Chalk Based Paint No-No’s


Antique Table with chipping Veneer. Sanded table top to remove chipping debris

To successfully use Chalk based Paint, ALWAYS inspect your piece for dirt, debris and finish.

1)  CLEAN your piece to remove dirt and debris.

2)  TEST your piece to evaluate finish by painting an area with Chalk based Paint and allow to dry for 24 hours.  Use your finger nail to lightly scratch the painted area.  If the paint peels easily, then you will need to sand the area so the paint can adhere.

As a Professional Furniture Painter and Teacher, I encounter many questions about How-To paint and How-To solve Chalk based painting problems.  The number one complaint of using Chalk based Paint is the “NO PREP” Myth.  Below are two examples of the types of problems encountered with the “No Prep” scenarios.

Example One:  There is nothing more exciting for a DIYer than to open a can of Chalk based paint and begin painting your antique table you found for $5 at a local yard sale.  The Retailer told you that there was No Prep required, so you open the can and proceed to paint your first coat of Chalk based paint.  You wait for the first coat to dry and paint on the second coat, and so on…

As your table is drying, you notice the original stain from your Antique table is beginning to bleed through.  Layer upon layer of Chalk based paint is applied, but the stain continues to bleed through.  Four coats of chalk based paint later, you realize your table is looking worse than when you began the project.  Angry and frustrated, you decide to bring the table to the Retailer to see what you are doing wrong.


Example Two:  Eager to transform your dated bedroom furniture, you purchase over $200 in Chalk based Paint supplies (paint, wax, brushes) and begin painting your gloss factory finished Headboard/Footboard, Night Stand, Dresser and Mirror.  Several Hours later, your furniture project is dried, waxed and beautiful.  When you move your furniture back into place, you accidentally kick the corner with your shoe and leave what appears to be a dark scuff mark.  You bend over to clean the mark only to realize the scuff mark is actually the original gloss factory finish.  As you wipe the area, the dried paint begins to peel easily and within a few minutes, the entire side of your original finish is exposed leaving a heap of dried peeled paint on the floor.  How can this be?  You were told you could paint over anything!

Actual image of painting over Annie Sloan waxed finish using Annie Sloan paint (Graphite with dark wax)

Actual image of painting over Annie Sloan waxed finish using Annie Sloan paint (Graphite with dark wax). Base Color using Annie Sloan Cream with Clear Wax.


Can you paint over anything with Chalk based paint.  In theory, yes. However, there will be times when you will need to prepare your piece by either using a primer or sanding your piece to remove the finish.  Just an FYI, if you have waxed your piece and later decide you want to change the color, you will need to sand/remove the wax finish prior to painting.  The lesson learned?  Always TEST your piece to make sure your chalk based paint will adhere.


Antique Table using Country Chic Paint Dark Roast, Elegance and Natural Wax


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