Chalk Paint Furniture – from Shabby to Shabby Chic

chalk paint furniture wood

Chalk paint furniture for upcycling furniture

When you notice your old dresser getting scratches and dings or the coffee table no longer works with your color or style, chalk paint is the best that can happen to you – and that furniture! Chalk paints are the alternative for replacing it, because it gives wooden furniture the style you are looking for, whit a matte chalky finish. Who is a fan of any renovation shows, has seen the transformative power of chalk paint. Decorators and DIYers alike love chalk paint for upcycling old furniture and fixings, providing a vivid finish that can be modified to any interior or theme.

This articles enables you to chalk paint furniture, and shows how to get started and which brand makes the best chalk paints and chalk paint colors in the US. You need tips and tricks for a perfect finish from your wooden furniture chalk paint? We give you a rundown of the most valuable tips concerning chalk paint on wooden furniture.

Chalk paint furniture – easy shabby chic furniture DIY

What was the height of style one year may be dark and blocky the next. But well-made, useful pieces will last forever. With chalk paint, furniture can be revived and renewed while creating a vintage feel or keeping its vintage charm. The finish of chalk paints is matte, the surface is chalky, that’s where the name comes from. But there are multiple finishes possible: Once sealed with wax or varnish dullness can be mellowed out. The constant hype on chalk paints has several more reasons:

  • Prep work is minimal → One of the reasons chalky paint is so popular is because of its almost “no prep necessary” claim but be aware that there are two camps – those who prep and those who don’t. Chalk paints adheres well to most surfaces like wood without a primer and all you need is to make sure they are dry and clean. If your surface however is very smooth and has a gloss or varnish on it, it is recommended you sand it down beforehand just to be sure.
  • Applying is no hassle → Chalky paint goes on opaque and covers very well by brush. You might want to brush on two coats for full coverage – just to make sure –, but there is no need for thinning or anything tricky, unless you want to play with the finish, of course!
  • It’s fast drying → You can complete a project within 24 hours, doing the undercoat on Saturday morning, the second coat Saturday afternoon, and sealing coat or wax on Sunday. Remember to give the piece 3 to 5 days to really cure before being too rough with the newly chalk painted furniture.
  • Eco-friendly, safe to use → Chalk paints consist of minerals, pigments and water. Most chalk paints therefore are completely free of harmful toxic substances and are considered toy safe for children. Always check the ingredients and safety data sheet of the product though. Another non-toxic paint is milk paint, made of casein.
  • Variable finish and texture → The chalky matte finish of chalky paint will retain brush marks which is part of its appeal. With chalk paints you can easily give a worn, vintage look to furniture by playing around with a sanding block or steel wool. That’s how shabby chic furniture is made. Using different colors for base and top coats can provide a layered look, thinning chalk paint before brushing on can make it seem more like a stain or wash than an opaque color. It’s up to you!

7 tips and tricks to chalk paint wooden furniture

chalk paint applying on wood

Chalk paint is the way to go for opaque matte finish or vintage style on wood.

The most typical image of shabby chic furniture is the wooden piece enhanced with white chalk paint. But there are endless chalk paint colors to choose from. If you found the right color but struggle with how to best use it, here are the best tips and tricks, for newbies and intermediates alike, for getting the perfect calky result:

  1. If nervous, start small: Get your eye in with a smaller or simpler project, a flat surface or something you won’t mind not getting perfect. Practice your brushstrokes on a surface that isn’t so visible – the side or even underneath – so you feel more confident and know what to expect when you tackle the more important surfaces.
  2. Do not skip the cleaning: Though you may not need to sand the whole piece, you definitely need to clean it. Wash it down with mild soapy water and make sure to get any oil and grease spots. Do sand out or fill dings and scratches that you don’t want to show through your final finish.
  3. Brushstrokes: long and even: Go with the wood grain and apply the paint in long sweeping strokes. Chalk paint dries fast so work quickly and try to make your brush stroke stretch over the whole length of the surface you are painting. If the paint is too thick you can thin it with a little water.
    Don’t give up after the first coat! – The first coat won’t look great. In fact, you may have a moment of panic. Fear not! The second coat will go on more smoothly and you will see what everyone is talking about.
  4. Sand 2nd chalk paint layer for smooth finish: Using very fine sandpaper (about 220 grit), lightly sand the surface of your paint. Don’t wear through the chalk paint, just leave with a smoother finish than the chalky matte that will still work with the waxing or sealing.
  5. Chalk paint colors in layers = interesting finish: If you use two different chalk paint colors for first and second coat, the distressing sanding will reveal the underlying chalk paint color, giving the wooden furniture piece a worn (shabby) and layered appearance.
  6. Shabby chic: For the shabby chic look, sand down the dried white chalk paint. Focus mostly on edges and drawers that would be more likely to get knocked and worn to give it an authentic feel of a used look with the distinct cuteness chalk paint colors come with.
  7. Don’t overdo the wax finish: Don’t stick your wax brush directly into the wax. You need to control the amount you use so you don’t overdo it – put some of the wax on a tray and work from there. Apply the wax in very thin layers, it really doesn’t take much.

Gotten excited? Ready, steady, brush! Unsure which brands are available in the U.S.? Here is a chuck of available chalky paints:

Buy chalk paints in the United States – Annie Sloan chalk paint and more

With the popularity of chalk paint it is no surprise that you can now find it everywhere. But what are the best products? Below we have outlined some of the top chalk paint brands available in the United States.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint: chalk paint’s origin

Annie Sloan chalk paint were the first to market chalk paints; their chalk paints kind of started the hype. Developed as a furniture paint that was versatile and easy to use, Annie Sloan chalk paint quickly took off. Annie Sloan also produces the waxes and lacquers for sealing their products. The Annie Sloan chalk paints come in an exciting range of 42 chalky paint colors, including exotic as well as contemporary shades. Their chalk paint waxes come in clear, dark, white, and black.

Rust-Oleum Chalked chalk paint: “Trust the rust”

Rust-Oleum is a name in paint you can trust, and their chalky furniture paint is no exception. It is even available in both spray and liquid formulations, just to make the whole process even easier. The colour range is not as large as Annie Sloan chalk paints – today there are 12 colors – but they include Farmhouse Red, Linen White, Serenity Blue, Charcoal, and Aubergine: sounds delicious!

American paint company chalk paints: committed to eco-friendliness

The chalky paints from American paint company claim to be all natural, zero VOC, solvent free and therefore eco-friendly. The brand has been around for 25 years and delights the DIY enthusiasts with 36 chalk paint colors that range from A-maize-ing yellow shade to Uncle Sam white. Their range of waxes (in 4 colors) and sealants (transparent) rounds up the chalk paint systems.