Chalk paint

I have seen quite a bit about chalk paint recently and I do really like the colors. What my question is-what makes it so different? Why do you need to wax it? I'm not sure (every project I see done with the chalk paint is really cool) I really get it. How is it better over regular paint from Home Depot?
q chalk paint, chalk paint, painting
  39 answers
  • Waysouth Waysouth on Oct 01, 2013
    I'm so glad you posted this question, hoping to see lots of expert replies. I have read here that there is minimal preparation before painting, but I also read on someone's blog, forget where, that if chipped it will peel off. Never seen that big minus mentioned before, users all seem so enthusiastic about it.

    • Carole Carole on Oct 01, 2013
      @Waysouth I have not used it myself, but I think the chipping off is why you need to wax it? You want some to chip perhaps to give that aged look, but you certainly don't want the whole lot peeling off! Does anyone know the answer as I too am curious!

  • GranArt GranArt on Oct 01, 2013
    side note: LOVE THE DOG!!! what a cutie.

  • Chalk paint contains a high amount of Calcium Carbonate. This is the filler that makes it thick but easy to sand. But, it also effects the durability. If it is easy to sand, it is easy to remove. So, you cannot have it both ways (durable AND easy to manipulate) That is why they tell you that you need to wax it. Wax is one of the most difficult materials to paint over and get good adhesion. In fact, to get some of those worn looks, I will use wax as a RESIST in between coats so that my next layer peels off easily in places. So, when top coated with wax, any changes in the future are more difficult. It is marketed to the DIYer that is interested in skipping steps to get that worn look and does not know how to achieve it using standard paint products. My experience tells me that you cannot skimp on the prep. They say that you do not need to prime. But, you DO need to clean and sand the surface which in my mind is still the most labor intensive part of the process. IMO, It is fine for a piece of furniture that doesn't get much use. But for kitchen cabinets, I would never use it. It has not been around long enough to pass the longevity test. I prefer to use more durable products that give the same effect and I know will last for years. My reputation as a professional depends on it. Here are a couple of photos that show how standard latex paint products and good top coats/ sealers can be manipulated to give that worn look. These projects are over 7 years old and started out as white. They look as good today as the day I left. You can see more projects on my website

  • The Shabby Nest The Shabby Nest on Oct 02, 2013
    The great thing about chalk paint is no sanding or priming! Which in my business saves a lot of time! You don't have to wax. You can put poly over it. I would strongly suggest you put something be it wax or poly on it to protect the paint. If you are just painting projects for yourself I could see buying regular latex paint though.

  • Shabby Paints Shabby Paints on Oct 02, 2013
    Hi Gillian, Chalk Paint is used to describe a prominent ingredient that has been used in paint since the caveman drawings. Some companies use a high amount of chalk to achieve a flat finish look. One important thing about the "chalked paint" is it provides the right surface to distress edges for an aged (distressed) look with out peeling like you would get with a latex paint. If you look at European furniture for many many years this is the most popular finish you will see. Now I can't speak for other companies because they like to sue for saying certain words but I can speak about Shabby Paints "Chalked Paint' Our paint gives Flat finish while still being smooth while not requiring any priming or sanding. With new technology and superior resins we have developed that finish with out the prep. This is better from what you get from Home Depot because 1. It is made for furniture. 2. It isn't latex or toxic so safe to use around your family and pets. 3. It doesn't peel when you distress 4. It works well outside with no extra treatment. 5. It will adhere better because it has higher quality resins 6. It covers more than regular latex paints making it more affordable. 7. It is Hypoallergenic 8. $29.99 a quart and that covers over 150 Sq ft in one to two coat coverage vs. household latex only covering 100 sq ft. but they usually require more than two coats to cover. I could go on..but I won't :) Now Wax..that is toxic stuff we don't mess with, it has to be reapplied almost yearly to protect. I'm highly allergic. We developed a product called VAX that you brush on let dry it hardens in minutes to protect your furniture regardless of your climate. If you are new to it you haven't developed the hate for waxing and good for you :) If you ever have any questions feel free to message me. Good luck on your Paint journey..Paint Safe..Shannon

  • Kar212485 Kar212485 on Oct 02, 2013
    All of this answers a Lot of questions! My primary question was the waxing over the paint. I couldn't understand that. Living with hardwood floors before, I grew an aversion to WAX and buffing and cleaning and....ugh..I didn't want that sticky/gummy on the furniture. In Missouri it's humid, even can be in the winter. So, on to using Latex like I have for years and questions answered and Thank you!

  • Margaret Dillard Margaret Dillard on Oct 02, 2013
    I know you just wanted to know why wax? I will tell you the BEST quality about chalk paint verses latex. NO prep,sanding first etc. Just wipe your piece clean and paint. You can wax or seal with a water based sealant. THAT'S IT!!!

  • Waysouth Waysouth on Oct 02, 2013
    No, I certainly won't be finishing with wax. And (dare I say) as I'm not very keen on the distressed look, wouldn't need to use it at all. Think I will give it a try on some garden containers to see how it goes, finishing with varnish.

  • Gillian Gillian on Oct 03, 2013
    Thank you all do much for the feedback. I do love the chalk paint look. @Kass Wilson-awesome pictures! @Shabby Paints- thank you for your response!

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Oct 03, 2013
    Waxing seals it, but you can also seal it with a sealer. I do this to almost all my pieces. I love chalk paint, if it is a highly used piece, or sits out side the painted piece also needs to be sealed. You can seal over the wax and I haven't ever noticed a big difference. The curing time on most....if I am wrong forgive me is 30 days. On some waxes the curing time is 6 months. And it will need to be re-sealed periodically. Saying that my coffee table is sealed with wax and I never use coasters and it has held up perfectly. My table on the other hand was the first piece I ever did and the sealer left rings. Because I didn't cure it. Hope this helps. Have fun with it because it is fun! What is even more fun we have so many choices anymore for paint and painting furniture. Try different kinds and find out what you like the best.

  • Anne Anne on Oct 03, 2013
    There have been posts showing patio pillows redone successfully with chalk paint. Can it also be used on cushions for patio chairs?

  • Jan Fusco Jan Fusco on Oct 03, 2013
    I wax my pieces too. And it needs to cure for 30 days or chipping and scratching will happen.

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    • Linda Linda on Feb 06, 2015
      @Jan Fusco Thank you Jan. I have a piece I'd like to try this on but am new at all of this and don't want to do it wrong.

  • Curtain Lady Design Curtain Lady Design on Oct 03, 2013
    Yes, chalk paint doesn't require stripping the furniture- it adheres to the furniture as is. You can paint it right on and then sand it to get the smooth finish and wax to seal and buff. It is easy to make your own using latex paint and unsanded grout. Many recipes are online. You can achieve any color that way. The commercial ones are rather pricey- for what it is. It takes about a cup to paint a piece of furniture- depending on size of course- we mix it as needed for the quart of latex paint. I have never painted much because of the prep work that was required- and now I just jump right in with the chalk paint and the transformation is easy!!! Good luck!

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    • Kathleen Walsh Kathleen Walsh on Feb 16, 2015
      @Cheri Thank you i want to change the bottom and put new legs on them .After I finish I'll send you results

  • Sharon W Sharon W on Oct 03, 2013
    The chalk paint goes on so easily with no prep. Waxing seals it but you can get different effects with using the clear then the dark wax. Look at some Annie Sloan tutorials on-line. Great techniques & you get all kinds of ideas for projects etc.

    • Kathleen Walsh Kathleen Walsh on Feb 16, 2015
      @Sharon W How do you feel about clear wax or dark wax .Please tell me the difference

  • Wally R Wally R on Oct 03, 2013
    I have found the Annie Sloan paints very easy to use and (so far) well accepted on outdoor projects. I've used it on a wood bench and a picnic table & benches last Spring. they look great after a Summer of lots of rain, sun, heat and humidity here ion the Panhandle of Florida. And all I did to "prep" was wipe them off. I can 't say anything about using them professionally, but the woman who sells the paint & taught a workshop I attended, uses it on everything, professionally, and has had good results for many years. I just think it is very easy to use!

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    • Kathleen Walsh Kathleen Walsh on Feb 16, 2015
      @Jill B Ty that is good to know about chalk paint !

  • Amberjane622 Amberjane622 on Oct 03, 2013
    I just finished my first chalk paint project using a diy chalk paint recipe. I was terrified I wouldn't do it right. I am sure my way was not perfect, but it got the job done. I didn't use wax, but the water based poly. My advice, just try it. The diy version is not expensive to make.

  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Oct 03, 2013
    My comment would be GO FOR IT! I just made my own chalk paint this morning with the sample bottles of paint you can get at Lowes or Home Depot. Then I painted a sofa table I have had for about seven years. The bottom was red and the top is the color of buttermilk. It turned out gorgeous (if I do say so myself). My first project and I love it. You can't mess it up....

  • Beverly Zukowski Beverly Zukowski on Oct 03, 2013
    I wanted to paint my bathroom cupboards white, (they are now brown) would chalk paint work?

  • Pamela Pamela on Oct 03, 2013
    Gillian....I don't have an answer for you about the chalk paint. I am just admiring your big blonde baby snoozing for the camera! What a handsome fellow he is...or maybe it is a beautiful gal? Either way, a gorgeous dog!!!

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Oct 04, 2013
    What an informative post! Thanks everyone. So, do I understand this correctly..the chalK paint will chip if it is not sealed either with wax or poly? And if I use WAX it has to cure for a long time? Is this correct? And Does that mean you cant use the piece while curing?

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    • Jill B Jill B on Feb 16, 2015
      I think it would be fine Kathleen.....just know that darker colors tend to show fingerprints more. Would look beautiful though.

  • Gillian Gillian on Oct 05, 2013
    Thanks for the nice comments about our girl Luna! She is a big bundle of love in a 40 pound package! We think she's a Brittany/lab mix. She has 10 puppies right before we adopted her. Honestly she is the sweetest dog ever!

  • Pat Dollar Pat Dollar on Oct 05, 2013
    Chalk Paint® is different. It is not paint with chalk added to it. It is not chalkboard paint. It is not made by adding plaster of Paris or grout or even baking soda to an existing paint. Chalk Paint® is the unique decorative paint developed by Anne Sloan for furniture, floors and walls, drawing on a lifetime of research and experience in working with paint and color.

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    • Kathleen Walsh Kathleen Walsh on Feb 16, 2015
      @Pat Dollar Thank's for that information

  • Wally R Wally R on Feb 28, 2014
    I just cleaned the dirt off the table & benches & painted them with the Annie Sloan paint (Barn Red, I think). It has gone through the very unusual winter we had here in the Panhandle of FL with freezing rain & ice covering them a couple of times --along with lots of rain, and they still look good. I didn't wax or seal them--really no need to unless you want a little "shine" on the piece. Hope that helps!

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    • Jan Fusco Jan Fusco on Feb 19, 2015
      @Wally R I'm from Ft. Walton Beach too. How bout that.

  • Kimberly Wood Kimberly Wood on Feb 28, 2014
    I do make my own chalk paint and it turns out the same way as expensive chalk paints. Also the benefit of creating your own colors with any latex paint. I use a 220 grit to lightly sand then use wax to bring out the color painted. Very pretty! here is a recipe I use to make it.....Plaster of Paris (bought at Hobby Lobby)1 cup Latex Paint 2 ½ T. Plaster of Paris 1 ½ T. Cold Water Mix plaster of Paris and water. Stir until all of the clumps are gone. Mix latex paint into Plaster of Paris mixture. Stir until completely smooth. This will go far as it is thick and smooth! Good luck with your projects ;) (note: You can also use Meguiar's Gold Class Carnauba Plus Paste Car Wax ....instead of the expensive wax as well)

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    • Kathleen Walsh Kathleen Walsh on Feb 16, 2015
      @Kimberly Wood Good information ty

  • Tonya Tonya on Feb 05, 2015
    I love Luna, I bet she us very spoiled. At least I hope so....OK, back to the paint, I plan on doing my kitchen cabinets...wish me luck :)

  • Shabby Paints Shabby Paints on Feb 09, 2015
    I use Shabby Paints. The chalk and or our Shimmer paints work great on fabric.

  • Kathleen Walsh Kathleen Walsh on Feb 11, 2015
    Thank's when I finish I'll post them !

  • Ssg1151632 Ssg1151632 on Feb 17, 2015
    Helped my sis paint an old jewelry box with Anne S chalk paint we put on three coats & it still didn't cover well at all, looked like it was white washed the color was a pink. I just didn't care for the end result. Would use reg cheap paint ( my personal experiences).

  • JBug JBug on Feb 17, 2015
    Let me see if I understand this correctly....if "handling" items a great deal...such as kitchen cabinets...then first, degrease, second do chalk painting and then wax...correct? How much drying time does one need between painting and waxing? This is not for someone that hates to paint...but if the results are GREAT then it might be worth it.

  • GabbyinPa. GabbyinPa. on Feb 19, 2015
    You don't "have" to wax it, I've used a water based polyurethane on pieces that were being heavily used. Go with a low luster finish, as close to dull as possible.

  • Jill Drake Jill Drake on Feb 22, 2015
    I have also read that when paint chalking,say a kitchen, to use wax after? Like the person that asked the question, I'm confuddled too lol....if the chalk paint is expensive. Why buy it, I do know that you can make your own chal paint, but for me, I know I'd make a disaster of that, I love doing DIY but not having to make the stuff......I hear it's lots cheaper, but what else does it do that's different from Matte paint that we buy? Thanks 😀

  • Jill Drake Jill Drake on Feb 22, 2015
    I meant to add, that I know it's easier to use chalk paint to make stuff look old, but a lady did her whole kitchen cabinets in chalk paint, then waxed them, they looked beautiful, but they looked New, not shabby chic, or worn looking, looked like a brand new kitchen, from brown wood cabinets to a stunning white chalk paint kitchen and then waxed......still confuddled lol

  • Jill Drake Jill Drake on Feb 22, 2015
    PS love your Doggy

  • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Mar 25, 2015
    Your dog is precious, I bet she is dreaming sweet dreams!

  • Pg Pg on Jun 28, 2015
    I always heard that the point of using chalk paint, is that you do not need to strip prior finishes off the furniture before refinishing with chalk paint.

  • Paula Paula on Oct 24, 2016
    Is wax necessary? I think it is toxic , but not sure.

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    • Paula Paula on Oct 25, 2016
      Thank you so much for the info. I have other related questions. We have a table that needs brie wax. I cannot use it . I know there is a food grade wax but I cannot seem to find it locally. Is there anything else you would suggest? Maybe you also know the answer to this question. The finish used to create the waxed look of old English oak furniture done in lighter shades. I know the wax used for this effect is most likely something I cannot tolerate. Do you have any other suggestions? Companies such a Benjamen Moore are good for paints but do not seem to have as much knowledge concerning these situations. Thanks again

  • Pg Pg on Oct 25, 2016
    Actually, this is a question. How is wax toxic? It comes from bees. They even top honey with it, in some cases, to keep the air out before opening. People even eat honeycombs, right? Is it that often the wax used has additives which make it toxic? Just really wondering.

    • Shabby Paints Shabby Paints on Oct 26, 2016
      Very little of your furniture wax comes from bees, it is full of chemicals..typical furniture wax has chemicals like benzene and toluene type carcinogens.

  • Pg Pg on Oct 26, 2016
    Oh my goodness! I guess candle wax has toxins as well? Benzene is, according to a college chemistry professor I had, the most toxic substance on earth, and toluene is almost as bad.

  • Pg Pg on Oct 27, 2016
    I guess the safety depends on how often you are around the burning candles. This is what I was able to find online: Occupational safety People can be exposed to paraffin in the workplace by breathing it in, skin contact, and eye contact. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set a recommended exposure limit (REL) for paraffin wax fume exposure of 2 mg/m3 over an 8-hour workday.[27]