All About Chalk Paint

I have been using Chalk Paint for over 5 years now and its hands down, the best way to refinish projects! I honestly can’t even count how many pieces of furniture I have used chalk paint on, but its A LOT!

When I first picked up Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I was intrigued by the ease of the whole chalk paint process. Five years later I still love it and will only use it!

I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Because…

  • There is NO SANDING
  • NO STRIPPING
  • There’s virtually NO PREP work
  • There is NO ODOR, and its NON TOXIC
  • Cleanup is done with soap and water and is so fast
  • You paint INDOORS (no more messy outside projects)
  • Super FAST DRY TIME. You can legit finish a whole piece in one day!
  • Its Multi Surface, you can use it on wood, metal, brick, tile and a lot more!

With all of this being said, at some point I want to make separate posts for different projects I have done with all of their specifics. For now I will give you general Chalk Paint 411 and what you need to know about beginning a chalk paint project. I’ll be sure to link any pictures used in this to those posts when I do do them.

I want to stress, the quality of Annie Sloan paint and how it relates to the projects you take on. If you have a super sentimental piece of furniture you are redoing that’s been in your family or something like that DON’T go the cheap route and make your own chalk paint or buy some from for example, Michael’s. Its NOT worth it to ruin a piece and save $10. In the long run Annie Sloan is AMAZING quality and will be durable and last. You will never achieve the same quality with a cheaper product and its not worth it for good pieces of furniture to go that route. To me its like comparing different car manufacturers. Sure, a Mercedes and a Mitsubishi will get you from point A to point B; but the ride will be completely different! Yes, there are other chalk paint brands and other DIY things you can do to MAKE chalk paint, but I don’t recommend them. You wont achieve the same results as you would with Annie Sloan with another inferior product. Annie Sloan is the best and one quart of paint will last you for MULTIPLE projects. I can get at least 3 big projects out of one can, and with it being $38 thats a little over $10 a piece in paint. Can you imagine painting a dresser for $10?!

I’ll talk about my most recent redo for instructions on how to chalk paint, my old dresser. I got this when I graduated high school and it is just dated and needed to be revived.

Supply List

  • Chalk Paint (you can mix two or more colors to get a more specific color)
  • Paint brushes
  • Tarp, sheet, or construction paper
  • Painters tape if you need to tape off any edges depending on your piece
  • Clear Wax
  • Sand Paper (optional) if you are adding distressing
  • Dark or Black Wax (optional) if you are wanting to add shadowing and age the piece

Directions:

  1. If your piece is grimy, really dusty or has any kind of film take some mineral spirits and lightly wipe off the piece. You can even use water and a damp cloth to just take off any residue before you paint.
  2. Remove the hardware. You can spray paint, chalk paint, or even replace hardware. For this piece, I removed, and just replaced it. I have done other pieces where I bought new hardware, and where I used a spray paint that had paint and primer in it and sprayed existing hardware and then put it back on. Tape any edges you want protected. I was lazy and free-handed it, and could have taped around the edges of the drawers so paint wouldn’t get on the sides of the drawers.
  3. Lay down a tarp, an old sheet, or in my case, some craft paper. I didn’t move this, and just painted it right in my room. Its super easy! I took some old pieces of wood to list up the dresser and paint the feet.
  4. Take your paint and paint brush and begin to apply your first coat of paint. You will want to use a good quality brush like Purdy or Annie Sloan (if you’re buying the paint from a stockist, odds are you can pick up a brush there too). You can find a stockist here. When you’re applying the first coat, don’t worry so much about how it looks but getting a good even coverage on your piece and not applying it too thick. I promise you that your first coat will look awful! It is kind of thin and you’ll probably think you made a horrible mistake. But trust me, proceed and it will get better! Here is the first coat of paint on my dresser.
  5. Let the first coat dry. Honestly it will be dry on the side you started on by the time you get to the opposite side and start and you might not even really need to wait. Waiting 30 mins to give yourself a break would be fine and it would be ready for the second coat.
  6. Apply your second coat. Now you will see it all blending together, and not looking so messy. Apply an even and thin coat. You will be able to see if its not enough to add a little more. Chalk paint is so forgiving and really easy. You just have to try it to know what I mean. Depending on the color you chose, and the color of the piece you could be done after two coats. For this piece I went ahead and did 3 coats of Old White, since its such a light color and it was going over such a dark dresser to begin with.
  7. When its all dry, you will use Annie Sloan Clear wax. Its a really neat process, you just take a lint free rag (like a shop cloth or old sheet) and rub it into the piece like rubbing lotion on your skin. You will rub it on and then LIGHTLY wipe off the excess if it feels tacky. You can wait 24 hours and then go back and buff the piece and it will give it a slight shine to it, or leave it as it is!

8. If you want to do any distressing, you can do it one of two ways. Take a fine grit sandpaper (220) and rub it along the edges you want to be distressed AFTER you wax, or before. I have done it both ways, and its just kind of a personal preference. All roads lead to Rome. If you distress after you apply the clear wax, then there is a little less mess in my opinion because the chalk paint isn’t flaking off as much onto the floor as you rub the sand paper of the piece. The wax seals it in, but its still workable and you can distress after the wax. You can choose how you want to do it.

Additional or Optional Steps

If you want to add dimension and age the piece, Annie Sloan sells Dark Wax (which is brown) and Black Wax. Both of these should be applied AFTER you apply the clear wax. I repeat, apply the black or dark AFTER the clear has gone on. This is simply because it can be spread around once there is that clear layer to protect the piece, if you did it directly on the paint it would essentially stain it and you couldn’t manipulate it to be lighter or darker. So apply dark or black wax in areas where there are crevices and would be shadowed from again and then apply a little clear wax over those areas to blend it in. It should create a seamless look and look like it was natural.

So step 1, apply clear wax. Step 2, apply dark or black wax. Step 3, apply a little more clear wax to blend it in if its not blending well when you first apply it. This will obviously darken the piece when you apply these and will change the paint color a little bit.

Here is a nightstand I redid, with Old White, and applied dark wax into the crevices and blended it all together with a little more clear wax. You can see its darker and has an aged look. Gel stain is applied to the top of the dresser for a different look, and I The hardware on it was originally brass, and I removed it and spray painted the handles with a Rustoleum flat black and put them back on. I plan on posting about these processes and will link that when I do. Its amazing as well. You can always add more if you want it darker, or remove it like an eraser with clear wax if its too dark. Its all preference based so just step back and look at it as you go adjust it if you need to. Doing this over that first layer or clear wax makes this possible.

I hope this answers some chalk paint questions you may have had. It really is such an easy process with great results so give it a try. I’ve refinished bookcases, tables, desks, dressers, nightstands, mirrors, shelves, and even brick with chalk paint. Its AMAZING. I’ll be sure to make more posts soon about other chalk paint projects!

Share this with your friends if they’d love to learn more about chalk paint and tag Doing It Like Martha on FB or IG!

If you want to check out Annie Sloan’s website to see the products or learn more about the techniques its a great resource!

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