Tried and Tested: Using Chalk Paint to Revive Old Patio Decor

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know of my obsession with Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Annie Sloan claims the paint can stick to almost any surface and that it can be used outdoors.  Apparently, the outside of Annie Sloan’s shop is painted with Chalk Paint!

I was a bit skeptical of how this paint would hold up under the elements.  I painted several things last spring with chalk paint and am glad to report that they have held up extremely well through wind and rain and very cold conditions.

I had several really ugly old plastic pots that many years ago, were supposed to look like fake terra-cotta.  I painted these in Annie Sloan’s old white and it gave them new life.  I would have been happy if they lasted even one season, but they held up so well, I am going to keep them.

Annie Sloan 2

Annie Sloan 1

I also painted these chairs we inherited.  They were originally black wrought iron.  I felt they looked pretty boring with the black iron, so I painted just the arms with chalk paint and I feel it gave them a modern lightness.  The paint has held up well after a year of being outside.

Annie Sloan 4

Annie Sloan 3

So, there is my review.  I would definitely endorse this product being used outdoors.

You can see my other reviews on chalk paint here, here and here.  What about you?  Have you ever used chalk paint on outdoor pieces?

How to Dry Hydrangeas

I am a huge fan of hydrangeas and love to have them in my garden and my home.  They are so simple, yet elegant.  You can make a big impact with just a few blooms.  I posted here about using them to bring a hint of nature indoors.

Hydrangea Veranda Veranda

There are 3 methods for drying hydrangeas, although it appears the method is not as important as when you cut the blooms!

According to experts, you should cut blooms as soon as they feel papery and less supple than they were earlier in the season.  This “papery” stage usually occurs 6 weeks after the blooms have opened.  However, I have always just cut blooms I thought were pretty and then dried them, so I personally don’t think it matters that much.

In fact, I feel that the color of the hydrangea mostly impacts how it dries and what color it ends up.  Unfortunately, I feel that my favorite, the white hydrangea, dries the worst.  I find that they tend to dry brown.

The 3 methods to dry them once they are cut are as follows:

  • The Easy Method (Upside Down Method):  Take the blooms and hang them upside down in dry place such as an attic or garage.  I find when you use this method, the blooms dry a bit more brittle than using the water drying method below.
  • The Super Easy Method (Water Drying Method):  Take the blooms and remove all of the leaves.  Place them in a vase full of water in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.  Let the water evaporate.  I have dried hydrangeas on accident using this method.  Did I forget to change the water in that vase?  Whoops!
  • The Effort Method (Silica Gel Method):  This method requires drying the blooms using silica gel.  I am hesitant to even mention this method because it requires so much more work, but it results in slightly more vivid blooms.
  • Step 1:  Place bloom upside down in a container of silica gel.  Hold the flower above the silica and sift silica around the head of the blossom.  When about an inch of silica is holding the flower in place, you can release the bloom.
  • Step 2:  Work the silica into the center of the bloom and under all of the petals.
  • Step 3:  Secure the container with a lid and let the bloom sit in the gel.  Wait 4 days and remove the preserved bloom.

Once dried, they can last indoors indefinitely.  Hyrangeas are the kind of flowers that practically dry themselves, so I recommend the “Lazy” Method as it is almost foolproof.

I think dried hydrangeas are a nice way to have flowers in the winter when fewer flowers are in bloom.  I try to only do one arrangement, like the simple one below, because too many can look too cutesy and cottage-y

bhg hydrangeas 2

Better Homes and Gardens August 2013

This might feel like drying your prom corsage (anyone else do that??), but I promise the results will be stunning and brighten your home!

Have you ever tried drying flowers?  A variety other than hydrangeas?  If so, please tell me in the comments!