An informative post reviewing 15+ different chalk paint brands. Find out which ones deliver the best user experience.
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! If you would like me to include a review of your paint, just send me a personal note!
Update: Make sure you read my brand new post about top coat protection options for your freshly painted furniture! You put all that effort into painting a piece...find out how to make it last for years!
Few things have revolutionized the DIY world quite like chalk paint! I painted my first piece of furniture with black chalk paint about 10 years ago (the black hutch below).
I am still smitten with chalky paint and rely on it for all my furniture painting projects.
If you missed my post for beginners about what chalk paint is and why it's a do-it-yourselfer's paint of choice, you can read it here.
If you've shopped for chalk paint, you will realize that there are a lot of brands out there now. I touched on a few of them in my Chalk Paint 101 post.
Like I mentioned above, today's post is a collection of reviews about some of the available brands of chalk paint. Some of my blogging buddies have added their two cents about additional brands.
This post is by no means an exhaustive list of the chalk paint brands available...the market is exploding and it's hard to keep up! I wanted to put together an informative post to help you be a good consumer because not all chalky paint is created equal.
Let's get to it.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience; click here to read my disclosure policy
No. 1: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint1 quart = $38.95
Even though it is quite thick, the pieces I painted needed a second coat (especially if I was painting a light color over dark wood).
The second coat was easier to apply if you either dipped your paintbrush into water first, or actually thinned the paint a little with water.
This chair was painted using Annie Sloan chalk paint, and it has held up well for the past 10 years, considering it gets daily use and that no wax was used on it.
|Chair painted with Annie Sloan combo of Old White and Pure White|
I found that the Old White was too creamy in color for my taste and the Pure White was too white. I achieved the best creamy white color by mixing the two together.
Insider tip: I have even had success mixing two different brands of chalk paint for a custom color! You can click here to see the piece of furniture I painted with two different brands of chalk paint.
If you love Annie Sloan colors but not the price, check out this post by Altard blog on chalk paint color comparisons using Behr and Sherwin Williams paints.
No. 2: Southern Honey Chawk Paint1 quart = $24.00
The sweet gals at Southern Honey sent me two sample paints to try (Stella, a neutral gray and Shirley, a bright turquoise). I loved this paint!
Southern Honey paint was creamy to apply and self-leveling, meaning the brush strokes just disappeared as it dried.
I did need two coats on this table below (using gray 'Stella'), but I was painting over a very dark piece which was original wood. You can read more about the complete tutorial and see the amazing transformation here.
|Side table painted with Southern Honey Chawk Paint|
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint is a product by DecoArt. It's available at most craft stores as well as on Amazon. The website says there are 29 vintage colors to choose from, but I don't think I've seen that many on store shelves.
Americana Decor Chalky Paint happens to currently be my go-to chalk paint of choice when I'm not using my DIY version.
I like that I can get it for around $5 with a coupon, and I appreciate that it's mixed in small quantities so I don't have paint going bad on the shelf.
I love the colors I've used and the fact that one coat is often enough! I've tried about 5 colors and have to say that the Everlasting , Refreshing and Treasure (see below) are by far my favorite colors. They are perfect for creating a farmhouse, cottage look.
The table below was painted with Americana Decor Chalky Paint in 'Treasure' and it needed only one coat...even though I painted over black! You will not believe how this table looked before its transformation...it was a craft fail gone bad and I almost took this table to the dump!
I'm so glad I decided to give it another chance!
|Coffee Table painted with Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint|
Yes I know. Technically, milk paint is not chalk paint. However, I included this brand because I love it and, according to the General Finishes website, it's not a true 'milk paint' (there is no milk in it) but a modern version of old world paint with a strong mineral base.
Did you catch that? It has a mineral base (like chalk paint) which allows it to perform in a similar way. It's available in a wide variety of colors and can be distressed, glazed, and antiqued just like chalk paint.
General Finishes Milk Paint is a pleasure to paint with, although I found the dry time to be longer than other chalk paint brands I've tried.
I painted the top of this dresser with GF paint in Dark Chocolate, which gave the look of a dark-stained piece.
Insider tip: This is a great trick when you have a laminate piece of furniture and you're trying to achieve a vintage look of real wood with paint.
The paint is a little runnier but it goes on smoothly and levels well. You can find this dresser post here. It sure started off ugly!
|Dresser top painted with General Finishes Milk Paint|
In my personal experience I found the colors weren't true and the reviews I read online were mixed.
I purchased the Red Wagon (bright red looking in the packaging) and found it to be more of a pinky salmon color, even with additional coats added. It was not a true bright red; I tried mixing in some black to darken it and ended up with a dark burgundy color (see the chair below..it actually looks more red in the picture than it is in real life).
To be fair, this was the only color I tried, but I was disappointed and the reviews I read online were mixed regarding not only color discrepancy but also performance.
The other thing to note about this paint is that it doesn't dry matte like other chalk paints; it seems to dry with a bit of a sheen. If you're planning to wax anyway, this may not be a negative thing, but if you're going for that flat chalky look, you will not be able to achieve that with this chalky paint brand.
|Chair painted with Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint|
4 oz = $13.99 (equivalent to 1 quart)
I really, really wanted to like Websters Chalk Paint Powder! Everything I read about it convinced me it was going to be fabulous. It's a powdered chalk paint that you mix into regular latex paint. The price can't be beat. However...it just didn't perform well for me.
I found this paint to have a really strong smell and it had definite adhesion issues.
Paint smells pretty bad anyway, but I almost wanted to wear a mask when I used Websters, it was that bad!
The reason I tried it in the first place was because I was warned that DIY chalky paint fumes are harmful to breathe in; however, I found the Websters smelled just as bad, if not worse!
I also found that it didn't bond well to the pieces I painted. I first tried it on these storage boxes which I taped off to create stripes.
When I peeled the tape off, the paint came with it. As if that wasn't enough, I found the coverage to be lacking. I needed a good 3 coats to get the coverage I wanted.
|Storage boxes painted with Websters Chalk Paint Powder|
I've read other reviewers who rave about this paint. Maybe I got a bad batch, who knows? Even with the savings over more expensive brands, I just wasn't that impressed with this brand.
No.8: DIY Chalk Paint$18 + the cost of paint = enough for many, many projects
My do-it-yourself version of chalk paint is a fabulous alternative to more expensive brands. My recipe combines Plaster of Paris along with powdered Calcium Carbonate. I've painted dozens upon dozens of pieces with my DIY version, tweaking it until I've come up with the best formula that I share below.
Is it inexpensive? Yes. Is it perfect? No.
My favorite thing about DIY chalk paint is definitely the savings! While I still need to purchase the paint, a tub of POP lasts me over a year. I love to purchase small sample pots of Behr paint from Home Depot (for about $2.50 each) in my favorite colors and mix the chalky paint right in the pots!
The Calcium Carbonate powder can be difficult to find, but Amazon always has it. It's about $10 but keep in mind you're only using 2 Tablespoons at a time, so it lasts for awhile.
I have heard all the warnings about working with POP (Plaster of Paris)...that it heats up when mixed with water and can cause severe burns. Also that the powder is dangerous to breathe. I definitely advise being an informed consumer; knowing the possible dangers is important.
However, with that said, I have never had an issue with do-it-yourself chalky paint. The amount of POP and water used is so negligible that it is a moot point in my book.
In fact, here is just a sampling of the pieces I've painted with homemade chalk paint...with nary an issue! You can see all my painted furniture pieces in one place if you click here.
What do you think? Have you been scared of making your own DIY Chalky Paint because of the warnings out there? I would recommend trying it. That's the only way you can see for yourself how it compares to the pricier brands.
If you have respiratory issues, wear a painter's mask (as you should be doing anytime you paint anyway).
Here is my personal recipe for DIY Chalk Paint...developed after trial and error and lots of practice. Please feel free to PIN IT so you can always find it!
I'll let you be the judge. I do find that you need to watch for small hard clumps of POP (no matter how much you mix it with hot water, is seems impossible to dissolve completely).
You will definitely need to lightly sand after using DIY chalk paint, to smooth the paint and knock back any bumps.
The other big difference is that achieving distressed edges takes a little more muscle than when you use store-bought chalk paint. In my opinion, the money saved is worth a couple of inconveniences and a little extra work!
UPDATE: You might also be interested in this post where I show exactly how I make DIY chalk paint right in the container of store sample size paint pots!
2 oz = $7
8.5 oz = $25
I had the pleasure of trying this new brand recently on a farmhouse stool makeover and I really like painting with it. It's beautifully packaged and there are a nice variety of colors to choose from.
I found L'Essentiel Botanics Furniture Paint to be highly pigmented and extra creamy with no odor and fantastic coverage! The fact that it's non-toxic and safe for the environment was a bonus!
|Farmhouse stool painted with L'Essentiel Botanics Furniture Paint|
Following are additional chalky paint brand reviews by some of my fellow bloggers. To read their full review, click their blog link below. For more info on the paint and where to buy it, click on the brand name link in the title.
No.10: Amy Howard One-Step Paint1 quart = $35.00
Here's what Kimm from Reinvented had to say about Amy Howard One-Step Chalk Paint:
The paint went on very smoothly, and is a little thinner than other chalk type paint I’ve tried. It took two coats to cover the creamy white. One Step Paint distresses very easily with fine sandpaper, and even flakes a little like milk paint.
|Chair painted with Amy Howard One-Step Paint|
No.11: Heirloom Traditions1 quart = $30.00
I used White Lime Soft Wax over Black Bean and it turned the piece into such a beautiful grey. It reminds me of some of the finishes from Restoration Hardware.
|Table painted with Heirloom Traditions Paint|
Here's how Suz from The Chelsea Project Blog felt about her experience using Poppies Paint Powder:
Poppie’s stuck to the poly-coated top like white on rice …..and then sanded with total ease.
No.13: Rust-oleum Chalked60 oz = $38.00
Karen from The DIY Bungalow felt this way about using Rust-Oleum Chalked:
The Chalked paint was easy to use, although it’s a little thinner and looser than other chalky finish paint you might have used.
|Planted painted with Rustoleum Chalked|
Here's what Angie at Knick of Time says about Vintage Storehouse Paint:
This paint did everything I want my chalk paint to do, for a fraction of the cost of the name brands. After mixing the powder with a little bit of water, I added it to my paint. It was wonderfully creamy and applied beautifully. This desk was only given one coat of paint. The coverage was excellent.
|Desk painted with Vintage Storehouse Restoration Co.|
Here's how Becky from Beyond the Picket Fence felt about her experience with Fusion Mineral Paint:
What is Fusion Mineral Paint you ask? It is a mineral paint like none other on the market that I have seen or tried. And what makes it different? It adheres and covers wonderfully, but it also has the finish built in. YES, no waxing needed.
|Stools painted with Fusion Mineral Paint|
Now you need to sift through all you've read and decide which paint to try.
Or maybe you already have a favorite chalk paint...I'd love to know what it is!
Have you tried making your own do-it-yourself chalky paint?
Leave comments below; I know we'll all benefit from reading what other users have experienced.
Are there any chalky paint brands you love? Why?
Any brands you dislike? What was your difficulty?
Feel fee to try my DIY chalky paint recipe...and if you do, I'd love for you to come back here and let me know what you thought!
If you have questions about top coat options to protect your painted furniture, be sure to head here next! I explain the difference between a wax and a poly and when to use each!
Remember to Pin this Post so you can refer back to it often!
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