DIY Chalk Paint Tutorial

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You know when something sounds kind of exotic, so you talk yourself out of learning to do it for way too long? That’s how we felt about refinishing furniture with chalk paint . . . until we realized how ridiculously easy it is to work with. For the simplest painting tutorial in the history of painting tutorials, scroll on.

Before we get started, the big question: why use chalk paint? We’ve discovered a bunch of great reasons. First, it gives furniture a vintage look, with minimal energy and cost expenditure. Second, if you buy a good brand, like Annie Sloan, you’re getting an eco-friendly, low-VOC paint that won’t make you pass out from fume inhalation every time you walk by. Third, because the pigments used in chalk paint are so concentrated, a little goes a crazy-long way, and it actually ends up being just about as economical as latex paint. No joke.

The biggest draw for die-hard chalk painters, however, is ease of use. Chalk paint doesn’t require any sort of prep other than a good cleaning—so no sanding, solvents, priming, or sealing. Just brush it on, dry, repeat, and you’re done. So let’s get to it.

What You’ll Need

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Soft-bristle brush or clean rag

1 medium-width paintbrush, or 1 wide-width and 1 narrow-width, for getting into small areas

1–2 cans of chalk paint, depending on the size of the furniture

Optional: clear wax, wax brush, and a rag

How to Do It

1. Using a soft-bristle brush or a clean rag, clean dust and debris off your furniture piece. Start the first coat of chalk paint by brushing it on in one direction.

2. For thicker coverage, use a series of small x shapes to brush the paint on in all directions. Allow it to dry completely.

3. Cover one part of the surface of the furniture at a time—for example, the top, followed by the front, followed by the sides. Allow the first coat to dry completely.

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4. Repeat the process to add a second coat.

5. For a distressed look, use a fine-grit sandpaper to remove a bit of the paint in a few areas. Or simply work a thin layer of clear wax into the surface, and allow it to absorb for a few minutes. Wipe off the excess with a clean cloth. We actually prefer the way it looks sans wax, so that’s what you see here. Easy peasy.

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