Making something old, new again

Washougal woman teaches chalk painting workshops, remakes furniture and accessories

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Amanda Bachelder has always loved the vintage look. Clad in a flowing white shirt, jeans, hand-painted boots and toting a custom tool box with bejeweled handle, she looks very much the part of modern mixed with yesterday.

“I fell in love with the shabby chic look,” she said. “I would buy furniture at garage sales, and paint layers of white paint for that look. I love that style.”

However, there were some drawbacks.

“I hated the smell of latex paint,” Bachelder said.

It was also time consuming, especially the prep work. With two sons already and another child on the way, she wanted something more efficient.

After doing some research, Bachelder discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Sloan first created her now famous decorative paint 20 years ago, according to her website. When she started developing it, her goal was to make a decorative paint that was immediate and allowed her to be direct and spontaneous. With three young boys under age 7 at the time, she wanted a fast turn around: Paint in the morning, then wax and put it back in position by the afternoon.

However, the cost, approximately $35 a quart, gave Bachelder pause.

“I decided to document every piece of furniture I painted with it to see how far it went,’ Bachelder, a Washougal resident, said. “I was able to paint 10 pieces, some big and some small. I blogged about it and Annie Sloan actually commented.”

Bachelder loved the ease of using it as well.

“You don’t have to do sanding, priming or any other prep work,” she said.

She continued using it and blogging about it and “things took off,” as Bachelder put it.

“Everyone was really excited about the paint,” she said. “I went to San Francisco and listened to (Annie Sloan’s) speech and did a workshop.”

The paint is only sold in boutique shops, such as Camas Antiques. Bachelder has had a space there for eight years. She asked owner Joanne Taylor if she would be interested in carrying the paint and letting her conduct workshops.

“She was on board with it,” Bachelder said. “That was two-and-a-half years ago. I love the opportunity to create and inspire people.”

The workshops, which are usually scheduled on a monthly basis, include supplies, snacks and refreshments.

There is space for up to eight people. She also offers private workshops for up to four people. Bachelder teaches several different paint techniques, including distressed, two-color, layered, stencil, crackle and rustic.

Hosting workshops and selling her creations allows Bachelder a flexible schedule in which to balance her passions: She and husband, Cameron, have three children who are age 8 and younger.

“I love the opportunity to be able to create and still be home with my children,” she said.

Since she has started using the paint, Bachelder said she feels more like an artist.

“Before, I taking something old and discarded and making it new again,” she said. “When I started using these paints, I felt more like an artist.”

In addition to painting furniture, she also enjoys painting shoes, luggage and toolboxes.

“It has been fun,” Bachelder said. “There is no limit to what you can do with this.”

For more information about upcoming workshops or to see some of Bachelder’s work, visit Girl in Pink on Facebook.