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How To Paint With Chalk Paint On Furniture

Painting furniture with chalk paint gives it new life and a whole different look.  Today we are going to talk about how to paint with chalk paintFollow along for step by step instructions and some tips and tricks to see how this furniture is painted with chalk paint.

Showing how to paint with chalk paint by brushing on the back of a furniture hutch in a white color.

Probably the hardest part about learning how to paint with chalk paint is deciding on what you will paint and the color. But when it comes to chalk paint the sheen is the easy part because all chalk paints come in a beautiful matte finish.

Thankfully I had the help of Kirsten from The Wooden Butterfly in Tallahassee, FL.  This was my first time painting with chalk paint and she is a great teacher and knows a great deal about chalk paint.  And her Facebook is a fabulous resource too.

But honestly, I couldn't wait to get my hands on chalk mineral paint and see how it fairs from milk paint.   And without giving a spoiler alert let's jump right into painting with chalk paint on furniture.

How to Paint with Chalk Paint

Like most painting projects it is best to get started with collecting your supplies.

How to paint with chalk paint Dixie Belle supplies. Dixie Belle cotton white chalk paint jar, clear cup with water and a brush sitting inside the water.  White Lightening cleaner by Dixie Belle.  Wooden spoon sample painted in cotton white and painters tape.

Getting Started

What do you use to paint with chalk paint?

Now that you know what you need to paint with chalk mineral paint you might be asking what can you paint with chalk paint? Well, I have experience painting old furniture, new furniture, books, and fabric.

I love to paint furniture and I have used chalk paint on a canvas drop cloth material. Check out my DIY drop cloth rug tutorial to see more.

Clean Furniture

Start with cleaning the areas you want to paint.  If you only want to paint a particular area, as I did, then spray the cleaner on your rag and wipe it on. Make sure to clean the entire surface.

Once you have rubbed the degreaser onto the surface, then use another clean wet rag to wipe off the degreaser. Make sure all the residue is gone.

Jar of Dixie Belle 8 oz. white lightning cleaner.

We used white lightning by Dixie Belle.  You will need to mix it in a bottle, but it lasts a very long time. It is important to do the prep work before you start painting with any paint project.

Tape and Paper

Now it is time to paper anything you don't want the paint to get on and then tape it down.  Also, use the painter's tape along any edges, so you get that nice clean line when you are finished chalk painting.

How to paint with chalk paint use painters tape to tape any areas.

Keep Brush Wet

If you are starting with a new brush or if your brush is dry make sure to dip it into the water about 1/2 halfway down then get the excess water off the brush on a paper towel.

Dipping a paint brush inside a cup of water to keep the brush moist because chalk paint works better if it is moist.

Doesn't this seem crazy?  But it works.

Whenever you feel like the paint is dragging on the furniture go back and lightly dip the brush into a little water and blot it on a paper towel.

It is like magic!

Your paint will go on much more smoothly and give a smooth finish.

Apply Chalk Paint First Coat

Now it is time to start the transformation.

Dip your damp brush into the paint about 1/2″ and start applying chalk paint along the grain.

How to paint with chalk paint. Apply the first coat of paint on a hutch furniture piece.

Brush thin coats of paint and brush in small sections one at a time. You may have to push the paint into corners or grooves like these, but other than that painting should be a smooth motion with the grain.

First coast of chalk paint. How to paint with chalk paint

Also, apply the first coat lightly.  You should be able to see through it a little.

Let this first coat dry for about 10 minutes.

It helps to have a fan running to dry your paint, or you can use a blow dryer on cool setting.

Apply Second Coat of Chalk Paint

Just like the first step apply the second coat.

Painting the second coat of chalk paint on the back of the hutch.

You can see how it is starting to cover.

If you are using a darker color, this may be your last coat of chalk paint.  But if you are using white paint, you will probably need one more layer of paint.

Make sure that your first coat is good and dry.  If it is not completely dry the paint will come off like pictured below.

Showing where the second coat is damaged because the first coat was not dry enough.

If this happens, do not fret because the next coat will smooth it out.  Or at least it worked for us.

Now let this coat dry for about an hour.

Apply Third Coat

Okay, we are almost to the home stretch.

Just like the other two coats of paint start applying your third coat.

This coat will make it a pure white cotton color. You will need multiple coats of chalk mineral paint when using light colors over dark colors.

Painting with chalk paint.  Applying the third coat of chalk paint on hutch furniture.

Let this last coat dry overnight.

See how easy it is with this chalk paint how to guide.

Add Wax

Now it is time to add a top coat. This step is optional especially if you are painting something that won't be touched or anything sat on it. But to be on the safe side, I decided to add the wax.

Next, you will need some wax and a natural bristle brush.

If you want to see the beautiful color of the chalk paint then use a clear wax but if your want an aged or distressed look go with wax with a color like brown wax. A dark wax gives any piece a nice patina.

Paint with chalk paint. Can of Dixie Belle best dang wax 10 oz. clear and waxing brush.

All you have to do is dip the brush into the soft wax and start brushing it on like butter.

Dipping the waxing brush into the wax and moving in a circular motion.

You can use the right to the left brush strokes, up and down or even in circles.

It does not matter.

But personally, I like to go up and down in continuous motion. Work in small areas and start on one side and work your way to the other side. I like to do it this way so I can make sure I am covering the whole surface with wax.

Applying the wax with a brush on top of the dry chalk paint to the back of the hutch in up and down motion.

Once you have applied the wax take a clean low lent soft cloth and rub the wax off.

Using a dry clean rag buff off the wax on the chalk painted surface.

Then take another clean cloth and buff the wax that is still on the chalk painted surface.

See how easy it is the paint with chalk paint.

Remove the Tape and Paper

Now that you are finished remove the tape and paper carefully.

If it looks like any paint is coming up use an x-acto knife to score the color.  I had to do this to keep the paint from pulling away from the cabinet.

So here is the final product without accessories.

Showing the back of the hutch where I removed the tape after chalk painting.
showing the back of the hutch painted.

And then with accessories.

I love how painting the back of this old piece of furniture made my grandma's dishes stand out more.

Hutch with painted back and Currier and Ives dishes displayed inside on the shelves.

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If I had to compare chalk paint vs. milk paint, I would say chalk paint is probably easier and you do not have to mix it.  It is thicker and covers better and gives that same old fashion look.

The finished hutch with chalk painted back and Currier and Ives dishes displayed inside.

But I still LOVE milk paint!!! Both paints give full coverage and a flawless finish. Chalk paint doesn't leave brush marks which I love, and you can get an antique look with wax on both. A lighter color you have to do more coats but dark colors are less.

Don't confuse chalk paint with chalkboard paint. I have actually picked up chalkboard paint before thinking it was chalk-style paint. Chalkboard paint is used to paint with but after you are finished you can write on the painted surface just like an old-fashioned chalkboard.

What is the best chalk paint?

I only have experience with a few brands but after asking some friends I have learned that Dixie Belle is high on the list as well as Annie Sloan. Behr carries a chalk paint brand and what's really cool is they have it in a spray can.

Fusion mineral paint, which has a chalk painted look but is not actually chalk paint, is a favorite of mine too. My DIY exterior Dutch door post shows off the beautiful finish of Fusion.

Where to buy chalk paint for furniture?

You can find chalkpaint like the Behr brand at Home Depot, Amazon carries many brands like Dixie Belle and Annie Sloan chalk paint is sold in local small retailers. Most chalk paints come in many different colors and the colors give a beautiful farmhouse style

To find a retailer near you simply go to her website and search your location.

Well, now you know painting furniture with chalk paint is easy and you know some of the best chalk paint brands and tools you will need.  In a matter of hours, you can have a whole new look.

Chalk painted hutch back with Currier and Ives plate, two cutting boards, vintage mason jar candle and apples with tops cut off and tea lights place down inside for a homemade tealight apple candle.

Update: Years later and I still love the chalk-painted finish. It looks amazing and as fresh as the day I painted it.

chalk paint hutch

And if you are looking for some inspiration check out our Chalk Paint Ideas post or if you would like tips on styling your hutch check out my storing and displaying vintage dishes post.  Trust me it will inspire you and bring a smile to your face!

Happy Decorating!

Heather Moore

Saturday 30th of March 2024

I don’t see where you sanded it first. Do you not have to sand when using chalk paint?

Linda McDonald

Tuesday 9th of April 2024

That is correct we didn't sand the furniture and that is the beauty of chalk paint. However, I would sand a piece of furniture before painting if it has a rough surface. This hutch was smooth. Hope this helps!


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