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Walk inside Roxanne Dingman’s home and you will find one-of-a-kind furnishings in every room.

They are beautiful pieces, but the most beautiful thing about them is the personal touch that Dingman puts on each piece as she refinishes them.

She even has pieces that she has repurposed — a changing table made beautifully into a dining room server and windows made into tables. Refurbishing began as a hobby for Dingman, but when that hobby became a passion, she joined forces with family members Nancy Blank, Lexi Wyatt and Anne Wyatt to form Monkey Girls Designs.

“We refinish everything you can imagine, bedroom furniture, kitchen cupboards, side tables, kitchen tables and chairs, bread boxes, ammo tables,” Dingman said.

You can see some of these fun pieces at Eight Gates Antiques in Cowpens and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MonkeyGirlDesigns.

We asked the Monkey Girls to give us a tutorial for refinishing a piece of furniture using chalk paint.

“Chalk painting does not require sanding like traditional refinishing, but can give furniture a whole new look,” Dingman said.

Before beginning your project, find a suitable piece of furniture and gather your supplies.

“We look for pieces that have character to them — the older the better,” Dingman said. “Most old pieces need a little TLC, but they have so much more personality that we often choose them. Don’t worry about scuff marks or dings; they just add to the character of the piece.”

Once you have chosen your furniture, it is time to gather supplies. You will need chalk paint, chalk paint brushes, clear or dark wax, sandpaper (optional for distressing), old cotton cloths, vinegar and water. A good craft store should have most supplies.

Dingman emphasized that there is a difference between chalkboard paint and chalk paint, so purchase carefully. When choosing brushes, the larger the piece, the larger brush you will need. Remember to get a brush for waxing too.

Get started

Step 1 — clean: Give your piece of furniture a good cleaning. Wipe down the surface with vinegar water and remove any hardware, if needed.

Step 2 — paint: “It doesn’t matter which way the brush strokes go,” Dingman said. “You will see brush strokes and it may not look covered. That’s OK. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

Step 3 — paint again: Apply the second coat of paint. “This will cover the piece nicely and will fill in any missed areas” Dingman said. “After this coat is dry, you will notice the brush marks slowly disappear. You can apply a third coat for a more polished look.”

Step 4 — sand for a distressed look: “This step is optional,” Dingman said. “You will sand the parts of furniture that would have naturally gotten the most wear over time.

Step 5 — apply wax: “For this piece, we used the clear and then dark,” Dingman said. “Put the brush into the wax and cover the end of your brush. Then work the wax onto your piece of furniture in a circular motion. Make sure to cover every nook and cranny.”

Step 6 — wipe off the wax with a white cotton rag: “When I am waxing, I work in small sections, waxing on and then wiping off,” she said. “You will notice a difference in your piece of furniture as you wax. The paint slightly darkens and the distressed areas become darker and more noticeable. Waxing your furniture seals it for protection, gives a matte finish and smooth-to-the-touch feel.

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