Chalk Paint- Worth It? Yes!


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1.USE CHALK PAINT! Yes, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is very expensive ($39/quart) but it is absolutely worth it. I have tried making my own plaster paint, painted with latex paint, even layered oil paint… but Chalk Paint creates the fastest and most authentic results with the least effort to create distressed painted furniture. You do not prime or sand before painting and it may be applied over metal, wood, concrete… almost anything!

2. To begin your love affair with Chalk Paint purchase: 1 sample size jar of a color that you find appealing ($14/jar), and Clear Soft Wax. If you really want to splurge right away then also purchase the Dark Soft Wax so you can experiment with aging your painted piece by darkening the details of your furniture. Also needed is a large thick bristle brush (I purchased a large deck stain brush from Home Depot for $10 vs the $55+ brush of Annie’s for my first adventures with Chalk Paint) and a large stencil brush for applying the wax (I found a very large $5 stencil brush at Michaels and at Hobby Lobby vs Annie’s $50+wax brush).

* I am able to paint 3 small pieces of furniture accessories from 1 sample jar (such as sewing boxes, magazine racks, or knick knack tables/curios shelves).

3. Dust off your furniture piece and remove dirt with soap and water. Let dry.

4. Mix the paint in the jar- make sure to scrape the pigment off of the bottom of the jar and stir well. The paint is very pigmented and will settle in the bottom. Using a popcicle stick works well for sample size jars. Poor a small amount of the paint on a waxed/coated paper plate or ceramic plate (unwaxed or uncoated plates will absorb the paint and waste it.

5. Using the large brush put down a base coat on the furniture piece. Don’t worry about being perfect or having small gaps- you aren’t making a new piece- you want it to feel old and distressed. Brush in varying directions making sure to wipe up drips and pick off lose bristles immediately.

6. Let dry- as fast as 20 minutes.

7. Poor out a little more paint on the plate. Now dip your brush in water- just to wet a little- not dripping. Now dip in the paint. This dilutes the paint and thins it out to get better coverage and creates and nice layered effect.

8. Let dry.

9. Using the Clear Soft Wax with your stencil brush, dab the brush straight down into the wax taking care not to get the wax on the sides of the brush- as it will be wasted since the sides of your brush do not touch your furniture. Brush the wax on your piece- pushing the wax into the piece… you will be able to see the wax attach to the paint as the paint will deepen a little in color and in texture. Now quickly wipe off excess wax with a clean cotton cloth.

10. Let dry until the piece doesn’t feel sticky- 30 minutes depending upon how humid and how hot the temperature is.

11. For your second coat- if you are going to use Dark Wax: first apply a little clear wax working in a small area and concentrate only in the detailed areas, now WHILE WET apply the dark wax with a different stencil brush. Now quickly wipe off with a clean cloth. You can also use your clear wax brush to “wipe of” any dark wax residue that you don’t care for. Here is the BIG TIP for using Dark Wax- use dark wax only over wet clear wax! If you don’t then the Dark Wax will stain your furniture piece and will be muddy instead of looking aged.

12. Let Dry

13. If you would like to sand the edges to distress your furniture piece now is the time. First wax, then distress. The wax will prevent all of your paint from coming off and cut down on the amount of dust. Hit the edges and detailed areas with fine sand paper. Sand any area that normally wears over time- corner edges, feet, areas of relief.

14. Apply an additional coat of clear wax to seal in the dark wax and/or your sanded areas.

15. While the wax is “damp” buff in the direction of the grain with a clean cloth or with super fine sand paper or buffing pad to create a smooth finish. DO NOT use steel wool- even super fine will leave grooves in your paint!

Over the next week the wax will bond with the Chalk Paint and cure creating a solid durable surface. Use a damp soft rag to clean and apply wax as neccessary over the years to protect.


* Apply 3 coats of clear wax to create a very durable surface if you intend for this piece to come into contact with water or food on a daily basis.

* Do not apply wax AT ALL if you plan to use this piece outside in direct sunlight- or only a very very light clear coat- wax does melt in the sun! Allow the paint to cure for a week before placing outside if you have not waxed the piece.

* After painting several pieces I did purchase a wax brush- my stencil brush was shedding too much over time. My next purchase will be an Annie Sloan large paint brush. It is worth the investment if you intend on painting on a regular basis.


I love the blog Paintbrush and Pearls. There are lots of tips and suggestions and if you are close to the Richmond, VA area you can attend free workshops discussing various topics on Chalk Paint.

Annie Sloan’s website is also an invaluable resource for how to use the paint. This site also has links to You Tube videos on how to apply the paint. Use this website to plug in your zipcode to find a paint stockist in your area.

I know if you read all the way to the bottom of this Note that you may be overwhelmed or feel like I’m nuts for stating this is easier then using latex paint… but it is! I promise! There is no prep work and the results and amazing. I recently painted a 5′ sideboard table in an afternoon- start to finish! Start small and experiment. Each piece will be unique and remember- this isn’t supposed to look perfect like a piece of Ikea furniture- you want an aged, distressed, well loved piece in the end.

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