Everything that You Want to Know about Chalk Paint

Everything that You Want to Know about Chalk Paint

Recently, I have been doing lots of painting, especially with chalk paint. Therefore, I want to answer a common question that I get asked, ‘what is chalk paint?‘  Plus, I am sharing my favorite brand and where I buy it.  Finally, I want to show you how I updated a metal sign to give it a fresh, new look for Spring.

What is chalk paint?

Hint, it isn’t made with chalk…

  • Chalk paint is a versatile paint that can be used to achieve a variety of finishes.
  • No priming or sanding the surface beforehand. Most of the time!
  • Bonds to furniture, cabinets, walls, metal, concrete, fabrics, almost anything.
  • Chalk paint has a velvet like, matte finish which is the reason for its name. It looks ‘chalky.’
  • It dries fairly quickly.
  • Seal with wax, glaze or lacquer.
  • Can be thinned down with water for a more transparent look.
  • It distresses easily to create an aged look. Use sandpaper or wipe off semi-wet.
  • Blends well with different colors to create depth. I love layering or mixing colors.

I have used several chalk paint brands. However, one brand that I love is the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It is carried in over 1700 locations worldwide, but I buy mine from The Findery in Waco.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan created her own brand of chalk paint while working as a furniture painter in England in 1990.  Last year, I took a chalk painting class with her in Roundtop, Texas. It was a privilege to meet Annie Sloan. Plus, it was really inspiring to learn about the process of making chalk paint and observe new painting techniques.

I even got a signed copy of her latest book. You can read more on where I stayed in Roundtop, Texas, here.

What can you paint?

With chalk paint, it is fairly easy to customize your decor or update an old piece of furniture.  Whether you have inherited a dresser from your grandmother or find an orange oak table on Facebook Marketplace for super cheap, you can paint it to make it look completely different. Don’t be afraid to paint new decor, as well. For instance, if something is the perfect size, but maybe the color is wrong… can you paint it to make it work for you?

Y’all, I have lots of junk in my garage. I call it my ‘decor stash.’ For example, I have pieces that do not fit my style or match the colors that I am currently using in my home. Perhaps, some furniture has minor damage, like water rings on a wood table, and needs some restoration work. Rather than getting rid of something, I like to give it new life with paint.

Here are some things that you probably already have that can be painted:

  • Wood furniture – table, chairs, dresser, hutch, desk…
  • Picture or mirror frames
  • Metal or wood Signs
  • Ceramic pottery or glass vases
  • Lamp bases or lighting
  • Decorative objects or figurines
  • Architectural pieces or wall decor
  • Natural fiber baskets or trays like wicker or rattan
  • Leather or upholstered chair

Chalk paint may not be for everyone or every project. It is important to test the application process to get the desired look before committing to a large project. That’s why I love painting different types of decor! I can learn more about chalk paint, how the different waxes work with it and how to get to a particular finish.


chalk painted Herb sign displayed on potting bench


Updating a Metal Sign with Chalk Paint

I gave this black and white metal sign a completely different look.  From rustic farmhouse to a softer cottage feel, chalk paint really transformed this piece.

The goal for this project was to paint over the black with a different color of chalk paint. The best part is that the letters on the sign are raised. Therefore, it is easy to paint around each letter. I left the original white lettering on the words and frame.

Like I mentioned earlier, one of the perks of chalk paint is that it goes on most surfaces without any prep work.

  1. To begin, I used a one inch wide craft brush to paint the larger areas.
  2. Then, I used a small craft brush to paint between each letter.
  3. If paint gets on the white or raised part of the letter, wipe off with a wet wipe.
  4. A few spots needed two coats of paint. However, I wasn’t going for perfection.
  5. When dry, I used a dry cloth to buff on clear wax to seal and add character to the paint.  Wax tends to bring out the details of the brush strokes.

Wax takes up to 30 days to fully cure, but can dry to the touch in a day or two. However, it can melt in high temperates, so avoid using on outdoor pieces. (I forgot about that when I hung the sign on my patio. So, I will probably find a place in my kitchen for my ‘new’ herb sign.)

Close up of using small paintbrush to chalk paint letters on metal sign.


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