How to Chalk Paint Furniture The Easy Way

SandraAugust 18, 2021

DIY’ing is in my blood, I grew up watching my father do projects around the house as a kid, so I’ve always been intrigued by DIY’ing. It can be intimidating to take on large projects for your home but I’m here to encourage you every step of the way! Painting furniture is a great way to start DIYing. It’s a simple way to update a piece that is a bit outdated or just needs a facelift.

Being able to reuse what we already have in our home and make it look better is one of the main reasons you’ll fall in love with DIY projects. For those who are committed to reusing, and making things look prettier, paint furniture!

This guide is a good opportunity to read how an old piece of furniture can once again become a valuable piece in your home (or an office in this case 😉). So let’s dive into the guide on how to chalk paint furniture. 

What Started the Chalk Paint Journey
The accident that started my chalk paint journey in the office

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Why Chalk Paint Furniture 

As a mom of three, I’m busy so even painting has to be fast and easy. Chalk paint allows me to complete projects on my to-do list without too much prep if any at all. Office furniture is not cheap and this mom 🙋🏻‍♀️ loves to save money wherever possible. Part of the DIY’ing fun for me is trying to stay on budget without loosing the vibe I’m going for in a room. 

Chalk paint is an easy way to give your furniture a facelift while saving money, especially when the furniture is in great condition and you still love the furniture but not the color so much. 

Also, you don’t have to be a professional to get beautiful results and the convenience of being able to skip the prep, knowing my furniture is still going to be beautiful is always a plus. Also, if you have never DIY’ed, this paint is the most forgiving paint out there so what better way to give DIY a try.

There are so many pretty color options to choose from depending on the vibe you are going for. But if you don’t see anything out there you love, you can always DIY the perfect chalk paint color you are going for. I googled it and there are so many great calcium carbonate chalk paint recipes you can try! I’ve linked two below:

HOW TO MAKE CHALK PAINT by The Navage Patch

DIY CHALK PAINT RECIPE by Refresh Living

What You Should Know Before You Start

The prices on chalk paint vary just like with any other paints. There are endless options so make sure to do your research. Lately, I’ve been loving Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Interior Chalk Paint in Linen White.

Gather your supplies

Supplies:

Instructions: How to Chalk Paint Furniture

In this case I painted two large bookcases, a little bookcase and two desks. The larger desk was the toughest to complete. I started with the book cases to get the hang of it and I’m so glad I did. With each piece of furniture I learned something new and incorporated that into the next piece. I also felt more confident as I completed each piece.

STEP 1: PREP AND CLEAN FURNITURE PIECE

  • Start by cleaning your piece with a wet lint free cloth, making sure the furniture is as clean as possible, and let it dry. Use soapy water if your piece needs some major cleaning. The cleaner your piece the more the chalk paint will adhere. Don’t skip this step!  (Note: If you are working with a dark furniture piece and plan to go white like I did, I’ve read that it is best to strip and sand down. However, I skipped that part as my piece was in pretty good shape and I was feeling a little rebellious) 
  • Cover the hardware with painters tape or take off the hardware to protect from getting paint on them. I took them off. This made the process a lot quicker. You can choose to replace the hardware at this time or maybe give it quick paint too! I painted mine and I’m smitten 🤩.
  • Layout cloth (I used Kraft Brown Paper since I had it on hand) to protect your floor and furniture that might be close by.
Clean your furniture piece with a lint free cloth

STEP 2: START PAINTING

  • Make sure your can of paint is mixed well before getting started. Stir well, especially from the bottom of the can. 
  • Time to start painting! The first coat is always scary. Just remember the first coat will look streaky but as long as you work in sections (small areas at a time is best), move fast, and let the paint fully dry before you start another coat it will turn out beautiful. 
  • Don’t be nervous! This is the benefit of chalk paint, it doesn’t have to be perfect! 
  • Chalk paint dries pretty fast. I was able to move forward with the second coat within an hour (I’m inpatient, I know ☺️). Give your piece another coat of paint. I found that trying to keep my brush strokes as even as possible saved me some time on sanding. (Also, I used a foam roller on the desk which saved me some time on my larger pieces)
  • Let your piece dry a full 24 hours after the second coat. This will help you determine if your furniture piece needs another coat. 
Work in sections

STEP 3: DISTRESSING YOUR FURNITURE PIECE

  • I used 220 grit sandpaper to give my piece a distressed look. Try to do areas that would normally get wear and tear. (If you are not going for this look skip this step) I usually distress corners, detailing, edges, and legs. 
  • Sand your piece lightly wherever you find paint bubbles or heavy brush strokes.
  • Once you like the feel and look of your piece. Clean the dust with a dry lint-free cloth. Note: If you are painting a dark piece white you might want to give it one more coat to make sure the dark wood doesn’t show through. You can usually tell if you need another coat once the paint fully dries. 

Step 4: WAX

Yay! It’s time to apply wax to your piece. This seals all your hard work. Don’t skip this part — you need to add a layer of wax to add a protective finish. Use a wax brush or a lint free cloth. I’ve used both and they both get the job done. Dip into the wax and massage it directly onto the painted furniture. Remember to work on small areas and that a little bit goes a long way. Work the wax onto the piece in circular motion.

FINAL TIPS and THOUGHTS 

  • Wash your chalk brush every time you finish painting for the day and in between painting sessions. You want to keep your brush as clean as possible.
  • Make sure you fan through the brush before you start painting. A new brush can often have little bristles that fall out and you don’t want that on your surface. 
  • A question I get asked a lot is if you can paint over wax — the answer is YES! If you feel the surface has too much wax, give it a light sand, clean the surface and paint away. Painting over wax will not damage your piece.

And there you have it! How to chalk paint furniture the easy way. I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know if you give chalk paint a try, I’d love to see. Also, I highly recommend you watch my stories on Instagram @sandroxxie on this topic, as I show you just how easy this paint is to work with, how much paint you need for each layer and how easily chalk paint glides over your surface.

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