I recently went through a phase of buying wooden chopping boards whenever I saw them. Nothing special, just plain ordinary boards found at KMart. I was inspired by photos I had seen of beautifully renovated kitchens with chopping boards hanging stylishly on the walls … very chic and a little rustic. My kitchen is neither chic or stylish and I thought I could inject a little rustic charm with a couple of well placed chopping boards. Only problem … brown boards against yellow melamine cupboards, coupled with a tan splashback looks … well I think you can guess! I decided a chopping board hack was required to help lift and lighten my still original 1989 kitchen. I wanted to play around with using an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP) wash to lighten the chopping boards. Here is the before photo … it may be hard to tell, but both boards where coated with a good layer of factory strength polyurethane. The idea is for the paint wash to seep into the wood grain. As I’ve never been able to completely remove varnish with sandpaper, I decided to use a paint stripper. I didn’t want the polyurethane to act as a barrier, preventing the paint wash from soaking in.
When using a paint stripper, always follow the instructions carefully. Keep it well away from children and pets. Apply in a well ventilated area. Use protective clothing … gloves, eye mask and plastic apron. Cover up arms and legs well because speaking from personal experience … this stuff BURNS!
But the results were great! After scrapping off the varnish with a plastic scraper, I washed the boards under a running tap and allow them to dry thoroughly. For the paint wash I used ASCP in Old White – about 2 parts paint to 1 part water. I painted the wash on with a paint brush. After a minute or two I wiped down with a damp cloth. Remember to watch for drips down the side. I found applying the paint wash was all about trying out different techniques until I got the look I was after. The less water you use … the more colour build up you’ll get. While a damp cloth will remove more paint, giving a lighter finish. Try a dry cloth if too much paint is being removed. Allow the wash to dry throughly. Then tape off the bottom section with painter’s tape (about a third of the way up the board) – ensure the tape has no air bubbles etc. Paint with your desired colour … I choose ASCP Duck Egg for one board and Paris Grey for the second. Using the paint straight from the tin, I painted both sides of the boards and propped them up on a baking paper box to dry. Carefully remove the painters tape while the paint is still wet. Once the board was completed dry, I lightly sanded with a very fine sandpaper (about 210 grade). The plan was to distress the the board quite a lot, especially the bottom block of colour. However, I was really pleased with the look of the boards after a light sand, that I left them as is. I haven’t use a finish on the boards (such as a wax or polyurethane) as I quite like the flat finish. Plus … they’re really for decoration and I’m not planning to use them for cutting food. Have you tried a chopping board hack before? Any ideas you’d like to share?