Chalk paint has become an internet phenomenon in the US, with people all over the country using it to transform their old furniture and create beautiful new living spaces. In part, this is due to how flexible this paint is – you can easily create all sorts of great finishes to suit your tastes. In this article we’ll look at some of the most popular techniques for how to use chalk paint.
The first stage it using good quality chalk paint is to wipe the piece you want to paint down with a damp cloth. Your goal is to get rid of any loose dirt or oils on the surface of the piece, but you don’t need to worry about sanding it or anything like that. Once you have wiped it off, you can remove and draw pulls or other fixings, before you start painting.
Make sure you mix your paint up well – if you have trouble with the paint seeming thin, it is most likely because you have not stirred the paint up properly. It’s definitely worth taking the extra time, and some people will even invert their paint tin for 30 minutes before they start to mix the paint to guarantee the pigment and texture isn’t stuck in the bottom of the can.
You can apply paint with a regular good quality paint brush. We recommend brushing with the grain of the wood for the most classic chalk paint finish, otherwise your brush strokes could look a bit funny after they have dried. Finer brushes tend to work better, and you want to make sure you have a big brush and a small one, so you can use the big one to cover large areas and the small one for tight corners.
Double check you have good coverage and haven’t missed anything, and then you can leave it overnight to dry. For a basic chalk paint finish, you can stop here.
How To Apply Wax To Chalk Paint
Each of these steps is incremental, so if you are looking to apply wax, you should have followed the prior steps. Wax will give your piece a smoother finish, and you should be looking for a “soft wax” at the store.
Using a cloth, gently apply the soft wax all over the piece, covering the item with a thin coat all over. Allow this to dry, and you will have a more modern satin-like finish which looks great and is quite robust as well.
If you’re looking for a more vintage look, then read on.
How To Distress Furniture With Chalk Paint
Probably the most popular chalk paint finish is the distressed vintage look, which enables you to create a worn but homey and friendly finish on your furniture. To do this finish, you’ll need to have first applied a coat of chalk paint, and then a coat of soft wax as described above.
Once the wax has dried, you can use some 220-grit sandpaper to carefully remove some of the paint and wax. The key here is to remove paint in natural locations, such as along the edges, and legs – natural places where paint could have worn away over time. Be careful to avoid going too crazy – it’s very easy to get carried away and over-distress your piece. If that happens, you will have to re-paint it and start again.
Once you have distressed it, you need to give the whole piece a wipe off with a damp cloth to remove any dust. You don’t want that getting trapped up under the final wax coat.
To finish the piece off, you’ll now use a cloth to apply a layer of dark wax. This will help give it a more aged look, and just tone down the chalkiness a little. You should apply it very thin, making sure you cover it all over. After that, give the piece a few days to dry before you start using it.
How To Get A Smooth Finish With Chalk Paint
To get a smooth finish with chalk paint you need to use wax. There are two types of wax you can use, and they will give you very different finishes.
Clear wax works best to create a more contemporary look, and works very well over white and lighter colors. You can apply it after letting the chalk paint dry overnight, by using a simple clean cloth.
Dark wax is your other option, which will give you a more vintage look. Remember this will darken the finish of whatever color you have used to paint it, so it might be worth testing the wax on a small area before you dive right in. Like the clear wax, you can rub a thin layer over your piece with a cloth. This approach works better with colors, as it can sometimes just make white chalk paint look dirty.