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Chalk paint 201 - User Experience and Brand Reviews

An informative post reviewing 15+ different chalk paint brands!
Find out which ones deliver the best user experience. 


chalk paint brands | diy beautify

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, please send me a personal email!

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!


Welcome! If you're here, that means you're interested in chalky paint. You're in good company because I love chalky paint and have personally painted over 100 pieces!

Today's post focuses on 15 popular chalky paint brands with user reviews. This is an informative post to help you be a better consumer!

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).

dining room furniture updated with chalk paint  |  diy beautify

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 catch up on that 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.

How do you know which chalk paint to buy?


Today, you will be able to read reviews on 15 brands of chalk paint...both good and bad.

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'm sure you'll find this post informative as you head to the store (whether online or in person).

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 Paint

1 quart = $38.95

 

Category

Annie Sloan was the forerunner in the chalk paint world and set the bar high! Although Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is one of the pricier versions, it is a pleasure to use.

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.

painted thrift store chair  |  diy beautify
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 Paint

1 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 had a great experience using 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 refresh with chalky paint
Side table painted with Southern Honey Chawk Paint

No.3: Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint

8 oz = $8.99




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 chalk paint recipe (keep reading; I share my recipe a little further down the page).

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!

painted table makeover  |  diy beautify
Coffee Table painted with Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint

No.4: General Finishes Milk Paint

1 quart = $30.00
Milk Paint From General Finishes

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!

painted dresser with chalky paint
Dresser top painted with General Finishes Milk Paint

No.6: Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint

8 oz = $11.99



Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Decor Paint (available at Michaels, Hobby Lobby and other craft stores) is an affordable alternative to pricier brands of chalk paint. It's available in 22 colors.

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.

chalky painted chair
Chair painted with Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint

No.7: Websters Chalk Paint Powder

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.

painted storage boxes
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

diy chalky paint supplies


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.

The biggest Pro 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. The Calcium Carbonate powder can be difficult to find, but Amazon always has it. It's about $10 but because you're only using 2 Tablespoons at a time, it can make many, many chalk paint recipes.

I love to buy 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!  I've found that homemade chalk paint doesn't last very long once mixed. Making sample size amounts works out perfectly for most projects!

The biggest Con about DIY chalk paint is that it can be gritty
You will wind up with little lumps if you don't mix it properly. I share tips on how to avoid that problem in this post.

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.

painted furniture makeovers

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!

diy chalky paint recipe  |  diy beautify

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!


No.9: L'Essentiel Botanics Furniture Paint

2 oz = $7
8.5 oz = $25
non toxic chalky paint

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 painted stool
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 Paint

1 quart = $35.00


One Step Paint

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.

chalk paint chair makeover by Reinvented blog
Chair painted with Amy Howard One-Step Paint

No.11: Heirloom Traditions

1 quart = $30.00


Black Bean


Allison from Refunk My Junk says this about Heirloom Traditions Chalk Paint:
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.
painted side table from Refunk My Junk blog
Table painted with Heirloom Traditions Paint

No.12: Poppies Repurposing Paint Powder

1 quart of powder = $14.00


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.
painted stool from The Chelsea Project blog

No.13: Rust-oleum Chalked

60 oz = $38.00

Serenity Blue


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



No.14: Vintage Storehouse Restoration Company 

(formerly Blue Minerals Chalky Paint Powder)

cotton


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.

painted desk by Knick of Time blog
Desk painted with Vintage Storehouse Restoration Co.

No.15: Fusion Mineral Based Furniture Paint

fusion mineral paint

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.
painted stool by Beyond the Picket Fence blog
Stools painted with Fusion Mineral Paint

If you've made it this far...congratulations! I've thrown a ton of chalky paint information at you!

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!

These fabulous articles will increase your knowledge of Chalk Paint! With user reviews to make you a savvy consumer! by DIY beautify




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39 comments:

  1. Great compilation Cindy! I have used Blackberry House Paint, which is a furniture paint and I have a love hate relationship with it. I Absolutely love the COLORS that are available! I wish other furniture paint companies had colour choices that were just as nice. If you have to paint something in red, white or black, this paint will do it in almost just ONE COAT. This is what I love about it! It is highly pigmented, which allows for that, but it will stick to everything, so wear disposable gloves and use a container to paint out of that you can toss out. It is difficult to get the paint off of your hands otherwise and difficult to clean the brushes if you don't clean them right away. Another problem I have with this paint is that you cannot back brush. When I apply paint, I naturally wipe it on and then smooth back and forth. This paint dries so fast that you cannot go back and wipe the excess. You have to try and get it on in one stroke.

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    1. Thanks Lucy, I just tried Blackberry House Paint for the first time; it's a local company (based out of Murfreesboro TN). I did like the one coat coverage!

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  2. Hi Cindy, I was wondering if you thought chalk paint would work on my stair rails? Currently they are honey oak stain on the rails and the balusters are painted white. I would LOVE to paint the rails a rich mocha color. Your advise would be appreciated. I really enjoy following your blog and seeing all the wonderful creations you write about. Thanks! Best regards, Michele

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    Replies
    1. I'm happy to help, Michele! I believe chalk paint would work but you would need to add several coats of wax or a poly to protect it. To get a rich mocha color you might try General Finishes gel stain, which is like a stain but is thick like a get so easier to apply. They have a Java which is almost black. You can find it on Amazon. Thanks so much for your kind words about DIY beautify!

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    2. Thank you, Cindy! This is great information. I will look into this further. It should be nice not to have to sand and prep as much! That's why I thought chalk paint could be my answer! And it sounds like it might be! Thanks again.

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  3. Ha! I felt the same way about Websters. Me no likey! I got great results from a chalk paint called FAT paint. It needs a wax coat though. I fall back on my own version of chalk paint made with baking soda. It's got a rougher finish but a light sanding makes it smooth. Off to check out Fusion and Vintage Storehouse. Thanks for the fabulous guide to chalk paint!!

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    1. I'm glad it wasn't just me, Anne, with the Websters! I've never heard of FAT, will have to check that out. Thanks for your input!

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  4. Interesting to see all these brands listed in one place.I'e tried many of them, and have seen some of the others popping up on shleves. I am looking forward to trying Fushion that I just received. Thanks for sharing your reviews and thoughts.

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    1. You are so welcome, Darla. I'm glad you found it informative!

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  5. Thank you for all these reviews!! Very helpful.

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  6. This was a helpful writeup telling us about the chalk paints we can buy... useful one... I think you only said that one advantage of chalk paint is that you don't need another quote so it is easier, you said that when you were renovating the bed for the guest room for the one room challenge I think...

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    1. I'm not sure I understand your question Maria...chalk paint doesn't require prep (unless your piece is really dirty or you want to remove gouges by sanding). Is that what you were referring to?

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  7. I have used FAT, Van Gogh, Annie Sloan and Fusion. I like the Fusion for its no top coat although they do sell a top coat for those surfaces that will get lots of wear, like a table top. As for the other brands I have used I find them all fairly similar in using them. What I like is that FAT, Van Gogh and Fusion are Canadian made.

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  8. My kitchen has old 1980s oak cabinets. I love the fact that they're solid wood and would like to keep them. Would chalk paint work well on kitchen cabinets? I won a sample size and a pint of Fat Paint at a home show, would this be a good brand for this project?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, chalk paint will work on kitchen cabinets. You will want to use a good degreaser first and wash them well. I am not familiar with the FAT paint brand. Kitchen cabinets get a lot of use so you'll want to seal the paint with several coats of a non-yellowing top coat. I like this one by General Finishes because it's water-based, can be brushed on (no buffing required), and produces a durable coat of protection. You can find it here http://amzn.to/243BTRW (aff. link) Good luck!

      Delete
  9. Before I forget.. I bought a funky table that has a lot of detail and carving on the legs. How can I make them pop with chalk paint? Would distressing the edges be enough?
    Wish I could post a pic on here

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    Replies
    1. Distressing will help those details to pop. You could also paint the details in another color to make them stand out (ie white details on a blue piece or vice versa), or you could use dark wax in the grooves (if you paint your piece a light color) to help them to pop. Hope this helps!

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    2. Rigby Blue-Amy Howard paint would work on your cabinets and your table, with adding the wax instead of having to distress. It's beautiful!

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    3. Rigby Blue-Amy Howard paint would work on your cabinets and your table, with adding the wax instead of having to distress. It's beautiful!

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  10. Anyone heard of Little Billy Goat Paint?

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    1. No I haven't, Rebecca...have you tried it?

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  11. What about folkart chalk paint? At AC Moore anyone ever try that for furniture or cabinets?

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    1. That's a great question, Sherry. I haven't tried that brand yet.

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  12. I love Rethunk Junk by Laura paint. No smell, dries super fast, and no top coat needed. They self level too. Cost is comparable to the other paints listed here. I really like them.

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  13. Thank you for this very helpful blog - I have a kitchen that has laminate cupboards with oak trim. I would love to paint them to bring them out of the 80's - any ideas would be great. Thanks so much!

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    1. Thank you Lynn, I think you would be very happy updating your cabinets with chalk paint. White and gray are very popular right now but pick something you'll be comfortable with long-term. Make sure you pick a durable top coat to protect your cabinets from daily wear and tear.

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  14. Here is information on one more chalk type paint Dixie Belle Paint. No wax required

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  15. I bought a quart of pure white Home Depot Chalked paint, and a quart of Annie Sloan "old white" and wondered if I could mix them

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    1. Hi Kathy, I've had success mixing different brands of chalky paint; however, I cannot guarantee your results! You could try mixing small, equal amounts (like a couple tablespoons of each) to see if it works for your project! Good luck!

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  16. I'm surprised there's no mention of Maison Blanche paint. I haven't used it, but I like what I hear about it from bloggers I follow.

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  17. Chalk paint® Is a registered trademark by Annie Sloan. No other paint but hers is chalk paint® Or behaves like her paint even though it may have a flat finish. Real chalk paint® Is not latex or acrylic based and cannot be made from an at home recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I found Dixie Belle paint at a local consignment store. I've liked it better than any other. In addition to the wonderful selection of colors, they sell a clear coat and glazes to add "antique" features to painted projects. I've used it on its own as well as with the clear coat and glaze - totally different looks and I love it both ways. It sands and distresses beautifully. On most pieces one coat has been plenty. A quart of paint has lasted through more projects than I can remember. dixiebellepaint.com

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    1. I've never heard of Dixie Belle, JM. Thanks for sharing your experience with it, it sounds like a great product! I'll have to keep my eye out :)

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  19. THis is a great list! I have used Anne Sloan's paint and LOVE it. Then I tried Rustoleum "Chalked" on my vintage vanity because it's cheaper and .... I hate it. In fact, I thought waxing would make it better but it's worse. Now that I've tried letting it "cure" for 30 days I'm just going to paint over it with better chalk paint. I did buy BBFrosch Chalk Paint Powder (only $10 for 4oz) - and I'm going to use that with some flat paint this time. I like the idea that I can pick whatever color I want and mix the powder in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your great comments LouAnn! I would appreciate hearing what you disliked about the Chalked Paint...was it the adhesion? I've never tried BBFrosch, but am hearing more good things about it. I love the ability to customize my paint color!

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  20. Have used BBFROSCH powder with semi gloss paint. Have to mix well to get lumps out.But liked it. I'm new to chalk painting, but have used Dixie Bell Paint,it levels nice so far very happy with it. I won't pay $40.00 for paint. Dixie Bell is resonable.
    Thanks for review going to try your recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Have used BBFROSCH powder with semi gloss paint. Have to mix well to get lumps out.But liked it. I'm new to chalk painting, but have used Dixie Bell Paint,it levels nice so far very happy with it. I won't pay $40.00 for paint. Dixie Bell is resonable.
    Thanks for review going to try your recipe.

    ReplyDelete

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