How do I use chalk paint on raw wood?

by Vonnie

I have a wooden small drop leaf table that has no varnish or other coating on it. I want to try a project with chalk paint. What is the best way to go about it?

  5 answers
  • Em Em on Jun 21, 2019

    Just paint. Chalk paint needs no prep on MOST things unless they have a glossy finish. Then a light sanding is in order. I have painted over so many things with no preparation so a project with raw wood requires nothing more than for you to start.

  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on Jun 21, 2019

    Vonnie....My understanding with chalk paint is that you do not have to do anything but clean the item you want to paint and let it dry good before you begin if you get it that wet.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Jun 21, 2019

    Is the wood clean? If the surface is oily or has a lot of residue, try wiping it down with Odorless Mineral Spirits. What kind of wood is it? Many types of wood will have bleeding of the tannins when you use a water base paint on them....Here is info. on this------- If you’re working with new, untreated wood, you’ll need to apply clear shellac (knotting solution) to wood knots and open grains. This will block tannins that can bleed through the paint.

    On rare occasions, a stain may bleed through your first coat of paint – this is often from a previous oil-based finish and is most likely to happen on old pieces from the 1930s and 1940s.

    If you see a stain bleeding through the paint, apply a coat of clear shellac (knotting solution) directly over the paint you have already applied. Treat the whole affected surface to avoid any patchiness in the final finish. One or two coats of shellac applied evenly with a cloth pad will block the stain. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting! Additional info.------Certain types of wood and some water stains will bleed through paint; The Fix:

    If there’s just a small spot or two that’s bleeding, an easy fix it to spray it with a couple coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac. We love this stuff and always have it on hand. If it’s more than just a spot or two, or if I have a hunch before I get started that it’s going to bleed, I prime the entire piece with a paint-on primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye 123.

    Sometimes you don’t realize it’s going to be a bleeder until you already have a coat of paint on it and can see the stain seeping through. Not to worry, you can prime right over your existing coat of paint (both paint on and spray primers), then keep painting when your primer is dry. I typically do two coats of primer on bleeders, but every once in a while you’ll have a piece that needs more. & it needs sealed after the chalk paint too If you are working with oak it has a raised grain if you do not the lines/grain to show up(water base can cause them to raise more)you need to use grain filler or sealer first. here is some additional info.

  • Jessica Serrano-Gregg Jessica Serrano-Gregg on Jun 24, 2019

    I agree with all the above answers you’ve received. The idea behind chalk paint is to allow some of the beauty of the raw wood to show through if that’s the look you’re going for. I just make sure the surface is relatively smooth and clean as possible before applying chalk paint.

    I have done some projects where the wood just ate the chalk paint so I have had to prime it first... but with a spray can of primer, using a very light hand. That seemed to help a lot but it’s really a personal preference as to how you want the finished product to look.

    when I think “chalk paint” I automatically equate it with this:

    *Enhance woods raw and natural beauty



    *coastal and weather beaten

    *farmhouse shabby chic

    *no prep, easy to use, can manipulate by adding water or multiple coats and colors

    so that’s my two cents! Good luck and most importantly remember that there’s no mistakes when creating from ones heart!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 19, 2021


    Wax over the whole table (Clear or Antique). Or Polyurethane varnish?