Six Flags season passes.  I was a little sad when summer ended, I told my boys I wish we had two more weeks and they reminded me that’s what I said the end of last summer too!  I guess it never feels long enough.

The good news is, I love the fall.  It’s my favorite season; cooler weather, pumpkin everything and pretty colors, what’s not to love?  I’m also excited to share with you one of my projects from this summer, this beautiful French-Country armoire:

Amy Howard French Blue Makeover Before and After

I was working off pictures that my client had pinned of many pretty french blue pieces.  We went together to choose her colors, and Amy Howard had a french blue that was perfect-not too gray.  I had been wanting to try Amy Howard paint so I thought it was a win-win!  We chose Vintage Market & Design brand chalk paint in Cotton for the white accents, and used Annie Sloan clear wax to seal the piece (what I had on hand).


I feel like I learned a lot using Amy Howard one-step paint.  It is very different from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, or any of the other chalk paints I’ve used.  At first, it seemed similar…it went on pretty thick, but we did end up needing two coats:


It almost looked white when we first painted the whole piece!


The second coat helped.


Then the fun part began-figuring out where to do the white accents.  I taped off some of the straight lines (like in the drawers) and freehanded with a small craft paintbrush the more decorative areas.


Then I went to distress. With fine (220) sandpaper in hand, I began gently sanding the high areas, expecting it to come off with the lightest touch like Annie Sloan Chalk Paint does.  I sanded…and sanded harder…and picked up my 150 grit sandpaper…and then my 80…NOTHING!!!

So this is when I realized Amy Howard paint is NOT the same as Annie Sloan.  It seems like it has a sealer in it (hence the “one-step” – waxing is optional unlike with AS), but that sealer is hard to break with sandpaper.  I ended up using a power sander with 80 grit sandpaper to break the paint and distress the flat areas. Which meant dust everywhere, and lots more effort than I anticipated. UGH!


After doing this project I took an Amy Howard paint class and found out that AH designed her paint to use with antiques, and for sandpaper to never touch it.  Would have been nice to know beforehand, but hey-now I know from experience and will be sure to use ASCP for any pieces that call for heavy distressing!

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After all the sanding I waxed the piece with clear wax.  Love how wax gives a pretty subtle sheen.


My client and I discussed using dark wax to make some of the detail stand out even more, but when I started to apply it I knew immediately she wouldn’t like it.  The pretty french blue color turned green from the yellow in the dark wax.  Deciding to leave it as is, I buffed it out using clear wax and we started putting the piece back together with hardware, etc.

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It turned out pretty, and looks perfect in her beautiful French Country home!

Do you have a preference on chalk paint brand?  ASCP is my go-to, but there are so many out there, it seems like I stumble on new ones all the time.  I’d love to know what your favorites are!


6 thoughts on “French Blue Armoire Makeover Using Amy Howard One-Step Paint

  1. This piece is gorgeous. I’ve never heard of this particular paint before – I’ll have to check it out – I’ve tried Annie Sloan have loved it on furniture/antiques, but not on cabinets….I was hoping it would work for my kitchen, but glad I found out beforehand – so going to do what you guys did and go the long hard route for that huge job! posts to come 🙂


  2. Thank you! AH paint is fairly new where we are (Texas) and is popping up at our local Ace hardware stores. I just painted some upholstered dining chairs with AH yesterday-the fabric! And they turned out great! I plan to post about it soon 🙂
    Good luck on your cabinets! What a huge job, but it will be worth it. I helped a friend do her cabinets in ASCP and they were beautiful, but can’t speak to the longevity since they moved shortly after. Look forward to seeing what you do.


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