Old cabinet that needs to be painted.
Image by Jazella from Pixabay

Do you have an ugly piece of furniture in your home? Do you have a piece that you wish to update with a fresh modern look? Do you have a piece that is scratched up or the kids took a marker to it like a chalkboard? Maybe you have seen a piece at a thrift store or at a garage sale that could use a makeover…

Never fear, the use of chalk paint on furniture provides amazing results! Painting with a chalk type paint is super easy and you won’t believe the difference it makes.

Get your piece of furniture of ready

After you choose which piece of furniture you want to paint, there are a few steps in getting it ready for the paint job. I discussed this is in length over here.

Assess your chosen piece of furniture for damage – any gouges or holes that need to be filled? any rough spots that need to be sanded down? any veneer lifting or missing? any knobs or pulls missing? These are just a few things to look over.

Give the piece of furniture a thorough cleaning using a mild cleaner such as Dawn dishwashing liquid CitraSolv concentrate is my favorite cleaner for furniture projects.or my favorite CitraSolv. CitraSolv is highly concentrated so you’ll have to mix it up with some water – I keep mine in a spray bottle and mark it so I don’t get it confused with my spray bottle of water that I use when painting. Use a damp cloth, not dripping with water, and follow up with a dry cloth.

If sanding is necessary, now is the time to do so. Smooth out any edges where you may have filled in holes earlier. If the surface is smooth, you’ll need to rough it up a bit to give it some grit so the paint will stick to it. If the surface is laminate, you’ll need to use a special product or a bonding primer before painting. Clean again to remove any fine dust from the sanding.

Grab a Paint Brush

Use a chip brush for the first coat.

Now comes my favorite part, get yourself some brushes and a spray bottle of water and get ready to have fun. Assuming you have already bought your favorite brand of chalk type paint, open it up and stir. Best practice says to pour out what you need and don’t dip your brush into the paint container. This type of paint is made of natural ingredients and putting the brush in the container while painting will cross contaminate. If the paint is very thick, you can add a bit of water to thin it out just a bit – don’t add more than about 20 percent water.

With a chip brush dip the tips into the paint and going along the grain start painting in long strokes. Don’t worry about missed spots, this first coat will probably look messy. Using water you can give your paint brush a squirt if it starts to dry out. Keep painting until the first coat is complete.

This type of paint dries pretty quickly, but wait until it is completely dry before adding the second coat.chalk paint brush Because chalk paint tends to be thicker than other type of paint, a natural bristle brush is the better choice. This second coat is where you get to see the magic of chalk type paint. During this application, I either spray my brush with water or give the area I am about to paint a squirt of water from my spray bottle. This second coat goes on nice and creamy. Once this coat is dry, check to see if you need one more coat.

If you are going to be distressing your piece, two coats will probably suffice. After the paint dries, you will sand your piece of furniture once again. A light sanding by hand will be sufficient if you don’t want the distressed look, but if you are going for the chippy look you’ll want to do some more heavy-duty sanding. Before moving onto the next stage, carefully wipe down the piece to remove the dust created by sanding.

Wax and Buff

Before waxing your piece, allow the paint to dry completely. I usually let my piece at least sit overnight. There are multiple options available including liquid, gel, or soft wax. Wax bonds with the paint, deepens the color, and gives the furniture piece a long-lasting, durable finish.

Depending on the wax you choose, it is applied in different ways. Liquid wax is applied with a damp sponge, while gel or soft wax can be applied with a wax brush or a soft cloth. Work in small sections rubbing the wax into the surface until smooth. Move onto the next section until you have covered the entire piece. After the wax has dried for about 15 minutes, take another clean rag and buff.

Finish and Seal

Pieces that are going to get heavy use will need another step; a protective finish. I use a polycrylic for light colors and a polyurethane for darker colors. Polyurethane is an oil based product and provides more durability, but cannot be used on white colors as it tends to yellow over time.

After the top coat has dried, it is time to put the hardware back on to the piece of furniture. Hopefully, you put them all together somewhere safe where you can find them again. If needed, you can paint the hardware to match before putting them back.

Painted pieces and their finishes need time to cure. Try not to use them for at least 30 days; if you need to, use them with care until fully cured.

Sit Back and Enjoy

See that wasn’t too bad! Using chalk paint on furniture really does give amazing results and makes it easy for the novice to accomplish. Gently clean your painted piece with furniture polish as needed.

Now that you’ve painted your first piece are you ready to tackle another? If you have any questions, I’d be glad to assist; just let me know in the comments.

8 Replies to “Use Chalk Paint on Furniture for Amazing Results”

  1. This is a great step by step guide for re-painting furniture. I love reclaiming vintage items, but have yet to do a proper overhaul on a ‘new-to-me’ piece. I’ll definitely check out chalk paint next time, it seems to be a great choice! Thanks!
    PS I really like the overall layout of your website too, well done!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my website. I’d love to see a picture if you decide to try out chalk paint. Happy painting!

  2. Hi,

    Very informative post, never knew using chalk paint would be so easy. I have two questions for you:
    1) Can it leave brush marks?
    2) Will stains bleed through this paint more than latex and other types of paint.

    Looking forward for your reply and more interesting posts.

    1. Hello Satish,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your questions!

      1) Chalk type paint is typically self leveling which means brush marks fill in themselves. However, using the correct brush and painting with a light touch helps to eliminate brush marks. Also, dipping the brush in water before filling it up with paint keeps those brush strokes away.
      2) If you are painting a piece with a lot of tannins (especially mahogany) there can be bleed through. I recommend using a blocking primer on these types of pieces before painting.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Dear Pam
    Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to make towards their dream-like furniture. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
    Kind regards,

  4. What a lovely idea. I had never heard of the chalk paint idea. My furniture is so ugly it wouldn’t know what to think if I tried to beautify it. Thank you for the clever idea! I love old(ish) furniture. Someday, I’ll try getting fancy with color!

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