Chalk Paint for Beginners & Java Gel Stain Tutorial
How to Use Chalk Paint on Furniture
When most people hear chalk paint they think of black matte paint covered in chalk drawings. However, chalk paint can be used for more than decorative walls. Not only does it come in every color, but it’s thickness allows it to be one of the easiest paints to apply to furniture. There’s no need for stripping or priming, you can simply paint over whatever is there when you begin! All you need is a few coats and a couple of hours to give an old piece of furniture a brand new look.
Preparing the Surface
Clean off your furniture.Start wiping down your furniture to remove any dirt and debris. Try wiping down the piece with a clean, slightly damp rag first. Then take a cleaning wipe like Lysol or Clorox and go back over it. You don’t want any dust or grit to get stuck under your coats of paint.
Remove any hardware.Before you start painting, be sure to remove any handles, buttons, or decorative items that you don’t want to paint over. As you remove them, pay attention to where they went and how they were installed. This will make it easier when you have to put everything back on. Place each piece into a ziploc bag so they don’t get lost after you start painting.
Fill in gouges and deep scratches when needed.If you are painting an older piece or one you purchased from a thrift store, be sure to check it for any marks. Look over the piece first for large discolorations, indents, or scratches. Then run your hands over the item just to be sure. If you find any, use a filler like Elmer’s Wood Filler and a putty knife to close up the gouges.
- You can also leave these marks if you would prefer a more dated and worn look.
Sand down wood furniture.Take a fine grit sandpaper like Pro Grade Precision 220 and use a sponge or sanding block for consistent pressure. This will keep your sanding even. Work from the top downward. Make sure to sand with the grain as sanding against it can deeply damage the wood.
- Vacuum off and wipe down the furniture again once you’ve finished.
Applying the Paint
Choose a chalk paint color.Chalk paint comes in a variety of colors from white and black to baby blue and light green. You can choose any color you’d like, however, keep in mind that depending on the color of the item you’re painting, you may have to put on additional coats. For example, if you are working with darker colored furniture like a deep mahogany or black metal, you may need to apply three to four coats of a lighter paint.
- However, chalk paint goes on thick and dries quickly, so even multiple coats won’t take long. A four ounce container should also be more than enough.
- The most popular chalk paint comes from Annie Sloan, but you can also make your own with just latex paint, water, and baking powder.
Mark off areas with painter’s tape.If there are any areas on your furniture that you’d prefer to leave unpainted, make sure to mark them with painter’s tape. For example, if you are working with a dresser or items with drawers, you can add painter’s tape to the side of each to keep them clear. Of course, if you want to paint the entire piece, then painter’s tape is unnecessary.
Test a small patch.Pick a small out of the way area on your furniture. This can be on the back of the piece, inside a drawer, or an inconspicuous corner. Apply one coat of paint and let it dry. Then add another layer and allow that to dry as well. Check for any bleed through of the color beneath the paint. If you don’t see any, feel free to continue.
- Woods like cherry and mahogany are prone to bleeding through paint and may need to be coated in shellac first. Try a spray shellac like Bull’s Eye and apply two to three coats before painting. The shellac should only take an hour to dry.
Start painting from the bottom to the top.The top of the piece usually requires the most attention and coats. So it’s best to start from the bottom of the piece and work upwards. Just as you did with sanding, make sure to paint with the grain. This will make applying the paint easier. It should also makes your strokes smoother.
- Once you get to the top of the piece, make sure to paint side to side without stopping.
Apply two to three additional coats.After you apply the first coat of paint the piece will look rough and unfinished. Don't worry! It is normal for the first coat to look a bit unappealing. Wait for this coat to dry and then apply another immediately after. Each coat should take a half hour to an hour to dry.
Completing Your Project
Add a coat of wax.After your paint has dried, begin applying your wax. You can use a product like Annie Sloan’s Clear Soft Wax or Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, which will bond to the paint to create a lasting and durable finish. Use a wax brush or soft cloth to apply the wax. Work in small sections and rub the wax into the surface in circular motions.
Apply a final coat of wax.Once you’ve covered the entire piece, wait 10-15 minutes and apply another, final coat. Use a brand new cloth and work in the same manner as before, rubbing the wax into the piece in small sections. Use a separate rag to remove any excess wax as you go along. When you are finished, swipe a finger across the surface to make sure there are no streaks. If you see one, simply run a clean cloth over the area to remove the extra wax.
- It takes wax 21 days to cure completely, so be careful with your furniture until then.
Reinstall your hardware.Once the wax dries, reinstall any hardware you removed before you painted. Be careful of the wax that is still curing when you put each item back on. This is also a good time to clean older hardware or to replace the previous pieces with brand new handles, knobs, or decorative items.
QuestionCan chalk paint also be applied on plywood?Community AnswerYes, as long as it's good, smooth plywood. Sand it clean, prime, and fill any holes first. If you're not sure, try the paint on a small piece first.Thanks!
QuestionI want to use a dark gray or black as the first coat and then a white as the final coat.how do I get the black to show through as a "distressed" piece of furniture?Leah C ReitmeierCommunity AnswerI believe you're asking about the "Distressed Look' when Antiquing furniture. What I suggest is that you take a dry rag and dip it in Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly and rub on various areas after painting the furniture. This will take off a bit of the top layer of paint,therefore creating the Distressed Antique Look. You can also "dry brush" the top layer, using just a tiny bit of paint for a slightly different effect.Thanks!
Can you still draw with chalk on the item with the wax?
Can I use chalk paint to paint upholstered chairs?
Can chalk paint be applied to particle board furniture and cabinet?
Is there a way to remove a portion of the paint once the first coat has been applied? I want to make the layer thinner.
Is it better to wax than varnish for table?
Video: (Easy) How to use Chalk Paint like a Pro
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