How to Use Chalk Paint

How to use chalk paint

Both the wood and fabric was painted with chalk paint on this headboard.

Chalk paint eliminates the prep work and does not require stripping, sanding or priming! It adheres to most any surface, and chalk paint dries quickly and cleans up easily with soap and water since it’s water-based. Chalk paint has low odor, is very durable, and it dries to the flat chalky finish seen on antique pieces.

Chalk paint only requires a quick washing of your piece with a cleaner like Simple Green to remove dirt and dust. Chalk paint is so great because it eliminates the need for prep work.

HOW TO USE CHALK PAINT

  1. STEP ONE: PAINT


    Paint the entire piece with chalk-type paint. I often use a brush (although for larger areas I sometimes use a small roller), and a little paint goes a long way. Only one coat may be needed, but I almost always find that I need two. This paint dries really fast, and it is easy to tell when it is dry. Apply the second coat of paint AFTER the first coat is dry.

    You can water-down chalk paint and use it in a sprayer for a smoother finish. See more on that HERE.

  2. STEP TWO: ADD A SEALER


    After the paint is completely dry, apply two coats of sealer. I would suggest using either a polycrylic or wax. I’ll talk more later about when to use which.

    For a polycrylic (a water-based sealer), you can apply with a brush, roller or sprayer. Two coats should be adequate.

    To apply wax, a wax brush is helpful (a rag can be used but I find a brush is well worth the investment since it makes the application easier and more even). It is not necessary to wait for the first coat to dry before adding the second coat. Also, for each coat of wax, remember LESS is more! You can add the optional dark wax if you like the aged look, but after all the wax is apply you will have to buff it with a lint-free cloth. Buffing helps smooth and removed extra wax.

  3. OPTIONAL: SAND

    You can sand at the end if you like the very distressed look. Sanding blocks with fine grit work best.

This bedroom furniture was painted with chalk paint and sealed with wax.

Tips for Using Chalk Paint

To Begin:

Make sure the paint is well mixed.
Tip the can over for 30 minutes and give it a good shake. Clean/dust the piece before painting.

While Painting:

Keep in mind the paint dries very quickly!
Do not load the paint brush with paint. The paint is thick.
Quick brushstrokes work best.
Most pieces take 2 coats of paint.
In-between coats of paint, put the brushes in baggies.
Keep the paint covered. It can thicken when exposed to air.
Use a roller for chalk paint.
Chalk paint can thicken over time, just add a little water to make it thinner.

While Waxing:

Do not overwax! Think about it like applying hand lotion – put on a small bit and massage until it is absorbed. Use a brush to apply the wax and a lint-free cloth to wipe off excess. USE CLEAR WAX FIRST BEFORE APPLYING THE DARK WAX. The dark wax adds dimension and age. Use the clear wax as an eraser if too much dark wax was added. See more on using wax with chalk paint HERE.

Painting Fabric with Chalk Paint

To paint fabric with chalk paint, do the same steps as before only water down the paintt. This can be done by adding water directly to the paint. When adding water to the paint, I suggest a 1:1 ratio: 1 part paint to 1 part water. Fabric really soaks up paint, so it will not go far on fabric. After the paint is dry, finish with a couple coats of clear wax. The result will feel similar to leather! Also, keep in mind that if your fabric is peeling, cracking or torn, paint will not fix this. See more on painting fabric with chalk paint HERE.

How to use chalk paint

When NOT to Use Wax as a Sealer:

I would NOT use was when sealing cabinets, desk or table-tops, or floors. I used wax years ago on my kitchen cabinets and had to repaint them, and you can see more on that fiasco HERE. However, I used chalk paint with a polycrylic sealer in our laundry room, and had great success. You can see more on the chalk-paint laundry cabinets HERE.

After Painting:

To clean brushes (paint & wax), wash with soap and water. (Dawn dish soap works well!) Buff the piece 24 hours after your last coat of wax if you want a shinier look. Keep in mind that wax takes awhile to cure. I usually allow the wax to dry a few days before I transport a piece or use a piece. However, keep in mind that it can take weeks for the wax to completely set.

Go paint something!

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How to use chalk paint

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