Chalk painting furniture
Build | Fixing Furniture | Home Accents

Chalk Paint Furniture: Your DIY Guide To Painting Furniture with ease

If you are looking to update an old piece of furniture with ease, check out this DIY chalk paint furniture guide! All your chalk painting questions are answered here.

Whether you are a seasoned DIYer or new to the world of creating low-cost home solutions, chalk paint is a must-try. 

It is every artistic individual’s most sought-after paint of choice and creates wonders. Completely versatile, you can use it on just about anything and it will leave you with the best matte finish you could wish for. 

If DIY chalk paint furniture is on your mind, then this definitive guide will tell you all you need to know to make your project the talk of the town! 

Chalk painting furniture

What is chalk paint?

Chalk paint is a rich decorative furniture paint that is designed specifically for artistic purposes, taking into account the creative potential of its users. It was created in the 90s by British artist Annie Sloan, who has her own range of one of the best chalk paints for furniture. 

You can do just about anything with chalk paint – paint walls, furniture, glass, tiles, even dye clothes! It leaves a soft matte finish that elevates any piece of furniture to give it a refined look. It also works with a range of home decor styles from vintage to bohemian, and farmhouse. 

What chalk paint isn’t

Chalk paint is easily confused with chalkboard paint, i.e. paint that creates a surface that you can write on with chalk. It is also assumed to be high effort paint that is time-consuming and difficult to use. 

But chalk paint isn’t any of that. It’s just regular paint with a different finish. It goes on like any other paint, is time-saving, and extremely low on effort, making it ideal for quick art projects. Furthermore, it adds character and depth and is one of the best options out there for revamping old furniture and personalizing new ones. 

Benefits of Chalk Paint

Chalk paint has many benefits that are guaranteed to make you want to consider it for your next DIY project:

  1. Time-Saving:

Chalk paint reduces the time it takes to prep your furniture and walls for painting. It also dries faster than other finishes, ensuring that your DIY chalk paint furniture projects are finished in less than two days. 

We finished our DIY revamped chalk paint nightstand in under 24 hours, by working consistently. It’s that simple! 

2. Low on Effort: 

Projects using chalk paint are extremely low on effort. 

No more sanding surfaces and making multiple coats of calculated, perfect brushstrokes! Chalk paint is very forgiving and known for its ability to cover almost every surface with ease. Plus, it’s also highly effective. Two to three coats are usually more than enough to achieve the desired effect. 

3. Perfect finish: 

Check out our chalk paint furniture before and after photos to see how effective chalk paint is at giving the furniture a vintage or chic finish. 

Chalky and matte, the paint gives a new and improved look to just about anything. This look cannot be achieved with any other paint and is never this easy.

Before and after of a nightstand we did with chalk paint

Prepping for Chalk Paint & Supplies Needed

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to work with chalk paint once you’ve got a few projects under your belt. It requires next to no prep and there’s no need to prime or sand before applying your first coat. All you have to do is wipe down your furniture with a damp cloth or baby wipes to remove any dust.

If you’re looking to paint kitchen cabinets, make sure that they’re not greasy because the oil might bleed through. You can always choose to give your furniture a light sanding, but it really isn’t necessary. 

Supplies you will need

  1. Your choice of chalk paint. We used the original Annie Sloan’s French Linen and Pure White paint, but you can choose any brand and color you like.
  2. Clear wax for the finished piece of furniture as an outer coating. This will preserve the final look and give it a polished finish. We used Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax that uses beeswax and is low on chemicals.
  3. Dark wax if you want to create a distressed finish, as we did.
  4. Brushes, preferably with long and soft bristles. We found rounded brushes to be the best option for us, but anything easy to use will serve your purpose. 
  5. Lint-free rags to rub on the wax and polish your finished creation. Any old t-shirt works great.
  6. Baby wipes or a damp cloth to clean your surface.
  7. Gloves, a mask (if needed), and newspaper for the floor.

How to Chalk Paint Furniture

With chalk paint, there’s no easier way to get started than to just begin painting!

The charm of chalk paint is that every project becomes a fun, art project with the least amount of calculation. There are no specific DIY chalk painting furniture techniques that you will need to adopt, but here’s how we decided to go about it. 

Begin by cleaning your surface. After it has dried, pop open your can of paint and begin with little amounts, just to get a feel for it. Apply a thick coat on your furniture; you can paint up and down, forward and backward, there is no set way. 

Let it dry after each coat; chalk paint is fast-drying, so the maximum time this will take is 35-40 minutes. You will notice by the time you consider a third coat that you may not need another thick layer. In this case, thin down some of your paint with water and apply a final coat. All that remains at this point is to apply your wax.

Use small amounts of wax (when we say small, we mean extremely small), and rub it in with one of your lint-free rags. With another rag, polish your surface in circles to make sure that the wax sets in, and your surface becomes shiny.

Repeat this until you’ve covered the entire piece of furniture, or till you’re happy with the outcome. 

And that’s it. In under 48 hours, you will have your new DIY chalk paint furniture ready for use!

How to Distress with Chalk Paint

We decided to give the top of our nightstand a distressed wood look, and we’re extremely happy with the results! If you want to create a similar texture, all you will need is a different color of your choice and a cup to dilute your paint in.

After the first coat of paint has dried, apply a thin coat of the shade that you have chosen to bring in the distressed effect. In a separate cup, mix in your paint with a little water to give it a thin consistency. This also makes it easier to mix in another color since the paint remains wet longer. 

After you have applied your thin coat of paint (we applied a thin coat of French Linen onto our white paint), go over the top with streaks of the original paint. For this, we dabbed our brush in a tiny bit of white paint and created streaks across the gray. Keep layering till you’re happy with how it looks. You can also brush on some dark wax to add more dimension.

We decided to keep our streaks subtle, but you could always take a more drastic approach if you wish – it’s your DIY!

DIY chalk paint furniture

How to Thin or Thicken Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is water-based, so it’s incredibly easy to thin or thicken. 

Add a bit of cool water into your chalk paint and carefully mix it in. Check the consistency and add more water until you’re happy with the results.

To thicken chalk paint, leave the lid open for a little while and stir before using. Unlike latex paint, it will not form a skin on top so you don’t have to worry about it becoming unusable.

How to Wax Your Chalk Paint Furniture

If you are wondering how to finish your chalk paint, there is no better way than this. Waxing gives your finished product a sophisticated look that is fit to rival any handcrafted or store-bought piece of furniture.

Using wax after the paint has dried seals in the chalk paint and makes the surface look shiny and polished. 

To achieve this effect, you will need two lint-free rags. With one, you will rub in the wax, and with the other, you will polish. This is arguably the easiest part of this entire DIY.

Apply a dime-sized bit of wax onto your surface with one cloth and rub it in circles. After you’ve covered everything, go over it with the other rag and polish in circles until you’re happy with the finished look. 

Chalk Paint Furniture FAQs

Below are some FAQs to help you answer all your DIY chalk paint furniture questions.

Is chalk paint affordable?

Not exactly, but hear us out. Chalk paint may seem expensive at first, but that partly depends on where you buy it from. And while the price for store-bought paints can vary by a few dollars from store to store, it’s more important to consider the fact that with chalk paint, a little goes a long way.

For most DIY projects, a few coats of high-quality chalk paint is usually all you need. This ensures that you use less paint overall than you would with other paints, and because you save on buying can after can of paint, your project becomes budget-friendly. So in the end, not only is chalk paint super effective, but it’s also easy on the pocket. 

Do you have to sand before using chalk paint?

You don’t have to sand your furniture before using chalk paint. Chalk paint sticks to any surface, with the least prep. If your surface is greasy or grubby, you can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.

But if you’re particular, you can choose to sand as well – the choice is entirely yours. 

What is the best recipe for homemade chalk paint?

The best recipes for homemade chalk paint use Plaster of Paris. 

All you’ll need to do is mix flat latex paint, cool water, and the Plaster of Paris in a pail and stir until there are no lumps. Alternatively, you can substitute the Plaster of Paris for baking soda or unsanded grout, depending on what is available to you.

How does chalk paint hold up on the furniture?

Chalk paint holds up extremely well on furniture. It is easy to use and quick to dry with a smooth matte finish. 
Its heavy texture ensures full coverage with little to no chances of damage. What’s more, is that it covers and slows down rusting when used on metal cabinets and fixtures.

It really is the perfect solution for low-effort revamping of household furniture. 

Is chalk paint the same as chalkboard paint?

No, chalk paint is not the same as chalkboard paint.

While chalkboard paint is paint that creates a surface for writing on with chalk, chalk paint is paint with a matte effect that is used on furniture, walls, and fabric. 

What surfaces can be chalk painted?

Chalk paint can be used on just about any surface – wood, metal, glass, terracotta, laminate, melamine, or fabric. It’s completely versatile and great for every type of surface!

What can I use chalk paint on besides furniture?

You can use chalk paint on your walls, glass surfaces, brass ornaments, and marble. You can even use it to dye fabric. It sticks to every surface. 

Do I need to use special brushes when chalk painting?

While you do not require any expensive brushes or tools, you may need specific brushes that guarantee your desired finish. 

Brushes with short bristles can be frustrating and do not allow your paint to flow well. Hard and inflexible bristles can leave a scratchy impression on your furniture.

The best option is to use soft brushes with natural bristles. They allow you to be expressive and ensure that you get the best finish. Ultimately, any brush that you feel comfortable working with should get the job done.

How do I store chalk paint?

The perfect temperature to store chalk paint is 55-85 degrees. Storing chalk paint at temperatures that are too warm or too cold can alter the consistency and properties, and thus make it unfit for usage. 

You’re almost always sure to have leftover chalk paint because of how effective it is in just a few coats, leaving plenty for later. Make sure to store your paint in cool and dry places, away from the sunlight, and from moisture. 
The best way to store your chalk paint is after cleaning out the lid to ensure a tight seal so that the can remains airtight. 

Can I use chalk paint in a paint sprayer?

Yes, but you’ll need to thin it out first.

Chalk paint is thick and heavy. To use it in a spray gun, you need paint that is light so that it can be sprayed with ease. 

Fill in your spray gun with half of the chalk paint and thin it out till it reaches a consistency that is almost watery and dripping. 

Chalk paint is the latest favorite for home projects and is already taking DIYers by storm. There is no competition on chalk paint vs regular paint, and you will find yourself completely hooked on it in no time! I hope this guide will help you with all your DIY chalk paint furniture endeavors!

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