5 Myths About Chalk Based Paint – Learn How to Paint Furniture

Vintage Barn Boutique

Since I opened Vintage Barn Boutique last year, I have heard many myths about Chalk Based Paints.  I have been painting for over 2 years and with more than 500 completed projects under my belt, I have found there is a lot of misinformation out there.  I decided to take some of these head on and  provide you with an Artist’s Professional Opinion.

Myth 1  Chalk Based Paints are ALL alike! – This is FALSE! As the popularity and demand of Chalk Based Paint grows, more companies will try to jump on the Specialty Paint Band Wagon.  As of this posting, Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware stores are scheduled to begin selling Chalk Based specialty paint, as well as Independent Retailers  like Annie Sloan and The American Paint Company  whom are expanding their product line to compete with the Big Box Stores.  There will be a mad dash to establish themselves as The BEST Chalk Based Paint Product Line and each will highlight why their paints are superior.  And each company will be” right” since they will all be different.  I have found with each brand I have tried, each produces a different look and quality.  I personally stay away from the Latex/Plaster/Chalk mixed paint.  The consistency is thicker and the results are rarely satisfactory unless you really like the rustic/chippy/Shabby Chic look.   I have also found that with Latex based paints, the finished project can peel.

I have used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for many of my projects and like the paint itself, but the wax can be difficult to use.  If you use too much Clear Wax, your finished piece will not cure and will have a gummy texture.  If you do not use enough wax, your piece will look patchy.  Also, if you decide to change the paint color of a piece of furniture that has a Clear Wax finish, the new coat of paint will not adhere and will peel.  You will need to remove the wax in order to repaint.

If the Chalk Based Paint you are using is too thick, the paint will leave brush strokes. Some are thick on purpose to provide an uneven Rustic look.

If the paint is too thin, multiple coats will be required.  Make sure each coat has time to dry in between paint application

If the paint is too Chalky, the paint will dry too fast; producing a rough or uneven finish.


Myth 2  You can Paint Anything.  This is FALSE!  There are some finishes and textures where nothing will adhere.  Shiny glossy finishes -shiny veneers, some metals and anything with an oil petroleum product(s)- have been found to cause many Chalk Based Paint enthusiasts to cry out  in frustration.  Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours painting a large furniture piece only to discover the paint can easily be peeled with normal use.

Peeling Paint Annie Sloan

Myth 3  No Prepping or Sanding Required.  This is FALSE.  If your furniture or home decor piece doesn’t contain a glossy finish as described in Myth 2, it is still recommended to clean and use sand paper to prep your piece.  Since you do not know everything that has been used on your piece, many times a quick light sanding will get rid of unwanted pilling, dust, dirt or splinters on a piece.  The end result of a painted piece of furniture with proper prepping, will not only feel like a showcase piece, but it will look as though it was painted by a professional artist.

VBB 542

VBB 556

Myth 4  Chalk Based Painted Furniture Scratches Easily.   This is FALSE.  As with any quality wood furniture, specific care is needed to ensure its beauty.  Water is an Evil to ALL wood furniture, no matter what type of finish it has.  What makes Chalk Based Painted Furniture preferable to Polyurethane or Varnish finished furniture, is if you should scratch Chalk Based Painted furniture, you can add wax to the scratched area and buff it to match the original piece.  If the scratch is deep or long, you can also use matching paint to make the repair.  Just paint the scratched area and re-wax. It is that simple!  If you should scratch polyurethane or varnish, the only remedy is to refinish the entire piece.

Myth 5  Chalk Based Paint is Expensive.  This is mostly FALSE.  Keep in mind that a little goes a very long way. Most Quart sized Chalk Based Paint, can finish 4 mid – large sized projects.  The downside of investing in a Quart of paint is you had better love the color because you will have a lot leftover if you intend on painting only one project piece.  Also, make sure you seal the lid when finished.  If you accidentally allow air to get into the paint and it is too thick to use, add water and stir very, very well.  The expensive part of using Chalk Based Paints are the add-ons (ie: wax brushes, wax, wax brush soap, sealants, etc).  Waxing brushes can cost anywhere between $10 – $75.

Here is a quick tip regarding cleaning your brushes.  Use Hot Water and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid Soap.  Some paste waxes will need Mineral Spirits to fully remove wax residue.  If your wax brush leaves wax crumbs after it dries, then you will need to clean it with Mineral Spirits.  Always clean your brush on a daily basis (or whenever you are finished for the day when working on your furniture piece).


Please leave a comment below if there are other questions regarding Chalk Based Paint.  I personally love Chalk Based Paints and have found an Environmentally Friendly Brand called Country Chic Paint.  They offer a Pint sized can of paint for only $22.95 (vs. a Quart at $36.95).  A pint will finish 2-3 small to mid sized projects.  Country Chic Paint also offers a finishing wax made out of Beeswax.  Easy to use, Easy clean up and Zero Odor!  All Country Chic Paints are VOC free.







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