Chalk Paint for Furniture

Woman painting chair on patio

Chalk Paint® offers a second life to old, faded furniture or a different look to newer pieces. The look of chalk finish paint is very distinguishable with its usual aged and distressed appearance.

Chalk Paint®

Chalk Paint® is the trademark name of Annie Sloan's unique paint. Numerous companies make a similar type of paint with a chalky finish as well. The main outstanding characteristic of chalk finish paint is the chalky look it gives to furniture and other items. If you desire a chic, cottage, country, or urban style, the paint delivers. The look can range from old-fashioned to distressed painted furniture. Dry chalk paint will come off in a powdery texture, so it needs to be sealed using sealing wax.

Types of Furniture to Paint

Chalk paint may have started out being popular for those seeking a chic country shabby look. In addition to vintage distressed finishes, it is a great solution for transforming tired looking furniture. In fact, most furniture styles are candidates for this type of paint. It depends on how you choose to finish it. For example, you may choose a specific furniture style.

  • A Queen Anne bedroom suite will look great when painted with a white or off white chalky paint finished with a gilding wax.
  • Vintage and antique pieces of furniture always look great with a distressed look with a darker wax finish.
  • Modern furniture can be transformed into super modern when painted with chalky paint using a geometric stencil.
  • Wood framed upholstered furniture can be painted with the paint to match the upholstery for a great look.


Annie Sloan designed her paints to be used without needing to sand or prime the original surface. To prep the furniture:

  1. Clean the surface with warm, soapy water.
  2. Allow it to dry completely before applying the paint.

Always avoid using any type of chemical cleaner since it could react with the paint.

For other brands of chalk finish paint, read the prep instructions to ensure you are prepping your furniture appropriately.


There are many wood surfaces you can paint with chalked paint. One big appeal of this type of paint is its velvet soft finish. When painting, consider the following:

  • Brushes: Choose your brush based on the type of finish you want. There are brushes designed specifically for applying chalked paint and wax to a surface. Designer Robyn Story recommends using an oval brush with long, flexible, natural bristles that aren't too stiff and aren't too soft.
  • Painting technique: Annie Sloan advises to use the tip of the paint brush to spread the paint.
  • Smooth finish: Move the paint brush in varying directions to create a smooth finish.
  • Brush strokes: Draw the paint brush in direction of woodgrain to create a brush stroke texture.
  • Coats of Paint: Only one coat of paint is usually required, but you can certainly use two or three if you feel it needs it. Let paint dry completely between coats.


The final look of the furniture is sealed with wax. There are many brands of sealing wax available in various shades, such as clear, white, brown, black, and gilded. For best results, use the sealing wax brand that is the companion to the brand of chalk finish paint you have selected.

Clear Wax Finish

The clear wax finish seals in the paint for a hardened surface that's easy to clean with warm soapy water. You will need a wax brush and some rags. Use the wax sparingly for each coat.

  1. Dip your brush into the wax, lightly coating the tip.
  2. Work a small area at a time. Push the wax into the furniture in a circular pattern and then brush with the grain of the wood to move the wax into the grain. Use your rag to wipe the wax off you just applied, wiping along the grain. Continue until you have waxed the entire piece of furniture.
  3. Allow at least 24 to 36 hours of drying time between wax coats.
  4. For the best results, use at least two to three coats of wax.
  5. Once dried and hardened, use a clean rag to buff the wax with a soft cloth for the desired sheen.

Aged Antique Look

You can create an aged or antique look by using a tinted wax over the paint color. When you add a darker wax, the color will seep into motif crevices and cracks. This staining effect will highlight and accentuate the raised molding. Keep one wax brush used specifically for the dark wax.

  1. First apply a coat of clear wax as noted above.
  2. Select either a brown or black wax for the second coat of wax. Brush it on in long strokes, especially in grooves and crevices of the furniture.
  3. Remove some of the dark wax with a clean cloth, blending it into the color until you have the depth of detail you want. Allow it to dry completely.
  4. Finish with a coat of clear wax.

Beach Look

Beach look is more about the finish than the furniture style. You can go for a driftwood feel or distressed furniture finish. To achieve a nice coastal appearance, you'll want to select the color best suited for your decor.

  1. Paint the piece with your favorite chalked paint color.
  2. If you wish to create a distressed look, wait until the paint is dry. Scuff the corners and edges with a piece of sandpaper. Continue scuffing in other areas of the furniture piece until satisfied with the look. Wipe it down with a damp cloth and allow it to dry before continuing with waxing.
  3. The first coat of wax will be a white wax. Bypass the clear wax completely and use the white wax to help age the paint. As with other techniques, brush it on to small areas with a wax brush and then wipe it off with a clean rag.
  4. Apply the white wax as lightly or heavily as you wish. You can make this application uneven for a better weathered look.
  5. Add a second coat of wax as above. This can be either a clear wax or another layer of white, depending on how weathered of a look you desire.

Gilded Finish

One of the exciting finishes you can use for a piece of furniture is the gilding wax. This finish is available in multiple shades. This finish is especially nice for furniture with carved details and raised motifs.

  1. Apply using your finger to highlight any carvings.
  2. If desired, use a second shade to highlight.
  3. You can use a brush to blend and further highlight.
  4. Allow it to dry overnight and buff as desired.

Chalk Paint Color Palette

The color choices also add another layer of why many people are crazy about the look chalked paints bring to home decor. There are many colors available from various manufacturers. Colors such as white, grey, red, green, blue and others have several shades. With such a generous and charming color palette, you're sure to find the right color(s) for your projects. You may decide to use more than one color on your furniture. You can take advantage of stencils to create a one-of-a-kind piece to become a centerpiece for your room decor.

Copycat Paints

Many paint companies have created chalked paint concept under various names. They utilize the convenience of no preparation requirements and offer their own type of sealing waxes or glaze. A few of these include:

  • Rust-Oleum® Chalked Ultra Matte Paint: This paint has a smooth, velvety matt finish (spray paint also available). If you wish to highlight brush strokes, woodgrain, etc, you can use Rust-Oleum's Chalked Decorative Glaze.
  • Valspar Tintable Chalky Finish Paint: This paint comes in 40 colors. The manufacturer states furniture surfaces don't require any prep work prior to painting. However, several customers suggest first sanding and priming prior to using this paint choice. Valspar offers two choices of sealing wax. One gives a clear satin finish, and the other creates a dark satin finish.
  • Devine Color Chalky Finish Paint: This paint dries to a matte finish that looks vintage. You'll need to use a companion wax finish, and the wax is available in three finishes that include Antique Effect Wax (gives aged color), Clear Sealing Wax (invisible protection), and Metallic Effect Wax (adds a subtle gold sheen).

Chalk Paint for New Look

Chalk finish paint is a great solution for refurbishing old wood furniture. This paint can easily transform a bed headboard or a cherished china cabinet into a centerpiece for your room design.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Chalk Paint for Furniture