These easy chalk painting tips for beginners will provide you with a better understanding of the process and get you started on the creative journey of painting furniture with chalk paint.
The great thing about chalk paint is that it’s very easy to use and can be applied to wood, metal, plastic, fabric, ceramic, or glass and requires almost zero prep work and no priming.
#1 Chalk paint is a furniture paint that's designed to adhere to most surfaces which generally means there is no sanding required before you start painting your furniture.
#2 Chalk paint spreads easily so you can update your furniture piece quickly with little to no prep worked.
#3 Chalk paint dries quickly to a matte finish and is extremely versatile. It easily distresses and depending on how you apply it, it can give you a smooth, blended or textured paint finish.
For those new to chalk painting we recommend that your first project not be something that has a high sentimental and/or personal value to you. Take the time to play around with your brushes and paint while getting the basic techniques down before tackling a bigger and more personal project. An end or side table, dresser or better yet something you get for free that you found on the side of the road or picked up cheap at a thrift store. Watch Tutorial
If you have difficulty finding beauty in the imperfections then chalk painting is not for you. You cannot be a perfectionist and use chalk paint, because perfection is not what you should be aiming towards. Chalk painting is about creating and capturing those natural and vintage textures that transform a dull and ordinary piece of furniture into a personal treasure. It’s about having fun, being creative and willing to experiment.
With any natural bristle brush you will have some brush strokes, especially when using a heavier paint like chalk paint. It inherently gives you that old World vintage charm, look and feel. Many of those things are based on the textures that you create with paint using a natural bristle brush. It gives you the ability to create amazing and unique pieces using various painting techniques (Cross-Hatch, Feather, Stipple, Dry Brushing, Wash). Watch Tutorial
If you’re looking for a smoother finish then we recommend thinning the paint by adding water to the paint or wetting the tip of your brush with water before you dip it into the paint.
ARTICLE: Read our simple to understand "How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint" guide and start painting like a seasoned DIYer in no time.
Keeping the tips of your bristles moist will help them be more pliable and gentle as they lay down the paint. We also recommend feathering. Feathering is a painting technique that is going to help smooth out most of the paint strokes. With very light pressure and your brush angled up (not straight up and down), lightly brush over the paint smoothing out those heavy strokes. Watch Feathering Tutorial
For the first coat we recommend adding a little water to thin out the paint. Don’t try to make it look perfect otherwise the paint will be too thick, slow to dry, and potentially cause unwanted peeling and/or cracking later down the road. Apply a thin coat of paint over the surface area and don’t be alarmed if it looks a bit patchy. The first coat never looks good and that is perfectly normal. Let it dry for roughly 45 minutes to 2 hours and then begin applying your 2nd coat. Most projects will require at least 3 coats but this is dependent on the look and feel you want and overall surface coverage.
Since I can’t see what your painting I honestly have no idea. In most cases a single quart of paint has a coverage of roughly 140 sq/ft. Since you will likely being adding more than one coat of paint you’ll have to do some math on your part. Chalk paint spreads out quite smoothly and a little goes a long ways so a quart should be enough for a few medium to small projects. Watch Tutorial
Also known as a sealant, it’s used to seal and protect your painted furniture piece. It’s not a required step but recommended if you want to protect the finish longer. It’s especially recommended if it will be placed in a high use area of your home. Watch Detailed Overview
Available in multiple colors ranging from clear to dark. Wax works exceptionally well with chalked paints because the paint is so porous and will absorb a lot of the top coat. Wax enhances and deepens the color and gives the piece a nice matte sheen. Waxes can be applied using a wax brush or a lint free cloth. We recommend applying a thin coat. After the wax has dried you can apply additional coats for better protection. Wax is very durable and water resistant. It’s generally the first choice as a top coat sealant. Watch Tutorial
Polyurethane & Polycrylic
Both work well as top coats and are available with a matte, semi-gloss, gloss, or satin finish. We strongly recommend using a water-based over an oil-based. Oil-based top coats tend to cast a yellowing tint more noticeable on lighter colors. Polyurethane are available in both a water- or oil-based versions while Polycrylic are solely water-based and the preferred between the two types. They can be applied with either a bristle or foam brush, roller, or spray. We recommend applying a thin layer and let dry. Additional layering is recommended for added protections. Ideal for use in areas that may get wet or have lots of spills (i.e. kitchens). Watch Tutorial
Chalk paint will generally dry within a couple of hours but we recommend waiting 24 hour before putting in to gentle use. It will take roughly 30 days to cure in its entirety. Since every brand has a slightly different curring period, we recommend getting the information directly from the manufacturer.
DIY Deanna does a great job going over the basics in this step-by-step, easy to follow tutorial.
~ DIY Deanna
You'll love the textured patterns that you can create with chalk paint and the right paint brush. It gives you the creative freedom to apply an entirely different look and feel to every project: Shabby Chic to Traditional Country Farmhouse to Rustic and Old World Vintage Charm.
CROSS-HATCHGives you a that faux linen look. Brush strokes should be up-and-down (vertical) and side-to-side (horizontal). Let the paint dry between varying strokes.
FEATHERINGFor a smoother finish apply very light bristle pressure and gently brush over the paint smoothing out those heavy strokes.
STIPPLINGAdds physical dimension with low peaks and valleys by painting heavily in a small area and followed up by dabbing the area with the tip of the bristles.
DRY-BRUSHAdds a visual dimension using the existing underneath finish. Lightly dip the brush tips with paint removing any excessive paint, then lightly brushing the paint over the surface area.
WASHDisplays a veil of color over the existing color finish (i.e. barn wood effect). Thin paint by diluting with water. Apply over the surface and wipe off using a lint-free cloth.
BLENDBlending adds dimension and character where 2+ colors meet by lightly moving the paint into the other color. Mist the bristles with water to assist blending the colors.
Definition: give simulated marks of age and wear
For achieving an authentic traditional look it’s important to think about the areas that would likely receive the most wear and tear from daily and extended use. Generally those areas would be edges, corners, high spots, and horizontal areas. Watch Tutorial
Overview: Using a medium (150) to fine (220) grit sand paper or sanding block, apply light pressure to the surface area. You can always go back and distressed those areas with more sanding as needed. You’ll want to hit those edges, corners and high spots that would naturally be affected from normal use to achieve the aged look. If you do happen to make a mistake you can easily touch up the area with more paint.STEPS
Overview: This technique is ideal when layering colors. It can be used to create a more natural looking worn effect. Wet distress works best after the second layer of paint color has been applied and dry to the touch (30-90 minutes). You’ll need a bucket of water and a lint-free cloth or scouring pad. The cloth should be wet, but not soaking/dripping wet. Gently rub the cloth across the surface in a back-and-forth motion with a little pressure at first and then apply more if needed to remove paint. You can distress the edges as well as the flat surfaces for the worn effect you desire.STEPS
THE 'RESIST' TECHNIQUE
Overview: For the this technique you’ll want to use a natural (bee) wax, petroleum jelly, or candle wax. When applied to painting surface areas it will act as a resistance to the paint. For a natural look you will first want to apply or rub some of the edges, corners and raised surface spots. The wax is going to resist the second layer of paint in those places and the paint will come off easily when you begin lightly distressing with a wet cloth or sanding block. If you make a mistake and applied to much to a specific area you can use Mineral Spirits on a lint-free cloth to remove the excess.STEPS
Another easy to follow tutorial on distressing by DIY Deanna.
~ DIY Deanna
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