How to Paint with Chalk Paint

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Good morning! Today I’m going to be sharing a tutorial on how to use chalk paint!

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I’ve been using chalk paint for about four years now. I’ve tried tons of different brands (something I’ll be sharing in an upcoming post) and learned different techniques along the way. I love chalk paint because it’s easy to use and so versatile! There’s no priming or sanding required and you can mix colors to make new colors or to get a different shade. You can use a flat brush for a smoother finish or a round brush to add texture. Then there’s distressing and waxing and other fun details you can use to make your piece unique!

Chalk Paint Tutorial

You can do a lot with chalk paint and it really depends on the look you’re going for as to how you go about painting your piece. You will have brush strokes with chalk paint unless you spray it on. This seems to be the biggest complaint I hear about using chalk paint. If you don’t want brush strokes, you should probably use a different paint. But there are some ways to minimize the strokes.

If you don’t want the brush strokes to be as noticeable, you can apply these different techniques:

  • Use longer brush strokes while painting in the same direction
  • Use a flat brush instead of round
  • Add a little bit of water to thin the paint out
  • Use a roller or foam brush to apply the paint
  • Sand in between coats to minimize the strokes

You may recognize these side tables from the tutorial on how to re-stain your wood furniture. I refinished the tops and the drawers – I wanted the new knobs to pop on the drawers, which is why I chose staining them instead of painting.

vintage side tables

For the base of the tables, I used Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Old White. I decided to use a flat brush and use the longer brush stroke method. They will be going next to our Magnolia headboard, which has a prominent brush stroke finish so I did want to be able to see the strokes, but didn’t want them to be really noticeable if that makes sense.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

You will need:

Your favorite can of chalk paint
Stir stick
Flat or round brush 
Clear Wax
Lint-free cloth or pad

You want to make sure your piece is clean of any dirt and dust. Open your can of paint and stir well to make sure everything that has settled to the bottom gets mixed in again. Grab your paintbrush and get to work!

painting with chalk paintHow to Paint with Chalk Paint 1How to Paint with Chalk Paint 2

I used long brush strokes and painted in the direction of the grain. The tables had some hard-to-reach spots where I wasn’t able to use the longer stroke method so I just made sure it was covered and then after it was dry, I used steel wool to make those spots smoother.

How to Paint with Chalk Paint 3

The number of coats you’ll need to do depends on the look you’re going for. When I’m using Annie Sloan’s Napoleonic Blue, I love for the original stain to show through the blue so I usually only do one coat and then seal it with a dark wax to give it more of a navy shade. This time, I didn’t want the stain to show through so I did two coats.

After they were completely dry, I lightly distressed them, wiped off the dust, and then added a clear wax (another upcoming tutorial) to seal the finish.

How to Paint with Chalk Paint 4How to Paint with Chalk Paint 5How to Paint with Chalk Paint 6How to Paint with Chalk Paint 7

Here’s how they turned out:

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Aren’t those knobs cute?! I really love the end result! We are doing a simple makeover to our master bedroom and I will be revealing that in a couple of weeks. I’ll be sure to include pictures of the tables!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today! I hope you enjoyed this post!

You might also be interested in:

How to Easily Refinish Wood Furniture
4 Steps to Achieving a Beautiful Finish with Spray Paint

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How to Use Chalk Paint

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  1. Lovely really nice job. I have been using chalk paint and other types for about 5 years….
    I am always amazed though when I see wax used. I have found it can stain, scuff and smudge so easily and regularly needs wax applied to keep looking somewhat restored to original finish. I began to think why am I using only wax.? If I feel this way how must customers feel when they have to maintain this finish, so I started using gemeral finishes top coats over ASCP and love the finish. Pieces that are 5 years old still look new and if something should chip or scratch I could repair that spot. I sometimes wonder if am I doing something unacceptable here not using wax. So far it is working for me…
    This is not a criticism but more of a learning experience for me from someone who is obviously skilled. I look forward to your thoughts.
    Eileen France

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Eileen! I’ve had the same frustrations over the years and have even had to completely repaint pieces because the wax or topcoat yellowed it or made it streaky. On pieces that wouldn’t be heavily used I just got to where I didn’t use a topcoat at all. I do really like Valspar’s wax for chalk paint. I’ve used General Finishes stains but not the chalk paint and I’ve never used their top coat on top of chalk paint – I’m so glad you shared that, I’m going to give it a try!! Thanks again!!

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