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Chalk paint know-how

It aint what you do (it's the way that you do it) – and that's what gets results: chalk paint workshops at The Emporium Somerset

You can try and upcycle a junk shop find by slapping on any old paint, any old how – or you could learn how to use the right paint properly and get some inspiration from an expert while you’re at it.  Unless you share my natural tendency to bodge, I reckon your best bet is to head over to Cato Cooper’s chalk paint workshops at The Emporium Somerset in Wellington (you don’t have even have to be super creative).

Cato works with and stocks a huge range of Autentico chalk paints, waxes and varnishes – I mean, just look at ’em (and there are more, out of shot). Chalk paint contains chalk (obvs), water, colour pigment and resins with no solvents or other additives, has great coverage and sticks really well to whatever you’re painting, so no need for hours and hours of tedious prep (phew).

There are around 160 different paint colours but you don’t have to guess what each colour will look like. As well as the little hand-painted clogs on the wall (Cato’s Dutch), she’s already prepared a big selection of little sample boards. Not all of them are pastel – that lemon yellow is popping!

After an introduction about the paint and colours, everyone gets stuck in painting stripes of colour onto larges piece of sanded pine (or a picture frame, if you prefer) using a selection of paints from the table.

Unlike some other brands of chalk paint, Autentico’s not thick and gloopy, so it’s really easy to use – just like regular paint.

No one wants to watch paint dry do they? So out with the hairdryer for a quick blow dry, so you can niftily get on with the next stage:  learning how to achieve all the various finishes with cloths, brushes, fine sandpaper and by layering assorted coloured paints in different ways, under Cato’s expert guidance.

It’s not just a case of slapping a load of paint on and then sanding it off again to get the distressed effect – there’s a secret to it (but I’m not going to share it with you here).

Waxes not only protect but can add depth or the illusion of age and might be white, bronze, copper, silver as well as clear, which you apply with special brushes or sponges.  Cato’s got lots of clever little tips up her apron sleeves about when and how to use different waxes and to how to experiment without making irreversible mistakes (eek).

You end up with a sample board showing all the different finishing techniques and effects, ready to inspire or use as a reference when it comes to painting your own furniture – or even as a little original artwork to hang on your wall.


There are Basic Introduction to Chalk Paint workshops with Cato at The Emporium Somerset on Thurs 18 Jan, Weds 31 Jan, Thurs 15 Feb, Mon 26 Feb and Weds 14 March. From 7.30–9.45pm.  You’ll get a 10% discount on all the paints after the workshops, too. Cost £40 per person.

The Emporium Somerset, Mantle Street, Wellington, Somerset TA21 8AR. Tel 01823 660076.

Find more ideas here


1 comment on “Chalk paint know-how”

  • Angela January 16, 2018

    I would recommend this workshop. Cato takes you through the paints and techniques with useful tips. Lovely product and gorgeous colour range. I particularly liked the wax finishes and floor stains. Enjoyed the evening.


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