Before we dive into the 11 things NOT to do when using chalk paint, let’s be clear on what I mean when I refer to “chalk paint“. There still seems to be a lot of confusion when I tell my friends that I chalk paint furniture and other indoor/outdoor projects. I certainly understand why I get that puzzled look. It can be easily confused with “Chalkboard Paint.”
In this blog post I am talking about a special paint that is called “chalk” paint. It isn’t “chalkboard” paint. You probably know by now that you can purchase actual chalkboard paint at your craft stores or big box home improvement stores but “chalkboard” paint is primarily used with the purpose of writing on with chalk or chalk markers. I have used the chalkboard spray to make menu boards or welcome signs at parties. Recently, I sprayed a thick poster board for a going away party and have also sprayed chalkboard paint on plywood then wrote with chalk or chalk markers once it dried completely. It made a beautiful sign.
“Chalk paint” is actually a registered trademark by Annie Sloan who discovered this ultra matte finish by experimenting in her studio. Annie transformed the world of decorative furniture painting. She is a fine artist who has authored 26 international books. Since she has the trademark on the exact words “Chalk Paint”, you will notice many other companies who have mimicked this popular type of paint finish by calling it “Chalk Style’ paint or “Chalky Finish”. You literally can paint almost anything with no priming or sanding on surfaces such as metal, fabric, kitchen cabinets and even floors. Matter of fact, you can actually write with chalk on this finish as well because of its ultra matte finish.
Here’s the thing, if you are in the circle of chalk painters or if you are just starting out, you may hear over and over again that chalk painting furniture is super easy and there isn’t ANY prep work to do before or after. I agree, chalk paint is super easy and fun to work with but there are definitely things you need to consider when painting furniture or doing a diy project.
Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t or haven’t actually followed these 11 things not to do when using chalk paint in the past. I certainly have not followed all these “rules” every single time I have ever chalk painted furniture and most of the time it all turned out great. Just keep in mind that these are ‘recommended’ tips not to do and it is a good idea to review and keep them in mind first and foremost for safety and secondly, so you get the best results, the first time. The majority of these tips are for the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint brand but could be considered for all types of chalk finishes just to be safe.
11 Things Not To Do When Using Chalk Paint
- Don’t paint on to ‘unfinished’ wood without first applying a clear shellac (a fast drying transparent finish and sealer for wood, metal, paper, etc.) to any open grains and knots in the wood. The main reason for sealing the wood is that we may not know where that wood has come from and how it was previously treated if at all. So just to be safe, seal it. Be sure to read the directions on the can for how to apply and how long you should let it dry before applying paint. Usually, it is about an hour.
- If painting baby furniture or using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for child use, allow the paint to cure for a minimum of 14 days. *Samples of Chalk Paint and soft wax have been independently tested and certified as Toy Safe according to strict European regulations. (BS EN 71-3:2013)
- Don’t distress your furniture piece without applying soft wax first. This reduces the sanding dust. I have sanded many times without applying soft wax first and there wasn’t any issues. It really depends how much distressing you want to do.
- Expectant mothers are advised to have someone else apply the soft wax even though there are no inherently harmful ingredients. Always better to be safe.
- It is not advisable to paint kitchen counter tops or back splashes due to possible cross contamination problems.
- Don’t paint around a fireplace without first checking with your local government offices to see if there are building code restrictions.
- Soft wax is not suitable for outdoor use.
- Annie Sloan lacquer is not suitable for outdoor use.
- Do not use wax on a bar. Alcohol makes waxes dissolve.
- Do not attempt to add another clear protective coating over soft wax.
- Avoid all liquid furniture polishes when cleaning a chalk painted piece of furniture without wax.
If you need inspiration, new tips and techniques using chalk style paints on furniture and different surfaces try some of these colorful books. Annie authored all of these books and the few that I have are always within an arm’s reach away at all times! They are fantastic.
Chalk paint comes in many different colors and prices depending on what brand you purchase from. I started with Annie Sloan’s brand first because it was back before all the other companies caught on to it’s popularity. Joanna Gaines from the popular HGTV Fixer Upper TV show has just come out with her own line of Chalk Style Paint.
I have tried other brands on smaller projects because the companies have given it to me to try but I have only used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint so far on larger pieces of furniture. Annie Sloan has stockists that carry her paint line so you will need to check here to see if there is a retailer near you.
Below are some different brands that you can compare colors and prices. You may want to try the small 4 ounce jars to see if you like the brand and colors.
Now, go get started on your Chalk Painting project and know that you are being safe and avoiding any potential problems.