How to Chalk Paint Furniture

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is a decorative furniture paint, which was developed by Annie Sloan in the UK over 25 years ago. It is very easy to use and rarely requires any preparation to the wood, such as sanding or stripping with no primer needed. Chalk paint by Annie Sloan is water based, therefore is non flammable and non toxic. There is a large range of colours to choose from and you can easily mix the colours together to extend the range to create a decorative look. Chalk paint can be used to up-cycle vintage furniture along with creating decorative effects on antique furniture. Upcycling furniture is extremely good for the environment as you are recycling, not buying new, therefore reducing your carbon footprint.

How to create the perfect Chalk Paint Finish on Furniture

Painting furniture with chalk paint can create stunning and unique designs. In our opinion Annie Sloan chalk paint is the best product available as it is very simple to use to create a superb finish. Here is a simple step by step guide to chalk paint furniture along with decorative effects it can produce.

  1. Before you start, it is important to make sure any repairs needed are completed. You can simply fill any defects in the wood using either a good wax filler stick for small dents or holes. You can also use a 2 part filler for larger areas and repairs needed.
  2. Masking tape around any areas such as glass, leather or any fabric / upholstery. This will make life easier and offer a neater finish.
  3. Remove any handles or hard-wear and put this in a safe place.
  4. Apply the chalk paint using a good quality brush. You can use a flat brush for a smoother finish look with less brush streaks or special chalk paint brush for a more textured aged look. This type of brush has stronger bristles with natural split ends, allowing you to paint expressively.
  5. Usually you can apply straight from the tin but if the paint is on the thick side, add a small amount of water to thin it down.  To thicken the paint, simply leave the lid off for short period of time.
  6. For best results, we always recommend to apply the paint in the direction of the grain of the wood in thin smooth coats.
  7. You usually need the minimum of two coats but more may be added if necessary.
  8. Drying times can vary due to temperature but usually it will be fully dry within 3-4 hours.
  9. Once a piece of furniture has been painted and fully dried there are different finishing methods you can achieve depending on what result you want. See below for all the different effects and finishing methods.

Chalk paint effects on furniture

There are different ways you can create special effects on wood furniture after painting.

Chalk Paint Stencils

Chalk Paint Stencils

Annie Sloan has created a large range of specially designed stencils that can be used to produce stunning decorative effects and themes to liven up your furniture. There are two different types of stencils. One is simply placed over the wood and taped down securely. You paint through your stencil with either a Sponge Roller or Stencil Brush to create your own unique design. The other can simply be stuck onto the wood as a Decoupage Paper.

Distressing with chalk paint

Distressing with Chalk Paint

Distressing a piece of furniture can be achieved by wearing through the paint, back to the bare wood in certain key areas like carvings, mouldings and other detailed areas. You do this by using a fine sanding pad to create an aged worn antique look. Another method could include the use of a crackle varnish to create a decorative crackly finish effect on the piece, making it look like it has been aged by years of sunlight.

Whitewash with chalk paint

Whitewash effect

Adding a whitewash look to your furniture can create a modern, light and clean effect whilst enhancing the appearance wood. You can create a whitewash effect with chalk paint although you can also use a liming wax like shown in our article ‘How to lime wood’. With chalk paint you need to first thin the paint substantially using water and apply the thinned paint by brushing it onto the grain. Before the paint has fully dried, wipe off any excess with a lint free cloth.  Then finish using Annie Sloan White Wax.

Gilt Effects

Gilt Effect on Chalk Paint

You can add decorative gilt effects to your furniture in several different ways. We have a large variety of Gilt restoration materials including Gilding and gold paint to add a metallic finish to your painted furniture. Annie Sloan also offers a Gilding Wax or transfer leaf, ideal for ornate carvings and mouldings. With the gilding wax apply using a Stencil or soft detailing brush. With the transfer leaf, you can gild larger surfaces. It is simply glued to the surface using a water based glue called gold size. Choose from Gold, Silver or Copper leaf.

Scumble Effects

scumble effects

Scumble effects is similar to the white wash effect but you are looking to achieve a grain effect with the paint. This was very popular on Pine furniture in the Victorian period to make it look like a quarter cut Oak grain. You would first choose a colour and apply this as a base coat. You would then use a slightly darker shade of paint but thinned down. This second coat would then be used to create a decorative grain effect.

Chalk paint Pro Tip Finishing Techniques

It is important to use a good quality beeswax or lacquer to seal and protect the paint finish and add durability. This can also produce a matt or a beautiful high sheen to the painted finish, depending on your choice. 

Wax for chalk paint

There are many different types of chalk paint wax available, that offer a good protection and seal the finish. If you are looking for a smooth, nice sheen then we would highly recommend Priory polishes clear wax. We have been finishing furniture for over 20 years and found this gives the best overall finish. On the first coat, add a thick coat to soak into the paint and then buff off the excess. Then add a thin second coat and buff immediately to a high sheen. The more coats added, the better the finish will be.

Annie Sloan also offer chalk paint wax in four different shades to add to the depth of the colour. They are in White, Clear, Dark or Black. This will seal and protect furniture, whilst the darker shades can highlight the strength of the colour.

Pearlescent Effect

If you are looking for a shiny, glitter like effect then there are two options. Annie Sloan offer a Pearlescent Glaze which is a water based finish that offers an eye catching finish. It produces a light reflecting decorative lustrous finish. Simply apply over the chalk paint or mix small amounts into the paint to highlight mouldings or carved areas.

You can also use Liberon decorative furniture wax, which comes in a range of seven different colours. It has been formulated with natural waxes and pigments to give iridescent reflections, a silky sheen while also nourishing the wood. It offers resistance to everyday stains (water, etc.) As it is in a paste form, it is very easy to apply.

Chalk Paint Lacquer

Annie Sloan offer a water based chalk paint lacquer that is a durable, hard-wearing varnish with UV protection. It offers a strong finish that will withstand everyday wear and tear, making it ideal for dining tables, coffee tables, kitchen cabinets, interior doors and outdoor furniture. It dries clear without yellowing over time. It is available in a Matt or Gloss finish.

Chalk Paint Colours

We offer all chalk paint colours from black graphite, light grey, green, blue, red, yellow and cream. Below is the full chalk paint colour chart by Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan Colour Chart

View our full range of Chalk Paint colours here:

Pure - Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Pure Chalk Paint

Original Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Original Chalk Paint

Old White Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Old White Chalk Paint

Chicago Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Chicago Grey Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Whistler Grey Swatch

Whistler Grey Chalk Paint

Paris Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Paris Grey Chalk Paint

Paloma Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Paloma Chalk Paint

Country Grey Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Country Grey Chalk Paint

French Linen Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

French Linen Chalk Paint

Athenian Black Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Athenian Black Chalk Paint

Graphite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Graphite Chalk Paint

Honfleur Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Honfleur Chalk Paint

Coco Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Coco Chalk Paint

Primer Red Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Primer Red Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Burgundy

Burgundy Chalk Paint

Emperors Silk Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Emperors Silk Chalk Paint

Scandinavian Pink Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Scandinavian Pink Chalk Paint

Antoinette Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Antoinette Chalk Paint

Capri Pink Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Capri Pink Chalk Paint

Emile Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Emile Chalk Paint

Rodmell Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Rodmell Chalk Paint

Old Violet Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Old Violet Chalk Paint

Louis Blue Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Louis Blue Chalk Paint

Greek Blue Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Greek Blue Chalk Paint

Napoleonic Blue Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint

Oxford Navy – Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Oxford Navy Chalk Paint

Aubusson Blue – Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint

Giverny Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Giverny Chalk Paint

Provence Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Provence Chalk Paint

svenska blue Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Svenska blue Chalk Paint

Duck Egg Blue Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint

Florence Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Florence Chalk Paint

Amsterdam Green Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Amsterdam Green Chalk Paint

Antibes Green Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Antibes Green Chalk Paint

Firle Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – 120ml

Firle Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Coolabah Green

Coolabah Green Chalk Paint

Olive Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Olive Chalk Paint

Chateau Grey Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – 120ml

Chateau Grey Chalk Paint

Versailles Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Versailles Chalk Paint

English Yellow Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

English Yellow Chalk Paint

Cream Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Cream Chalk Paint

Old Ochre Sloan Chalk Paint

Old Ochre Chalk Paint

Tilton Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Tilton Chalk Paint

Arles Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Arles Chalk Paint

Barcelona orange Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Barcelona Orange Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint furniture ideas

Victorian kitchen dresser base

Here is an example of a Victorian kitchen dresser base, we painted the base in Aubusson blue and used a dark wax finish. On the top we, stained and waxed to enhance the natural colour of the Mahogany. We also stained and waxed the drawer handles to match giving this a beautiful contrast.

Chalk Painted Bookcase

On this antique bookcase, it was in a sorry state and so we decided to up-cycle to a superb painted finish using Old Ochre. We did some distressing on the columns, around the moulded edges and feet with a sanding pad. We then finished using a clear finishing wax to a high sheen.

Chalk Painted Sideboard

This vintage sideboard would be painted using a warm, mustard yellow shade like Tilton. Then stencils would be used to highlight the corners of the drawers and cupboard door. The finish would be aged using a darker chalk paint wax to add a slight tint to the shade giving it more of a charm and character look.

Chalk Paint on Cabinet

On this vintage cabinet we did several processes to create this wonderful look. First, we painted the cabinet in Greek Blue and smoothed using a sanding pad. We then stripped the top and waxed this to its natural Mahogany colour. We waxed using a clear finishing wax and used a pearlised wax to highlight the embossed areas and gilded the Egyptian carved details.

Chalk Paint chest of drawers

This Vintage chest was painted using Old White Chalk Paint. It has no pink or yellow in the colour so ideal as we wanted to keep this a crisp white shade. We waxed this to a high sheen as we wanted a more modern shiny feel. The rococo handles add a really stunning contrast on the white background.

Chalk paint on bathroom Table

This table was for use in a bathroom as a washstand so we had to add a water resistant finish. First we painted using a mix of Versailles and Cream to create this nice mellow colour. We painted the handles in a Athenian Black to make an ebonised feel and then we sealed the entire piece with the chalk paint lacquer.

chalk paint chairs

With this pair of chairs, you would need to create a paint effect that would compliment the original tapestry fabric. The paint colour on the chairs would be in a Country Grey and highlight all the decorative details with Annie Sloan Gilding Wax. With a slight wear to create an antique feel, we think this would work perfectly. Then you would finish by sealing the paint using the chalk paint wax.


Can chalk paint be used on metal?

Yes this paint is not only for wood but can be used on most metals. You simply apply in the same way as you would with any piece of furniture. With Metal, apply very thin coats (sometimes watered down) and I would always test a small area first to ensure it is suitable. Some very shiny metals like stainless steel may not have the same effect or you may have to apply several thin coats to get a build of paint.

Is chalk paint waterproof?

Chalk paint is water resistant when you apply a lacquer. It is not fully waterproof and so should not be used on surfaces that are exposed to lots of water and rain.

Can chalk paint be used on outdoor furniture?

Chalk paint can be used on exterior outside garden furniture. It must be sealed in a lacquer to make it water resistant but it is best not to leave your garden furniture outdoors when not in use.  If chalk painted furniture is left outside in bad weather, it can eventually wash off with the rain.

Can chalk paint be used for walls?

Yes, This Paint can be used for walls; it will offer a lovely textured matt finish. Simply use quality paint brush to apply to the walls and this will add to the unique texture of the paint finish. You can then either leave it in a matt finish or add a coat of wax to add a little sheen and some protection. Annie Sloan also offer a wall paint and we can order this in if required. Please email or call us with any requirements and we can assist you where necessary.

Can chalk paint be used on plastic?

Yes, Chalk paint can be used on plastic, this is why it is such a popular paint as it is so versatile. Like with metals, you need to apply this in thin coats, usually watered down slightly. You may need to add several coats to get your desired finish and then add a layer of wax or Lacquer to seal.

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