What's so great about Chalky Paint?Maybe you're new to the world of furniture painting and have heard the hype but don't know what it's all about. Well, here is a beginner's guide to the wonderful world of chalky paint!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am a do-it-yourself-er who has enjoyed dabbling in the world of chalky-type paint to transform furniture and other items in my home. Please be aware that the term "chalk paint" is exclusive to Annie Sloan products. All other paints in this post are mineral-based paints but not true chalk paint! As well, this post does not cover every single chalky-type paint available on the market today! It is intended as a primer for the newbie!
Don't miss Chalk Paint 201...an informative inside look at 10+ chalk paint brands...and my brand new post about budget Top Coat Options to protect your freshly painted furniture!
Today's post explains the very basics of chalky paint for newbies...so let's get right to it!
First of all, chalky paint is not the same as chalkboard paint. Chalky type paint is primarily used for painting furniture, although it can also be used for many other surfaces.
For today's 'lesson' we'll stick with furniture!
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|Source: perfectly imperfect|
Chalky paint has amazing adhesion qualities!
What's wonderful about it is that it can be applied to pretty much any furniture in pretty much any condition...that means no prep! No sanding, no need to remove the shiny varnish. You still want to make sure you are starting with a clean surface (use a quality degreaser), but gone are the days of sanding down a piece prior to painting.
Chalk painted pieces are easy to distress because the paint can be easily removed just where you want it (along the edges and where a piece would naturally wear) with a sanding sponge or sand paper. This type of distressing instantly ages even new furniture! Don't like the distressed look? Just don't distress!
Chalky paint dries to a matte finish. Protecting the chalky coat with a furniture wax is not necessary and if not used, your piece will achieve a worn patina over time. Waxing will not give a high shine but a soft luster. Waxing is recommended, however, for pieces that are frequently used (especially the top of tables), as the wax protects the paint finish.
Remember, my brand new post explaining top coat protection options for your painted furniture can be found here.
Depending on the way you apply the paint, chalky painted pieces can look smooth and modern or crusty, chippy and old (even new pieces). Most companies that sell chalky paint also sell their own wax, which is applied either by brush or with a cloth. The wax is rubbed onto the surface and then buffed off and it basically seals the paint and provides a protective coating and hand-rubbed look. Very early-American.
|Source: Knick of Time|
(I have not been compensated by any of these companies. I have not tried all of these brands of chalk paint. This is simply an informative summary.)
Annie Sloan was the front runner, as far as I know, to start the chalk paint craze. Her company, based in the UK, sells 30 custom colors that are historically accurate. Duck Egg Blue, seen on the piece below, is one of the most popular colors. Sample pots (4 oz) are $11.95 and price per quart is about $38.95 so it's definitely the most expensive of the bunch.
1. Annie Sloan
2. Vintage Market Furniture Paint
Vintage Market Furniture Paint is another chalk-based paint that has very good reviews. I read about it on a blog I follow, White Lace Cottage. They offer 4 sizes to choose from with their largest, the quart, being about $28.00 per quart. I didn't realize it but they have been around for about 40 years and have recently revamped their paint recipe.
|Source: Sweet Pea Vintage Market and Design|
3. CeCe Caldwell's
Another popular company that sells chalky paint is CeCe Caldwell's. Their company is founded on being safe and better for the environment. Their color palette is 'based on trends and traditions found in America'. 4 oz sample pots are $8.95 and quarts are $34.95.
4. American Paint Company
You may have heard of American Paint Company. Their chalky paint is 'all natural, zero VOC, eco friendly and solvent free'. Their colors have names like 'Blue Jeans', 'Born on the 4th', 'First Lady', 'Liberty' and 'Spacious Skies'. Their prices are $9.95 for a 4 oz sample pot and $34.95 for a quart.
The last company I want to highlight is Websters Chalk Paint Powder. Their product comes in powder form and you mix it with flat latex paint of your choice. A 4 oz bag of Websters Chalk Paint Powder is enough for 1 quart of paint. At $13.95, it's by far the most economical of the bunch. Of course, you have the price of your paint to factor in as well.
6. DIY Chalk PaintIf you're really eager about saving money, the DIY option of mixing POP (Plaster of Paris) with flat latex paint is definitely the way to go. Recipes abound on the internet and Pinterest...and this has been my choice for years as I cannot afford the pricier versions.
Of course there are pros and cons to making your own chalky paint! The pro definitely being saving money and being able to custom mix your own colors! I wrote a post about making your own DIY chalky paint right in store sample paint pots. You can find that recipe here.
I used the above recipe for years, but recently tweaked the recipe so it wasn't as lumpy. I'm sharing my updated diy chalk paint recipe here!
The biggest con to making your own chalk paint is dealing with lumps. Even when you mix your powder in hot water, your paint will still be gritty. I've even tried sifting the POP and CC first, but the grit is just what happens when it encounters water.
So how do I deal with the lumps from DIY chalky paint?
There are a few things you can do to deal with gritty paint.
I mix and mix and mix the POP, CC and HOT water together before adding it to my paint. The hot water helps to dissolve the powders, so make sure you aren't using cold or tepid water! Once adding the mixture to my flat paint, I mix and mix again. You cannot over-mix!
While I'm painting, if I notice a piece of grit I wipe it away immediately with my finger (keep a damp paper towel handy).
Once my furniture has dried, I go over the entire piece with a fine grit sanding sponge. This little sponge is my best friend when I am redoing furniture; I buy them in bulk! And this trick will completely transform your finished piece! It smooths the entire piece until it's soft as butter and flattens any little grits so they're not visible.
So exactly how much chalk paint do I need for a piece of furniture?
As a newbie to the world of chalky paint, you might be thinking, 4 oz?? 1 quart?? That's not going to be enough to do anything! You will be amazed at how far you can get with that much paint!
To give you an example, I painted my first buffet and hutch (see it here) with a 4 oz sample size pot of paint (2 coats)...and I had leftover paint! Chalky paint goes a long way!
And just because you've been such good students, I'll let you in on a little secret. Remember I told you how chalky paint has amazing adhesion? Yup well, you can pretty much paint anything with it, not just furniture! Check out these projects below that I transformed with chalky paint.
|Update an antique window with chalk paint|
|wood slice clock tutorial|
|Painted Boxes with Chalk Paint|
|Antique a Tray with Chalk Paint|
|Paint Plastic Easter Eggs with Chalk Paint!|
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me. I am by no means an expert, but I have painted many, many pieces of furniture....and other things (haha) so I do know a thing or two...or I will happily point you in the right direction. You can click on the links in the paragraph about each company to be taken directly to their site where you can read more about their particular brand.
This is a great time to read Chalk Paint 201, an inside look at over 10 specific chalky paint brands, including lots of images and user reviews! Be an informed consumer before you go shopping for chalky paint!
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