Asked on Jan 13, 2017

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Failure - What do I do now?

Gail Willson
by Gail Willson
My intention for this beautiful mahogany dresser was paint or stain the top in a dark colour and to paint the body and drawers white.

The top has turned out the way I wanted, but not the rest of it. I have already applied three coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in 'Pure White' but it has yellowed and the drawers are particularly bad with the previous finish bleeding through.

I did not prime the dresser before starting this project because you are supposed to be able to use this paint without priming or sanding.

Should I apply primer to it now and then do another coat or two of the chalk paint or should I paint the drawers the same colour as the top?

( I used Fusion Mineral paint in 'Chocolate' for the top and I am very happy with the results.)
This is one of the drawers. Unfortunately, the bleeding doesn't show up very well.
Close-up of the drawer.
  18 answers
  • Denise Wogisch Denise Wogisch on Jan 14, 2017

    My daughter is doing her kitchen cabinets in Annie Sloane paints. She found that she needed to shellac prime them. That worked great

  • Fauxgal Fauxgal on Jan 14, 2017

    The problem is tannin bleed-through. Only shellac can stop it.

    Sand them a little, then put 2 coats of shellac primer on, (BIN at Home Depot is one) letting it sit overnight between each coat and lightly sand between the coats so that when you touch it, it is not bur-y.

    Once the shellac is dry, you will need to sand the piece again to smooth it out. Wipe it down with alcohol on a cloth to remove the dust. The paint it. It should be fine then.

    Chalk paint can be used without priming, but you have to know your surface. IF it is a wood that has strong tannins, or IF the surface is excessively greasy or dirty, you should clean well first and then prime. And with all paint projects, the failsafe is a primer even if you think you don't need one.

  • C C on Jan 14, 2017

    What you have is tannis bleeding through. This is common in vintage/antique pieces... especially mahogany. You need to seal it with Shellac or Zinser BIN primer, then you can paint it again. You will need to apply 2 coats of shellac... then 2 coats of AS paint. If you are planning to distress it.... I would recommend sanding/washing before applying the shellac. Don't forget that chalk/clay based paints need to be sealed.... either with wax or polycrylic.

    {P.S. This bleed through would have happened with latex paint as well}

  • Kathy Allen Kathy Allen on Jan 14, 2017

    Can't go wrong with Bin or Kilz first before painting anything

  • Karen Rae Lvine Karen Rae Lvine on Jan 14, 2017

    Yep, bleed through and you need to shellac first. It happens. It's going to look great so don't get frustrated ""Chalk" it up to learning experience 😉

  • Gail Willson Gail Willson on Jan 14, 2017

    Thanks for your advice everyone. You have saved me from making the same mistake on other furniture pieces I plan to work on.

    I am off to Lowe's to buy some BIN primer.

    • Mia Mia on Jan 24, 2017

      Hope you still have time to buy 'Ammonia' and 'Natural Spirits' to clean the drawers, in the order mentioned, before applying the primer.

  • Red8098811 Red8098811 on Jan 16, 2017

    Why would anyone want to paint that beautiful wood .?

    • See 3 previous
    • Pre52796984 Pre52796984 on Feb 15, 2023

      As someone who restores wood, I respect WHY many DIYers opt to paint their wood furniture. Someone’s lack of time, money or restoration skills shouldn’t keep them from fully enjoy their furniture when paint is a viable option. Kudos to all who choose to restore, repair, rejuvenate or upcycle furniture.

  • Fauxgal Fauxgal on Jan 17, 2017

    The chalk paint is not the failure. Just sand it a bit and start priming with the BIN or other shellac product. Then follow the procedure I outlined before. I'm sorry you experienced this, but having experience and knowledge is one reason why people hires professionals. I have been in this business for more than 20 years. You learn a lot by mistakes and problems, and I've had and learned a few. :D

  • Mary Langner Mary Langner on Jan 18, 2017

    If you can get by without sanding mahogany you will be better off. I always say prime everything! How about painting a darker color. Another tip I tell everyone, always read the direction on any finish you apply. Directions can change over the lifetime of a favored product. I once had a whole painted surface lift off because I hadn't sprayed it in the time frame on the can. An older can of the same product had different directions. Good luck and have fun.

  • Gypsy Gypsy on Jan 21, 2017

    I have a Thomasville armoire, dresser and nightstand in perfect condition. It's 24 years old and selling it would never come close to what I bought it for. And if sold, I would have to buy some furniture to replace it.

    Being tired of it I decided to paint it.

    For all those of you who think good furniture shouldn't be painted, think how happy someone will be in the future when they find these pieces and refinish them to their original glory.

    That's why.

    • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Jan 22, 2017

      Try telling that to my husband. I also love natural wood but you tire of it and want a change. He would rather donate piece as if whoever buys it wouldn't paint it, go figure. What's the big deal about this chalk paint ? The no prep work? And does it feel like a chalk board or is it nice a smooth to the touch finish?

  • Tea Tree Tea Tree on Jan 22, 2017

    Why would anyone paint wood floors? I would do it in a heartbeat. Just to try something that doesn't look like every other house on the block seems worth the experiment. I'm in my third house. First one, honey colored wood floors. Second house, white oak. Now, I don't know what this is... but it's dark and all I do is clean it. Makes me hate my house. I like the idea of lighting sanding them and then painting them. If anyone has recommendations of brands that are durable, please let me know!

  • Debbie Derby Rider Debbie Derby Rider on Jun 12, 2017

    I have a similar situation. Re-doing a beat up old dresser for our granddaughter. This is my first time using chalk paint. I've followed the directions. Lightly sanded some blems off the surface. Applied about 3 coats of chalk paint. Everything was going fine until I applied the wax. Looked at it several hours after applying the was and it looks like it has water spots. Looks like the original finish bled through. Since I'm new to this I didn't think that would happen. Starting over.

  • Gail Willson Gail Willson on Mar 02, 2018

    Haven't tried that but I am in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets with Benjamin Moore's Advance paint. It is an oil-base paint that cleans up with water (no exaggeration) and it goes on beautifully. It also cures very quickly and has no odour. I love it.

    I am using the pearl finish. It has just a touch of sheen and will be very easy to clean.

    It's a wee bit expensive but worth every penny, and far, far cheaper than new cabinets. I bought a gallon but I think I could probably have gotten away with two quarts to do all the cabinets.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Mar 02, 2018

    Too bad that people use chalk paint without understanding the limitations of it. It is attractive because it supposedly needs no preparation. NOt always true. It is not for high use areas like kitchens. Some wood does need to be primed first. If waxed, it needs to be rewaxed yearly.

  • Mo Mo on Oct 11, 2018

    Would the bleed through still happen if AS Paris Grey were used instead of Pure White? I'm having the same problem with tannins showing through and don't have time to shellac twice overnight; could switch to AS Grey faster. Any thoughts?

  • Hello everyone! Dixie Belle Paint is a chalk based paint as well. We can not officially use the term "chalk Paint" because Annie Sloan copyrighted that term. Hence, we call our paint chalk mineral paint. We do boast the same claim that there is NO sanding, priming, or even waxing with Dixie Belle Paint. That is for MOST pieces of furniture, kitchen cabinets etc.

    However, in real life there are always exceptions. One is mahogany and other problems pieces that have tannin, nicotine, shiny slippery surfaces etc....

    That is why we invented a couple of products that will eliminate any issues. One is called BOSS....This is in clear or white. It stands for Blocks Odors, Stains and Stops bleed thru. If you use this on a piece that you are not familiar with or could potentially bleed through this will stop it.

    Also, we have a product called "Slick Stick" which is another problem solver. Many people mistake laminate for real wood. It a lot of times will be slippery or a slick surface. Use one or two coats first and our paint will stick to anything including glass, tiles etc.

    Our paint does NOT need to be sealed with anything. It has a beautiful finish and if you use a finishing pad and a gentle buff, it is smooth as silk and NOT chalky.

    Please remember....not all chalk type paints are created equal. There is MANY things that go into making chalk type paints and it is really worth trying out different ones.

    Going back to the original question. Yes, the bleed thru would have happened to any type of paint. If it does, the minute you see it happening, stop and seal with our BOSS or any other type of primer that you like.

    And to answer MO, yes, it will happen to other colors as well.

    Hope that helps and if you ever need more info about Dixie Belle join our FB group or follow us on FB. We have a wealth of knowledge, tutorials etc.

    Hope that helps!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 02, 2022

    Give it a coat of Stain Blocker and then re-paint.