Become An Expert On How To Paint Furniture With Chalk Paint

Do you know what chalk paint is and how to use it? It was back in 1990 when Annie Sloan found an easy way to upcycle her furniture. Annie Sloan chalk paint doesn’t need any priming or sanding. Just a regular cleaning is enough, and your furniture is ready for painting. 

Two small chalk painted side tables with green colour top and white legs.

Chalk paint gives the impression of an ultra-matte finish on any surface. It’s inexpensive and non-time-consuming, that’s why it has gained popularity in the last few years. And for a good reason, since it doesn’t require much prep work. You don’t need to be a professional to apply this technique. Anyone can upgrade their home decor. Of course, there are plenty of ways on how to paint your garden furniture or paint your metal furniture and laminate furniture or even your kitchen cabinets.

Read our step-by-step tutorial and become an expert on how to paint furniture with chalk paint.

Things you should know before you start chalk painting 

Before rolling up your sleeves and getting into work, there are some things you should know about painting furniture with chalk paint. Annie Sloan, the woman who “invented” chalk painting furniture, recommends a few things to consider before using chalk paint.

Chalk paint adheres to furniture without requiring a primer or shellac and, most of the times, sanding first. In most cases, you just need to clean up your surface with a damp cloth. But, when you have an old coffee table or kitchen table scratched or peeling, just wiping won’t be enough. Thus, here’s a list of the things you need to consider before applying your chalky paint:

1. Choose the right chalk paint and colour

We have to admit that the best would be to get Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Of course, you can find other remarkable brands in the market, or you can even make your own chalk paint. Surfing the net, you can find some recipes. 

2. Get the right paintbrush

An important part of chalk painting is the use of the right brush.  Avoid sponge and cheap brushes as they tend to leave streaks, and bristles tend to fall out the brush. Opt for a bit more expensive ones to be sure that the bristles won’t be a part of the pattern.

3. Be organised

When it comes to DIY projects, the key to success is being organised. The same goes for chalk paint projects as well. Before starting painting, you should gather all your tools and materials: 

  • Chalk paint
  • Soft wax or Minwax
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Stir sticks
  • Water
  • A screwdriver
  • Paper towel

4. Choose your workspace

 Choose to paint indoors. You won’t be able to paint outdoors. It might be too hot or too cold. Or it might be windy resulting in sticking on the paint dust, hair and other small particles. Make sure that you protect the floor, wall and other surfaces when painting inside the house. 

How to prepare your furniture before you start

All the tools you need to chalk paint-a paint brush, a roller, waxes and chalk paints

Chalk painting is ideal for wood furniture, varnished, pine or laminate, or any other surface like walls, metal or even fabric. However, commonly, chalk paint is used for old furniture makeovers. These old pieces need more prep work to paint them. But chalk paint requires no prep. It doesn’t need priming and, most of the time, neither sanding

But, some prepping is still necessary. Here are all the details:

  1. The first thing to do is to prepare your piece of furniture for painting. Remove any hardware, like handles. You might need a drill or a screwdriver to help you remove everything. You should also remove any drawers and shelves to paint them separately. Once you finish painting, you can put them back to place. 
  2. You may need to sand the surface lightly. Use fine-grit sandpaper and lightly sand on the surface to roughen it. If you have a big surface, like a tabletop, you can use a sander. Roughing will help the adhesion of the chalk paint to the surface.
  3. Once you finish sanding, clean the piece of furniture with a cloth. You don’t need to use harsh chemicals. Soapy water or even an all-purpose cleaner is enough. You can also use a degreaser and a lint-free cloth to remove all dust and grime. 
  4. Then, you might have to repair any scratches. Use wood filler and a putty knife to fill them. 

Now you’re ready to start painting your furniture. Cover the area you are about to paint on with a drop cloth, brown builder’s paper, a plastic tarp, or a large piece of cardboard to protect your floor from any paint spills. You better paint indoors to control the temperature. Plus, by painting indoors, you’ll avoid any bugs and dust from sticking on the painting surface. 

Step-by-step guide: How to chalk paint furniture

Having your piece of furniture prepared for painting, you can continue the process. Once you have chosen chalk paint colour follow the below steps.

Painting of wooden door, workers hand and brush

First, here’s a list of the needed items:

  • Chalk paint colour
  • Stir stick
  • Paintbrush
  • A soft wax
  • A lint-free cloth
  • A wax bruh

Now, you’re ready to paint:

  1. Stir your chalk paint with a stir stick. 
  2. Dip your paintbrush into the paint and apply it to the surface, moving the brush all over.
  3. Let the first coat dry for 1-3 hours.
  4. Then, you can apply the second coat in the same way as the first one.
  5. Let the second coat dry too.
  6. Once the paint dries, it’s time to apply the wax. Use a wax brush and apply it in the same way as the paint. It’s best to separate the surface into smaller areas to remove the excess wax with a cloth. 

Extra tip: For a smoother finish, sand lightly between the coats and before applying any sealer or wax using 220 or 320 grit sandpaper.

How to maintain your chalk painted furniture

Cleaning all types of furniture is the best way to maintain them in pristine condition and help them last longer. Hence, to maintain your chalk painted furniture, you have to clean them too to keep looking like new. 

Chalky surfaces don’t need much. Just a soft, damp cloth can work miracles. If you like, you can also apply special cleaning products for chalky surfaces, ensuring that you always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before application. Once you clean the surface, either way, wipe any excess moisture with a dry, soft cloth. 

In addition to cleaning, there are more you can do to maintain your furniture. Add a finish and seal the chalk paint. You can leave it unfinished and with no protection from other items, wear and tear or water. Applying a top is the best way to seal the coat of paints and protect your furniture.

Use polyurethane

Apply a top coat of polyurethane with a paintbrush, or you can spray paint your furniture with a spray painter. It’s an inexpensive product you can find at every hardware store that provides a durable finish and protects your furniture from water. However, the surface might turn yellow over time. What’s more, you may need to apply more than two coats at risk to leave streaks and bubbles on the surface. 

Use wax

A woman waxing an interior door using a small sponge

Wax is a product that you can apply either with a rag or a round bristle brush. After waxing the surface, you’ll get a soft, matte finish. The colour varies depending on the result you want. You can find it from clear wax to dark wax and apply it over polyurethane for extra protection. It can protect your surface against wear and tear, plus it doesn’t retain water over the surface. 

Unfortunately, it’s rather time-consuming to apply it, and if the area you want to protect is high traffic, you need multiple applications. And one last thing! Keep the waxed piece of furniture away from high temperatures as the wax is rather sensitive to heat.

Spray topcoats

Another way to maintain your chalk painted furniture is to apply spray topcoats (like Rust-oleum). They’re inexpensive, very easy, and quick to use. However, they aren’t so eco-friendly because of the aerosol application, and it’s a bit difficult to achieve an even finish.


If you want a more vintage look, use a liquid product, glaze. It’s a bit expensive and no water-resistant; however, it’s easy to use. Just apply it to the surface and then wipe off the excess product. It’s ideal for light wear and tear, and it can hide any imperfections on the surface.


Polyacrylic is a water-based top similar to oil-based. You can get from shiny to matte finishes. It’s durable enough and very quick to apply either by spray, a roller or a brush, even though it can leave brush strokes. However, it might need more than one coat and can turn yellow. 


Don’t be surprised! Just buffing without adding a sealer and topcoats can give a smooth finish. Buffing is an easy way to get the shiny, smooth finish you want, especially for outdoor furniture, without altering the colour. It isn’t, nonetheless, so durable like wax, and you can’t use it on a daily basis. 

Someone chalk painting a small round table

Following the above steps and tips, you can upgrade your old furniture like an expert. You can restore the old dresser you found at a thrift store and create a shabby chic look. Apply the chalk paint over the latex paint, laminate, metal and any other surface you want and upcycle your kitchen cabinets, dressers, coffee tables. Even if it’s the first time you ever try DIY projects, we promise you that by following our tutorial, you’ll become an expert on how to paint furniture with chalk paint! Trust us on that!

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