How To Paint Furniture with Chalk Paint
Hello, lovely friends! Here I am again! Sharing my tips and tricks on how to chalk paint furniture – plus a chalk paint recipe… I am excited about the chalk paint recipe, as it is so easy to make and will save you tons of money. You all know how much chalk-painted furniture is in fashion these days…so we are gonna talk all about it!!!!
If you have never chalk-painted furniture with chalk paint before, take advantage of my 10 years of furniture painting experience. By the end of the post, you will definitely be ready to finish your first chalk paint project. I promise!
Why Is Chalk Paint Better For Furniture?
Well, first off let me tell you a bit about chalk paint…It may be a hot trend right now, but chalk paint has been around for centuries… so has chalk painted furniture. Chalk painted furniture goes well with farmhouse, country, or eclectic decor style and it’s easy to paint with. Hence, all the DIYers like it. It helps your project to get done faster and saves you tons of time to keep your life straight.
Do You Have To Sand Furniture Before Using Chalk Paint?
This is the most commonly asked question, and I remember myself asking this question years ago when I was new to furniture painting. My question was always something like this… “Why use Chalk Paint Vs Regular Paint on Furniture?“
The big difference between chalk painting and latex paint (regular paint) is that you don’t have to prep your piece..for example, you can totally paint a piece of furniture with chalk paint without sanding or priming and it will look amazing. I don’t even bother using two coats…On some pieces, one coat is more than enough.
Just clean your piece and go paint over the surface no matter what condition your piece is in…it’s just amazing! I have been painting furniture since 2010 and chalk paint is my favorite paint among all others. It has a forgiving nature that makes it a favorite for everyone once you start using it.
Shall We Start The Step By Step Chalk Paint Furniture Tutorial Now?
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Choose Your First Piece Of Furniture
If you are going to dirty your hands with chalk paint for the first time in life, then I would highly recommend using a small piece of furniture… not so pretty and without so many curves. I would say go for a small table but without any dent or chips so you can feel comfortable and save yourself some steps such as sanding, filling, etc.
Once you have your piece of furniture that you’re going to chalk paint, follow these steps below to be a pro in chalk painting!!!!
Step 1- Select Your Paint
The very first thing is to pick or select your paint. 10 years ago when I started painting furniture, chalk paint was super expensive at that time. Anni Sloan’s chalk paint was the go-to choice for everyone. Well, it has changed over the years, although Anni Sloan’s chalk paint is still the best choice. However, there are a lot of other brands that are in the market these days and I like Behr paint as it’s very affordable.
Here is the list of chalk paint brands I have used over the years and gladly recommend them as well. I never thought of starting a blog, so I don’t have pictures for every project I have done in my house.
- Anni Sloan (A bit expensive, but great chalk paint to use)
- Beyond paint (I like their complete kit)
- Behr paint (I am totally in love with this paint)
- Valspar (Very similar to chalk paint)
- Dixie Belle (Have a variety of colors to choose from) very similar to chalk paint
- Fusion paint
Step 2- Put Your Supplies Together
After you pick your paint, the next step is to put your essential supplies together…I have put a very detailed supplies list in my how to paint a dresser post, check that out right here.
Here is the list you need to get going….
- Chalk paint of your choice and color. Here are some of my favorite colors which I have used over the years. I mentioned above that I was never into blogging. Hence, I never bothered taking pictures of projects. Anyways, here are the chalk paint colors I adore… timeless blue, silver, antique white, pink (as I have girls), green, red (my favorite color on earth), and gray.
- Clear chalk paint wax (a must-have supply)
- Dark wax (for distressing furniture)
- Paint can opener
- Paintbrush Wooster 2″
- Roller (if needed)
- Wax brush
- Clean rags (lint-free)
- Painter’s tape
- Wooden paint stirrer (they are free most of the time)
- Screwdriver for hardware removal
- Spray bottle for water
- TSP Cleaner or Dawn soap
- Microfiber cloths
Paint Brush Vs Roller
A lot of people say it’s a personal choice if you want to use a roller with chalk paint. Well friends, my opinion, it should not be about personal rather about the professional finish.
In the past, I have asked professional furniture painters several times that question and the answer was “using a brush over the roller is always better”.
Start with a brush then see if you need a roller on a piece of furniture you are painting with chalk paint. However, a brush gives you much better finishes than the roller could ever give.
I also use a few different brushes for small nooks and curves to spread the paint evenly all over the piece I am working on. The other brand I like is “Purdy“, and I have to admit that their brushes are great as well. I have a stock of them at my home. I save all my supplies in an extra dresser, so anytime I need anything, I know where to go, including my paint sample.
A word of wisdom, Please don’t ever buy non-branded cheap brushes, as you will regret it later. I’m telling you this based on my personal experience. It’s better off getting these nice recommended brushes.
Step 3- Prepare The Piece Of Furniture
The piece I picked for today’s demonstration is these cute set of nightstands, I scored at a thrift store. I am a bit sad, guys because that thrift store no longer exists. Honestly, chalk paint totally changed the look of these old set of nightstands.
Don’t paint a piece of furniture that has an awful smell… Paint is not a substitute for an odor eliminator… You would just waste your time. So, make sure that if you buy furniture from the thrift store it doesn’t come with a bad, hard-to-stand the odor.
A Short Personal Story
I once had a small dresser which was extremely pretty and I got it for $2, I was wondering why someone would get rid of it. It was very stinky but I was determined to paint it. I had no idea what kind of smell it was, but guys, the paint didn’t help one bit. Neither did vinegar which I use for everything. Finally, I cleaned it with ammonia and I got rid of some of the smell but not all of it. I ended up putting it on the curb as I was too embarrassed to donate it.
Removing The Hardware
If there is any hardware on your furniture, remove it before you even start cleaning by using an appropriate tool. A free tip for you, put all your hardware at a safe place. I would say put it in a plastic baggie so you don’t’ lose it later. I, however, never use baggie’s as I put them in my storage dresser where I save all my paint supplies and extra hardware like this.
As I always say, cleaning is a crucial step. This is where I pay a lot of attention. BTW, I always take before pictures of my pieces ever since I started blogging, but before, not so much! You don’t have to, it’s an optional step.. LOL!
Now that the hardware is off, it’s time to look around to see if you have any stickers that need to come off. If any sticker does need to come off, use Goo Gone and the adhesive will be gone within seconds. Or, use a mixer of water, vinegar and a few drops of dawn soap. Spray it and let it sit for a few minutes. It will come right off.
Next, wipe it off any dust your piece is collecting using dusting brush. Don’t spray water on dust, it doesn’t help. If your furniture is extremely messy then TSP is the way to go, but if it looks clean, then Dawn soap and warm water will get the job done. I barely have used TSP, but I always keep it handy. You never know.
Good cleaning will give you the best results with better adhesion. It’s crucial!
This step depends upon your needs. As I said above, if you are painting the first time, pick a decent piece of furniture in order to perform a confident job. Once you are a pro, then you are good to paint anything. If your furniture has a lot of dents and chips, you then need to fill them by using wood filler. I like the Minwax brand. I use a putty knife to apply my filler.
Sanding As Needed
After you fill the dents and chips, you need to sand these areas by using 60-120 or 100-200 grit sandpaper according to your needs. However, you don’t need to sand the whole piece, just the required areas.
Work-space For Chalk Painting?
I am going to mention this again… Don’t use chalk paint in your garage or where you think there will be a lot of dust. Chalk paint is very safe to use inside. I highly recommend painting your furniture inside the house. Just cover your floor with tarp or plastic.
Step 4- Start Painting
1– Make sure your paint is well-stirred before you start painting furniture.
Pro Tip: Leave the can of chalk paint upside down for about 8 minutes and then shake it and stir it well!
2– Tape off the areas you don’t want to paint with painters tape. Make sure you know where your drawers go if it’s a dresser or table with drawers. Here is what I do, I use price stickers from Dollar Tree. The ones you use for garage sale price tags. Write numbers with right and left on them, so you know where they go once the job is done.
3– Then, spray a bit of water on your paintbrush to make it lightly wet before you dip into the paint. Pour the chalk paint into a flat container. Make sure you check the consistency. If it’s too thick, just spray some water in it and mix according to your needs. Dip your brush lightly and start painting in the direction of the grain. Tightly cover your can of paint to avoid it from drying.
The direction of the grain is the key thing to remember.
Some people will tell you to paint in any direction, and it’s simply not true with any paint. I have learned over the year that this technique leaves really awful marks on your furniture. I had no idea at the beginning about this grain thingy but learned my lesson after painting a piece or two.
4– Paint in small areas. For instance, if you are starting with a leg, finish that first, then move on to the next part. Just to make your DIY life easy.
5– It’s that easy! Now, let it dry for an hour and wrap your brush in plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will prevent it from drying. But, if you think that you are done painting and no need for another coat, then wash your brush to put it away.
Can You Water Down Chalk Paint?
Absolutely, you can water down chalk paint! In fact, it’s best to do it, as chalk paint gets dry very quickly. Keep a small spray bottle available for spraying. Don’t completely soak it with water, just a small amount of spray would dilute it well. At least in my experience, a spray bottle is the best method.
Watering down chalk paint makes it apply much easier. Be consistent, though. Don’t water too much and ruin the original color of your chalk paint by making it too thin. With experience, you would get a pretty good idea of how much water to use.
Now you know that one of the best tips is watering down thick chalk paint! Too much water can change the color of your chalk paint, so be careful with it.
Do You Need A Second Coat Of Chalk Paint?
What I have seen over the years, it’s unpredictable until you start painting.
What To Do When You Get A Bleed- through With Chalk Paint.
Well, here is the deal…You would think chalk paint is always forgiving, but it isn’t really the case for all types of furniture. Mahogany, Cherry and Pinewood can bleed through very easily.
Solutions: You can do two things to prevent it….
A- Prime with either with Kills all-purpose primer or Zinsser Stain Cover primer.
B- Use spray shellac or regular shellac one or two coat as needed. Zinner has the best one. I would use a foam brush for this, but a regular brush is fine too.
Make sure you don’t use this product inside of your house as it has a very strong smell.
Should You Sand Between Chalk Paint?
It depends upon your needs and how your masterpiece looks after one or two coats of paint. It’s not necessary, rather an optional step.
Step 5- How To Wax Chalk Painted Furniture
You can wait 24 hours before you wax, but I have done it within 12 to 24 hours after painting furniture and the waxing results were great.
So here is how you would use clear wax on your chalk painted furniture:
1– Take a spoon or two full of wax and pour it on a little plastic lid or paper plate. I sometimes use it right off the container but the for first-time users, use it properly in a plate.
2– Use your lint-free cloths or brushes, but keep in mind a brush gives you a better finish than the lint-free cloth. However, lint-free cloths bring more shine into your piece.
Once you are painting for a long time, you can use any piece of cloths that is soft in nature, but not at the beginning of your painting journey.
Next In Waxing
3– Start applying wax on an edge farthest away from you so you don’t have to lean into the wax area.
4– Go in small sections to get the beautiful finish you want in circular motions! Like taking baby steps. The paint will start to look darker so, it’s easy to recognize the area you already have waxed.
5- Once you are done with one section then take your clean cloth and wipe off the excess. It will leave the area shiny and with a really neat look behind.
6– If you see some streaking, go back and apply some more wax and re-polish the area again.
Continue to repeat this until you are done with your whole piece of painted furniture.
Wax takes 30 days to dry completely, so make sure you handle your furniture with great care! According to Annie Sloan – Don’t let your kids ruin it for you.
Step 6- How To Distress Furniture With Chalk Paint
The good news is that you don’t have to wait after you are done with your wax to distress your furniture. Distressing is an optional step, anyways. Not all furniture needs to be distress.
Once you finished with your clear wax coat, you are done if you don’t want to distress furniture with chalk paint. However, if you want to distress your furniture with chalk paint then make sure you are done waxing and no streaks are left anywhere in your masterpiece.
There is no dry time for distressing it’s just more about your cure time such as to see that your piece is pretty smooth-looking after the waxing.
I am going to teach you anyways in case if you want to distress your piece.
1– Okay, go ahead and start using a coarse grain sandpaper, 60 to 120 grit.
Using coarse-grit sandpaper is a much quicker method than fine-grit sandpaper… it’s a personal preference, though.
2– You mostly need to distress in the places where it normally would wear and tear such as around the edges, down the legs, or if you have any detail on your furniture. I must say, chalk painted furniture with distressing looks very elegant.
Pro Tip: Once you are done waxing in a circular motion, then wipe it off in straight motion. It will get rid of all the streaky lines.
How much Distressing You Should Be Doing?
It’s up to you, as some people like just a little bit of distressing and some of you want the paint mostly gone. I like both. What I personally do is to sand it first and leave it for an hour or so. If I like it, it’s done. Otherwise, just go from there. Sometimes you need to sand it until you see the bare wood. You really don’t know until you do it and look at the piece.
It’s not a time-consuming task, so if you keep going you can be done with a day!!! You can always stop in between these steps if you are busy and have to do something else.
If your piece of furniture was old and it’s possible that someone might have painted it with lead-based paint, then sand it in an open place. Maybe in your backyard or so. Make sure you wear a mask too.
How To Use Dark Wax On Chalk Painted Furniture
You can apply dark wax over your chalk painted piece after you are done distressing. You are ready to apply your dark wax using the same method above that I have explained for clear wax. Use Annie Solan wax or any other.
Dark wax is soft, so just take a spoonful and put it in a plate. You only need a very little bit of it as it goes a long way.
Use cloth or brush and apply it with a circular motion and wipe off with a straight motion. For more detail, read the section above for the clear wax.
This step is optional. If you don’t want to use dark wax you don’t have to.
Once you are done with dark wax, go ahead and wipe it off using some elbow grease. Give it a good rub so you can get a great shine. Ta-Da!!! You are done!
DIY Chalk Paint Recipe For Furniture
For the chalk paint recipe, here are the supplies you need:
- Water-based latex paint. Any interior paint brand you like. Get it in flat, eggshell, or satin paint. You will learn over time, whichever works best for you. I don’t recommend glass or semi-glass, as you want the chalky look.
- Plaster of Paris in powder form.
- Water to add it in plaster of Paris.
- A jar or can to mix your paint.
- Measuring cup.
How To Mix It Together:
It’s an extremely simple recipe. Take one part plaster of Paris to three parts paint. We are going to add a little bit of water to turn plaster of Paris into a past before adding the paint into it. That’s about it. So if you take 1 cup of plaster of Paris and mix it with a little bit of water. Add 3 cups of paint into that past and your chalk paint is ready. No matter how much paint you need, the ratio is 1 to 3.
The consistency of your plaster of Pairs should be a little thinner than mayonnaise
You can mix it all together with the fork or spoon but if you need a lot of paint you can use the little electric hand mixer.
Is Chalky Finish The Same As Chalk Paint?
Nope, a chalky finish is not the same as chalk paint. I have recently painted my laundry room cabinets to give it a beautiful farmhouse look by using Valspar paint which is very similar to chalk paint and offers a chalky finish but it’s not exactly the same as chalk paint. BTW, I love their paint.
Chalk paint is not the same as chalkboard paint. In fact, it all came from the interior design industry with Annie Sloan registered trademark for the paint. A few years ago, there were not even many chalk paints available in the market except Annie Sloan. It was pretty pricey, and that was the first chalk paint I started to use.
Then What Is Chalk Paint, And Who Introduced It?
Well, here is the answer to “What is chalk paint”. It is basically made of calcium carbonate, pigment, and water. That’s it.
Annie Sloan is the one who took this award to introduce such a great product in 1990. She also has written over 25 books on paint. Very authentic sources, right? Otherwise, chalk paint is around since cavemen
Where To Buy Chalk Paint
In these days, it’s very easy to buy chalk paint as a lot of stores sell them in-store and online. Amazon is full of different chalk paints. You can also order from different vendors who carry them. Annie Sloan chalk paint is one, and there is another, Fusion chalk paint.
Home Depot sells Behr chalk paint which is very affordable. The only drawback is that it comes with just a few colors. These places also sell chalk paint wax as well.
My go-to place is either Home Depot or Amazon
How Do You Paint IKEA Furniture Without Sanding With Chalk Paint?
I have written a detailed post about this most frequently asked question, so check that step-by-step tutorial out, guys, just by clicking on the link below.
Pros And Cons Of Chalk Paint
Well, as I said earlier, chalk paint is nothing new. However, it’s in the trend since the last decade and everyone is going crazy for it. Well, let see why people are going crazy by looking at these pros and cons. Let’s go with the pros first.
Pros of Chalk Paint
- Very easy to apply.
- You can reuse any piece of furniture back by using this paint which is much more cheaper than buying a new whole piece.
- Chalk painted furniture looks very beautiful.
- Easy to take care of.
- Can correlate with any decor due to several colors available in chalk paint.
- Saves you a good amount of money.
- No sanding, no priming required, mostly.
- Anyone can learn easily and paint furniture with it.
Cons Of Chalk Paint
- A little bit pricey. However, it goes a long way.
- Not great for kitchen cabinets, as it started to come off after a while.
- Need to always use a top coat to protect it.
That’s it, guys. I don’t see many cons using chalk paint. It’s much easier than latex paint, as I have used both.
Bonus Tip: How To Clean Your Paint Brush
Here is a bonus tip for you guys to give your brush a brand new appearance:
1-Wash your brush thoroughly. Rinse all the paint off of your brush.
2-Then, take some lukewarm water and pour a few drops of vinegar.
3- Dip your paintbrush after you rinse it in this solution and leave it for 30 minutes and that’s it. It will get you beautiful bristles back and your brush will look brand new, like mine.
Happy painting, and here is my free 35 pages ebook for you on chalk paint!