…armoire & peeling chalk paint

It’s so fun to meet clients that come to me saying, “I kept your article from The Washington Post in the hopes that I would need your services.” The article was really a turning point in Blue Egg Brown Nest and one that I will always be so grateful for.

Marie brought me this beautiful armoire.


Looks innocent enough, but this piece came with a challenge. It is actually not wood, but some type of laminate. In my experience, this is not a problem. However, there was something about the surface that did not like my Chalk Paint. This is what happened.


What is that?! That is paint peeling, people. In all the years I have refinished furniture I have NEVER had peeling paint. I was nervous.

The first thing I did was contact my stockist to see if there was something amiss with this batch of Old White. I have read about this happening. Nope.

DH to the rescue. We talked about how we were going to go about fixing the issue. I emailed my client and gave her the heads up that we were going into surgery. I striped off the paint that I had applied with a paint stripper and DH took an electric sander and gave it a once over. We then did several samples and several coats to make sure the paint stuck.

It did. Phew.

It seemed that there was something on the surface of the laminate that was not letting the paint adhere. It could have been a stain or some type of poly, I am not sure. But, the problem resolved itself by sanding down a layer.

Here is the end result.




This armoire looked like the hundreds of pieces that I have refinished, but offered a new challenge in the peeling paint. Just a reminder that every piece of furniture can offer a new challenge and it’s an opportunity to work through and produce something lovely.




  1. I’ve had this problem before too Christen, apparently if a piece has been repeatedly cleaned using something like pledge furniture Polish the chalk paint doesn’t like it and reacts with the paint, meaning that its got to be sanded a little. Now I always ask what customers have used to clean their furniture before I start painting. xx

    • Glennis McNeish says:


      Seeing this picture sure brought back lots of bad memories for me. I had this happen to a dresser (only on one side) that I was painting for a client. I freaked out because I could not figure out what was going on. I did the same thing that DH did, sanded down a layer, but also put a coat of varnish over the bad spots and that also took care of it. Any piece that has been waxed with pledge, etc will do that.

  2. I love your blogs – I learn so much. Fortunately for me, my husband used to build furniture so he always has a solution. But I always listen to you about paint – not anyone else…because your work is my favorite. I have some difficulty with shabby chic but you do it just the way I like it. So thank you always for your blogs and sharing your knowledge. It helps my in my little business….

  3. thats a lot of sanding…not a fun thing to do. But it turned out great!!

  4. Thank you for sharing! It hasn’t happened to me yet but I am sure it will somewhere down the road. I will think of this for sure. I think asking the client what they used is a good precaution but not all will know what was used if it is second hand so do you feel it is a good idea to start sanding all pieces anyway?

  5. Do you think we should start sanding all pieces since we aren’t sure what they were cleaned with? Pledge was probably the most common polisher in the 60’s and 70’s if not before..

  6. Oh my! This made me smile. The very first piece i did for a client did this same thing. To my horror! I had been painting a bit over a year and chalk paint did as promiced! No sanding or priming. But then i had a request to repaint a baby bed that was a family heirloom. But unfortunately was laminate and had a funny finish on it. Long story short and after repainting it 4 times and sanding my arms off, i got it right! I almost stopped chalk painting then and there but plunged ahead and bought an electric sander along the way! My arms and skills have improved.

  7. I’ve heard that newer furniture has fire retardants sprayed on them that resist paint.

  8. Christine says:

    So glad I came across this. I’m currently using old white chalk paint on a laminate buffet and the paint started chipping. I was so upset as I had finished the whole piece and even started applying the wax when it started to happen…talk about alot of wasted time. (especially since I have an 11 month old and my time is limited!) So yesterday I took the paint off one side of the buffet, sanded it down, put a layer of shellac primer on it and then the chalk paint and I think (and pray) that it worked! But just the thought of having to do the doors over again makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, haha. I may have it done before the new year :-/

  9. Kelly Callahan says:

    I too just had that happen to me! In many different areas on a laminate dresser. While researching solutions, reading several articles, Q/A’s, blogs, etc…I have found that more often than not, it was when someone was using AS Old White or Pure White!! I used Old White on this piece! Btw, I cleaned the entire dresser with tsp. I have used tsp on every piece I’ve done with no incident of peeling paint!
    Needless to say, I’m very disappointed. So off I go to tackle this! Grrrrr!
    (And may I just add that I love your pieces and think that you are a very sweet person)

  10. I wished I knew this before I started painting. I watched all your you tube videos and read every blog I could find. All said just paint. No primer, sanding! Imagine my face with tears running down after my very first time and peeling paint every where. Then I google Annie Sloan peeling paint and your blog came up. I was thinking but what, I watched all her videos???? Oh my am I ever frustrated. But I won’t give up. I m going to get thisroject finished but probably will never use this product again.

  11. I too am having issues with the Old White ASCP. It is extremely frustrating as I also watched many tutorials and read every tip out there! I have painted and refinished numerous pieces of furniture in the past, but this is my first time using the chalk paint. First coat looked amazing, second coat began to crack and peel. Sanded that down and did another coat, same issue. This is on a dresser. So very frustrating as I have been at this all day. I will try the sealer and then repaint. DD had a suggestion of sanding it down so wood shows through and then decoupaging post cards or old map so it looks beachy.

  12. BRENDA BAILEY says:

    Love your blog! What is the technique for making my paint look as if it is peeling?

    I’m attacking an armoire’ that I wish to look like it fell off of a truck and landed on the beach and stayed there for years. All bleached out but “special”. I’ve used Coco, French Linen, Old White and then Paris Gray , layering as I go.

    Help! I need Texture!

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