How To Chalk Paint Furniture

Are all of those lust-worthy before and after chalk paint pictures on Pinterest getting you in the mood to do some serious DIY makeovers to your decor?

Using chalk paint is trending big time right now and for good reason. It’s an amazing technique to use if you’re low on time, energy, and money.

Maybe you’re simply craving a change in the way your home looks. We all go through different phases and want to switch things up. If you want to give chalk paint a go but you have no clue what it is or where to start, then consider this your go-to guide for all things chalk paint related.

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What Is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is a decorative furniture paint. It was developed by Annie Sloan over twenty-five years ago. She has her own line of chalk paint in various colors, but other companies have lines of chalk paint as well that aren’t as expensive.

Chalk paint has a velvety, matte finish that polishes the look of anything it touches. You can use it to bring new life to old furniture.

It can even be used to paint walls, ceilings, kitchen cabinets, and floors. It wears beautifully on a variety of surfaces such as bricks, cement, metal, plastic, and wood.

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Why Should You Use Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is versatile and super easy to use. The great thing about chalk paint is that you don’t have to sand down the furniture before you paint it on as you would with regular paint. Forget about priming too – that’s not needed.

You get to skip straight to the fun part. Plus, it has virtually no odor, drys fast, and has minimal dripping. Even when you do get paint on something, it’s not the end of the world.

Chalk paint is water-based so it’s easy to clean up. I spilled some on the entire left side of my black shorts while painting.

When I was done, I just tossed my shorts in the wash and voila, they were as good as new. There wasn’t a trace of white chalk paint anywhere.

Using chalk paint is a very simple process that anyone can do. Whether you’re a newbie DIYer or a seasoned pro, using chalk paint is a walk in the park. You’ll love the amazing results!

How Durable Is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint can stand the test of time if sealed properly. Use a soft wax to seal the paint after it has dried.

You can get away with applying one coat of wax on surfaces that won’t get much traffic – think the legs of a bar stool. But for those surfaces that will get a fair amount of use such as the top of a living room table, you’d do well to seal it with two or three layers of wax.

Of course, you’ll need to give it enough time to dry between coats. Although this will help preserve the chalk paint, it will take away the matte finish and leave behind a silky texture.

What Not to Confuse Chalk Paint With

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Chalkboard with writing – this is NOT chalk paint

Chalk paint is not the same as chalkboard paint. The two are different types of materials. By now you know what chalk paint is, but you may be scratching your head as to what chalkboard paint is.

Chalkboard paint is used to turn a clean surface into a writing slate. It’s great to use for kid’s furniture.

Apply chalkboard paint to a little one’s dresser and let him or her go ham drawing whatever comes to mind. Little kids love stuff like this.

But it isn’t just for kids. If you’re a busy bee looking to organize your life, convert a framed mirror into a writing pad and watch how pulled together you’ll feel.

Where to Find Professionals

If you want to get professional help with your chalk painting project, here’s a good resource to help you find qualified professionals in your area:

Best Chalk Paint Brands

Some of the best-rated brands of chalk paint include:

  • Americana Chalk Paint –  Craving an old-world European look for your beloved furniture pieces? Americana’s chalky matte paint is ready to serve up some seriously chic style. Use it to paint over decorative glass or breathe new life into an antique dresser.
  • Retique It by Renaissance Chalk Paint – This brand created a top-rated eco-friendly number that’s extremely versatile. Plus, it costs less than the higher-priced Annie Sloan chalk paint. It’s easy to distress and works well on shabby chic and contemporary pieces. It also comes in a variety of beautiful colors.
  • Chalky Chicks Furniture Paint – You can paint more than just cabinets, floors, and walls with this paint. Is that old coach in need of a makeover? This chalk paint acts like a stain on fabric so you can paint your couch with this beauty. This high-quality chalk paint also comes in a wide variety of colors so you can get really creative.
  • Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra-Matte Paint – Rust-Oleum made a great true white chalk paint. It doesn’t have a trace of yellow, unlike some chalk paint brands. It covers well and has a dry time of thirty minutes. I loved this paint so much I just re-ordered it to start another project.
  • The Spruce Best Home Chalk Style Paint – This brand is a fantastic option for covering anything from a brick fireplace in a cozy cottage to cast-iron facades on a Greek Revival home. If you want the texture of your surface to push through, only use one coat. Otherwise, two or three will do the job.
  • Valspar Chalky Finish Paint – Valspar goes on smooth and offers great coverage. A little goes a long way. Knock out a dresser in two coats and you’ll still have more than half a can to start revamping side tables, vases, and tabletops. It’s so effortless to create your own little masterpieces with Valspar’s top-notch chalk paint.

My Experience With Chalk Paint

4 suppliesMy go-to supplies for a paint job

I went through a phase where I couldn’t get enough of black furniture. But as time evolved, my enthusiasm for all things black converted into a deep and obsessive love for all things ivory. However, that left me with a dilemma.

What was a girl to do with all that dark furniture? My mom suggested I give chalk paint a try. One of her friends used it to turn practically everything in her house white and she couldn’t be happier.

It sounded simple enough and presented a much less expensive option than going out and buying new furniture. But I had to do my homework first because I had questions.

After getting the gist of what to do, I started painting. Here’s the foolproof technique I used that gave me great results.

How to Chalk Paint Writing Desks

Before you start painting you want to make sure that you’re wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on. Now’s the time to break out your old shirts and bottoms or steal your honey’s old duds and get down to business.

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Black writing desk before chalk paint was applied

  1. Remove any handles from the drawers. You may need to be patient if the screws are in a bit tight.
  2. Wipe down the desk with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust.
  3. Dry the desk with a second rag before you begin painting.
  4. Open your can of chalk paint. Rust-oleum chalk paint is an excellent brand to use. You can get it off Amazon for a great price. I used ivory paint for my project.
  5. Stir the paint.
  6. Pour it into a glass jar.
  7. Fill a spray bottle with water.
  8. Spray your brush every once and a while as you’re painting if your paint starts to get too thick.
  9. Paint your dresser with the grain of the wood.

6 White DeskWhite writing desk after chalk paint was applied

  1. Swipe the brush across the top to give it a nice smooth look.
  2. Once you’re done painting the dresser, proceed to paint the front of the drawers.
  3. Let the chalk paint dry for 30 minutes.
  4. Apply a second coat to the dresser and drawers.
  5. Let it dry for 30 minutes.
  6. Apply creme wax with a foam brush to protect the paint and leave a silky finish. Americana Decor has an excellent clear creme wax to use as the final topcoat. You don’t want to put a heavy coat of this on. You just want a thin layer.
  7. Once everything is dry, put the handles back on the drawers and place the drawers back into the dresser.

How to Chalk Paint Mirrors

7 black mirrorsBlack mirrors before chalk paint was applied

Before you start painting, you’ll need to protect the glass part of the mirror. For square mirrors, avoid getting any chalk paint on the mirror by taking a piece of paper and sliding it between the glass and the frame.

The paper will catch any stray chalk paint so your mirror won’t get any paint on it. For round mirrors, you should cut the paper so it has rounded edges.

It will be easier to maneuver the paper around the mirror that way. Cut the paper in a half-circle and tuck it underneath the mirror. Slide it along as you’re painting and it will do the trick.

  1. Use blue painters tape to cover any decorative trim that you don’t want to paint.

8 pic blue tapeBlack mirrors with blue painter’s tape

  1. Wipe down the mirror frame with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust.
  2. Dry the mirror frame with a second rag before you begin painting.
  3. Open your can of Rust-oleum chalk paint.
  4. Stir the paint.
  5. Pour it into a glass jar.
  6. Fill a spray bottle with water.
  7. Spray your brush every once and a while as you’re painting if your paint starts to get too thick.
  8. Paint your mirror by swiping the brush across the top to give it a nice smooth look.
  9. Once you’re done painting the mirror, let the chalk paint dry for 30 minutes.
  10. Apply a second coat to the mirror.
  11. Let it dry for 30 minutes.
  12. Apply a thin layer of creme wax with a foam brush and let it dry.

9 White Painted MirrorWhite mirrors after chalk paint was applied

You can get creative with chalk paint and apply different colors to the mirror frame for a truly unique look.

Tips for Using Chalk Paint Like a Pro

Go Vintage

For an aged or weathered look, use sandpaper to distress the chalk painted furniture. The key to making it look natural is to not use the distressing technique in equal parts.

Imagine what an antique dresser looks like. Typically, it will only be worn in certain areas where it has been handled the most.

The top surface, as well as handles and edges, will look more worn. Apply a light hand when sanding these areas. Dressers and candlesticks are items that carry this look very well. You can even make your own candles to add to the DIY vibe.

Create Depth

Want to add some depth? Use a two-color distress technique to create dimension. This approach will lend a distinctly appealing look to your chalk painted furniture. Lay down two different layers of color.

Lightly sand the top. Doing so will reveal the first layer of color underneath. You’ll get maximum depth by using a darker color as your base and a lighter color as the topcoat.

Change the Consistency

You can thin or thicken chalk paint as easily as you can blink your pretty little eyes. It’s water-based so changing the consistency is a breeze.

Let it thicken by leaving the lid off. Thin it down by adding small amounts of cool water to the paint.

Alter Your Brushstrokes

You may want to create a unique look without going overboard. Changing up the brushstroke technique is a simple way to do that. Brush an area vertically first and then go over it with horizontal strokes.

You’ll create a linen-like look on the surface. If you want to add a bit of texture, lay the paint down thickly. Follow that up by dabbing the paint onto the surface with the bristles.

If a smoother style is more up your alley, just lay down a thin layer of paint. Wrap it up by applying gentle parallel brushstrokes on top.

Regardless of the technique you choose, you’ll find that using chalk paint is as fun as it is easy. After you’re done just remember to hold onto any leftover chalk paint.

When you need to do touch-ups later just use the same paint to cover scratches or spots. After it dries, go over the chalk painted area with a little creme wax to seal it. You’ll have a chalk painted work of art you can be proud of for years to come!