Even though it’s been around for a long time, chalk paint has especially been a trend for the past couple of years, and has been gaining in popularity around the blogosphere. As someone who paints a lot of furniture, I’d wanted to try it for a long time, but really wanted to wait for the perfect project to come along first. Finally, I found THE project. Eight kitchen stools that belonged to our old dining table–the one before the lovely farmhouse table we use now–that I really wanted to use around our big island were just begging to be refinished. Six of them would fit…perfect for our kids!
Once I decided on the project a few months ago, and was searching for information, I saw a lot of posts on making your own DIY chalk paint, and then posts over which brand is better and why–so MUCH information to ingest, that even for someone who is experienced in furniture refinishing it seemed a little bit overwhelming. But…I was curious, and still wanted to try it, so I went with a major brand name, and lucky for me, one that I could find just 10 minutes from my home…Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. She was actually the first to develop a paint with these properties, and was the one to give it the name “chalk paint” over 20 years ago. I figured that was a very good place to start. I started with those stools a few months ago, then went to paint several other pieces (with different finishes) to get a better idea of the product, and today I’m going to give you my review of chalk paint…pros, cons, faqs, and whether or not I’ll use it again! I’m not an expert…simply a girl that loves to refinish furniture, and is a consumer like the rest of you! I’m only hoping to share my experience, in the hopes that it will help you!
I’m SO happy with how they turned out! Can you believe the difference?
If you’re wondering what chalk paint even is, or are confused about it, let’s start here:
What is chalk paint?
It’s not to be confused with chalkboard paint–which allows you to write on it with chalk. Chalk paint is a type of paint that is known for (and was named for) its very matte, and “chalky” finish. It does have a matte finish, but you can achieve “shine” or “luster” by buffing. It was created for furniture painting, and so that artists could manipulate it to their needs. You can add water and use it as a wash, add to the color range by mixing colors or diluting with white chalk paint, and more.
Why would you use it? What are the pros and cons?
Well, the answers here are mine, but overall they are going to vary from person to person, as everyone has their own opinion…including me. They are also based on Annie Sloan chalk paint, since that’s what I used! ☺ So, according to my own experience, here are the pros and cons:
-It rarely requires any upfront prep, no sanding OR priming. This is a HUGE plus for me, because I tend to refinish a lot of things that have a slick or shiny surface, and I’m not a huge fan of sanding all of it off, lol.
-It adheres to pretty much any surface–wood, laminate, plastic, metal, you name it! Even kitchen cabinets!
-It dries very quickly, so I can do two coats easily in one day (depending on big the project is), plus a coat of wax.
-The colors available are beautiful, and were created to produce time-worn furniture, which I LOVE.
-The finish is unique; the matte, “chalky” look lends itself to a wonderful end product, and it distresses beautifully!
-It can be used inside or outside (Annie Sloan…you would have to check on other brands and DIY)
-One quart lasts FOREVER–it goes really far!
-It’s durable. Once it’s waxed and dried, the finish is hard. Our kitchen stools get used A LOT, by lots of little kids, and they are holding up beautifully.
-If a drip dries before you catch it, just scrape it off and paint right over it again! SO easy!
-It’s pricey. Compared to regular latex paint, it’s way more expensive. If I were to compare what it would have cost to do my eight stools in spray paint, it would be more comparable. I estimate it would have been around $45-$50 to use spray paint, and I spent around $70 for chalk paint (wax and paint).
-It’s more time-intensive. There’s time saved upfront, because of the no prep required, but you pay for it on the back end. Once it’s painted, you have to wax it, then buff it.
-If you want to repaint, you have to strip the wax before you do. Or…you can paint over it with chalk paint and re-wax.
-There is a definite learning curve to chalk paint. The painting really isn’t bad, but it’s the waxing that can be tricky. I highly suggest watching tutorials before you start, just so you can get a visual of what you need to do.
Chalk Paint FAQ:
Where do you buy it?
You need to find a retailer. I totally lucked out and there is a place just 10 minutes from me that sells it !! If you search and there isn’t a brick & mortar store near you, you can always order it from a retailer online, and have it shipped to you.
How much does it cover (one quart)?
A LOT. About 140 square feet!! I did all eight of my chairs, three coats each, and still had about 1/4 of a quart left! My can of white has done a table, dresser, and several frames, and I still have about 1/3 of a quart. It really goes far, which alleviates the sticker shock a little bit. :) One quart is usually around $38.95.
Do you have to seal it after it’s painted?
Yes. It’s best to use a furniture wax, and Annie Sloan recommends using the Hannant’s Wax (soft wax), so that’s what I use, but you can use other sealants.
I’ve heard it takes only one coat, is that true?
In my experience, no. To get a great cover, you need at least two coats, maybe three, and it just depends on what you’re painting.
Can you see brush strokes?
You can definitely see brush strokes after the first coat, but after the second coat, and after it dries, they fade and appear smooth. Every once in a while, I’ll get some brush strokes show through, but they are more natural, like worn furniture. I’m happy with that.
What surfaces can you paint?
This is the great part…anything!!! I’ve used it on wood, laminate, metal, plastic, and various slick surfaces, newly built furniture, and old pieces, and it’s adhered perfectly to them all!
Do you have to distress it?
No! It does distress really well, but you don’t have to. You can buff it so it’s smooth with a little shine–it just depends on your preference.
Do you have to buy the special brushes?
I have both the Annie Sloan paint brush and wax brush, and use them the most. You can get away with using a different brand (but high quality) paint brush, but for the wax I recommend using the Annie Sloan wax brush, or a lint free cloth. Old tee shirts work really well!
What about making your your own chalk paint instead of buying it?
I haven’t done this yet, only because I didn’t want to make it the first few times I used it, but I do plan to at least try a recipe or two to see how I like it.
Can you use it in a paint sprayer?
I’m not sure, I haven’t tried it, but I don’t know why not. It would be worth experimenting with!
Overall, I really love working with chalk paint. I love the way it looks, I love the colors and the finish. I won’t use it for every project–it has to be the right one–but for pieces that I really love and want in my home for a long time, I will definitely consider using chalk paint for them.
I adore my kitchen stools–they are perfect for the island, and the color is fabulous! (I used Duck Egg Blue and Clear Wax)
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask…I’ll do my best to answer them, or send you somewhere that can. ☺