Why I Don’t Use Chalk Paint
I’m continually asked why I don’t use Chalk Paint, so I thought I’d just put all the info in a post. That way, when I’m asked, I can just give people this link. 🙂
First, let me clarify that Chalk Paint is not the same thing as chalkboard paint. (Although Chalk Paint can be used for making chalk boards, so the distinction gets a little fuzzy.) Chalk Paint is a type of paint (actually, it’s a trademarked brand of paint by Annie Sloan, but other companies have similar paints also) that can be used on furniture and other items to create a chalky appearance. It’s used for creating an aged appearance, and can be distressed easily. It’s often used to create a Shabby Chic look. Chalkboard paint, on the other hand, is used for making chalkboards.
Now let me be very clear here. I know that there are a lot of people who will read this post who are diehard fans of Chalk Paint. So please understand that I’m in no way trying to change your mind about a product you love. I’m not trying to convince you to stop using it. And I’m not trying to convince others that they shouldn’t try it. I’m just explaining why I personally have chosen not to use it. It’s a question I get asked over and over and over, so I wanted to answer it. So here are my reasons:
1. The Price of Chalk Paint
Chalk Paint costs around $40 for a quart of paint (yes…a quart!). Add to that the price of the wax (almost $30) and the cost of an Ultimate Waxing Brush (another $37), and you’ve got quite a bit of money wrapped up in product.
“But it lasts so long!” people say. That may be true, but so does my latex paint, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. With one quart of latex paint, I painted three coats of paint on my credenza…
…and two coats of paint on my console table…
…and I still have about 1/3 of the can left. That can of paint only cost me $18, and I didn’t have to wax it when I was finished. I also didn’t have to use any special brush. One $12 Purdy brush, if taken care of, will last for years and years and years.
2. The finish of Chalk Paint
I don’t really know how to put this delicately, so I’ll just say it. I don’t like the finish you get with Chalk Paint.
I had seen pieces painted with Chalk Paint online for probably a full year before I ever saw any of them in person. Online, they looked amazing. So when I finally did see some of these pieces in person, I couldn’t believe that this was the paint that people were raving about. Now granted, it could have just been the specific technique of the person who painted that specific furniture, but let’s just say that she took the whole “no prep needed” and “just start painting” thing to heart. The brush strokes were not only very visible, but added a texture to the surface.
Now I’ll say that it could just be a matter of personal taste as well. One quality that people are always praising about Chalk Paint is, “It’s so easy to distress!” Well, I’m personally completely over the whole distressed “Shabby Chic” look. (Sometimes I wonder what Rachel Ashwell thinks of some of the things being called Shabby Chic these days.)
A little tiny bit of distressing is fine for me (and I do mean tiny…as in, just on the very raised parts where natural wear would occur, and even then, just a very small amount of distressing), and this is a look I can very easily achieve with latex paint. But even with that, I don’t want every piece of furniture in my house being distressed.
But this look that some people try to achieve, where it looks like the new, freshly painted piece of furniture has then been chained to the back of a pickup and dragged over gravel and cement to give it “character” just baffles me. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I won’t show an example from a blogger. But I did find this (probably mass-produced) piece on Overstock to illustrate the trend that makes me say, “What the…?”
There is simply nothing beautiful about that to me. Now again, please understand that if you find that to be beautiful, that’s fantastic! We all have our own personal taste. This is not my taste at all. So if this is your taste, I’m in no way trying to make fun of you, or say that you shouldn’t like it.
But if I’m going to go to the trouble of sanding a piece of furniture and painting it, I want the finish to be as close to pristine as possible. And I get that by sanding, priming, sanding, and then painting with latex or oil-based paint with paint conditioner added.
And speaking of sanding…
3. The “No Prep Needed” claim by those who use Chalk Paint
This is probably the biggest reason I’ve actually grown to dislike Chalk Paint.
Any time I paint a piece of furniture and show it on my blog and/or Facebook page, I get a whole slew of people asking, “Why didn’t you use Chalk Paint?! You don’t have to sand or prime!”
Quite honestly, the “no sanding” thing doesn’t interest me in the least. If I’m going to take an old, worn piece of furniture and paint it to put in my house, it will, without a doubt, be sanded first!
Sanding a piece of furniture (or cabinets) before painting is about much more than just giving that piece of furniture “tooth” so that the paint will stick. It’s also about evening out surfaces, removing scratches, dings, and even built-up dirt or cleaning products.
Sanding also helps to minimize wood grain!! This is especially important with wood like old oak, where the wood grain tends to become more pronounced over time. Sanding also reveals areas where I might need to add some caulk or wood filler to get a smooth painted surface.
The bottom line is that I enjoy the prep work and the sanding, because I now that my finished product will only be as good as the prep work I put into it. And priming is part of this process for me. I LOVE my Zinsser Cover Stain oil-based primer because once it’s dry, I sand it with super fine sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible (a process I actually love doing). And painting over a super smooth surface like that using paint with paint conditioner (I use Floetrol for latex and Penetrol for oil-based paints) added will ensure that I get the best possible outcome — as close to a sprayed finish as possible using a paint brush.
I just simply would never, ever skip these steps just to save a few hours of time.
But for the record, Chalk Paint isn’t always “no prep”. It doesn’t require primer in order to stick, but very often it does require a coat or two of shellac first, or you’ll get water stains or red stain bleeding through your finish.
You can visit The Purple Painted Lady to learn more about when you should prep your piece with shellac before painting with Chalk Paint.
The very dark original stain on my credenza would have required the use of shellac before painting had I been using Chalk Paint…
Using shellac before painting is called prep work. And if I’m going to have to do prep work, I’d much rather use products that are tried and true for me, and end up with a finish that I know I’ll love.
4. The Durability of Chalk Paint
I actually have used Chalk Paint once. I started painting a desk with it. The desk was white, and I used the orange color (can’t remember the name), and I got almost half of the desk finished. Well, I use the term “finished” loosely, because after two coats of Chalk Paint on the top two drawers and side front rail (one coat everywhere else that’s orange), this is what they looked like…
I was disappointed, to say the least. And when I realized that it would have taken at least three, but probably four coats of paint to get the color consistent, I gave up. I ended up sanding everything down a bit just to get rid of the brush strokes (and there were visible brush strokes everywhere!), and then I primed and painted it with regular latex paint. One coat of primer, and two coats of latex paint later, I had this…
Okay, but that’s a side story just to get to the whole “durability” issue. I’ve heard time and again how durable Chalk Paint is. But here’s the thing. My desk sat there half painted for about a month, so the Chalk Paint had plenty of time to cure. Before I sanded it down to repaint, I wanted to test the amazing durability I had heard so much about, so I ran my fingernail over the top of the desk with a moderate amount of pressure.
The paint scratched right off! There was nothing amazing about the durability that I could see.
I mentioned this to someone, and they said, “Oh, to really get the durability, you have to wax it.”
Okay, so the big hype about Chalk Paint is that it doesn’t require prep work before painting (i.e., no priming), but it does require waxing after the piece is painted in order to get the full benefit. What?! I fail to see the difference in the amount of work required there.
One difference — you can start and finish an entire piece with latex paint (one coat of primer, two coats of paint, all in one day). With Chalk Paint, from all I’ve read, you can’t do everything in one day. You have to let the paint really dry (overnight, I assume), before you can wax it. But you can’t buff the wax to a satin finish until it sits for about 24 hours. By my count, that’s three days for one piece of furniture. So I guess I don’t see how that’s easier and saves time.
Without the wax, Chalk Paint produced the flattest paint finish possible. And flat paints are generally the most absorbent. I had someone write to me not too long ago and ask for my advice. She had purchased her first piece of furniture painted with Chalk Paint, and evidently the piece wasn’t waxed. Her daughter dropped her juice cup close to the piece, and some juice splattered onto the piece and just absorbed right into the paint. Try as she might, she couldn’t get the juice spots off of her new piece of furniture.
So there you have it, folks! Those are the reasons I don’t use Chalk Paint. Now when someone asks me, I can just give them this link. 😉
And again, if you use and love Chalk Paint, I think that’s fantastic. I love that we all have our own personal taste and style, and that something that appeals to you might not appeal to me, and vice versa. I’m in no way trying to convince others not to use the product. I just simply wanted to explain why I have chosen not to use it, and to stick with products that I do love. Mmmkay? Can we still be friends? 🙂
Helpful sources and products:
Want to see how I paint furniture and cabinets? I have written a couple of posts on this topic. If you want to paint with a brush, see my process here…
And if you want to use a sprayer, here’s my favorite, plus a few tips on how to use it…
Did you see the before and after of the green credenza with the natural wood drawers? You can see it here…
And if you would like to see how I built the scalloped entryway table, you can see that here…
And if you’re looking for a paint sprayer, you can find my favorite one here…
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
Very good point about the preparation of what you’re painting versus the finishing you have to do with chalk paint. I had the same thought, either way is time consuming. And I’m like you, I can’t paint something without at least a little sanding beforehand. Just seems very very necessary. Thanks for writing this, it cleared up a lot of the things I was thinking about concerning chalk paint.
Just because most chalk paints are labeled as “no prep required,” you can certainly sand before painting. Usually, I do a bit of sanding before I use chalk paint because I find that it helps with adhesion and I also get better coverage with the first coat. I prefer chalk paint over latex paint because I love that matte finish. Also, Chalk paint distresses so easily with just a damp cloth and a light bit of rubbing. It is true that chalk paint will absorb a stain from a spill so If I am painting a surface that will get a lot of use then I do use a wax or some sort of protective finish over the top. I have my own line of chalk paint that definitely does not cost $40 per quart. Check out my website http://www.tigerpaintcompany.com/
From the point of view of a professional painter, prep is very important. For the best durability oil based paint is the prefered but a lot of progress has been made with water base latex. Latex will require priming. In between the those options would be the new water Bourne latex. These have oil modifiers . For table tops or high use areas , finish with a poly-urethane that you can get in a spray can for a nicer finish.
My favorite technique for a quick finish is to spray a poly urethane that I tint for prefered color or depth.
I think you mean waterborne Alkyd, not latex. Latex is waterborne already. Yes I use it…the waterborne Alkyd
Yay, I’m with you on this, and great article. I also love your work! I’ve done a few pieces with chalk paint and I’ve had to re-do them. In the light they looked awful – brush marks, colour problems and bits where the wax just hadn’t absorbed. Now I did a stupid thing today, I used a coat of chalk paint as a base colour for a big mandala on a table. It is awful – patchy, brush marks everywhere and has a horrible gritty feel. I couldn’t wait to go to the store tomorrow so used a tester pot, big mistake. It’s in the bin and that is it. NO MORE CHALKPAINT!!!!!!!!!
I have kept my girls Stanley furniture twin bedroom for over 40 years, can’t bear to sell it. I have been exploring ways to finish it. What do you mean that latex paint requires priming? Do you mean prep the wood? TiA
Yes it always improves bonding to sand first. Also clean afterwards to remove any wax or polish residue. A good latex primer like kilz 2 or 123 works well if you don’t want to use oil base paints.
Water based polyurethane clear coats greatly improves duribility. And you can lightly tint the poly with paint or water based stains.
First off, love the article, and am so glad I read it as I was wondering what the fuss was all about…
to Jeff (above) or anyone else who knows, is spray paint style polyurethane good to cover decorative type items? Also, how do you tint the poly… it seems all the polyurethane I see is a wood stain…
thanks all, i’m new to all this!
What can you do with laminate kitchen cupboards outside of using chalk paint? Laminates can’t be sanded, I hate the cupboards and can’t afford to replace them. Every fingerprint shows, and they are just plain ugly.
Make sure cabinets are very clean. Start by priming with BIN primer. I prefer to follow with oil semi-gloss, no need for clear top coat. But Latex is fine as well.
As a Professional painter-I’ve had great success painting laminate. Sand well and repair any deep scratches (Bondo or liquid steel works great!) . Paint with oil based primer. Sand lightly with fine grit paper. Top coat with two coats of latex paint. Satin or semi-gloss looks best and lasts longer. Be sure to use only top quality paint!!! Walmart won’t get it on this job.
Pat (and any other professional painters here), I thought we would have to use oil based paint for kitchen cabinets for durability. Our kitchen cabinets were black from the factory (they appear to be wood… KitchenCraft) and were painted a cream/nearly yellow color with regular latex paint. It’s chipping badly and they desperately need to be refinished. I’m researching what we need to do in order to do it right, as it clearly was NOT done right before.
My thought was, sand, clean, prime with oil paint and paint with oil paint.
I’m assuming from your comment, that IF we chose latex paint, we don’t need a top coat. Do we?
My husband is very handy, but I know I’ll have to help with the kitchen cabinet fix.
I’m not a professional, but I’ve done my fair share of painting kitchen cabinets. The best combo I’ve found is sanding, priming with an oil-based primer (my favorite is Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain), sand with 220-grit sandpaper until smooth, paint with a quality latex paint (I used Benjamin Moore Advance), and then topcoat with two coats of General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in a flat finish (which actually has a satin look to it). I painted my kitchen cabinets with that combo almost two-and-a-half years ago, and they’re in perfect condition today — no scratches, chips or dings.
Zinser makes a primer called Bin. You can use it to paint anything. It bonds to the high gloss laminates. Then you can use oil or latex over the top.
I have Ikea cabinets that can’t be sanded. Scrub the cabinets with a degreaser, rinse well, and prime with Zinssee B.I.N.
I agree with You, latex is without a doubt a more durable and usable finish. It is a one day process and yes, sanding is a must in My book! I do, however add about 3/4 cup of baking soda and a couple of tablespoons of water to a quart of latex paint in my preparation. I think it gives the piece of furniture a bit more grabability! I also think it gives that chalk paint appearance people are looking for tbese days . I’ve never had to do the waxing afterwards with this process, as long as I prime and paint two coats on the piece.
Distressing is still very easy with just a light grade sandpaper in the areas I want to look aged. I, like you don’t over distress! Thanks for the Post, it’s always good to have new options.
I used chalk paint for a long time, and even with prepping and buying the most expensive brushes in the world I could not get a smooth finish, neither one without brush strokes. I spent hours sanding after applying the paint, and it took days to complete. I used wax, spray wax and varnish to protect and it still didn’t protect. I then swapped to latex paint and what a difference. My commissions now take 24 hours and not 72+, which means I can get more done. I also don’t get phone calls telling me that it hasn’t been waxed properly because it has stained. Price wise I do find it about the same, but I’m totally with you on this. I just wish I’d found it sooner!!
Agree 100% !!!!!
I am also looking into painting my laminate cabinets! this article seems to recommend oil based paints. have you tried both and seen that the latex works better specifically for the laminate? is it a problem to use oil based primer and then latex paints?? Thanks for all tips!
Esther, if you use Zinsser BIN primer on your laminate surface, you can paint with latex or oil based. Both will work just fine. Something to be aware of is that latex will not yellow over time whereas oil based paints can yellow. Always finish with a top coat. I have an in depth article over on my blog explaining everything if you want to check it out 🙂 Here is the link: https://poshpennies.com/how-to-paint-ikea-furniture-guide/
all chalk paint is is 1 part drywall mud and 3 parts latex paint, make your own and seal it after its perfect. oh wait i could have made my own line and charged 10 times the costs
I could not find chalk paint on the site the link took me to.
This explained what I wanted to know-the difference between the two……
I have used it for the first time on a pine bookcase, it has taken about 5 coats! Also realised I don’t really like the distressed look either and like you – I love sanding to a smooth finish – so why did I buy the stuff? Probably because its less ‘chemical and more organic than other paints. But all in all I’m disappointed and don’t think Ill choose it again (though I will have almost a full pot left over! Kathryn
PS Fortunately I have the satifaction of gettin my oak countertop to a supreme condition after loads of sanding!
I love chalk paint and have been using it for quite a few years. It takes getting used to and there is prep work. I sand after I paint with 400 grit sandpaper so my piece has a buttery smooth finish. I like it because I can layer paint in different colors in certain areas and I also dry brush. I create washes and I can really get a beautifully layered patina. I’m most a big fan of heavily distressed furniture. There is a purpose for each type of paint.
I love latex paint too and use that for different projects. For me, I can be a little bit more artistic with my finishes. It’s just a matter of preference and what I want to project to look like.
I just used chalk paint for the first time (I’m a latex paint frequent user) and I’m with You! After spending a small fortune, and three coats later, and wax (which then took some of the paint off)…I’m forever DONE with using chalk paint. It was a total headache and I’m not sure what they hype is all about. Ann it did was stress me out.
Oh I agree100%
I see hideous items painted and “distressed’ and selling for like $400
It’s simply not for me….I don’t get it….
My son likes to use the one word for people flocking to anything just because it’s trending…..Sheep.
I love your son !! My mother “antiqued” furniture for many years back in the 60’s and 70’s with paint and a small can of stain. Feeling the same way in Pittsburgh, Pa
Remember it well. Still have a low chest my aunt & uncle gave me unfinished – old but not valuable – that I painted red with a light coat of darker stain. Used flocked red paper to line the drawers. Always used in a bedroom, master right now. Only thing I might want to try would be a transfer on the top like you see on The Graphics Fairy site.
When I was little I thought my child size rocking chair was just dirty. So I scrubbed off that stain and proudly showed my mother. “ oh it was supposed to look old!” She sighed!
I have a couple pieces needing to be refinished, my dog loves to “walk” on my tables and has left a couple deep scratches about 3″ long. What’s the best filler, I don’t want to sand that far into the wood TIA
Wood filler or wood putty can be found in the paint aisle. If you’re staining, make sure to get stainable filler or you may be able to purchase a putty that’s already stained to match.
Thanks for posting this. I’m very glad for this information. You’ve answered questions I’ve had about the durability and I find I’m right. I prefer latex paint as will and I prefer the flat. then I wax it, and maybe apply a coat of poly n the top, if a dresser. I’ve never done chairs so I can’t say about those.
Thank you so much for your clarifications re chalk paint; I have been debating about using chalk paint and ONLY chalk paint for several pieces of furniture I have and REALLY wondered how a water-based paint (& I’ve seen a zillion demos online by chalk paint devotees) could/would hold up over time; to each their own, as your writing states, but I personally have NEVER liked a “distressed” look that to me, looked like something picked up on the side of the road, lol, with the picker-upper having good intentions but never got there! Your experience(s) with chalk paint, compared to (what I always considered using in the first place) using latex, etc., as well as the prepping just makes sense! Thanks again!
I loved reading this! Your honesty is so appreciated. I whole heartedly agree with you. For a while I was second-guessing myself and thinking I was doing the whole chalk paint thing wrong!! Lol 💕
I actually like the chalk paint finish, but I like other finishes just as well. The reason I use chalk paint is the ease of painting, I can’t paint, I’m impatient and just not good at it. Currently painting the five drawers of a chest with chalk paint and making a mess of it. Disheartened, that’s why I’ve looked on line. As for the post of ‘accusing’ people who like chalk paint finish, and like a distressed look (you have to admit some look great), we’re not SHEEP, we all like different things, thank goodness!
I’m an artist and always wondered about chalk paints. Even took a class. Wasn’t impressed. As far as acrylics being durable, I have clothes I’ve used for 15 Years for mural painting and the acrylic on them is still fresh after decades of washing. I’m going to try black acrylic topped with white satin finish latex and distress (only slightly!) a piece of furniture and see what I get. The expense of the chalk paint is a huge factor for me. Thanks for your informative blog.
Thank you this was very informative and I appreciate it.
I believe if you do not prep prior to chalk painting
You simply did noy to the job right. With chalk paint blending or layering is beautiful
thanks Kristi for claryfing the difference of the paints, that is very instructive!
I don’t like the distressed look on furniture anymore either, because to me it nowadays looks like the producers of “fashion” furniture use it as an excuse to not produce high quality. Just call it shabby chic and you get away with details that normally would be a reason for a really heavy price reduction…
I stil think some distressed items you see on the web, esp. when handmade by someone with love, are awesome, but to me the trend is over and not moving into my house either. Thus I’m double happy to get your tutorials on how to paint stuff in a more pristine way!!
I 100% couldn’t agree more with your comment about the excuse to not produce high quality!! I do my fair share of distressing but I go into other store/shops and can’t believe people are buying poor quality painted pieces and calling it shabby chic. But I guess we all have our own preferences. I like clean lines with a little distressing.
I agree with using Latex paint. As an artist painting on wood, I was taught the 3 S’s; Sand, Seal, Sand. You get a beautifully rich looking piece of furniture. If you want the shabby chic look, you can then sand the corners and edges. This technique will last a very long time!
What do you seal with and what product do you finish with?
On the piece I just finished, I primed first, then I used Behr paint with primer (I didn’t realize it had primer in it). I did sand a few rough spots before I used the Behr paint. Behr paint is just high quality I didn’t need to use a sealer or finish. But this is the 3rd time I painted this piece so it was sealed well!! Happy painting!
Hi! Do you use a semigloss or just flat finish? Thanks
I’ve been using a satin finish for most things. Not too shiny, not too dull
I do not refinish furniture like many of you do, walls, yes. I just found this site because a young friend purchased her first home and mentioned not using chalk paint on her baseboards because of the expense and I wondered what chalk paint was. I so have to agree with Patti about Behr paint. I paint walls using Behr Satin finish. Our entire house, well almost. It is washable , and has a nice glow.
I’ve always hated a flat finish, for many reasons, and I don’t like “shabby chic” distressing as phony wear. To me chalk paint sounds like cheap paint at an overly inflated price. Here is what Renee says above: “all chalk paint is is 1 part drywall mud and 3 parts latex paint, make your own and seal it after its perfect. oh wait i could have made my own line and charged 10 times the costs.”
Kristi’s article is interesting and informative to someone who “had no idea” as are the comments. I am enjoying the reading and will learn from everyone. Thanks.
I dont agree. Destressing and chipping furniture takes a lot more time of work! Knowledge from the painter has to be wide as well so…
I seriously doubt many people are more “knowledgeable” about paint. Your comment was snarky and condensing, which I think was uncalled for, given the tone of her post, and the lengths she went to in order to emphasize that it was her OPINION, and there is no right or wrong way to refinish furniture.
I loved this article!! You answered my questions as they popped into my head…I want to redo my kitchen cabinets…maybe we can talk or direct me to a link if you have done? Thanks!
Get a life and learn what paint is all about!
I use Fusion, it leaves a matt finish, needs no topcoat, $18 dollars a pint, easy clean up, wonderful colors, gives that vintage charm without being to chalky!
Where can you buy fusion paint?
I have literally tried every specialty paint out there and I mean every one! I love refinishing trash pieces built of solid wood any day over buying new “quality” furniture with veneer! Not sure why we as American Consumers have allowed us to be sold junk as acceptable, when in Europe or the UK their value furniture is in the last solid pine! (Sorry for the rant) I am strangely addicted to collecting paint ( if there’s ever a scenario where the world is wiped clean of paint come find me, lol. Point being I’ve found heirloom traditions to be best chalk paint, you can find closeouts on ebay and purchased 50 quarts for $200, so price isn’t always issue if you look. I’m not a fan of the crap paint job either so don’t distress much and never use wax but hemp oil or general finishes top coat. Fusion is amazing paint and has finish built in, made by Homestead house in Canada (they also make miss mustard seed paint) Suggest you buy online via eBay or etsy. You can also order sample retailer packages from all specialty paint companies if your “thinking” of selling their products for 60% off in most cases! That’s the deal! General Finishes milk paint is also amazing and great for cabinetry! Oh and fusion and general finishes are both self leveling like oil bad paints! This means no brush marks! I agree latex is great but those looking for less toxic options there you have it! Those last two are best to achieve the professional outcomes of oil without the mess and horrible smells! FYI for chalk/wax lovers you can buy a set of 3 brushes on ebay for about 15, the only differences rashly is they haven’t had brand name added to Handles yet, the rest is what we pay for a brand! Hope this helps
Informative response, thanks.
do you have a link to the brushes you are referring? I would like to take a look?
Thanks so much for your in-depth info re: paints! I am definitely going out today to look for Fusion Paint!! Thanks!!! G’day!~~
Great post thanks,
Thank you for your informative writing, I have a better understanding of the process now. I love the matte look of the chalk paint but have doubted the endurance of the finished product. I shop in a lot of antique stores and see many chalk painted pieces. They tend to look great from across the aisle but upon closer inspection, I always seem to find chips, dents or scratches that are clearly not part of the “distressing” done by the painter. I also wonder at the number of these pieces that are sold alongside pristine antique pieces. In my mind, these two are not on an equal level but that is another story. I also am over the shabby-chic, overly distressed look. Like most styles that were once unique, it has been overused.
I agree, shabby chic just looks cheap and in my personal opinion shabby, no chic to be found. If I want disastrous garage sale finds I’ll just go to a garage sale. If I refinish a piece of furniture I want it to look pristine not like I was too dumb to know how to paint properly. Again, just my opinion.
You end with “just my opinion” but don’t you think that’s a little rude still? You are basically saying whoever paints with chalk paint and looking for a shabby chic look is “too dumb to know how to paint properly”. It just seems ignorant to me to claim it as an opinion but throw slander on to the person who enjoys the look of chalk paint. Again, just my opinion…
Some people just want to take offense no matter what.
I don’t think the author should have even bothered with all the “my opinion” disclaimers. *Of course it’s her opinion* and anyone who decides to feel all hurt and huffy about someone else’s opinion (and about furniture paint, of all things) should seriously seek therapy and/or get off the Internet. Get thee to a safe space.
Jayne, I so agree. In fact, people re sooooooo sensitive now that that is the reason the author kept stressing that it was HER OPINION yet there are posters here huffing and puffing. We need to grow up, seriously. The best reason for reading this article really is to seek knowledge!
I love this! People go a little too far with the distressed look these days. I have a hundred year old trunk that looks better than some of the new pieces I see in stores and online. What the….? Indeed! Lol.
I don’t understand what people call distressed these days either! The way I always understood it, when you distress a piece of furniture, you’re supposed to approach it from the point of view of where the piece would have been touched by years of love and use. On the corners, on the areas around drawer pulls, on the high spots of carvings and moldings. and then you add a little of patina to it by waxing it with butcher’s wax so the revealed wood doesn’t look too new, or if you want to make the exposed parts and low lights look a little older, some shoe polish and lemon oil to make the exposed wood look old. The stuff I see being put out for sale these days is more like “Lets put on fresh paint and then sand it all over anywhere and everywhere, and go down to the bare wood with coarse sand paper”…. The stuff I see called distressed these days is more like traumatized, and it hurts my eyes to see it. There is no implication of age and use and care of a piece, it just looks arbitrary. The whole point of distressing a piece is to make it look aged, and so many miss the mark these days. The price of chalk paint is unbelievable, you couldn’t pay me enough to bother even trying it, I have always gotten good results from latex and acrylic paints, and I sure as heck wouldn’t spend that much on paint without going to the work to make sure it is going to look good!
I have seen, on a few home improvement, or yard sale TV shows, people painting a piece of furniture and then beating the poor thing to death with hammers and chains in order to “distress” it and make it shabby chic.
You hit the nail right on the head for me with ‘traumatized’! Regardless of which kind of paint and what kind of top coat is used, I will always prefer either a pristine piece or one that shows the careful art of true distressing. The art of it seems to have been forgotten in an appeal to the masses wanting the contrived ‘farmhouse’ look.
Thankfully this trend, too, will pass as they always do.
Thank you! I don’t use chalk paint either. I’ve been paint furniture for 15 years now, and have never like the chalk paint boom. It really is a maintenance nightmare in my opinion. Give me an enamel any old day! And yay to prepping! I like to sand and smooth out my pieces, even if I’m later distressing them, the extra work makes them look so much better. Who decided that hard work on a piece was our of fashion, lol!? It’s the work that makes the piece come to life, no matter the style. 😉 yay Kristi!!!
I love the idea of prepping as well. One of the things I struggle with because a muscle problem is finding the endurance, Any suggestions for easy sanding and prepping?
Having used chalk paint on a few projects, I agree with you. I was very disappointed in the durability after all the work of waxing. Now I know, and so do all of your followers! 🙂
Hi what do you use on glass?
Thanks for sharing this article. I am so pleased that I am not the only one who thinks chalk paint is the be all and end all of paining furniture.
“But this look that some people try to achieve, where it looks like the new, freshly painted piece of furniture has then been chained to the back of a pickup and dragged over gravel and cement to give it “character” just baffles me.”
I laughed til I cried. Preach it, sister! 😀
Ha ha! My ten-year old got the biggest kick out of that comment! So funny! 🙂
I painted my dining table with black chalk paint and you are right. I can tell it’ll absorb spills really fast. What do you suggest I do now? Do I have to sand it all off and start over? 🙁 can I spray paint over it? Please help
If it were mine, I would sand it/strip it, and start over.
You should be able to spray paint over it, or you can use a couple of coats of clear varnish over the entire piece this should help. Other route, lightly sand and use a more durable paint for your table.
No! Sand it just lightly, brush on a coat of Zinsser primer, which makes everything adhere nicely, and repaint it with Latex paint. You should be fine.
Or peelstop…the problem with chalk paint is that it is a problem…like peeling and alligatoring. It just isnt a sound surface. And wax is like silicone…yikes if you ever forget its there and try to paint over it with AnYtHING!!! Nothing sticks.
Oh I agree100%
I see hideous items painted and “distressed’ and selling for like $400
It’s simply not for me….I don’t get it….
My son likes to use the one word for people flocking to anything just because it’s trending…..Sheep.
Being a rebel, I don’t care what others think about anything that I do. I am just who I am. But I would like to say that it pleases me that someone else things the way I do. I grew up with a love for fine wood. My father taught me how to refinish furniture and I love ever step of it. I remember an heirloom oak table that I have now passed on to my oldest daughter. My father and I spent many hours and many days restoring it from the black patina it had acquired over the years. We sanded wiped and sanded again. Then we applied three coats of shellac, and then three coats of varnish. It is still beautiful to this day. I will never distress wood, it just doesn’t appeal to me.
There ya go! Wood should be painted it as a last resort. Otherwise, strip it, stain it, varnish/poly/wax/lacquer/oil it, and you’ll have a piece *worth keeping*. If it’s just junk to start with, who cares what you do with it? If it’s good, why ruin it?
I read several blogs and chalk paint is raved about. I am like you, I want my stuff to be crisp and clean when I am done with it. Chips, and scratches on painted furniture cause me to lose sleep. However, my absolute favorite craigslist purchase is a $40 dresser that the veneer is chipping off of, I call it naturally distressed, but it is not painted so it doesn’t bother me.
Just an aside regarding stripping, staining, sanding, etc of real antique furniture. I watch antique shows, read articles, etc. are you aware of the fact that many valuable pieces are drastically lowered in value by someone deciding to strip and sand off the original aged patina? I can’t count how many people I have seen that are kicking themselves when they find out that lovely refinished sideboard they lovingly redid, worth $3,000, would be worth $10,000 had they kept their mitts off of it.
I’m so glad you explained why you don’t use chalk paint. I had wondered why you didn’t as it seems to be all over blogland. I much prefer the kind of result you get with your refinishing projects. I had thought I was the odd one as I’ve never been a fan of the chippy painted look, and like you, if I’m going to invest the time and effort it takes to refinish a piece I want it to look good and be durable. Your post on this was very informative. As usual I learn something new everyday from you! BTW, LOVE your living room.
i also used chalkpaint once. i didn’t like the overall finish either. I often wonder if the shabby look will be around much longer. Maybe in a year or two I will be buying them at yard sales and putting solid finishes on them. hehe
Thank you for your post. It was well written and in no way turned me against Chalk Paint. I have used chalk powder to create Chalk Paint, but I just can’t spend $40 on the “real” thing. So my experiences may differ slightly. I do like the ease of distressing with it and I do like the flat look for certain projects. (I do happen to like distressing “alittle”, but not a ton) but I HATE the waxing part of it. I would much rather use glaze. I LOVE the process of stripping and/or sanding myself. And most of the time I do both. Its therapeutic for me!
Thank you again.
Thanks so much for the information. I have wondered what all the chalk paint “hype” was about. I’m not a fan of heavily distressed or barely there finishes for my home, so I truly aprecciate this little read.
The same goes for milk paint….which has been around since the dawn of time. Nothing like reinventing the wheel.. Your post gave me a little chuckle regarding the “chippy & overly distressed dresser.” Whenever my hubby sees furniture that has been done that way or worn through the ages he says, “And that is why I go to work everyday, so we don’t have to have furniture that looks like that!”. I tried to distress my dish cabinet…and it looked exactly like it fell off the back of our truck!
A quick sanding, primer & three coats of paint & it looks fresh & clean. (with the odd bit of wear…just a hint).
Too bad you had to spend half of that post appeasing the people that would attack you for sharing your opinion.
I agree. It’s sad to me that you had to use so many “disclaimers”, and couldn’t just state your own opinion on your own blog for fear of backlash. I love your blog. Thank you for the inspiration. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
I agreed with Karen’s and Candy’s sentiments in a post above but failed to thank you for your blog. I intend to paint kitchen cabinets and want to learn all I can about all methods available out there, you know learn from yours and others mistakes in the hope of cutting down some on making my own LOL!!
I had the exact same thought!
Ooh, Isn’t that the truth!!?
Why we can’t just say WHY without having to hear ‘verbal repercussions’ is beyond my understanding of some human’s nature! Whatever happened to having an OPINION??!
I have lived with distressed furniture from life happening and when I fix something up I want it to look “fixed up” not like you said…dragged behind a truck. The only reason I will use chalk paint for some things is because I have come late to the game of all this furniture painting frenzy. My mother painted furniture when I was a little girl and I often wondered what was wrong with it in the first place. Plus I am old and tired (76) and all that sanding and carrying on is just too much for me so I take the easy way out sometimes. But I just painted my kitchen with latex in a vibrant pink! My house, my choice right? Thanks for this interesting article. Glad not every one in the world is in love with chalk paint.
You go, Mary B!!!! Granny has taste! Bet your kitchen, which I love you describing as ‘Vibrant Pink’, is a real eye-opener and a very Happy place to visit!!~~~
furniture painted , especially in the last 5 years hasnt been distressed, its been destroyed~! my opinion of course..
I have said it on my blog many times but you have a gazillion more followers than me so I’ll say it here and maybe someone will read it.
“” before using the next MIRACLE product being tauted around blogland or heck, anywhere else PLEASE read The Emporers New Clothes.. yes I know its a kids book but way too many adults- like 99% of the population missed out either reading it or getting the message. add the that as far as chalk paint is concerned, the kickbacks, referrals and free product folks got for saying how wuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnderful it is:)
again- the The Emporers New Clothes..
thanks for a great post..
You are so right! I can always tell when a new company is making the rounds with the DIY bloggers and it makes me roll my eyes. ‘All opinions are solely mine’…pullease!
Sonny, I was going to suggest reading, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” once I finished reading all the comments! So very true! I have been an amateur interior decorator for years (for myself, family and special friends,) and was aghast when chipped paint became The New Look; or ripped blue jeans were sold as chic; or hideous new concrete buildings awarded for their architectural design.
Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but quality endures despite changing fads.
I could never have said it so eloquently, but I am SO with you on this!!!! I have quit reading a lot of blogs, because they are STUCK on this stuff and in my opinion, everything they paint looks like it came from the dump!!
In my home, there are no “expensive” or “fancy” pieces of furniture. I give new meaning to “collected over time”, but I want each piece to look as good as possible.
Thank you especially for this post!!!
As someone who enjoys chalk paint I was not at all offended or turned off by your post. I love reading your opinions and insights. I am a 3rd generation painter and have NEVER not sanded even using chalk paint. I’ve used it all over the years and seen my Grandfather and Father do it all. There a pro’s and con’s to every paint. In my home I do not have a single piece of distressed or chalk painted furniture. BUT my clients love it, and I love using it. I do not care for Annie Sloan. I use Webster powder that can be added to any latex paint (no limit on colors and I can add it to a can of $2 mistint and still get the chalk finish). I also love wax, but use poly for durability too. Love following your page, thanks for sharing your insight!!
Great blog! I’m always looking for others techniques for painting. I’ve used both latex and chalk paint. Each has its special qualities and purpose. I’m able to get a very smooth finish with chalk paint and get around the high price with mixing my own. I use poly for a durable finish if I need it. Some pieces works well with the chalk and distressed, while others need a finer finish. I also work with stains on my antiques that need preserved. I think people who like the distressed look often like primitive antiques. I love taking a piece of furniture and turning it into an showstopper. Furniture finishes is a preference and it’s good we can save pieces anyway we prefer!
Great explanation. Was wondering about your reasons for disliking chalk paint. Very informative.
I use chalk paint, as well as all other paint…. I love distressed and non distressed… Depends on the piece
And I like your post … It’s a shame you have to keep reiterating it’s “your opinion” as to not “offend” people!! I understand why…. But it’s sad in this social world that people take offense or get so defensive so quickly!!
Keep posting…. Love ‘watching’ your adventures
Thank you!! I do not like it at all. I do not like taking a beautiful piece of furniture and painting it. So many gorgeous dining sets ruined. And all of the white on white blogs. So done with that. None of my real life girlfriends have blog homes. They do not read blogs. They have homes that are true to what
They love and homes that have been collected over the years. With this said. I am also tired or Pinterest. Everyone with fancy captions reinventing the wheel. I think wow my grandma did that or my Mom. I am ranting now!
I agree with you 100%. Although quite a few of my favorite bloggers tout the wonders of ASCP and love to show what they can create with it, I always wonder, are these pieces actually being used for anything beyond a photo shoot? I need durability I can count on. And no way could I bring myself to spend that much on it. If I’m spending $40 for paint, it’d better be at least a gallon!
BTW, I think the poster who mentioned The Emperors New Clothes hit the nail on the head. 😉
Thanks Kristi, for all the info. I have been wondering about the chalk paint myself. I have been asked to try and then review on my blog a new “plaster paint” that is similar but cheaper? So I am going to give it a try and see what the hoopla is all about..
I am an oddity I guess, I like the clean crisp look on most things (like the style of your living room) but a hint of distress on other things..like my white kitchen chairs. They are slightly distressed at the normal points of contact. I felt that I had to do it in order to NOT drive myself crazy when the kids did it accidentally and I started noticing dings in my new paint! lol… I like some of the “modern farmhouse” look but not the completely distressed shabby chic…
And I never take what you say offensively! No one should. Even if they disagree. It’s YOUR blog and we come here because we love it and your style. And most people should understand that. I like your blog and I also follow Miss Mustard Seed…totally different style! That dresser you showed is exactly her style and what she posts about loving. I love seeing what you are both up to and incorporating a little from both styles and making my own. Keep up the good work. I can’t wait to see the accessories in the Living Room!
I’m really dislike the term “shabby chic”! It has truly been overdone and has lost all of its original context. I don’t like chalk paint because the “distressing” is so often horribly wrong and fake looking. I do love the (what I think is) authentic antique look you can get with milk paint, though. I have an old colonial house that works really well with that style. But, like you said, everyone has their own style. It’s a shame you have to caveat your post so much to keep from getting attacked.
I’d love to have that piece of furniture you showed from Overstock, because it has a gorgeous shape – but I’d have to get it home and paint it to make it look nice. LOL
I’ve been painting furniture since my first piece of furniture I owned myself, and I’m nearing retirement age, and I’ve never seen the appeal of the overly distressed stuff. I also get really growly when I see stuff that is “faux” distressed, because obviously the person has never USED furniture. Distressing that happens naturally happens around the edges/corners and at the pulls – places that get touched or bumped or whacked. If you’re going to intentionally distress something, at least give it some thought and consider where it would have happened over time. Sheesh! Those who think about it and do the distressing properly do present some gorgeous pieces – not pieces I’d buy, though, because I like neat, unspoiled surfaces.
As for the whole having to wax on top of all the work up to then…pass, thanks. That said, I have a china cabinet that is painted in chalk paint (it was given to me like that) and I don’t like the dull, flat finish, so it will have to have something done if it thinks it’s going to stay here. Wax? Probably not. I have a can of un-tinted latex paint in a semi-gloss finish that will go on just fine as a clear coat and give it a lovely sheen. I like the color, just not the dull finish. And thankfully, the former owner refrained from “distressing” it, so I won’t have to start all over again.
I am an absolute novice and am looking forward to painting over an old dresser my mom gave me. My 12 year old daughter lives the idea of chalk paint- but I need the durability to withstand kids. I really love the idea of going over it with a non tint clear latex paint for protection. Thanks for that idea!
Interesting. I use both kinds of paint–latex and chalk. While I know you are not trying to change anyone’s minds, i.e., you really don’t want to hear any contrary arguments, there are a few things that I think are incorrect or that you aren’t aware of. I don’t make any $ from chalk paint at all, but I have taught classes on it for the place I work for. Not sure why I feel the need to defend it, i just love the product ;).
I have painted furniture for 15+years, with chalkpaint for the last two. I make a lot of furniture from reclaimed wood and do not use chalkpaint on it–i don’t see the point. I am cheap, trust me!. A quart of chalkaint does go farther than 1 gallon of latex, so that, along with the time it saves not sanding and the time/price to prime is worth it to me. I do love the no prep part as I HATE sanding. In the past, not so much now, I painted primarily chairs–oh the spindles! I do sand out dings and dents, which takes a few minutes compared to an hour plus sanding an entire piece.
You do NOT have to have a shabby, distressed look. You can get a modern, clean, smooth look easily, with no brush strokes. My 76 year old mother did this to her coffee table and end tables. You do not have to use the brushes at all–I prefer $1 chip brushes. You do not have to use wax, although it gives it a lovely, smooth like butter finish. I use wax about 10% of the time when I want a grungier, old world look. You can use any finish you would use over latex–polyacrylic by minwax, a clear spray, or just buffing the paint (which is work). The wax does go a long way and is probably the cheapest way to go for sure–much cheaper than other clear coats.
Chalkpaint has allowed me to paint pieces I woulkd have otherwise steered clear of because after a 2 minute wipe down with vinegar or mineral spirirts, the paint sticks beautifully. For raw wood pieces I still love latex. Thanks for your post and for “listening” –just hoping to clear up few misconceptions you may have.
I don’t think you’re addressing misconceptions as much as you’re addressing differences of opinion. 🙂
Maybe–just didn’t want you to think you HAVE to distress it, HAVE to use an expensive paint brush, HAVE to use wax.
I agree with Becky’s comments. I don’t think Kristi really has given chalk paint a chance. Not everything has to be chippy. I think the first problem with your “orange” desk was that is what originally white. With a piece like that sure latex would work better.
I agree, and I know I’m late to the party here, but I’ve used both types of paint, and 100% agree with the fact that a quart of ASCP will go farther than a quart of latex. I have painted a large nightstand, a medium sized chest of drawers, a large dresser, and a large wooden monogram, and still have a 1/4 quart of the paint left. I suspect that this will do another medium sized dresser, and normal sized nightstand before the paint is totally gone. We are talking 6 pieces of furniture here, with 2 coats of paint each. I do like the “no prep” aspect, but there are definitely pieces that I have had to prep. As far as distressing goes, it’s definitely limited to the piece. If I have an antique looking coffee table, that has ornate legs, I probably would stick to not distressing it, and letting the cuts in the wood speak for themselves. However, if I have a nightstand that is plain and needs a little something, then I think distressing is perfect for that. IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE PIECE. Just my two cents 🙂
Simply curious…how does a quart of chalk paint go further than a gallon of latex?
Michelle, I think mostly because for MOST colors, but not all, you only need one coat or one and a half coats (a light, watered down second coat). There are always exceptions of course, but it just covers way more than you think. A good, high quality latex covers well too, but like chalk paint, is much more than a qt of paint at Walmart. Like I said, I have been painting furniture, selling it for 15+ years–I know paint. No reason for me defend chalkpaint, no personal stake in it, I just love it for furniture.
Can you paint over unwaxed chalk paint? Can it work as a primer? We have wooden windows and the grid portion has detail so we can on only lightly sand or we start losing detail and gets uneven. Long story longer we wash/clean, strip, and we sand the outsides of the window frame, door frames baseboards. The first window we did (1 of 12) yellow still showed through. It took us 4 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint to get to an acceptable white. I think perhaps its a combination of the old orangy stain and perhaps a smoker who lived in house a long time before we bought it.
What kind of primer are you using? I can’t imagine having yellow show through after four coats!
Oops–should have proofread–sorry for all the typos, blame it on not enough coffee yet!
I am so with you on all your points. For the life of me, I don’t know why you would put all that time into refinishing an item, and not want it to look as clean and neat as possible. I, too, sand. Not just because it preps the item, but because it’s therapeutic. I see so many items that are “shabby chic” and all I think when I see them are how nice they would look with a clean coat of paint. Clean and neat will always be in style.
I like to think I was a little ahead of the curve, as fifteen years ago, pre-“shabby chic” boom, I was sanding down a tiny little three-drawer chest that had a million coats of paint on it, and when it reached that dragged behind a truck look with every single one of those paint colors showing, I fell in love with it. I still have that little chest. My husband simply does not get it though; plant him firmly on team “crisp.”
Anyhow, I find all your points completely valid. For me, the #1 issue is the price. Um, NO thank you. I’ve used ASCP chalk paint twice with fine results, but when I want to do the chalk thing, for me, it’s plaster of paris in a $3.00 Lowe’s sample. Works great, and I don’t have a stroke when I accidentally leave the lid off and it dries up and is ruined. I will say one thing though. My aunt has a house full of ASCP-painted/waxed items, and I find that rubbed wax finish to be the silkiest thing I’ve ever touched. I grope her furniture like a nitwit. I wish there was a way to replicate that feel with poly without all that work. No matter how much I’ve sanded or rubbed with steel wool, I just cannot get that silkiness…
I was wondering…could you finish off a latex painted piece with wax? Not so much for the look but for the feel?
yes you can! I’ve gotten beautiful results using furniture wax on top of flat latex paint. I first read about it on an Amazon review for Daddy Van’s furniture wax. Make sure you get flat latex paint though…satin-finish or glossy paint won’t work because the wax doesn’t adhere as well.
Thanks for the info!
Yes, you can, Ginger. As long as the latex is “flat.” 🙂
Oops, replied to wrong comment, lol.
Do not use Annie Sloan wax over latex paint. I did and it ruined the paint job. I realized it early on so did not do too much damage. I had to repaint the latex.
Thanks for this post. I’ve just been contemplating painting something with chalk paint. i like the painted and glazed look with light distressing as I enjoy vintage painted furniture mixed in with my antique furniture (otherwise too much brown everywhere!) I’ll stick with my latex paint
Hi I agree with you. But I would lovE your advie. I have an old roll top desk that I want to paint, any tips? I don’t know how the roll top part would paint.
I ‘ve never tried chalk paint but I’m getting ready to paint my 2 wing backs in my dining room.I read a Pinterest post that claimed that the fabric felt like soft leather after painting and waxing it with annie sloane products. I know my hubby won’t like them if the fabric is stiff. Have you heard anything about the differences on fabric?
I was over shabby chic before it ever started! I honestly don’t see the point.
And I absolutely agree with you on the chalk paint. I don’t even like the look of it. Thank goodness all things go thru trends and this one seems to be waning.
Thank you. I thought there was something inherently wrong with me not liking Chalk Paint and the distressed look. I can now paint my cabinets in bliss….
What finish latex paint is best?
I paint with satin finish and used Minwax paste wax on my smaller pieces and Aqua Spar polyurethane in antique flat for a finish coat on my larger pieces of furniture. (Smaller pieces are boxes and smaller wooden pieces). The AquaSpar is a water based product and will not yellow white painted pieces. Hope that helps.
I’ve done both….and since I don’t distress I see no advantage of chalk paint either. And you are so right about the expense. I did not know about the pink coming through. I hope my buffet in storage doesn’t turn pink by the time I get my things back out. That would make me cry.
A well finished piece of furniture is a tactile thing also. You don’t want to feel that latex tackiness that never fully cures and you (or I) sure as heck do not want chalky/gritty feeling furniture. The very thought puts my teeth on edge. Like cleaning an old fashioned chalk board with your bare hands! Ok, I guess the wax makes it all better? I think that a lot of people get excited about something that seems exotic or “new again.” That dresser looks like something off the set of the Walking Dead!
Ah yes, to each her own! I’ve used Annie Sloan paint a few times ($$), but I’ve also made my own “chalk paint.” And I paint furniture in latex, too! I like them all. But I don’t enjoy waxing at all. (I call it a bicep workout!) Yet I love the feel. (I waxed my white dresser top because I didn’t want it to yellow with poly, and I thought it wouldn’t hold up for a month. But two years later it’s going strong, and sometimes I just have to rub my hand over its unbelievably smooth top.) You know what I love about having distressed furniture in my house? It never matters if you bump into or hit something when you are vacuuming, etc, lol. However, after I paint something, it is incredibly hard for me to distress it!!!! It’s like, “I just put all this work into painting it — HOW can I now sand on it?!?!” But then I almost always like the results. IF I can get up the courage to do it. And sometimes I paint things and just leave as is, in their perfectly painted state. I’m an equal opportunity painter I guess. 😉
Water based polyurethane will not yellow white paint. Recommend AquaSpar poly in antique flat finish. Must order online from Amazon or order through Lowes or Home Depot. Hard to find a store that stocks it
thanks! will give that one a try… always nice to have options for those times I’m not after a silky, baby-butt finish 😉
I first bought a can of chalk paint to try out on little projects like picture frames because I was attracted to the claim that it covers every type of surface – glass, cheap plastic, wood, etc. After a few experiments I then tried it on an old (plain) wooden dresser and was happy with the results. I too am not a fan of the distressed look and I think it’s a shame when beautiful wooden pieces are painted and faux-treated and distressed to within an inch of their life. I think what might attract some people to chalk paint is that it doesn’t seem as scary if you’ve never painted furniture before. That was the case for me – I had no experience with painting anything other than walls and chalk paint seemed much less intimidating than “real” painting…if that makes any sense. Thanks for your perspective!
I am a latex paint girl for sure but wanted to try the chalk paint on a piece. The idea of saving time on the prep time attracted me but I found the finish time with waxing to be very time consuming, messy and did not deliver the finish I like to see. Living in a cold weather state I could not work in the garage so I ended up painting smaller pieces in my kitchen. I used chalk paint because it was more convenient than freezing in the garage sanding first. I did experiment using Minwax paste wax and using polyurethane over chalk paint. Both worked well and were easier to work with than AS wax. This spring I’ll be back sanding and painting with latex and in my opinion the only way to go.
Thank you for expressing the ‘un-love’ many of us feel for the extreme distressing trend with such tact. You have a wonderful way of explaining things when teaching and giving information in general. I will now think of prep work with a different attitude. Except a few weeks from now, we have to repaint our house. I will probably still look down the length after scraping a while and cry. 🙂
Thank you for your explanation about not using chalk paint. I have tried it because of the rave reviews and I was sorely disappointed in the results. I thought it was just my lack of skill in using that particular type of paint.
BTW I love all your projects. I had thought I was skilled at decorating and woodworking until I started reading your blog…..but I am learning so much.
You made my day ! You have a good sense of humor. Dragging behind a truck….. LOL. I’m still laughing.
If someone has alrready asked you this already, I apologize for repeating the question. I was wondering if you usually put a polyurethane or something else over your latex paint to seal it and to keep the paint from scratching off? I usually use oil based paint because my experience with latex is that it scratches off easily. But oil based paint has a strong odor and is a little harder to work with (plus the clean up is a pain). I am not the best prepper though, so that could be why the latex scratches off too. I usually just give a quick sanding and start painting.
I, too, am of the “old school” when it comes to refinishing or painting wood furniture… and I’m not a fan of the whole “shabby-chic” chalk paint look. And I agree, anymore I see that this look is merely a short cut way to not finish a wood project properly. I don’t mind the extra time and effort it takes to do it; the results soul-satisfying, and are long-lasting. ~:)
I hear ya! I’ve never used it. But I WILL NOT pay that much for paint!
I LOVE my Zinsser Cover Stain oil-based primer because once it’s dry, I sand it with super fine sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible (a process I actually love doing).
Do you hand sand after applying your primer or do you use an electric sander?
Thanks for the great post. Very interesting. I have not attempted to use chalk paint yet but do have some on hand for when I do. Latex paint you have so many more colors to choose from too.
AWESOME! I am glad I finally have someone who agrees with me! It’s sad that you have to defend your OPINION….that’s the great thing about living in America, people! We are ALLOWED to have our own OPINIONS! What you like is what you like and nobody has a right to tell you you’re wrong! What works for some people, may not work well for others. Let’s all be friends and just agree to disagree : ) Love, love, loved this article…and I will pass it on to those that tell me I’m wrong not to paint with chalk paint!
I don’t know much about chalk/chalkboard paint (yes, I get there are differences) as I’ve never used it. I do have a toy closet for my grandchildren’s toys that I may paint the inside of the door with chalkboard paint. I would still prep the door before painting as I want it as smooth as possible. I do like the fact that you can get it in many colors but really don’t see what all the excitement is all about. Did I miss something? : )
I had heard of chalk paint on some of the blogs. Saw the pictures, but that is always hard to tell. I happened to find some chalk painted pieces at an antique store in the area. I was impressed with the beautiful finish it had. One of you said “like butter” and that was a good discription. I then looked at the cans of paint, the beautiful colors, the brushes, the classes, the wax, the whole ball of wax. I decided right there and then, it would have to be a very special piece that would have me going to the expense & time it would take for me to do it. But, I am happy it is out there and you never know there may be a treasure I may find that I just might want to use it on.
I make halkpaint with non-sanded grout. 2 Tbl spoon per cup of paint cheap cheap. 6 bucks for a bag of grout at home depot and any latex paint.
I do the same – I make my own and love it! I am a chalk paint loving girl !
You can make chalk paint easily out of any acrylic/latex paint you have. Just use 1 cup paint and 1 Tablespoon of Plaster of Paris. Stir really well and if you want it thinner just a teaspoon of water at a time till it’s like you want it. I had a red shelf that I wanted to use this on and it worked fine, but it was sanded well first and then I did two coats. I didn’t really wait long enough to sand for the distressing, so I did go back in and cover a few spots that came off to much. I want used look, not trashy look! Very cheap to make your own chalk paint, tho, and yes I did wax it, because it is in my kitchen and I wanted the finish to be washable! I liked the way it turned out, but it is time consuming.
I have built a shelf unit for the kitchen and the shelves are 1/2″ plywood, and not to smooth, so they got sanded and 2 coats of kilz and enamel paint, because they will get a lot of ware. The three coats of enamel took just one afternoon. The outside is weathered pallet wood, so it is rustic looking, but the shelves will hold food in glass jars, so they are painted. and the top is 1″X 12, and 1″X8″ put together with the Kreg jig, stained dark walnut and polyacryliced, several coats, and I love it. All the acrylic paint was much fasted drying!
Enjoyed reading your post. I happen to be a huge lover of chalk paint, it is an investment I agree. But it is worth it to me. I painted furniture to save for a trip to see my first grandbaby in Guam and to see my daughter and son in law for the first time in two years. I worked my butt off (with the help of my sister!) I painted enough furniture to save $3000! So maybe I have an emotional connection . But I am so open to everyone’s ideas and I’m so impressed by the projects you take on and finish yourself! I’m so proud of you! This is the fun part of having friends, different ideas and passions! Enjoy!
My sister swears by chalk paint but I, as you, fail to see how it is so much better than regular paint. It’s so thin, it needs at least 3 and more likely, 4 coats of paint to cover anything. Painting anything an extra coat is EXTRA WORK. My sister DOES love brand names, but not me. We tried making our own chalkpaint which was an even bigger disaster. It’s gritty and the waxing… the whole thing, to me, is a nightmare. Give me a can of spray paint (spray paint is a lot more durable) or latex paint which is a lot thicker and covers better than chalk paint. I think you summed it up very well. Thanks for this assessment. Linda
I have used chalk paint and agree that the durability is not there, even with a post waxing. What is really annoying me is that everyone thinks a piece has to be painted. Don’t get me wrong, I have quite a few self painted pieces but sometimes there is something to be said about the beauty of wood. I was looking for a piece for my bathroom to turn into a vanity and almost every single piece I looked at was Annie Sloaned!!! Why? My neighbors have a upcycle business and I’m afraid to stand there for fear of being painted robin egg blue!!! And finally,we live in America, and the absolute beauty of that is that everyone has the freedom of self expression. Don’t apologize. CELEBRATE!!!.
Very interesting about the chalk paint. I too enjoy the prep of sanding, priming, sanding painting, sanding painting…. Some pieces I will do a few coats of satin polyurethane to protect the paint from staining.
Love the points about chalkboard paint as we were considering for a project but $$. Thanks for how kindly you express your taste. We LOVE the distressed look but realize not everyone does. Isn’t it great that we all have different taste? We do! Good article.
I like “some” painted furniture in my house, but not all of it. I also do not like it distressed. I have refused to paint my nice, expensive furniture. A few cheap pieces, yes. I think when everyone gets all their furniture painted, then the style will become natural wood again! What is everyone going to then? I guess instead of chalk paint, there will be a run on wood stripper! I am afraid this is just a fad that is coming to an end soon.
Love your post. I used Chalk Paint for a HUGE project, it took way to long and cost way to much! And….the stick-to-anything was a bunch of schtick, if you ask me. I had to shellac a lot. And I had to wax. I won’t use Chalk Paint again. It’s back to regular, much more affordable paint for me. But that’s just me. 🙂
Good post. I’m not offended- I have used and love the Chalk Paint look- but not the fancy stuff- the plaster of paris and paint sample kind. 😀 I have a few pieces in my house I purchased, and a couple I did myself. They are all cute little tables that fit the space I purchased them for. That said- I have 3 naked bar stools (hey that sounds like a band) and a gorgeous unfinished 3 cubbie bench in my mudroom I cant decide on what to use. They need to be durable, they aren’t just accent pieces that hold a box of tissue in my guest room. 😉 I have a technique I want to do on the bar stools- combo of stain and paint and I’m still at the point of anguishing over color, price, durability kind of thing. So I definitely value your opinion and I LOVE the things you did with latex.
i really appreciate this post. i myself and not a huge fan of the shabby chic look, but i have seen some beautiful pieces that some of my friends have. however with two rambunctious pups and planning for baby, i just can’t see it in my home.
I also love to paint with latex paint, and have been a bit nervous to use chalk paint. Your post clarified a lot of questions I had about it too, so thanks for that! I was wondering what you mean by “paint conditioner” and do you used a sealer over latex paint?
Kristi, I painted a piece with chalk paint and I’ve regretted it ever since. Another thing about chalk paint is that if you change your mind about the color a few years down the road you can’t just paint over it. Because of the wax you have to strip it. I could kick myself for using that stuff. Ugh. Love your blog!
Thanks so much for posting this! I get customers all the time telling me they love my “chalk painted this” or Chalk painted that” and the truth is I don’t use or like chalk paint! With all the paint I use on my pieces I would constantly be having it shipped in because of the the small sized cans and would would have to charge tree times as much because of the huge price! I can achieve much the same look with latex paint – if I want a more flat look I might add a chalk powder – but regardless of either – any of them distress well with a sander if that is the look you want!
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that people associate designer colors with the chalk paint. Not realizing that Latex has a bazillion more options. Maybe that’s why they keep thinking your stuff is chalk painted?
Love this article! You have said everything I think and feel about chalk painted over distressed furniture. Not to my taste either. But to each their own.
Thanks for such great information. I’ve been mulling over “chalk paint or not to chalk paint” and now think I’ll stick with old faithful latex. Love your down-to-earth explanations!
Thank you for sharing much of what I also think about chalk paint, Kristi. I have never understood how two opposite claims can be true- easy to distress/ durable. To me, if it’s easy to distress intentionally, then it will be easy to distress unintentionally. I have used chalk paint, latex paint, and my favorite- milk paint. Though the “milk paint” I use is actually a latex paint. It’s rather difficult to distress, which is a plus to me. I don’t like using wax because it is not durable- a professional furniture builder told me that it needs to be reapplied every 6 months- not my idea of fun!
Great piece! Thanks for the insight. I’ve been mulling over the chalk paint issue myself, but couldn’t get past the huge investment. Now, I know, I won’t!
Thanks for that. Very informative for an amateur furniture renovator who could be lured into buying this chalk paint 🙂
I’ve never commented in a blog before ever! But just had to this time. I painted my kitchen cabinets with Annie Sloans chalk paint. I cleaned them but did not sand or any other prep. I then did a light distressing and finished by waxing them. They are number one stunning!!! Number 2 durable I have 5 children and it’s been over a year and I have no stains or unintentional fading. I have not has to reapply wax. Or any other horrible thing. I also am an interior designer and professional faux finisher. Chalk paint along with latex and oil. Is a great product. Just depends on personal preference and the job at hand. Let’s be fair.
Tonya, I found this article to be extremely fair as Kristi, more than was necessary, pointed out that this was why she is a not a fan of chalk paint and was not out to change anyone’s preference or style. She addressed and answered her followers who asked why she does not use it.
I have used Chalk paint and I like it for some of the reasons mentioned. I did not buy the expensive brushes and found that it covers a lot. I also like latex. I think having a variety of “tools” at hand for a variety of jobs and desired finishes works for me. Personally, I like having some distressed items too. I like the eclectic look and don’t have a heart attack if the kids happen to add a scratch.
I’ve never tried chalk paint. I’m too terrified to spend a bunch of money on something I may not like. Plus I have this annoying habit of not realizing I hate a color until I’ve painted it on something…whoops. Latex paint is tried and true for me and I can achieve a crisp clean finish or distress the heck outa it if I so choose. I do like distressed stuff….not as extreme as the photo you showed though! Your post was so thoughtfully written partly, I’m sure, because there would be an angry mob of Annie Sloannies tearing up your comment section if it weren’t. Also though, you are very considerate of your readers- even when they aren’t always considerate of you…your momma raised you right!
i am in your corner.. i don’t like the look, don’t like anything that probably costs me more for supplies than i gave for the piece.. i just sold my last piece of furniture that was distressed.. i was over it… i like the clean fresh paint look.. with some great prep work.. no one wants to see brush marks… thanks for the blog post… 🙂
Oh, not me! I LOVE chalk paint! But, that’s just me. Happy painting:)
Careful Kristi, you might have a lawyer with a British accent calling you soon ; ) I don’t love chalk paint, but I don’t hate it. It depends on the piece. I love several different styles of furniture, so I use several different types of paint. Smooth, clean finishes look good on certain pieces, and on others, it makes them look cheap and plastic. I also primarily use latex. Since I sell my refinished furniture, regardless of the type of paint, the piece is always sealed with multiple coats of some kind of sealant (wax, poly, oil). Although it may not require sealing, like chalk paint, latex paint alone is not tough enough to stand up to serious wear and tear.
Elisha, I know you were teasing with your comment! 🙂 The Brit lawyer can call Kristi all s/he wants, they’d not have a leg to stand on. The point in this post is that Kristi gave her OPINION on a product, and not even A particular product, but a TYPE of product, and we still have the right to free speech (for the most part LOL!) in this country. She didn’t make any libelous statements against the product or slanderous statements against any chalk paint manufacturer, and her rationale behind why she doesn’t use chalk paint contained truthful statements, and the truth is always a defense against any claims someone might try to intimidate Kristi with. There’s no actionable language in this post, and there are no damages that could be claimed because of it.
Kristi, I appreciate this post so much. I like how you explained your preference for prep associated with types of paint other than chalk paint. The thing that I keep reading over and over from different bloggers is the rather steep learning curve with the finishing wax used over chalk paint, and how much time and effort it takes to get it applied and buffed out correctly. Yes, chalk paint is super trendy and it seems most bloggers have jumped on the band wagon, but despite its “no prep” claims, it is actually seems to be much MORE labor intensive than traditional paints because the finishing on the back end is more involved than almost any regular prep on the front end would be.
That said, I actually really like a flat/chalky look and I do like shabby chic and distressed finishes, but not a finish that looks like the piece was washed ashore after a hurricane! (Side note: my former secretary actually “distressed” her kitchen drawer fronts and doors by, you guessed it, having her husband literally drag them behind his truck down their street! She loved the end result; it was far too rustic for my tastes!) However, that flat/distressed finish can be achieved with regular latex paint, I’ve done it many times when I had a booth at an antique mall and sold refinished furniture. I do have some ASCP paint samples to test out on small pieces but have never used it, I should probably give it a go to see how I like it. I still am rather partial to my latex paint, though!
Thank you for this post!
Thanks for writing about this. I have never seen chalk paint in person, but all the uses I’ve seen online made it look really flat and without dimension. Now I know why. =)
Thank-you for a GREAT article! Your comments on distressed furniture were terrific! And now I don’t feel guilty for loving latex paint. And I believe a Purdy brush can last forever with the right care, too! Glad I read your story. Take care.
Thanks for your point of view. Let me start by saying that I am not at all offended by your article. Different strokes for different folks. I personally love Chalk paint and I make my own so I’m not spending a fortune. It costs very little when you make it yourself. It has been my experience that chalk paint holds up very well and should only take one coat. I do not sand or prep other than making sure my furniture is clean before painting. Waxing is very simple and takes no time at all. I would not spend a lot of money on brand name chalk paint when I can make my own. There are recipes on line for those who would like to try at least one piece. I do not distress my pieces either because I don’t like that look but I would do it for someone else if that’s what they wanted. I do want to say that I follow you and I really enjoy your blog. I get great pleasure out of seeing your projects. Keep up the great work.
I am so glad to know that there are others, like me, that just don’t get this whole distressed, shabby look. I’m like you I don’t mind a little distressing along the edges if the furniture is in a room that compliments that look. When I read all these blogs full of distressed furniture the first thing that pops into my mind is somebody is going to be doing a lot of refinishing or repainting when the distressed age is a thing of the past. I have never tried chalk paint and was beginning to feel like the “nerdy” kid on the block because I hadn’t. Plus I would never pay those prices, so like you, I think I will stick with my prep work and latex paint. Thanks for your insight and as always I love your blog!
I was introduced to chalk paint, not long ago, and I am very excited about its unique finish. The price was way too much for me, so I opted for a chalk additive which can be added to any latex paint. It works great – I can still buy a cheaper paint, in the exact color I want, and adjust the amount of “chalkiness” to fit my project. Depending on the project, I vary between the chalk paint and latex. Just an option for someone who likes both types of paint:)
Great, Great, information! I feel the very same as you! I just can’t be convinced that Chalk Paint is the way to go!
This post is hilarious! Dragged behind a truck! heeheee I don’t mind a little distressing, but not a ton of it like that. I’ve tried both ASCP and home made some chalk paint. Although it does dry fast and goes on easily, I’m not wild about a flat finish and having to add a top coat for protection and sheen. The home made version turned out kind of gritty. I always like to sand before painting and in between coats, for a nice smooth finish. So I guess my overall opinion of the chalk paint is, “meh”. My favorite paint for furniture/cabinetry pieces is Benjamin Moore Aura. It has almost no smell, comes in different sheens, and is half the price of ASCP. Your sense of humor and witty writing style always cracks me up – I hope you keep blogging for a long time – this is a fun blog!
Thank you for this article. I cannot say I will never try CP, as I may just to get a feel for it. I have some beautiful family antiques that provide incredible richness, warmth and luster that paint of any kind will not touch. But I do want to add a pop of color here and there. Depending on the item and use will determine the finish. Your pieces are beautiful and I am glad not totally distressed…love some metallic highlights! The distressed love look has been overdone and too often done without thought/correct placement. Thanks again, Kristi!
Thank you for your thoughtful information about chalk paint. I’m a neophyte when it comes to crafting & painting of furniture items. I’ve been on the bubble regarding chalk paint products. I may still try a small project, but I’ve been hesitant due to cost. Your blog has been very helpful. I look forward to more information on these projects. My to-do list is long, but I am slowly tackling things as I gather experience. I appreciate your candor.
Thank you for the post. I hope for everyone getting ready to paint furniture reads this. You give a clear & honest opinion without hurting anyone’s feelings. I done a lot of reading about chalk paint before making a decision. Money made the choice for me. I don’t mind a little dab of distressing on the furniture, but I can put some elbow grease into it and have the same results just using plain, ordinary latex paint. And to really save money, most of my paints are bought from the mis-mixed section of the stores. My living room is full of pieces that were simply painted using either sample size paints or a paint color no one wanted. Happy Painting To All!
Kristi, I do use chalk paint and I was certainly not in the least bit offended by your post (why should I be? people’s opinions and habits differ). But since you gave a series of logical reasons for not using it (high price, shabby finish, prep claims, lack of durability), I thought I’d follow up with my responses. I’m not trying to convert anyone, but I am trying to present another side to it for the readers who aren’t familiar with chalk paint.
Firstly, the biggest reason I use chalk paint and milk paint is that they are less chemical-y and vapor-y than latex and oil. I don’t want to expose my family to fumes — or myself! I do find that the Annie Sloane wax is REALLY STINKY to work with, but there are other waxes that are harder but less fume-y. Also, these products are easy to clean up with just soap and water. So I use chalk paint, milk paint, and carefully chosen waxes to minimize my exposure to solvents. (I have no actual data on the potential danger/safety of various products! But I’m an asthmatic, so I’m sensitive.)
Price: yes, it’s expensive. A quart costs slightly more than a gallon of cheap latex, slightly less than a gallon of better latex. I find that the price is justified by several things: the coverage of the paint (when used appropriately it will go a long way — the exception to this is white shades), the ease of the painting (fewer drips and brush marks), and the finish (which I DO like).
Finish: good heavens, you don’t HAVE to distress it, and I usually don’t. But I do love the aged look that the combination of soft color and soft texture give, I love the buttery softness of a waxed piece, and I love the depth of color. I do not love the harsher tones of latex paint; pale or bright, it lacks depth to my eyes. (Oil is better. But see fumes, above, and also oil is a pain to work with.)
Prep claims: chalk paint will stick if you don’t sand — sure — but no one says that a dinged-up piece of furniture will look its best without prep work. Of course you have to prep a damaged finish. Of course.
Lack of durability: I started painting with latex before chalk paint was available, so I’ve had ample experience with both finishes. For instance, latex and waxed chalk paint will both melt in a moving truck! But the latex piece has to be totally re-done, whereas the chalk painted piece just has to be waxed again. Neither finish responds well to hot teapots. But I use my surfaces a lot (tea cups, books) and I don’t like the way things stick to latex for years — and potentially damage the finish. A damaged latex finish starts to bubble, roll, or peel; you can’t touch it up reliably the way you can with chalk paint and wax. For durability, I really think oil is best — but, again, I don’t like to work with oil.
And now I have a question: have you tried the Benjamin Moore Advance paint, that is supposed to be for cabinets and furniture? If you’ve tried it, do you like it?
No, I’ve never used that, but people keep mentioning how amazing it is. I might need to give it a try! 🙂
I just tried the Ben Moore Advance paint on my kitchen cabinets (he hardest job I ever tackled) I sanded, primer with what they told me to use…had to wait HOURs before applying Advance (mineral oil based pant) like the next day and then had to wait 16 hours before the 2nd coat of advance and sanded in between. The point of the mineral oil is to slow the drying process down so the paint has more time to level out. The finish is very nice and HARD. HOWEVER- I switched to the ASCP because I didn’t have to remove the cabinet doors. What I learned about the Chalk paint was- a good SOLID coating is best to achieve the best waxed look. I also painted over the hinges and then lightly sanded them with a sanding sponge to remove some of the paint and they look AWESOM!!!!!!
I’m almost finished the project. I was told that white vinegar and water removes the wax. Does anyone know if that is true? PS the Annie Sloan Paint goes a long way and it VERY clean and neat to use- doesn’t splatter. I had no signs of painting on me with the chalk paint. I cut the kitchen wall in with latex wall paint and I look a MESS!
Thank you, Fran. These features are exactly why I want to try ASCP. I was an interior and furniture painter years ago and would only use Benjamin Moore. That was before there were less toxic paints to choose from. Thanks to Kristi and everyone for such a valuable discussion on a topic I love! Looking forward to getting back into furniture painting again!
Chalk paint is wonderful! But the durability is really something awful) I think it’s good at some small pieces of funiture or decoration home items. Thanks for the post, it’s really useful for amature decorators)
I read your chalkpaint article with great interest and have often thought to myself that in a few years these CP pieces will be for sale and I’ll be stripping and scraping that paint finish off. (lol)
My pet peeve is walking through an antique mall or flea market and coming across a lovely piece of furniture only to have it ruined by someone who didn’t take the time to strip off the old layers of paint. They slop on a layer of CP (brush marks showing) and call it “refinished” and mark up the price. Really?
Don’t get me started. For every one piece I find that was painted nicely with CP I run into about 20 that look like crap. I’m not ruling out a few selected pieces I’ll treat with CP but most of my finishes will be latex. It’s tried and true and has withstood the test of time something CP cannot claim.
I enjoy your blog immensely! I’m enjoying watching your plans unfold in the new house. I’ve seen chalk paint items that were really awesome and some that I wondered what in the heck they were thinking. But that’s just the thing–we are all different. Keep up the good work!!
I use both chalk paint and latex. Some pieces I like to look more distressed and some more polished. There are pros and coins to both paints. With that said , in most cases, latex is more durable. But I don’t know what some one in 30 years will think about it when they find one of my pieces , when they decided to refinishtge same piece to their own taste. Latex is much harder to sand off. I always prep my pieces for any refinish though. I probably over prep. But I like to get the piece as smooth and close to raw and new before hand. Then a color scheme will just speak to me and I can judge what kind of paint will achieve the best look to maximize the piece’s potential. Then later I decide what finish will be more durable based on the use of the individual piece. Sometimes I mix a combination of different paints and finishes. Too many times , I’ve seen people buy into the whole no prep part of chalk paint and think they’ve done something amazing, when the piece actually just looks like crap and will have to be redone in 6 months. If you’re going to do something, I say , do it right the first time.
I am a Chalk Paint™ user, in fact I am a Chalk Paint™ distributor in Europe. I am not at all offended by any of Kristi’s comments. I like the paint because of its ease of use and flexibility. I am not at all shabby chic, in fact, my style is more retro modern, and I have quite a few pieces in my own home that work well with my particular style. This paint works well with any style but the key is knowing how to use it. And it does take a bit of getting used to. I agree about the shabby chic and hopefully we will soon see the end of it or see it used in better applications.
You can paint a lot with one quart/litre of paint. It is actually quite amazing. And I think people have a hard time grasping this concept- it is less paint than latex but more expensive. Ultimately there is a market for latex painted furniture as well as Chalk Paint™ furniture- we live in a society where we can make our own choices based on our own preferences. Kristi prefers to use latex, as do many of her readers. I, on the other hand, prefer to use Chalk Paint. Neither one is better- they have different applications and different possibilities. The best advice is to test the paints (both latex and Chalk Paint™) and decide for yourself. Chalk Paint™ is not new. It has been around for over 20 years but has just hit the American market recently which is probably why many think it is new and trendy. My only issue that I have is copycat companies that have started up their own versions of chalk paint….funny how many of them used to sell Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but have now added a little colour to how they “created” their chalk paint, and are riding on the coat tails of Annie Sloan. That is crap business practice but as for a Chalk Paint vs. latex- for me it is a non issue. They are both good- it is all up to personal preference.
You know what, I think we got after about the – ooh – zero’th time – that Chalk Paint is a trademark. Your post is SO spammy just because you put that stupid TM symbol every time you said the damn CP words.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I don’t like chalk paint or the shabby chic look either. I’ve felt guilty for that and have stashed furniture because I felt like something was wrong with me that I didn’t like the chippy look, that I liked a smooth finish. Once I get in the new house that furniture is coming out! Thanks Kristi.
I personally like the way the white dresser looks. I too agree that chalk paint is way overpriced along with the wax and brushes.
I am so glad I found this. I have spent a ton of money on a very well known brand of chalk paint, and I don’t like it. I purchased them when I first started painting furniture because I thought that was the only way to go. You have to stir very well, and even then it is clumpy. Then you have to sand, paint again and sand. Then on to waxing. I guess I never got the hang of it because it’s always streaky and sometimes I get little depressed spots where I guess some of the paint wiped off when I wiped the wax off. It burns me when I just spent 2 hours getting the perfect finish and this happens. I was really feeling like maybe I wasn’t good at this furniture painting thing because I couldn’t get the perfect finish. I saw so many bloggers posting pictures of their furniture and it looked so impressive, but then again, no one ever posts a close-up of the finish. I even tried spraying it and it leveled beautifully, but when I was taking it back inside to wax it brushed an edge on the door frame and it chipped. Uggg! Then I tried General Finishes Milk Paint. It has a lot of latex in it and it doesn’t chip like milk paint. I was sold! My piece was beautiful, no brush strokes, no waxing and I was actually proud of the work I had done! I will not buy another can of name brand chalk paint again-done, finished and shut the door! One of the best furniture painters in my town never uses chalk paint and her pieces are stunning! Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone.
“Sanding also helps to minimize wood grain”
Well, you know what, I like wood grain, so I wouldn’t want to be painting stuff AT ALL – with anything. Varnish, perhaps. Nice preservative. Perhaps even the teabag trick. So you can piss off all the chalk paint people (which I also detest) and at the end of the day I think your taste sucks as well. And look, ma, no sanding.
Wood purists generally have some of the ugliest houses I’ve ever seen. In other words, I’d probably think your taste sucks as well. So I’m not sure what the purpose of your ridiculous comment was, but feel free to move on.
I HATE chalk paint too. I love the way your desk looked after you painted it nicely. Not with that nasty chalk paint. It looks dirty and dusty and I couldn’t bring myself to own any furniture painted with chalk paint. I have seen them in pictures and thought, oh, thats kinda nice only to have seen the same piece in person and thought it was crap. Its like a woman trying to take a picture in great lighting and tons of makeup to look appealing on a dating site only to meet the person to see she looks NOTHING like her picture.
Loved this post. Ok, I’m in the middle of painting a medium oak bookcase with American Paint chalk paint in white. I’m on my second coat of the inside of the bookcase and quite disappointed at the bread through. I’m going to need at least a third coat and I’m ready to quit. Pecan I paint over chalk paint with latex paint or do I need a primer first? I gave the zinzer primer which I use for everything but it is not the oil based one. I can’t use the oil based one for health reasons. Any advice would be appreciated…I have to finish thus piece in the next 48 hours before my out of town company arrives and I’m in a panic lol.
At this point, your best bet might actually be to finish it with the chalk paint. So sorry you’re having a hard time with it. 🙁
Omigosh pardon the typos in above comment…my iPad is on Prozac! That was bleed through and can I not pecan! Sheesh!
Haha! I got that. 🙂 I’ve gotten pretty good at deciphering mobile and tablet auto-correct language. 😀
Thanks for your response! The thing is I am out of chalk paint and unwilling to spend more on it. I would need enough to put a 4th coat on the inside of a 32×60 bookcase and then 4 complete coats on the 3 outer sides and all shelves. No thank you. I’m trying to google around to see if it’s ok to put latex over chalk or what the recommended steps would be. If any of your readers have done this successfully I’d love to hear 🙂
Took a chalk paint class last weekend and bought some of Annie Sloan’s products. But something was bugging me about how it behaved, as if I had used something very similar before. Came home and did a side-by-side test of the chalk paint vs. my favorite bonding primer, Stix, on an old Bombay Company mahogany piece. Guess what? I got identical results. I have half a mind to just tint the Stix and use that on my next makeover.
Wow! I’ve been trying to “get” the whole chalk paint thing, but just didn’t see where it saves time. Everyone says you don’t have to sand. Well, sanding and buffing use just about the same amount of effort. I like to sand, It’s almost like therapy to me and I’m burning calories in the process! It seems that when you chalk paint, you not only have to paint (hopefully one coat, but often you have to do 2 coats), you have to then distress to your liking by sanding, then you add the wax, then you buff the wax. If you want to do the 2-color process, you have to double the amount of work. Where’s the time saver. I lightly sand, then prime, then paint. If I choose to distress (and I mean lightly, as you said) then I just sand some obvious areas. If I want it antiqued, then in just use Folkart Antiquing Medium. That’s about as easy to use as anything and you get the same look as dark wax! I’m with you and the whole chalk paint issue…it’s not for me either! Rock on…
The distressed look is to be put into anything country, shabby chic, french country, cabin type decors…if you don’t like that look, then of course don’t use chalk paint. The whole point of chalk paint, and then distressing it, or as you put it, “freshly painted piece of furniture has then been chained to the back of a pickup and dragged over gravel and cement to give it “character”,” isn’t to make it look new…it’s to make it look old and/or weatherized…if someone buys a old piece where the paint has naturally become this way, they don’t paint it. So actually your whole argument is lacking fact..it is obvious you don’t like the shabby chic/country/ french country type looks, and therefore wouldn’t use the chalk paint.
“So actually your whole argument is lacking fact”
What the crap? This isn’t a political blog. It’s DECORATING. People ask me all the time why I don’t use chalk paint, and I explained why. That’s it. This isn’t earth shattering stuff here.
I wish you had a like button and I would like your response!!
Oh, wow! Finally an answer to my question! Found out about chalk paint a few months ago and was sold on the idea of no sanding no priming. Yeah right. First couple of solid wood pieces have had bleed thru and no way I’m not sanding rough spots! Oh and of course had to spray shellac so I can paint using my no priming needed expensive chalk paint. Ugh.. I am now investigating what latex paint I can use that has no or low voc. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!!!
I personally like Behr from Home Depot. The Behr Premium Plus is zero VOC.
I love this post! I dislike chalk paint and this crazy new popularity of it! Thank you for breaking it down and putting it in writing I could’t agree more.
Now I have a question I have been searching for and can’t find! How do you remove chalk paint? I have tried stripping it (not realizing it was chalk paint) mineral spirits (works a little) a small amount of scraping and sanding (but it gunks up the sand paper and I don’t want to ruin the piece I am working on). I would paint over it but I desire the wood below and the calk paint has taken out all the carved details too.
I hope you have an answer ( i can’t seem to find a “remover”, but maybe I am looking in the wrong place)
Thank you so much!
I actually have no idea. 🙁 I hope someone else sees sees your comments and will have the answer for you.
I know! It’s frustrating! Thank you for looking and yes I hope someone else knows the answer….
Id like to see whats under all of it before repainting if thats the way I go.
Thanks for a really helpful post. I have had real problems with some chalk paint projects, I did not realise until too late that if you apply laquer it draws any wood stains right through the paint and you can end up with a real mess. Usually I do sand and prime, this time I just sanded and it looked ok at first. I had also decoupaged so the sanding down process was a nightmare.
I plan to try an eggshell finish next.
I actually just chalk painted my first piece of furniture today. I read all the hype and ventured to a local place that sold chalk painted furniture to see if it was a finish I would tolerate. I admit, it was a bit different from what I expected but here is why I opted to spend the small fortune. 1) I had an entertainment center that we could not afford to replace. 2) it had lots of fluted molding and rosettes that I wasn’t about to sand. 3) I am lazy and HATE sanding, painting, staining, sanding, sanding and sanding. 4) After replacing our ancient projection TV with a new LCD, we had to find a dresser to hold the new tv which happened to be a fake french painted piece of furniture. The old entertainment center was a crappy mahogany stained piece. Do the math. 🙁 So, we had to paint, one way or another. And as a LAZY (in case you didn’t catch that before) person, the thought of sanding everything, priming, painting & sanding more…OMG. Nothing sounded better to me than a distressed appearance, which required zero prep work and a coat or 2 of paint. I happen to be okay with distressed appearances so this wasn’t a hard pill to swallow but due to the cost, I plan to make my next batch of chalk paint for a chair I have to compare results. Nutshell…chalk paint is great for us lazy folks, on a budget, who also happen to like distressed looks. I beg my step-dad to paint my pieces that need to look pretty and new. 🙂 He has patience.
O MY GRACIOUS,I must say…….AMEN! I have been painting furniture now for sometime & I completely agree that point blank you need to sand whether you are refinishing for staining or paint. Get that old gunk off! Painting furniture is not for the lazy or impatient,but it can be done right on a pretty conservative budget. I have recently tried the chalk paint on one piece & don’t care for it at all. I’ve seen so many people trying to sell these awful thick pieces for way too much $$$-looks like scamming to me. I personally think there is not better finish than sanding and latex it really achieves a thin beautiful shine- be warned- it takes work! Here in the south we just say”Beauty is pain!” & this is true with furniture! My first love is natural wood & you will never see those amazing movements in wood results without sanding,point blank! I think chalk paint is for people who want a miracle diet pill without exercise & diet! I’m not a follower!loved your article!
In my opinion chalk paint is for middle class housewives with too much time on their hands who want to be creative without putting any real effort into it, they like to keep up with the latest hobbyist/creative fads and don’t mind their husbands paying for it.
LOL yes…this is EXACTLY how I feel about it.
And somebody wants $300 for this horribly “distressed” chalk-painted table on Craigslist: http://images.craigslist.org/00T0T_cErd5AjsOIj_600x450.jpg
So, long story short…I have spent far too many hours and far too much money on chalk paint on my kitchen cabinets. Now, I’m totally disappointed with the results. I wish I had read yuri post prior to painting. My question for you is this…how should I fix them to achieve a durable and shiny finish? Do you know the best method for painting white kitchen cabinets? Any suggestions would be appreciated! ! Thank you!!
I am a newbee at repurposing furniture. A friend recommended chalk paint and then distressing it. I did not want to distress it but I used chalk paint anyway. I am not liking the results. It is streaked and I have used 3 coats. I think I’m going to sand it and use latex. More work but I’ll be happier with it.
So, long story short…I have spent far too many hours and far too much money on chalk paint on my kitchen cabinets. Now, I’m totally disappointed with the results. I wish I had read your post prior to painting. My question for you is this…how should I fix them to achieve a durable and shiny finish? Do you know the best method for painting white kitchen cabinets? Any suggestions would be appreciated! ! Thank you!!
If I were in your shoes, I would sand them perfectly smooth, prime with an oil-based primer (I use Zinsser Cover Stain), and then paint. If you paint with a brush, I have the steps I take to get a smooth finish here: https://www.addicted2decorating.com/how-to-paint-cabinets-with-a-paint-brush-and-get-a-near-perfect-finish.html
Or you can spray them. I purchased a sprayer on Amazon called Critter before I remodeled my kitchen, and I love the finish! It’s only about $40, but you do need an air compressor to hook it up to. If you already have an air compressor, then the extra $40 for the Critter sprayer would be well worth it.
I love Chalk/Milk paint!!!There are different strokes for different folks!!! Everyone isn’t supposed to think the same. There are more people out here loving the chippy look. GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!!!HAVE AN OPEN MIND!!!!
I am SO GLAD you wrote this. Everything you said makes perfect sense. I was debating using it but now I won’t…I’ll just stick to taking no short cuts…those always end up a mistake!
I also don’t “get” the shabby chic thing…it really is just shabby unless it hangs on a wall as art or the like, or is actually old and worn beautifully…like a dining table made from recycled barn wood. Nothing shabby about it, just old and beautiful! I guess I am just not a fan of “faux” anything…just so cheesy! And faux shabby painting is the worst!
Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this! I have often thought many of the same things that you have posted, and feel exactly the same way about the whole distressed furniture look. I’ve given homemade chalk paint a try only twice, and I’m still undecided on it. I like the whole ‘no prep required’ aspect, but I have used it on one surface where it scratches off wayyyy wayy too easily which really annoys me, and I’m with you on how if you want to bother with redoing a piece of furniture that it should be closer to pristine looking instead of damaged. It seems that this is not the trendy thing to say in the blogging world right now, but I appreciate someone actually laying it all out to descibe what I had had my suspicians about already.
What color and brand paint did you use on the desk? It’s beautiful, and your post was very informative and has helped me decide against chalk paint. Thanks!
Found your info looking for valid reasons to bash chalk paint as a reliable finish. I restore pieces to original and am not interested in painting furniture. I am lucky I work at a high end architectural woodworking company and I have my coworkers to advise me and teach me the craft. I am just finishing restoring a black lacquer piece that could have easily been painted, but I wanted it perfect and durable. I made a deal with my coworker to spray it for me. He tinted the lacquer black so the color will be all through the finish and will not scratch off, etc. I did all the stripping and sanding and did a good job as he would have had issues with my work when he did the first coat. Whew! Anyone professional in this line of work will tell you flat out surface preparation is THE KEY to a high quality job. Anyway, I have noticed chalk painted pieces in retail stores and they were scratched all to hell. I have no trust in that as a valid and serious finish option. Too many DIYers think they know what they are doing when there is a lot more to working with wood and finishes and think they can just pick up a piece, slap some paint on it and sell it. The poor buyer will quickly realize the finish job sucks and will be disappointed. Thanks for the info, you confirmed my hunch. 🙂
Great post. I have been contemplating using chalk paint for the first time and then I decided to do a little more research and came upon this website. I like the slightly distressed look myself and I was wondering it I used home made chalk paint (made with plaster of paris) could I use a coat of poly on top of it vs the wax paint? I have to try it at least once. Thanks
This was an interesting article and loved that you shared your opinion. I have only used chalk paint twice with the ASCP brand, so I know the pros and cons. Pros – I did not sand before putting on the paint and it only required 2 coats to complete cover the already lacquered wood. Product went on super smoothly (and no, I do not work for Annie Sloan 🙂 The paint did not smell. Waited for it to dry…. then applied the wax. The wax is the hardest part of the process – you have to really rub the wax into the surface. After that if you want a nice sheen, buff. I did not distress my item at all – and it actually looks just a regular painted item would. I can run my fingernail into it, and it holds up just fine. So…the biggest pro – you don’t have to sand or prime. Biggest con – prepare for a little arm workout with the waxing and buffing (buffing if you only want shine).
This was a very helpful article. Thank you for writing it. It answered a lot of the questions I had about chalk paint, the finish and the durability. I’m a person who loves to sand, primer, and paint to a flawless finish too. 🙂
I recently decided to paint a chest of drawers in my room. While I have nothing against bare wood, i’ve always been more of a fan of colour. I did loads of research online regarding painting tips and techniques and was surprised at the high percentage of posts recommending using chalk paint. Like so many others, I was initially seduced by the thought of not having to prime first, but the more I read the more I was put off, especially by the waxing and expense side. I’m also not a huge fan of the a forced shabby chic look. For me, if a painted piece of furniture naturally ends up that way then cool, but otherwise it feels a bit like trying too hard.
So when I recently found a discard wooden wardrobe on the pavement just down the road from where I live (on my way home after enjoying a few beers), I thought this way the perfect opportunity to show what can be achieved by using dulux satinwood to upcycle some furniture. I had to make a cornice for the top and build a drawer (using some pallet wood I had) but I think the finished product turned out really well, much better than if I had used chalk paint. And cheaper too (£20 spent on paint and £5 spent on hardware).
I wasn’t sure where to post this question. So how many pieces of painted furniture is too many? I have a entryway with a table and a bench I want to paint them both. Any rules of thumb or thoughts about tt? I just not want my whole house to look like wow she found a paint store..
There are no rules. It’s your house, so just as long as you like it, it’s fine! 🙂 I personally like to mix my stained wood with painted wood, but I don’t follow a specific ratio. I just do what looks right to me for each room.
Too late for me. I fell for the hype and have spent two days painting THREE coats of chalk paint on a bookcase. It still looks streaky and well, like I painted it with primer. The paint in the can is about 3/4 gone now, so it cost a lot as well. I’m really upset about it. It’s a nice, solid piece my son had for 15 years and he gave it to my daughter. It wasn’t a thrift store find. I don’t know what to do. I guess try to sand it down? Ugh.
If you have three coats on there, I personally would use a chemical stripper first to remove the bulk of it, and then follow up with sanding. So sorry you’re having to undo and redo. 🙁
Hello! Thank you for your article. I have a project that I want to tackle but wanted to ask how much sanding is required prior to using primer. Would you just need enough sanding to remove sheen, & dings? Thanks!
I have used AS chalk paint on several projects over the last 3 years. I had read about the paint quite a few years ago inEnglish decorating magazines. I used a wax finish on all the pieces. I recently moved on the hottest weekend in a Texas August in a DIY move. All the pieces including the wardrobe painted and waxed the week before the move arrived in the same condition they left. I like the paint a lot. Sometimes I sand beforehand and sometimes between coats. I like waxing as much as I like sanding. I sometimes lightly distress but I do not like heavily distressed furniture and I agree much of the painted furniture I see in shops are boring. It comes down to taste. I have not used latex in several years because I find it remains sticky and easily peels. My 2cents. Oh and I’m not middle class
I use both or more than one kind of paint and I mix up this worn look with solid color also . I do like chalk paint and love latex also.Both are very good…
Beautiful name by the way, lol.
I am forever grateful to you for writing this and putting it out there. I refinish furniture as a hobby and everyone is always asking me “Why don’t you try chalk paint?”.
all of the reasons I give them are the exactly the ones you named, word for word and in the same order.
I know you aren’t out to validate anyone, simply to inform, but I wanted to say thank you.
On a side note, I have done distressing with sand paper or steel wool on my latex painted furniture to the point that one cannot tell the difference between it and a chalk painted piece. You can get the same look and effect with a lot less effort and money. I am not a big fan of all the “distressing” and the way “shabby chic” gets thrown around but I will paint a piece to suit my buyers needs.
Hi, Interesting post! Was wondering exactly what ‘paint conditioner’ is though? thanks!
It’s an additive that makes the paint go on smoothly and eliminate brush strokes.
I enjoyed reading your article. – In my opinion – I was never a fan of the shabby chic fad and always wondered at the appeal. I love antiques and old things and have many pieces that are genuinely distressed by age and a few even have chippy paint, but they’re “real” old not “fake” old.
I also agree with you about sanding and priming and don’t feel like the job is properly done if those steps are skipped. I’ve never been tempted to use chalk paint, but for fun I painted an old secretary with black chalkboard paint and have it in my kitchen. Every kid that comes in my house, even my sons’ college friends, loves to sign their name or write a note on it.
What a really great article, thanks for sharing your knowledge! You have convinced me not to try chalk paint, for my next project.
Hi ! Really enjoyed this post ! I realize this is an older post and may not get a response but I will try . I jumped on the chalk paint band wagon , don’t mind the distressed look but HATE the waxing ! I have used a poly acrylic as well that doesn’t yellow my white furniture , but …. It is a pain to apply over larger pieces like a table top , since you need to keep a wet edge and it dries way to fast . I am interested in what brand or type of latex paint you use for furniture ? Preferably one that DOESN’T need a top coat , and is still durable . Thank you so much !
I always use Behr from Home Depot. I have great success with it, and it’s very durable. I don’t know that I’d paint something like a dining table top that gets used every day (I wouldn’t use ANY brand of latex paint for that), but for most furniture, it works great.
Thank you! I thought I was painting wrong with the chalk paint! Six years ago I sanded, primed and painted two end tables. They still look great. Three months ago I heard about this chalk paint and decided to try it on my grandfather’s old end tables. Wish I wouldnt have wasted my time. It took two coats and then waxing. The tables show marks and dirt and are hard to clean! They did look good, for a minute! I even tried polyurethane to see if this would make a difference but it hasn’t. I’ll go back to what works (for me).
i have painted furniture for many years – have even written books on the subject. Chalk paint is a trend. (Remember milk paint?) It’s too expensive – cuts into my profit big time. Give me my latex paint any day 🙂
I just wanted to give a second opinion from someone who does BOTH refinishing of wood and I make my own chalk paint. First point I want to make is you can easily and cheaply make your own chalk paint. Second point is that a simple coat of polyurethane (with or without stain) will completely seal the paint and it will not flake or scratch. Chalk paint is super simple to make with just 2T of Plaster of Paris and 1T of water & 1 cup of paint. Mix it up and add to your latex, oops or other paint. I always by “Oops” paint. This is the paint that people have mixed up and they don’t want. I usually pay .50 to $2.00 per quart which is plenty for one piece of furniture. You can find it at HD and Lowes. This homemade chalk paint is handy when you are painting something that is cheap wood with one of those cheap glossy finishes and sanding will be a lot of work and maybe not a good idea for cheap wood. It just makes the paint stick without having to sand. I just finished a little bookshelf, then stained it with Mission Oak Minwax stain + polyurethane in one. I did not “distress” it, but I like the antique look of the stain over the top. If you don’t like that look, then simply get a coat of clear polyurethane and brush over the paint. I like the new matte finish because it has no gloss or shine. It works great. We even banged the shelves around trying to get them inside and the paint did not scratch. I have 2 kitchen chairs that have this same type of homemade paint on the legs with a coat of poly on top and we sit with our feet on them all the time and they look like they did the first day I finished them. Just another option!!!
Thanks! I just did my kitchen cabs with AS chalk paint and was wondering about a clear coat. I was told by the retailer who old me the ASCP- that white vinegar and water removes the AS wax? Haven’t tried it but will.
Sorry, but using wax in a kitchen in a TERRIBLE idea. A friend of mine did it once and ruined her cabinets. The wax started melting off in areas that got heat, and it shows wear very easily – i.e. fingerprints, stains, etc. It requires yearly maintenance and it’s likely that you’ll never be able to refinish it again. Even if you try to buff or sand the wax out, you will just end up pushing it deeper into the wood grain and you’ll never be able to get another finish to adhere to it in the future! Also, have fun with the “chippy” chalk paint that scratches right off with your fingernail!
Very pleased to find this blog. Just spent the last week painting a 7 drawer chest from the 1950s with white chalk paint, 4 coats later and I’m still getting a yellow ‘bleed’ of wood grain through it. I can see every brush mark – and to be frank – it looks a mess. So enough of all this ‘easy no prep let’s all use chalk paint’ nonsense. I will sand it down this weekend, one coat of primer, a couple of coats of eggshell – and it will be perfect!
Serves me right for following the hype… instead of the tried and trusted way to paint woodwork that’s worked for me for 20 years.
I’ve been wondering about chalk paint and never tried it. Thanks for writing this, very informative and honest!
Thank you so much for this post! I want to paint my kitchen cabinets with chalk paint but now I will use latex paint. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful and helpful information!
You won’t be sorry- trust me!!
I practically SCREAMED when I saw this blog post – THANK YOU.
I have been researching tips, techniques, and inspiration for the last few months, and I was so confused by the ridiculous amount of distressed, ‘shabby chic’, and/or chalk paint tutorials I saw. It’s frustrating! No one believes in ‘crisp’ anymore!
Seriously, guys. I’m broke. I’m not trying to have my decor reflect this on PURPOSE
You should try General Finishes! They make acrylic paint that looks like milk paint but it’s very durable and won’t chip off like chalk paint,….I also like Behr latex paint for a smooth finish!
I would like to whack the people who say any idiot can paint furniture with chalk paint. They have it wrong. The idiots are people like me who think they can paint with chalk paint. I took an expensive class and painted through one small piece of wood after another, using six techniques. When I ran into trouble, the instructor would not stop and help. And I was dumb enough to purchase the expensive paint, brushes and wax. The piece I am attempting to paint is a 60s factory finish piece — probably the hardest to do. I even took it up to the store to ask what I was doing wrong. I was told I was too hard on myself, that it needed more coats of paint and I should paint it a different color. I fell for this. There aren’t enough bad words in any language to express how upset I am with myself for forging ahead with something when I clearly have no talent for it and am being bamboozled by the proponents of this paint. It looks great on a picture frame but not on the piece I am painting. I’m going to just put the paint stuff in storage and get rid of the furniture and end the cloud of depression that hangs over me every time I even think about this. I am excellent and finding, appreciating and purchasing nice things for my home but not at making them. I’m a retired journalist. I crafted amazing headlines in my day. So what if I can’t paint!!! Consider me done with crafting and painting. I will just read, tend to my plants and grandchildren and window shop for amusement.
“I would like to whack the people who say any idiot can paint furniture with chalk paint. They have it wrong. The idiots are people like me who think they can paint with chalk paint”
Thank you!! I am happy to know I am not the only idiot out there(: I tried it on all the cabinets in my guest bathroom- I guess we are all here to live and learn- this has been a time consuming and expensive lesson-shpuld have listened to my husband when he said not a good idea…):
FINALLY! I have been saying this for almost a year and FINALLY someone else feels the same way that I do. People will post I used [name brand] chalk paint in such and such color. Where is the individuality in that?! I love mixing paints and coming up with my own “custom” color. Clients like custom, one of a kind colors. They don’t love cookie cutter, everyone else has this color too paint. Thank you so much for writing this!
Thank you for this comparison! I was searching the web for reasons to use chalk paint vs other paint and am so glad you wrote this up. It helped me understand what they both are and how they work .
Last fall I painted my large, square pine coffee table white, using BM paint, it looked great. Then I lightly distressed the edges . My husband wanted to help out, so he did down one side. I soon found out distressing is a one person job. His side was distressed twice as much, so I took more off my side to try and even it out. Then I made the big mistake of waxing it, which was a big pain. Over the winter I’ve come to the conclusion, I don’t care for the look. I have looked up what prep was required to repaint , just great you can’t sand or prime over the wax. I have to go and pick up some sticky turpentine or paint solvent and wipe it down many, many times to get rid of the wax. So, if anyone likes to repaint their furniture every few years (like me), I would stay clear of wax.
When you use Chalk Paint, you don’t HAVE to do a “shabby” finish. There are tons of different finishes you can achieve. This particular shabby furniture piece in the post is not how every Chalk Paint piece looks once complete! The painter of that piece clearly was trying to get that super distressed look. I am big on the more modern ultra-smooth finish! I like there to be NO brush strokes whatsoever. This can definitely be achieved using Chalk Paint! I do most pieces with a smooth finish because I love the way it feels. Chalk paint makes it easy to get many different finishes. So it works for people who like “modern” or more “antiqued” finishes. You can also add water to the paint to make it go on even smoother and it does NOT take all night to dry. I love Chalk Paint and will always love Chalk Paint.
What about when it instantly flakes and falls off or scratches? I tried it once and this happened, iy was so sad. Even in her orange piece in this article, it doesn’t have a smooth coverage.Won’t try it again.
I am with you. Just haven’t been brave enough to put my opinion out there. I also don’t like the feel of chalk paint. The desk looks amazing and is lot more like what I would want in my house. 🙂
Hello! I found a link to this post through Pinterest, having done a search for caring for chalk painted furniture. The chalk paint is now taking off in South Africa, with that certain brand being made available here for the first time. I went to that brand’s website to look at their recommendations, and you know what? According to them one should let the wax cure for 30 days before really using the piece of furniture. THIRTY DAYS!
Erm…no. I want to use my furniture now, thank you very much. I do like the chippy look, but I prefer to be able to use the piece of furniture for what it was meant for – everyday living.
Thank you for your honest opinions, you have a new fan! 🙂
So I searched “anyone else hate chalk paint” to find your post. I wish it had come up sooner, you know in with all the “I love and how-to chalk paint” sites out there. I tried chalk paint on a small round table I have, and the brush strokes were ridiculous. I had no idea. This isn’t the first time I painted anything, but no matter what I did…brush strokes. Bad ones. When I tried to sand it smooth again, it wasn’t as easy as you would think. Needless to say, I went back to Zissner and spray paint. A lot cheaper, easier, and looks WAY better. Like you said, it’s great for people who love, but not for me. Anyone who wants to try should attend a workshop (more money) or practice on smaller, inexpensive pieces.
I’ve been trawling the Net for 2 weeks to see how to re-do my wicker furniture. This chalk paint had me confused …. and misled. Thank you SOOOOOO much, you confirmed what the assistant in the paint shop told me. This makes my life easier and all stress is gone.
I do like the slight distressed or shabby chic look, so without the chalk paint, ( I’m new at this), would I sand the furniture (a certain way? The whole thing), then prime, then paint, then sand a few spots to create the distressed look?
And wood I use wax?
You would probably want to prime before you paint. I use Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain primer on furniture. If you use a quality paint, you really don’t need to topcoat it with anything like wax.
Thank you for a very clearly written and informative article. I wondered if I should use chalk paint on my cabinets and you’ve saved me a ton of frustration and a couple tons of money. I share your view on distressed furniture and cannot understand the appeal! I thought I was the only one asking why, I appreciate that you’ve shared your experience and wisdom. Thanks again!
Love the article! And I’m glad to know there are more out there (like me!) who do not care for chalk paint. I tried it and it started flaking off before I got the third coat on, and I was so sad! I researched waxing before i finished the piece, thank god, because waxing is just for looks and not for everyday furniture! I wanted something that would stand up to some wear and I ended up repainting the entire piece with some general finishes paint my sister had and it was sooo much better. I’m curious, have you tried sherwin williams at all or do you just use behr?
Hi, I’m researching painting and saw your article. I’m not interested in the price of chalk paint though there is a shop in town that sells it and helps folks fix up their furniture. But I’m not well-versed enough to know the steps to fix it up using latex paint. Do you have an article that discusses this? I’m interested in changing the color of this trunk and would like to know what I’m signing up for before I buy it. http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/fuo/5055311826.html
Amen! I was starting to think I was the only one who wasn’t a fan of chalk paint. The price alone makes me shy away from it. I have been using latex pain in a satin finish followed up by Johnson’s paint wax for years and love it. You can buy it in every color of the rainbow, the paint goes on beautifully and it is easy to work with. I do recommend buying a quality paint. I particularly like Valspar with primer included. It feels and looks great. 🙂
As someone with a small restoration business..THANK YOU! This stuff is an absolute rip off. I recently saw a pin where Annie Sloan recommended layering 5 different colors to achieve a rustic look on a bench. Yeah, I bet they would recommend that! Almost $200 worth of paint, not to mention other supplies. It reminded me of the guys you see with a $2000 sparkle paint job on their 1980 Caprice Classic. Lol If someone insists on the chalk paint, I simply add calcium carbonate powder to latex because that is what it essentially is. Doing this, I have a much more extensive pallet and it’s easier to control with my sprayer with the same effects. I have a core base of customers and their friends who I have been able to convert away from this overpriced ripoff. Latex with light distressing like you mentioned and a finish wax gives it that waxy, semigloss finish that all my customers love….although, I enjoy natural wood restoration the most!
I’ve used the AS chalk paint and have made my own with plaster of paris and have had really good results. The one thing, for me, is that I have painted many items with latex and no matter how hard I try, I’m left with paint runs. When I paint with chalk paint, I have none. I’m not always crazy about the texture of chalk paint, but I love finishing a product without globs of paint in crevices and paint runs. My newest project is my set of HIGHLY laquered, very black built ins. I wanted to see if I could use chalk paint, and made my way to your site. I love to see the cons along with the pros when I make a decision like this one. It’s one thing to repaint a dresser, but mammoth sized built ins – I’d rather do that job just once.
Sadly, My husband I are still in the middle of redoing a small bath guest bathroom- going on a month now- ): anyway I wanted chalk paint- nothing would do me but to have chalk paint- My husband hates it, and I don’t like it much either–we have unfortunately finished them and need to do them over with real paint–Like you, I have watched the videos and seen the finished projects by the 100’s online–they look wonderful- Well, ours don’t look so good… nothing like what we see online–so I guess some of us got the knack and some of don’t — we need to do over now and I wonder if sanding them lightly and painting with primer will be enough prepping to repaint the cabinets over again?
Hi Sara, unfortunately if you have painted over a surface without proper prep you will always have that chance of the piece peeling. There is no paint that will penetrate another to lock a previously painted surface down. The molecular structure is just not designed that way once it is cured. So you would either have to strip the entire piece and start from square one or sand the previous paint off to where the substrate was once a sound surface.
I have been in the finishing and decorative arts business for nearly 40 years.
Chalk paint has been around long before Annie Sloan, lol how do you think she found out about it? This was a well written article and covers pretty much most of the reasons why I don’t prefer to use it either. The wax is not a good way to seal any furniture or cabinetry, period. It must be removed as it will always remain a reversible medium (reactive) and not a sound coating and/or impermeable to water and/or moisture. (water marks or rings i.e.)
Hi and Thanks so much for taking time to respond and sharing.It was VERY HELPFUL! Good point re: where Annie Sloan learned about chalk paint- not her invention after all.. Looks like we will be sanding and redoing at some point- for now I am just tired of messing with it and enjoying having my bathroom back in working order-I’m just sorry I wasted my time and $$ already-but I guess you live and learn-
We will go back to the real deal – I has never failed us-thanks again
Thank you! I have been wondering what is so great about chalk paint! You were great helping me understand. I have been looking at repainting my cabinets and all I read is how great chalk paint is. I have been very worried about trying it over the traditional paint. I like the way you think.
I don’t like the distressed look either. Your desk has the type of finish I am looking for. What type of latex paint did you use? Also, what is the finish? I’m new to doing all of this and need to get it right the first time as I plan to paint oak dining chairs. Thanks so much for explaining the difference in the finishes. I had questioned using chalk paint but was worried that it might not give me what I was looking for.
I’m with you, Kristi ! I do not like the distressed look at all. I do not understand the big love people have for the old, worn out, battered look. No appeal for me. All I think about when I see an old looking piece like that is sand it and repaint it!!!
When I see original old pieces at flea markets, etc., all I can imagine is old paint flaking off onto my floor and getting splinters when trying to dust the darn thing!
If anyone wants a durable paint that goes really far, try Glidden’s Floor & Porch paint on furniture. I’ve done a a bedroom floor, a closet floor, two stair rails, an armoire, and few other pieces with one gallon of this paint and still have about 1/3 left. The paint smells like a high school gym locker room while it’s drying, but….it goes really far and wears like iron (floor paint after all) and has invisible brush strokes since it’s so thin. If the furniture is already painted then no primer is needed. If you need to prime you can use Zinzer Staincover Primer first. I swear this Glidden paint regenerates in the can. It does stink so use it outside…so be forewarned
Thank you! I am a professional faux painter and just can’t seem to wrap my head around all the hoopla over chalk paint. I’ve seen a few pieces done with it and I have to say that I wasn’t impressed. It not only looks chalky but lacks the depth that regular paint and glazes can achieve. I would rather sand a piece for days on end before ever succumbing to mediocrity. Besides sanding makes for great therapy and gives you shapely arms. No need for the gym after all!
I keep seeing women posting about using chalk paint and I had no idea what it was, so I looked it up and found your informative article. I just don’t get it. The distressed look seems so dated to me! I have no idea why people want to bring it back. Next thing you know they’ll be crackle painting like its 1999.
I agree with your blog. Trying to figure out if I can use oil based primer with latex paint?
Read the label on the primer to be sure. The one I use — Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain — can be coated with either oil-based or latex paint.
I so agree with you about Chalk paint. I paint a bench at a hair salon over 7 years ago with satin latex paint. The owner wanted me to redo the bench to match some bookshelves this past year. I have several friends that love using chalk paint. With the no prep time (LOL), I decided to give it ago. It took several hours to paint the whole bench. I didn’t like the way it went on or the time it took to wax. Now it’s chipping off all over. In less than a year I have to go and repaint. Could have saved a lot of time if I did it with latex paint first.
I think the rave of chalk paint is because so many people are sick of their furniture and yet when the recession hit, they couldn’t afford to go out and buy all the stuff they wanted. So chalk paint became a solution for those that like many others drooled over the images on pinterest and houzz. Suddenly people could have all white furniture or a French look without that gloom of sanding. Of course once someone tried it, they found out it wasn’t what they expected. I for one had bought a lovely old vanity. My new bathroom was all marble and white. I hated to paint this little piece but it needed to be white or light gray to work. I painted it and then waxed it like a video on youtube showed me. Well, just like so many others, I find out that once you wax something you can’t put polyurethane over it. This bummed me out. I didn’t like the feel of the wax and if you wax you have to continue to wax over the years. It’s a cute piece but would have looked and functioned much better with a coat or two of poly over it instead of wax. So you live and learn. I bought a lot of the paint and it still all sits in jars or cans because to be honest, I like wood and a little painted furniture goes a long way in your design. I have a desk coming that I bought from craiglist this month and if I choose to paint it then it will be done with something besides chalk paint. I might try the new colored gel stains.
Thanks so much for your article. I hope people read up before starting any painting projects. Save yourself some time and money and get educated on the products and the techniques. Forget all those shortcuts. The end product should reflect your time and effort.
Watching Anne Sloan demonstrate painting with chalk paint made me decide not to buy it. Expensive and the look is awful! This ‘distressed’ look makes me shake my head at what marketing achieves.
Thanks so much for this post. I am about to paint all my kitchen cabinets and feel the daunting task ahead. I heard great things about ASCP so I painted two “test” doors with it and am not so psyched. I definitely like a clean, sleek paint job and dislike the shabby chic look entirely. No matter what I did I could not get the paint brush strokes off the cabinets. The wax step is also seems very fussy (3 coats recommended for a kitchen) and I can’t seem to find any good information on how to really clean it. All my research says “damp rag with mild soap” or “damp rag with a touch of lavender oil”. That seems really “weak” to me. I am quite nervous that that grime will only stick to the wax, not easily wipe off from it. I plan to strip these test doors and try again with your method using Latex paint. I am hopeful that I will like the results!
Omg…..It’s soooo good to know I’m not the only one with this same thought pattern on chalk paint.
Love, love, love this article and thank you for writing it.
Amazing how hype, high-quality dollar popularity & “monkey see, monkey do” can trump common sense!! Again, thanks so much for writing this !!
I read this after using chalk paint for the first time. I wish it was before spending tons of money and irreplaceable precious time that I invested to cover a coffee table which was beige and I used white. C’mon! How many coats it would need right? 4 coats of chalk paint I used to have that crisp white!! 1 day job took almost a week and in the end I have a piece of furniture everyone thinks it needs painting! Never again. I would love to hear your opinion about painting fabric with chalk paint though.
I couldn’t find it (your post was too popular!!) – but what latex paint do you recommend? And you use Zinsser Cover Stain oil-based primer, yes?
I use Behr latex paint almost exclusively. I’ve tried the higher priced (and allegedly higher quality) brands, such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, etc., and I’m always disappointed that I paid so much for paint when Behr has always been just as good (for me) as those higher priced brands. And yes, I always use oil-based Zinsser Cover Stain on furniture, cabinets, trim, etc. The only time I use water-based primer is when I’m priming brand new drywall for the first time.
Thank you for posting this! I very recently started painting furniture and decided to not go with chalk paint. After reading this article, I am so glad I did. 😀 Thanks!
Thank you very much voor this very good information
No I’m not going to buy chalk paint, it is too expensive for the -maybe- disappointing results. (I would have used it on a good / almost new cupboard)
Not as easy as the marketing makes it seem.
I’ll cancel the workshop !!
Very useful article !!
I agree with your post and more. We painted our kitchen cabinets with white chalk paint. What a mistake! Lots of coats, lots of quarts of paint, and then waited and waxed. Already have smudges and dirt absorbed and have had to touch up paint that literally rubbed off! Complete disaster. This was the first of many other projects around our house that we planned. Now, we will have to move on to others and will probably not get back to the cabinets until after Christmas. I wish I had read your post sooner. Everywhere I looked, people raved about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. My husband and I do not enjoy these kinds of projects and only do them ourselves because we cannot afford to pay to have them done.
I was relieved to read this post. I share many of the same feelings on this product. Having watched several tutorials on the use of this stuff I am left with the impression that it’s for amateurs that want to refinish furniture and don’t want to do a lot of work or really learn the craft of finishing wood. If that’s the case, fine. Knock yourself out and if this distressed look is what your after, that’s great, as the author said.
This reminds me though of houses with hardwood floors that were covered up by wall-to-wall carpeting and years later a new owner would pull out the old carpet and say “what in blazes were people thinking back then? Covering douglas fir or red oak flooring with shag carpeting”.
Now if your trying to salvage a stout piece of furniture with a finish that can’t be corrected, paint may be the answer but to distress a decent antique to avoid work, that’s just wasteful. We may already be reaching the point where painting over quality wood may be falling out of favor- I hope so.
I bought a 1946 brick bungalow… Entire 1st floor carpeted, yuck. Pulled back a small corner to see what was under it and there it was, Red Oak ! Pulled out carpet, nail tacks and had it refinished. I too think the same thing ” why would you hide this ???”
Reading this couldn’t have come at a better time. I have pieces that I want to paint but good grief the cost of chalk paint…… I was browsing a large diy type store and was very overwhelmed in the paint aisle. I asked the employee, “why can’t I just use regular latex paint ? Is the a reason I need to use a paint labeled ‘furniture paint ‘ ? She said that paint manufacturers are doing that to help people know what paint can be used on furniture. It’s basically latex paint in a smaller can with a different label. Thank you for giving me the confidence to paint with latex paint ! Another note, most stores have an OOPS paint shelf with mis-tinted paints at a fraction of the cost. The town I live in also recycles paint and you can buy paint from that facility very inexpensively.
Its like I wrote this article myself, lol. I re-do furniture as a business and I always have customers asking me to do the whole shabby chic/distressed look. I politely decline and send them to someone else. Its not my style. I like clean, smooth and modern finishes. I rarely use latex paint though. When I do I will seal it with a lacquer. I use Sico furniture paint which is melamine finish and I recently tried BM Advance which is an alkyd and its awesome. And you are right about the Zinsser…best primer ever. Thanks for the great article. I think I will post it on my page to explain to my clients why chalk paint is the devils paint 🙂
After reading the article and ALL of the comments I now and totally in distress!! I have enough old, 125 years old, barn wood from my great grandparents old home place. My husband has taken the 3 best pieces and cut them to us as a top for a coffee table, problem is, I wanted a coffee table with a bottom shelf also. He has made one but of course it does not match the barn wood, so I was going to use chalk paint to paint the bottom shelf and the legs and leave the top as natural as possible, knowing that I will need to protect it somehow. What would you recommend for this project?? The legs already have a stain on them from because they came from another old coffee table! HELP!!!!!!!!
This is the process I use to paint cabinets and furniture:
Yes its over done, but farmhouse chic is really a great combination of crisp with old rustic pieces, I love a conversation piece that looks like it just came pit of the barn, not drug down the road. I really love chalk paint, every type of paint has its applications, and I have used alot over the years but chalk paint is the easiest by far, the waxing is half the effort of stripping and sanding…. I personally think sanding after stripping is a nightmare thank god for the paints on the market today, we have some great choices out there. I just had one thing to add, waxing on chalk paint so important for durability, two coats for super durable. Latex paints are amazing also…. And I love the gel stains I used to use to distress latex, much easier to work with than the dark wax, unless using the clear wax on chalk paint,,,, anyway paint on my friends!!!!!
Just painted a dresser with chalk paint from one of those big hardware stores. I am NOT going for a distressed look (don’t get it). I am going for the easiest least amount of work but still looks great look. The paint is super forgiving. I was trying to be very careful at first but then realized it was drying flat (not just the color the texture too). This was amazing I actually painted a lot of it with a sponge brush (crazy). The top of the dresser looks excellent (I did roll that with a sponge roller though). So I am not doing the waxing because I want this to be easy (and now I realize from all these posts that it sucks too). I was going to brush on polyacrylic, but after reading the instructions I realize I am supposed to sand in between 3 coats (NOT! returning it today)!! So I have painter friend over and he said I should buy a satin lacquer in a spray can. WHAT I can do that! He says it will leave a great finish. Now I am not sure how it will do over chalk paint, but I will let you know.
Ok so the guys sprayed a satin lacquer on the top of the dresser (which is the area I cared about the most) and most of the dresser. They hated the spray nozzle and sent me out for more. I went to another store and ended up with a semi-gloss Varathane Crystal Clear Polyurethane in a spray can which they used mostly to spray the drawer fronts and I am very happy with the final product. The whole neighborhood was over and they were very impressed (may have been the lacquer fumes talking) and now I suddenly want to pick junk up on the side of the street on my way home. The last and final test for me is the durability and only time will tell.
Thank you so much for posting this! I have been wanting to refinish (paint) a couple of beat up dressers and as a first timer I’ve been stalled over which process and finish to use. Everything online seems to be all about chalk paint and the distressed look, which isn’t really my thing. I am so glad to find that it’s “okay” to just sand, prime and paint with latex without having to jump on the latest trend. Now to find the “right” colour! 🙂
Your latex painted items appear very shiny and reflective. I thought people sought out chalk paint mostly for its matte look. )It seems you can’t turn on a home-improvement show these days without hearing the word “matte”). If you’re fine with shine, than why seek out chalk paint at all?
Would you recommend matte latex paint for those looking for that matte look? To me matte latex paint doesn’t strike the right balance that Chalk paint does. But like most users of chalk paint, i can’t stand shiny. Always open to a suggested less-expensive alternative!
Long ago – I was a furniture decorator at Sligh / Milling Road / Baker Furniture, Widdicomb Co., Kindel Furniture and Colonial Furniture and clock. I also decorated musical instruments by Independent makers, being Harpsichords, Clavichords, Wind Machines/Organs, and Violins. There is not a finish technique from the Renaissance, through the mid 1900’s to today that I do know how to achieve. The techniques of decorating, whether in Oils, Shellac’s, Enamels, Egg Tempera, and tinted Lacquers I have mastered them all. I am a Master Chinoiserie and Faux Finish Artist as well…
What I have a deep love and reverence for is antique furniture that was produced in the early 1900’s by the higher end makers – Because – they used old growth hardwoods with superior grain patterns and usually used solid woods such as Mahogany, Cherry, Walnut, Cherry, Oak, Maple, and exotic rare woods now no longer legal for harvesting and usage. Ebony being one of them. Real Rosewood from 1000 year old trees is now a thing of the long past. So – why in God’s name would I would to paint and then beat, scrape, scratch, dent, wire brush, and rough sand these precious pieces of history?
Finding antiques and then lovingly, carefully, masterfully refurbishing or restoring old solid wood pieces as SHOW PIECES of the MASTER FURNITURE MAKERS ART is my calling. When a 100 year old Mahogany Piece fully refinished with the proper old world techniques using today’s newer materials has wonderful depth and warmth and the wood grain dances and moves in the light as you walk around the piece is a thing of glorious beauty. It is WHY people in the first place paid such high prices for these specially ordered high end pieces to put in their estate homes.
Painted furniture can also look marvelous. But – to pull it off to full effect – after primer sealed and then painted, it has to be color glazed, ragged and brushed out, sealed again, fine sanded, clear coated, and highlighted with padded alcohol color, cats pawed – and maybe finally Spackle gun sprayed. After that it can be striped, gilded, decorated and then given a final protective clear coat, rubbed out and then waxed. All of this is time and material consuming and it is why painted furniture always was a specialty finish and cost much more. Never did they beat the crap out of it and send it to the customer damaged. That look began to find a market place in the late 1960’s when DIY antique kits were on the market to give life anew to some old beat up piece of garbage furniture that wasn’t worth restoring. Antique Avocado Green, Acapulco Gold, and Old White were the offerings and it was to be seen everywhere and on anything given that somebody thought they were furniture re-finisher who’d then take a stab at it… and today you see these ghastly aberrations in antique shops.
I just recently picked up a Sligh Co. Solid Mahogany Dressing Table-Vanity, Bench and Buffet that was antique kit painted somewhere lost in time – and are they ever ugly right now. Thankfully, they were NOT distressed. Yet – I know what all three pieces can look like fully redone in a wood finish that’ll capture and show off that 100 year old wood. They’ll be Show Queens when I’m done with them and worth many Thousands of Dollars. I paid $100 for all three.
Chalk Paint is OK I suppose for some things… but I can’t see myself ever using it on a valuable antiques. Unfortunately- many people never realize what they have and what it’s real value can be if properly restored and will ruin a piece forevermore by using a trendy DIY refinish paint job and then totally destroy the antique by distressing it. Makes me want to cry!
LA West. Great to hear of someone who understands the old techniques and can see a quality antique. Most of these amateurs are finding cheap bad pieces by the side of the road and then tarting them up. Good luck to them. 95% do not understand the chemistry of the materials they are using and could not care less. They buy into the hype and are easily sold or as I prefer to say…”manipulated” I’ve been working in oils most of my life in UK but now at kandpinteriors I use Fx products because they work well and are water based. I only ever want to work with water based materials from now on and USA leads the world in water based materials that work and last. This rubbish about no prep, just slap on a ‘chalky paint’ makes me laugh. I wish I could see some of your work. I tried googling lawest re-finishers and nothing.
I’m you newest, biggest fan. A woman who can articulate her point of view with no apologies. And I agree about chalk paint. I’ll take regular paint any day.
Wish I had read this before I was 3+ coats in and still not getting solid coverage. Love the color but I primed and am using ASCP and am thinking I will go get some latex before I do the second piece of the china cabinet I’m working on. Soooooo frustrating!!
Shabby Chic was a big thing in the late 90’s with Rachel Ashwell. I am no fan of shabby and it’s not chic. I agree with everything you said 100%.
I think sometimes you need to use chalk paint. My rental had very ugly dark cabinets. I sanded the doors and tried to paint using latex paint. It turned out gross, I tried the box of expensive cabinet makeover from Lowe’s, It looked horrible.I worked on these doors for almost a year while house stayed empty.
Finally after months of frustration. I tried chalk paint from HOBBY LOBBY. It did take about 4 coats to hide the dark spots but after I was done it looked great. As a finish I bought the varnish from Hobby Lobby made for use with chalk paint. Cabinets look great now. Im sure it won’t last forever but the kitchen will need new cabinets eventually anyway.
Unless it is very nice wood to start with I think painting with chalk paint and distressing is best. I don’t like the chippy look at all.
No odor, safe for kids and dries really fast.
I stopped using latex after I discovered chalk paint and milk paint.
I would not use chalk paint on nice wood but for pressed wood items it works great. Besides I do not like sanding at all. I paint most of my stuff in my huge bathroom.
Found this post via a link on Facebook. AMEN!! I too am completely over the shabby chic distressed trend. Seriously, you’re giving something “age & character” in the matter of a day. Age & character are earned from…. years of use. I have pieces of furniture from my grandparents that have true age & character and I love them JUST as they are. I don’t strip them and bend them to my will. I love the story they have to tell. But to each their own. If folks love the style that’s what counts. But when the trend actually does change these same folks will be dumping their shabby pieces for the new hot trend.
I’m a latex paint girl myself if I’m not opting to stain pieces. Love both matte and satin finishes. Then as they age gracefully in my home they’ll have their own story to tell to my grandkids. 😀 Great blog. Will be lingering to read more on your site! <3
I totally agree with you on all points! And my #1 reason for not buying chalk paint? I simply cannot afford it.
I use all different mediums of paint and when I do use call paint I make my own for super cheap and never wax, I use polycrylic over the top for a durable finish. I also sometimes do some sanding if there are imperfections before I start. It is just based on a project by project basis. I don’t go crazy on the distressing either, but I have pieces in my home that have worn beautifully done this way!
I am very new to furniture painting so I have no personal feelings regarding chalk paint. I don’t see anyone attacking you for this post, granted I haven’t read all comments. I don’t think that ugly dresser is a fair representation of what the majority of people are doing with the stuff. I have seen some beautiful pieces.
Hi! I am interested in buying a cute vintage looking table only problem is it’s been painted bright green with chalk paint. I hate the matte look and the colour. What can I do to remove the paint and refinish the wood in a nice wooden dark cherry finish? Do you have any suggestions of materials that are best to use? Thanks! I loved your post!
Kristi, your post is spot on! To me the finish with chalk paint looks like PRIMER! Last year I took the Annie Sloan chalk paint class. I intended to use it on small pieces only but briefly considered using it on kitchen cabinets. Thank God I chose BM Advanced oil/waterborne for my new white kitchen cabinets. Turns out I like a semi gloss or even high gloss finish! I just specified interior wall colors for a client who was sadly talked into chalk paint on her kitchen cabinets. Ugh. I mean ugly! Whoever put on the wax didn’t apply evenly or buff cuz they were streaky and yellowish. Wax coat looked like an application of NICOTINE. Plus I googled painting over the over priced stuff and it seems that REMOVING ALL THE WAX IS REQUIRED BEFORE PRIMING. what a PITA.
Hello! Thank you for your post. I feel the same! When you sand your pieces down, do you use an electric sander or with just a hand sponge? Your pieces are beautiful. How do you manage to get all the detailed spots? Thank you!!!!
I use an electric sander where I can, and then sand by hand everywhere else.
Regardless of how the end product looks (which I don’t personally like either), the idea of having a chalk texture on my furniture gives me the heebeejeebees. I used to refuse to write on the board in school because I have always hated the texture of chalk that much. To have that texture against my skin every day would pretty much be my waking nightmare. Basically, I don’t understand the affinity for this trend either.
I tried using latex paint on my dresser and it looked great for about a year before it started coming off. Now I found a company called Chalky and company. I love the painter’s powder I can mix with any latex paint and it’s not harmful. I also don’t use wax on my pieces I put an actual sealer on it. I’m not big on a lot of distressing, just not a fan. http://Www.chalkylady.com
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been tempted and contemplating using chalk paint, but was never quite sure if i’d like it. Now that I have read your post, I will probably never try it. I to am very persnickety about the finish of the items I paint.
Totally disagree! I used latex paint to paint my table (from Room&Board – Chicago). I sanded, sanded, primed, and painted and the orange peel skin took over. Sanded it again and painted again — more orange peel skin. As a final alternative I used chalk paint and WOW?? It is fantastic. I’ve already spent about 300-400 on latext paints that stores have recommended for my table but the latex paint will not dry flat and smooth. The chalk paint is flat and smooth.
Now the last step your missing about latex paint is that you still have to seal it!! That can become a total nightmare to anyone if you do not do it correctly so i don’t see what you mean by throwing the wax under the bus…whereas you didn’t throw the polyurethanes under the bus…
I don’t seal my latex paints. There’s no need to.
Well in this case its a kitchen table…its just harder to seal latex paint…and the author of the post is forgetting about the dry times for latex paints and sealants…
I am the author of the post. And I do agree that in the case of a dining table, a clear coat would be needed on the top. But dry times? I just painted my dining table, and did one coat of oil-based primer, two coats of paint, and two coats of water-based polyurethane in one day. There wasn’t anything difficult about it.
Ok, so then clearly i did it wrong! My dry times was between 5-7 hours. So basically it took me a day to get the whole table to dry for one coat. Still the finish was not smooth. So I kept reading peoples blogs but after 5-7 coats i kinda threw in the tool (for lack of a better term). I can deal with the brush strokes but not with the orange peel. I associated the bad texture to the type of paint. Not sure i used an oil based primer though? hmm.
I even tried floetrol — waste of money (at least for me it was..) Looking at your website though your projects do turn out excellent! Maybe im just green…
Latex based paints are made with Acrylic resins and if they have a sheen, Enamels which also give hardness and durability have been added to the paint. No topcoat is needed. However latex paints do not completely cure to their complete hardness for 90 days. An orange peel finish sounds like roller stipple not brush marks. Try Floetrol and a high density foam roller or high quality brush. Last my other suggestion would be to use an Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel. Very durable and self leveling for a smooth finish.
This is why I love doing what I do, because there are so many ways to achieve a restyle! I use all different types of paint. I’ve even painted pieces using acrylic paint from the craft section at Wal-Mart because when paired with Elmer’s glue, you can get a pretty decent crackle finish! When I do use chalk paint, I make my own, it actually comes out way cheaper because I can turn a sample size container of latex paint into almost a quart. I’ve never achieved a decent result with store bought, pre-mixed chalky paint. As far as the finish goes, I never use wax, I get amazingly beautiful and extremely durable finishes using polycrylic (opposed to polyurethane;it yellows over time and is oil based) and I have the choices of gloss, semi-gloss, or satin finishes. I have a dining table I did with chalk paint, it gets regular use and abuse from a family with 2 small kiddos and I’ve not yet even needed to apply another top coat and it’s been 2 years. As with anything you paint, the proper prep, application, and finish is crucial to withstand the test of time. The chalk paint craze might end some day, or it might just stick around, I enjoy using it on the right peices.
Then your doing it wrong! LOL. I’m still trying to decide if I like it or not, but I can tell you that your doing it wrong. You use whatever left over latex paint you have around the house. Actually, I think ANY kind of paint will work. You add plaster of paris and water to the paint (Google chalk paint recipe) mix it and paint it. The first coat you don’t even worry about brush strokes. The second coat then fills in all the imperfections well. Very well if not perfect! It dries extremely quickly. THEN you wax it with any wood wax from the hardware store. The more you rub and buff the shinier it will be. But you have to reapply wax every so often to protect wood so instead, use a poly or sealer. Easy peasy one day if work, sanding optional!
Do not waste your money and time on store bought or name brand chalk paint! Try it this way and THEN let us know how you like it. BTW distressing or not is totally personal and not required. I don’t much care for most distressing
It’s been a while since you wrote this, but I’ve been following your blog recently, and when this post came up on my Google search, I knew you’d have the answers. I’m going to paint my bathroom vanity. I blogged about this and a friend called to tell me she was SURE I should use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I had heard of it, of course, but didn’t really know much about it. I was pretty sure it WASN’T what I wanted, but checked it out for friendship’s sake. I looked at the ASCP website videos first, then your post, which confirmed what I thought when I saw the videos. Thanks for the thorough post, laying the specifics on the line. If my friend asks what I decided, I now can probably tell her way more than she wants to know! ;->
I agree most of this Shabby Chic look is so poorly done. I work at a Home Depot in the paint center.
I pride myself on doing the best I can, to learn as much as possible, so I can pass on the best information to my customers. While looking on the web for information about how to properly distress furniture, I saw a woman taking an antique buffet piece(that I own one of) and turn it into this God awful trash.. The only thought going through my mind was NOOOO Restore it you idiot.
I spent a fortune this weekend on chalk paint and wax, believing that only one coat was required and no prep. I’m pretty time poor, like most people, wanted to get it done in a day so this sold me. However, and while I didn’t prep at all, the chest of drawers I painted required 2 coats and really could have used another one. On top of that, the whole waxing and buffing step takes ages so this actually took longer and more grunt work than it would have had I used normal old paint. On top of that, I hate the finish. The waxing makes for a very uneven finish, basically it’s ugly. Never again! The tin of paint cost $60 AUD, the wax was $40. Not worth it, not by a long shot.
I agree with you 100%.
I also do not like the distressed look you see everywhere!
Your post was very well written and answered every question I had about chalk paint.
Thank you so much!!!!
I want to paint fabric dining chairs. Can this be achieved by using the latex paint? Ho would I go about with this project of 6 dining chairs.
I plan to use latex and want an antique look but no distressing. How do glazes differ from wax to achieve an aged look? How does the look differ or is it basically just a matter of application? I know that I would need to use flat latex if using dark wax and satin latex with a glaze. Would I have to use clear wax before the dark wax? I have a friend that makes her own glaze by using mineral spirits and a tube of burnt ochre (I think) from the craft store.
Thank you for this post! I am not a shabby chic/distressed/antiqued sort of person. However, a recent search for metallic stencil paint took me in to a local shop that stocked a product I’d found online. The shop also stocked Annie Sloan paint and accessories, and my quick trip in to pick up the paint I knew I wanted devolved quickly when the sales clerk went off on a chalk paint fantasy (that had nothing to do with my project) where she insisted that chalk paint was the greatest creation ever made and that it would serve me well for anything I ever chose to apply paint to. I had already assumed that I wasn’t a chalk paint person, but began to wonder if I was misunderstanding the product and its application. Your post has set me straight and I am comfortably back in the “No chalk paint for me, please” camp. I like my finishes sleek, shiny, and durable. Waxing a flimsy paint to make it more durable seems like madness.
Finally, somebody gets it! I agree with you 100%. I’ve been painting anything and everything well before Chalk Paint was invented! Yah, I’m that old. I can use flat latex and make it look like Chalk if I so choose, but those days are over for me. I have painted ceramic lamp bases and lamp shades, cabinets, chairs, armoires, desks, clay, stone, brick, glass, wood, metal, glass, laminate, you name it… Depending on the finish I am after I may add certain mediums or use tools such as splatter brushes, burnishers, cloths, alcohol, waxes, gilding etc. Back in the 1990’s a friend had me match the corrosion on the clean half of a French Chandelier she purchased in an antique store for her luxury Toronto home. I admit I am not a fan of the finish chalk paint provides, I prefer a luxury finishes and I am a big fan of waxes over varnish.
I’m in the middle of chalk painting my son’s dresser, and I’m about to spit nails! I hate the finish and there are dry clumps of chalk happening as well….I will also be sanding, priming, then re-painting with latex… $45 for the little stupid can of paint too…”chalking” it up to experience…bah!
Hi there, really enjoyed your blog on why you don’t use chalk paint. I’ve been wondering myself if using a reg. can of latex paint would work just as well or better then the chalk paint. The price of those paints are not budget friendly. I do have a question for you though. I am wanting to renew jewelry boxes I find at thrift stores. Some blogs I’ve read recommend that you wipe down the wood with rubbing alcohol before you sand, I think this is silly because the sanding will remove the prior yuck. What advice can you give me on that?
I’ve never heard of using rubbing alcohol. I would skip that step and just sand.
Thanks for this. I just took a chalk paint workshop (kinda pricey I thought) and learned a bit about using it, including the way to get a smooth, brush stroke free finish, apply wax and some silver or gold highlights etc. It was fun and it got me started. But as I worked on a few things I noticed things I did not like and I am drawn to distressing to highlight details on a piece, and I like washes over a base coat for a dyanamic but “woozy” sort of look. On a smooth bookcase I was trying to paint gray in the hopes that I could sell it (It wasn’t moving as a stained wood and it’s very plain but very solid) first –it was too hot and the paint got thick really fast. My bad, I new that but I went ahead anyway. Then I realized I didn’t want the brush strokes on the smooth wood. I just looked sloppy. As it dried I noticed lots of little spots on the side that were now appearing, something that splashed on the wood who knows when, that were bleeding through.
I am going to shellac over the spots and then
paint it with a roller since I already have it half painted with chalk paint. I will distress the edges as I saw that I liked it when the original wood color showed through for “grounding” of the piece. But I was thinking of taping off some stripes on it and realized that would probably work a lot better with a latex and a poly finish. You have given me a lot of good ideas. I come from a family of artists but I am not one, yet I do have the yen to be creative with colors and painting useful objects and furniture does excite me and I love the functional aspect. Good solid discussion.
I just came across your blog, and I love the colour you used for the desk! Which paint brand/colour is it? It’s exactly what I’m looking for for my secretary desk!
It’s called Harbor by Behr. But it’s one of their old colors. You can probably still have it mixed, but you won’t find it on a paint chip.
Thanks for this info. I’ve been trying to figure out why chalk paint? Now I know I don’t want it!
I would like to know how much prep was needed before you painted your credenza?
Thanks! Love your pieces.
Thank you for this information about chalk paint. I am just staring this journey of diy furniture refinishing/painting and I have seen so many bloggers reference chalk paint. I had no idea what it was but it sounded interesting. I finally decided to google the question, “what is chalk paint” and that is how I came across your site. Thank you for the heads up. I am getting ready to redo several pieces of furniture and your no nonsense info resonates with me. When you revealed the cost of chalk paint along with the other drawbacks you found, I feel sure I will stick to regular paint when I get my prep work finished. This was very helpful! I am grateful I read this before getting started!
Great Post! I do like the dead flat look of chalk paint and I really like the look AND feel of it waxed chalk paint. I love the look of the chippy piece that makes you say, “What the …?”, but sometimes it looks forced, overdone.
All that being said, I have to tell you that I do not like using chalk paint! It’s hard to use, it’s too thick, it doesn’t spread well, it takes too many coats and I really dislike waxing! The price of chalk paint and wax is way too high for me to make any money on the pieces I buy to sell and while I love the idea of no prep – well, you know.
Milk paint was even harder for me to use and while I love the look, again, it’s not for me.
I have three pieces I’ve started and have left in frustration. Tonight I decided I need to get them done, so I googled distressing with flat latex … and found your blog.
Thanks so much … Heading to Lowe’s this weekend to pick up paint and finish my projects. They won’t sell sitting on the front porch and I want to have some fun painting furniture again!
Its over 2 years since your wrote this all the chalk paint and distressing. Come one people, its like shag carpeting…and few want to admit it because it is trendy, but are ugly!
Ok so this helped to establish not a good idea for furniture. What about small crafts like bird houses, wooden cars, etc? How well does it hold up for that? As for the “shabby chic” idea, it baffles me severely. Where I come from having furniture like that meant you were poor and couldn’t afford new furniture. You hauled it out back, stripped it, sanded it and repainted it because leaving it that way is embarrassing.
Thanks for the write up!
I am in the process of researching painting my oak kitchen cabinets. I have recently heard of chalk paint and thought that was my only option but now think differently based on your informative post.
My cabinets have wood doors and front frames but the sides are made of a plastic like(melamine) material. Please explain my options of using chalk verses latex paint. If I use chalk what is the process as far as priming, sanding, waxing, sealing verses using latex on my cabinets> Thanks for your help I am a bit confused right now.
Thank you so much for writing this article. I have just used the Annie Sloan chalk paints for the first time. And I feel I got caught up in a hype. I don’t know if I had a bad batch but the paint smelled awful – strong and chemically and a bit like strong cat pee – it set off my asthma and has made me feel ill. So I did a bit of research – and feel like an idiot because I had believed so much hype about it being natural and odour free. It isn’t natural. There is no chalk in chalk paint – it’s just a bunch of chemicals. I had used clay paint by Earthborn – made with clay, no VOC’s and no odour. And made the assumption that chalk paint must be something similar – ie made with natural things like chalk. In fact come to think of it, anything that sticks to most shiny surfaces without sanding and priming is bound to have some strong chemicals in. Luckily I stopped before the wax stage as my research showed that people say the wax does have a rather overpowering chemical smell – I ended up chucking out our piece of furniture rather than waste more good sealant and paint on it. I painted our window frames in the standard way – a light sand, primer/undercoat and then Laura Ashley eggshell paint. None of them smelled bad. I wanted to point out the non natural issue. Because it worries me reading so much stuff about people saying the clay paint is natural and good for people with asthma, multiple chemical sensitivities and baby cots. From now on I am only using well known brands of tried and tested paint and the VOC free earthborn paints for walls.
As I said, maybe I had a bad batch – because the website says Annie Sloan paint is “no odour”. Not low odour, but “no odour” which is a huge claim to make.
ME TOO about the horrible smell. To me it was actually a familiar smell of spoiled, musty water based paint. I recognized it immediately. Like a can of latex paint that had been sitting in a hot shed for 10 years.
I too was also buying chalk paint as a clay-based paint replacement not realizing the chemical make up. Just thought I’d share my agreement haha.
It’s not your imagination however I have found that the large box store brand of chalk paint smells much worse then the kind I got from the local lumberyard store. The bleeding through was a huge issue and I am going back to exactly what you are using.
My neighbour just suggested the chalk paint as an option for an old 1970’s locker I’m restoring, I’d never heard of it. After reading your article I’m glad I decided to go with re-varnishing instead. It’s taken ages to get it ready to coat (stripping old bad varnish, sanding, more sanding, washing down, filling holes, sanding, replacing the back etc), but I’d have hated to have to do it all again!
The way I’ve chosen I’ll need probably 3 coats of varnish and it’ll be finished tomorrow. I kind of like the distressed look, but I think there may well be better ways of getting it and after this was sanded down the wood had its own beauty.
I hate chalk paint too. A friend convinced me to buy it to avoid sanding. It has been a nightmare, The paint crawls like a bad slip. Then the thick coats crack. I am $110 in and need yet another coat of paint. $150 to paint a bookcase. I was going for a sleek modern look. I also think the paint has a strong toxic odor. This project has left me distressed.
I can’t thank you enough for this post. You have undoubtedly saved me a lot of money and frustration as I was trying to figure out the difference between chalk paint and latex to use on cabinets for a resale property. I thought maybe I was missing some new technological wonder product and the paint Gods wouldn’t let my house sell unless I used it. Armed with your information I can happily stick with my tried and true method of painting and be perfectly fine with my non trendy cabinetry.
Now, for the time being, it’s back to a pail of mud and matching an orange peel finish on kid damaged walls. So much fun!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on chalk paint. I do not like the look of it! I had to google reviews for it to see if I was the only one. I thought I was an oddball because everyone I know talks about how great it is. I didn’t realize it took so much to achieve “the look”, not to mention all the moolah. I guess with my tight wad frugalness I’ll stick with latex paint. It’s been around since Noah got off the ark and it has never let me down.
Thank you so much for this post! I know you wrote it a few years ago but we’re building a house and I have been having a hard time putting my finger on how I want it to be done. This post and your post about your three very different tastes helped me realize I like a polished farmhouse look with a touch of craftsman and “lived in” such as a very light distressing in places the furniture would naturally show some wear. I want to use some palette wood since it’s so readily available but it’s the same issue where it can easily go from a cute DIY to looking cheap. Thanks again for helping me find focus!
Personally I LOVE chalk paint, but then, that’s artistic expression: there are 4501237649172346 ways to do something, do what you love.
I did not mess with the complex layers and waxes and things and stuffs, I just drybrushed it on and happen to love the “wabi sabi” look (distressed, old, worn). Simple, fast.
But, diversity id Mother Nature’s first law.
Carry on! Interesting stuff.
Wish I had read this before I tripled my work and had the bleeding through experience ! Back to late text paint for me !
Thanks for posting this! I was wondering which type of finish I would want and trying to figure out what type of paint I wanted. I’m a novice painter so this article definitely helped me remain steadfast to latex paint for re-doing my daughters bed. Thanks again!
The reason people use chalk paint is because latex shows brush marks & your finished pieces (like the credenza pic posted) look like shiny, tacky, cheap arts & craft projects that you painted at home instead of the flawless factory finished look you get with chalk paint. I have never heard chalk paint claims one-coat coverage. I have always heard 2-3 coats are req’d. Number of coats req’d depend on the color you have chosen as well as the color you are painting over. Manufactured chalk paint is ridiculously priced. That’s why I never use it. There are tons of home-made recipes on the internet that keep chalk paint barely more expensive than latex. Lastly… distressing amount beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am not a fan of pieces that are massively distressed either but the amount of distressing people do really has nothing to do with why chalk paint is better or or not better than painting with latex.
Flawless factory finish with chalk paint?! LOL!!!! Oh my. That’s funny.
Hi I was just reading your blog about your preference for latex versus chalk paint, and I’m so glad I found it. My daughters and I want to start recycling furniture for home as well as resale, and honestly, I cannot afford the cost of chalk painting supplies. However, I do have one question for you: after you paint with latex and then sand for distressing, do you seal your furniture with polyurethane? My husband thinks I need to do this or else the paint will scratch right off. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
Cindy & daughters from SC
I only ever clear coat tops of buffets, tables, etc., where there will be items placed on the furniture. I don’t worry about clear coating fronts, sides, legs, aprons, etc., that won’t receive a great deal of wear and tear.
I really like the way you worded this post. Everything is stated as your opinion, and it’s very obvious you’re just answering a commonly asked question about your opinion and not trying to change someone’s mind.
I personally LOVE Chalk Paint (only tried the Annie Sloan version). I’ve had great success with it, both distressed and just waxed. But not every paint is for everyone – I use latex on walls and trim and I love it there.
Chalk Paint, like you said, is not always “no prep.” I learned that the hard way (on a duplicate sink cabinet where one painted beautifully and one… didn’t, lol). But it’s no big deal to me. As you said, it’s down to preference and the look you’re trying to achieve.
The super distressed? If it’s old and a family heirloom I don’t mind it. But I wouldn’t buy that chest you posted brand new, especially for the price they’re probably wanting. 😉
But thank you for wording this as your opinion and not the Gospel Truth According to Paint Goddesses. I appreciate that!
I am so very glad I found your site. I wanted to redo a triple dresser and use it as a tv stand/ dvd-cd storage with chalk paint. Not after reading your article. With limited funds I can’t afford to throw away money on something that isn’t that durable. Thanks for the honesty Kristi.
I’m so glad I found this post and I appreciate your honesty. I’ve been considering giving chalk paint a try but was a bit skeptical if it really is all it’s touted to be. Thank you for writing a well thought-out (and gracious to those who do like it) argument for not using it.
While i don’t care about what kind of paint someone uses..exactly what is the point of painting ..if you aren’t going to distress the piece? As someone who BUYS this stuff..im not buying a nice wooden piece you painted but did not distress. ..OR you can refinish it and not paint it.
I agree I don’t like chalk paint & think it gets too much credit, it chips I hate the brush marks. I have always used satin finish paint that lasts for years. Then everyone said I had to use chalk paint. I too don’t like that really beat up look. A little sanding if you want but not a lot. I am redoing my daughters pine bedroom set I bought her for her 16th birthday. Going to stain the top and paint off white. Also Home Depot has a durable paint that comes with a stain to distress it. My daughter did it. Has acrylic or something in it so very durable as she did it on her kitchen cabinets.
Thank you! I have painted three pieces of furniture that turned out really pretty. I kept looking at the chalk paint not really knowing a lot about the finish it would give and certainly did not like the price! I decided to look at some reviews and yours answered all my questions. Although it is very popular, and the pictures are beautiful, in reality, I think latex paint and I get along very well. I can take chalk paint off my list. 🙂
I’ve heard people talk about chalk paint, seen some videos on YouTube that I followed from some decorating/crafting thing or other, and I finally Googled “What is chalk paint?” and found your blog.
Well, okay then. I still don’t see what the big deal is about that stuff. It sounds gimmicky and like an annoyance, and it’s just not appealing to me at all. In the real world, furniture needs some sort of finish to protect it and it doesn’t sound like over-priced chalk paint and wax would do it.
Thank you for your well-written article.
I found your article by googling “Am I the only one who doesn’t like chalk paint” hahaha. I’m so glad I did. My husband makes furniture, and he made an adorable table and chair set for our niece. We used chalk paint, and I’m pretty disappointed. Hours of work working, planing, sanding, etc. We waxed and everything, loaded the table into the car to take it to their house, took it out and there was a long gray scratch across the top from our suitcases… Also, I like the glossy finish of factory finished furniture which I’ve never been able to achieve from chalk paint. Thanks for the article. It definitely reaffirmed my decision of switching back to either latex or oil based paints for furniture projects!
Can you tell me what finish of paint is on the blue desk? Flat, Satin, Eggshell? Thanks
I’m pretty sure it’s satin.
OMG – I loved your article! I have been reading posts and scanning Pinterest for a few weeks to finally see what the hype is about chalk paint and what I was missing. For more than a decade I have been using latex paint (the mis-tint section of the hardware store is a good spot to find cheap paint) on furniture pieces. If I wanted a worn look I will use Minwax “Early American” to stain the entire piece as well. Long story short, I have never had an issue with the finish coming off pieces. This entire waxing doesn’t appeal to me at all. I will stick with my “old” method of sanding, priming, painting etc. because I know it works and doesn’t cost so much ! Thank you for confirming that I am not the only one out here think “what is the big deal about chalk paint?!”
I prefer naturally “distressed” furniture – and items of all sorts. Used items with actual history that have utility and have earned their marks. All I do to wood items is brush them off with a soft brush, wipe them down with a tack rag and wax them. And I think they love it because they glow. I think of them as dead items with the life having gone, putting them in a state of decomposition. But when you love on them a little bit – and especially when you give them a little wax – it’s like calling a whole new parade of life-giving electrons from all over to come back and play a whole new game.
Thank you! I actually don’t mind distressed furniture. But faux distressed furniture – which can be spotted so easily – irks me to no end. I don’t see the point in distressing an object if you’re distressing it in a way that is obviously manufactured. Isn’t the point for it to look like it’s a loved and lived in item that has been worn down by time and use? Because just having a few corners sanded down does not achieve that.
Sure wish I’d read this before I wasted my time & money on chalk paint.
After a full week I’m still not done with 2 simple and small items that could have and should have taken no more than a day.
I so appreciate this article. I have a piece of furniture that is in desparete need of …something. Several times chalk paint has been recommended to me for the reasons you stated, no prep etc. And, I can even make it myself! Or I am told, to save $. But, I don’t want to make it myself, I don’t want to have to wax it and with no finish on it, the results are …chalky, which I don’t find appealing. On photos it looks nice, but I don’t like the feel of it. Yet, I was just researching making my own because it is the “easy” thing to do. I am so relieved to have found this article. It’s all the thoughts I was thinking.
Very honest post.. All decorative paints seem to have their fans and detractors…
Glad to know I am not the only one who doesn’t like the look & feel of xhalky, distressed furniture! I love the satin finish, smooth, clean, like-new look to a repurposed piece! Thanks for the help in how to achieve this!
If real old items of furniture could talk they could tell us a lot of real stories.I wonder what faux distressed stuff could tell us. Not a lot I’m sure.Same goes for shabby chic.It just looks shabby.
This is just “My opinion”
TOTALLY agree with this! Have just done my first chalk paint project on a bedroom suite. What a waste of time. Although I do like the look, it was a lot of work (ie., no easier than regular paint here). I had to sand the pieces, which were quite ornate. I had to then do the shellac prime due to bleed through. And then after 3 coats and a light sand in-between each and 3 coats of polyurethane top coat (one is not enough apparently) I low and behold find that it definitely chips easily. I can’t imagine doing kitchen cupboards with this stuff as they will never hold up. Who wants to go through all that work to have it chip off. And it chips down to the original finish – I used a water based shellac paint as instructed. I now personally think that chalk paint is crap and an expensive gimmick. I did find that the shellac indicates its tintable so was wondering about using that as a furniture paint? I have never painted furniture with latex paint and would like to know how easily it chips?
Thank you for your post your about the first blog I have ever read with good useful information!! I have 15 years in refinishing furniture and all of this no need to prep or top coat has got me crying. Chalk paint have used the same as any other paint I top coat it with ML Campbell two coats sprayed on I typically use it for the colors or coverage. Ive found white covers better in a chalk paint. I also only use products made in the USA.
Like so many others, I wish this blog post had come up in my exhaustive internet search about chalk paint. I was just given 8 pieces of furniture that have been in my family for over 100 years. They were abandoned in an empty house with a leaking roof and are in serious need of tlc. I wanted to be careful about how to clean the furniture and refinish it so I spent a lot of time on the internet. So many sites giving contradictory information made me spend a full month on cleaning just one six drawer bureau. I have done all my own in-house wall and woodwork painting with latex, but I got sucked in by all the chalk paint sites that never mentioned a single downside. They all claimed little or no prep which I knew was a lie. You can’t slop paint on dirty moldy furniture. One site claimed she ‘wiped furniture down quick with a clorox wipe.’ That made me certain I should never buy any chalk painted stuff from anyone because they likely painted over years and years of grease and dirt. After about five rounds of cleaning, I lightly sanded problem areas. I should have sanded more. Against the advice of the local chalk paint store, I also primed the inside of the bureau, inside and outside the drawers – except for the drawer fronts – with Zinnser water based primer. That took four coats of paint. It smelled musty and that didn’t go away until I put two coats of Rustoleum matte protective topcoat inside the shell of the bureau and the drawers. After the cleaning, sanding, and priming, the fronts of the drawers and outside of the bureau still remained paint free. The minute I started painting it with chalk paint, I felt panic set in. One coat. Two coats. Three Coats. four Coats. The chalk paint thief guaranteed me it would not take more than two coats. She saw the bureau and knew what color I had chosen. I decided to put a light stencil pattern on the fronts of the drawers to help hide the unevenness of the color. Three weeks later, I put ‘frog tape for delicate items’ on the side of the bureau to paint stripes to also hide the fact that four coats of paint weren’t covering. The tape was on for 15 minutes and when I took it off, the chalk paint came off in a spotty mess. I emailed the chalk paint thief twice about how to proceed but she’s not answering me. I googled “chalk paint not adhering” and found your blog post. So now I have to wait for better weather so I can take the bureau outside to fully sand and start from scratch. With classes, brushes and paint, I’m into this for more than $500. Most of the paint is unopened, but something tells me the chalk paint thief won’t take it back since she appears to be pretending she’s not getting my emails. When something sounds too good to be true . . .
Having recently taken a class on usage of Annie Sloan chalk paint, the first thing I want to say is that it’s not ‘chalk’ paint. That is an unfortunate name, especially considering the supposed “copycats” that have appeared on the market in recent years. They absolutely offer a chalk type finish, the AS paints do not. At least that hasn’t been my experience.
Also, regardless of the no sanding/priming necessary rule (unless there is bleed through), if a piece isn’t lumpy and bumpy with old paint, I would have no problem applying AS without doing either. If it is, you wouldn’t catch me wasting paint. Of any kind. 😉
I would certainly suggest that anyone who wishes to try the AS paint take a class from a reputable instructor before jumping in and investing. Learn the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts as it were.
I learned a lot more in person with a good instructor, than I ever could have watching ‘how-to’ videos.
Being the perfectionist personality that I am, the AS paints aren’t a good fit for me in many ways (I’m not a slap it on kind of gal), but for some pieces, sure. It in no way HAS to be chippy and shabby, but to each his/her own.
I have to tell you that I was so happy to read this, as I feel the exact same way!! I love prepping my project before painting. I don’t like the distressed look. I hate when my furniture gets scratched. I would never do it on purpose. When I’m going to paint something I want the surface smooth and even. I want it clean before I cover it up. Thanks for writing this. I thought I was the only one who didn’t like the no prep nonsense.
I love chalk paint! I love the bright, cheerful colours and the fact that I can cut the prep and go straight to the bright colours – and then a stencil. I’m not interested in distressing or any of the other ‘odd’ finishes because they end up looking as though they need painting and putting paint on and wiping it off is just a waste of paint – and money. But straightforward painting leads to a unique piece of furniture that nobody else will have.
Chalk paint is so durable but super easy to distress….lol
First off, I love your blue furniture! So pretty and classic.
I love chalk paint but I have been having a problem with it just not covering. Is there a certain brand you like to use? Maybe it’s the brand but I can’t stand the coverage or the streaking.
I saw a DIY with using white chalk paint on a red brick fireplace. It looked really good. Would you recommend chalk paint for brick. If not, what would produce the same effect? Thank you.
For something like that, I would use latex paint in a matte or flat finish. Just keep in mind that chalk paint is very porous, so it will stain easily. I’d never use it on something like a hearth where it can’t be sealed and people may sit on it.
Thank you. I have been reading about using white wash made of hydrated lime, table salt and water. Have you any experience or knowledge of this?
No, but after further thought, if I were going to do a lime wash on brick, I’d probably purchase a product specifically made for that rather than trying to use paint.
Yes, I have a recipe for real white wash , using Hydrated mason’s lime, table salt and water. Not a paint.
thank you for your help. I think it will be much beter than a chalk paint.
I am so thankful that I found this post! I was getting ready to refinish a piece of furniture and liked how easy chalk paint sounded. I’m definitely going to go with latex now.
Brilliant article. Great to have the benefit of your experience on this one. Your (blogging) work is done!
Brilliant post. So refreshing to see something that isn’t just hype. I have tried ‘normal’ furniture paint and chalk paint and thought it was just me! My chalk painted desk looks okay but clearly won’t stand a lot of wear and tear. And as for shabby chic – don’t get me started! I call it something far ruder. Why would I want stuff in my home that just looks old and tatty unless it’s a piece of furniture that has some family history for me where the scratches etc have some meaning.
I’m so happy to come across this post. I have been googled for days and finally went and bought my paint, guess what it’s not chalk paint. Like you I didn’t like it. I told the lady I wanted to have my dresser shiny and she told me that was the old way and satin or chalk wax the new way. My question to you is. What shiny do you pick for your furniture? Or does it matter of your just putting on a clear coat.. ps am just starting my first piece. ASAP on the reply would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me 😀
Omg I guess I should’ve proof read that first !
If I’m going to use a clear coat (which I suggest, especially for surfaces where items will be placed, like dresser tops and table tops), I prefer a matte finish. My favorite clear coat is General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in either a matte or satin finish. But you can certainly use a semi-gloss or high gloss if you want it shiny.
See this article if you want to remove chalk paint: http://relaxingspace.com/how-to-remove-chalk-paint/
Hi Kristi. What would you advise painting chipboard cupboards with? http://p.globalsources.com/IMAGES/PDT/BIG/114/B1149382114.jpg
I thought chalk paint would be the best option, considering that the cupboards can’t be sanded, but after learning about cp’s not-so-durability, it’s obviously not the best option.
Do you think a primer and latex paint would work if sanding isn’t possible?
Would really appreciate your feedback 🙂
Sand it with an electric sander and 150-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface, prime with oil-based primer (Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain is my favorite), and then paint either with oil-based or latex paint. Oil-based paint would be the better option, but I understand that people don’t like using it (even though it brushes on beautifully, especially if you add paint conditioner made for oil-based paint).
FYI – I have tested MANY primers (apply let cure then fingernail or key scratch test) and have found that a product by Coronado called grip and seal is by far superior to any others I have tried. One coat hides and seals like nothing else! No I don’t work for the company – I am just a DIYer like so many others so I thought I would pass this info along
Chalk paint and shabby this and that be damned. It’s one thing to paint and distress old furniture items that have serious issues, but I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen beautiful, old pieces RUINED, thanks to “decor trendiness”. A friend chalk painted a circa 1840 flamed mahogany dresser that was in gorgeous condition. A shop owner chalk painted a Jacobean revival dining set that was handsome in it’s original dark and heavily carved state. Another person painted and distressed a late 18th century trunk that had much of it’s original blue paint. The other day I saw a ladder back armchair with a rush seat in a thrift store, painted PINK. NO wonder it was there. Mark my words, the day will come when people will shake their heads and wonder why so many good vintage and antique furniture items were ruined in our time. Makes no sense. Old furniture has a history. Countless people touched it, used it, lived with it, the history is in the surface as well as the interior, and we cover it up with paint.
What brand and color is that green paint you used on your credenza and shelf? I have an old bench I want to paint that color! Love your article. Hopefully it will save me a lot of time searching for the right color.
It’s an old Behr (from Home Depot) color called Jungle Trail. They no longer have that color on their current paint chips, but they should still have it in their system.
Well said. It’s a fad. Plus, Annie Sloan has trademarked the term “chalk paint” so it becomes difficult to even use that term in videos, etc. Other companies are calling theirs “chalked paint” or “chalky paint” in order to get around the trademark issue. Super, super expensive paint, even the other brands.
Apparently people are still finding the link and so glad I did.
Growing up in a house full of antiques, some bought, most handed down, I never liked anything purposefully “distressed.” Either it comes that way and there’s a reason you love it, or you update it to give it a fresh new look, not full of brush strokes, chips and *gasp* added dents.
This post answered so many questions. Thanks for putting it together.
Hi! I love this post. You are Soooo on it!
If I have to absolutely have to have chalk paint, I use the powder additive and measure and weigh all the paint and additive
I fell in love with a pair of bedside table and I knew they were over priced. The photos look amazing BUT in person crap job. So I’m sanding down and repainting with my 8 dollar sample paint from SW.
Greetings from South Africa!
Yeah this whole distressed thing isn’t for me… I hate the paint brush lines. A roller brush is fine, but you do need to paint those difficult to reach areas with a brush, and then to get rid of the ‘joining lines’ – where roller meets brush.
Anyway, you mention ‘latex paint’, I never heard of it (in SA anyway), is it the normal oil based paints?
I think the term “latex paint” is mostly used here in the States, and I’m not sure what it’s called in South Africa (possibly emulsion? acrylic?), but it’s just water-based, water-soluble paint.
Thank you for the quick response!
Yes, acrylic (water-based), by far my choice of paint as well!
What can be done with laminate kitchen cupboards? They are ugly, outdated, and every fingerprint shows. I can’t afford to replace them and am at wits’ end tryin to figure out what to do with them that won’t be peeling off or getting scraped up. They can’t be sanded, so what in the world can be done to de-ugly?
I’ve painted laminate before. Sand them to give them “tooth” (yes, you can sand laminate), prime with an oil-based primer, and then paint with your choice of paint. On laminate, I’d recommend oil-based paint. And I highly recommend trying out the process first before tackling your actual cabinets.
This is great! I have been looking for ideas to paint my laminate cabinets.
As to opinions about distressed furniture, i find that how it will look in your home depends on the ultimate finish off your homes. For example, I loved in a home that was quite run down for years. Furniture HAD to be immaculate, or it all just looked tacky. Now I’m in a smart, tidy home, and the occasional shabby chic/distressed piece can look arty.
I recently painted my first piece with homemade chalk paint, just latex paint, calcium carbonate and water mixed together. I will say that for the first time ever I didn’t have brush strokes, and I also just used a regular old Purdy brush. I love that. However! I also am not a fan of distressed furniture on the whole so I still sand, patch, etc. I also sealed the piece with marine varnish because I hate waxing and because it’s so easy and I don’t have to worry if someone sets a glass down on it with no coaster. I’m with you, to each their own, but as for me and my furniture, we’ll stay undistressed and add our personality with color, trim and stencils.
How did the calcium carbonate work? Was it lumpy? The frustration I have with ASCP is the limited colors. Plus the waxing. ugh. I am trying to redo kitchen cabinets that are particle board and need something that can really bond well. Just looking for options with more colors.
Thanks for this. I thought it was just me. I’m on several “decorating boards” on Facebook, several of them are about painted furniture. One of them the other day asked what chalk paint was and another person answered “it’s what you make chalk boards out of”. I laughed out loud, literally. I also like a little shabby chic, but I prefer it to be natural, a real antique with a story. Not some factory reproduction. Too fake for me. A touch of distress is good. I’ve inherited some of my mom’s furniture. Too big and traditional for me. I am in search of good ideas of how to make-over several pieces.
Thanks for the article.
I think what most people want when they say they want chalk paint is that faded, beach cottage look. Is there any paint company that has a beach cottage, washed-out palette?
I appreciate your advice. I have used chalk paint a few times and it was a ton of work. I love some of the colors but it took me forever to finish my china hutch. I do have a question. We have recently moved into a mobile home. It is a rental, but I am allowed to redo some things. The cabinets are a partical board with some type of faux paper oak! EEEK!! I am trying to figure out what to use. I can’s sand them. Do you think the zinsser primer or another one would work to bind the latex paint and the cabinets. I have never used primer on anything other than wood. I really don’t want to use chalk paint, but I feel like I am running out of options. I would love to get any ideas or thoughts. Thanks!
Amen! Anything worth doing is worth doing well, ie. correctly. I’m not talking about taste, but an understanding of the materials and chemistry involved. Painting can be fun, but slapping a coat on without proper cleaning and preparation leads to failure. Waxing is not durable and requires upkeep that other finishes simply do not. Okay to use, but not some new miracle product. My grandmother was delighted when she no longer had to wax. She laughed at ‘distressed’ furniture (and bottled water.) Thank you!
I’m totally with you here. I cannot stand chalk paints. Used it once and disliked the result intensely. It scratches, stains and is impossible to clean, even with 4 coats of wax. My biggest gripe though is how hard it is to find a good NON chalky paint. I like to research things thoroughly before spending my money and all I’m getting back is chalk paint. Even if I search for latex. So annoying.
I am new to up cycling and I am totally with you. I checked out as many vids on you tube and started using chalk based but I also like to get a pristine finish and as you have already said, not with chalk based. What should I be looking for when I go to buy Latex paint.
My go-to brand is Behr, but that’s probably because I spend half my life at Home Depot and it’s convenient. If I’m not planning on using a topcoat, I generally use satin finish. If I’m planning on adding a topcoat, I use matte finish.
I actually have a question – I want to stencil my garage door to look like a quilt top with heart and angel stencils – what paint should I use?
That depends on what the door is made of, and the climate where you live. If your door is metal or vinyl and you live in an area with very hot temps, then you’ll need to use paint that can withstand the temperature shifts. I know that Sherwin Williams has a paint additive that they can put in paints that will be used on vinyl siding, so it could probably be used on garage doors as well. At the very least, you need to use an exterior paint.
Just used chalk paint for the first time. Ugg never again. I found it hard to work with. Does not go on easy. Also what the heck is up with all the brush strokes?
OK, so the experience you describe with the orange desk and chalk paint. Literally just went through that but with a midnight, inky blue. I actually did the 3.5 coats of chalk paint only to realize that this isn’t even the look I wanted…I had no intention of distressing it and I was looking for a modern, sleek look. Then I came across THIS very post and was like, yeah! I have options! Got a beautiful shade of the Behr Alkyd semi-gloss paint…BUT I learned after waiting for that first coat of latex to dry that I should have also sanded it down. The result was a ‘greasy’ look. I’m sanding down now and even bought that Fluetrol (sp?) to mix in, but have a few questions…because I’m also trying to get rid of this horrible pass at the latex, should I sand down more than the cursory sand down? Orbital sander? I’m staying with the same color shade…would you recommend I use primer again?
I would just sand it down until it’s smooth. Without seeing it, I have no idea exactly how much sanding that would take, though. I don’t think you’d need primer again.
For the person painting a garage door to look like a quilt, O’Reilly Auto Parts has a line of spray paints designed for use on engines that can handle temps up to 500 degrees F. It is a spray paint and comes in many colors. It is called Dupli-Color brand and it also has a spray-on primer and a clear top coat available in the same line. I used this paint to refinish an old 1950’s electric stove. If you google Dupli-Color Engine Paint, you can find a color chart. My O’Reilly store will special order the cans and we get them in Louisiana within a few days if they don’t have the color I want in stock. I bet you could create some pretty stencils and use this paint. Each can was less than $4 and had lots of paint in it.
Regarding PRIMERS – If you are working with an unusual surface like stone, metal, laminate, old glossy painted brick, etc., many paint companies offer “Adhesive Primer” which works WONDERS! I wanted to re-paint a brick fireplace that had previously been painted with glossy paint. I sanded the surface as best I could and wiped with a de-glosser, but then used an adhesive primer (mine was from Sherwin Williams). I’m pretty sure it was a water-based product so clean up would have been easy. Let me tell you, the speckle-y faux stone paint I applied absolutely afterwards NEVER chipped or flaked over the next 10 years or so! And that hearth got beat up by the edge of the vacuum, animals, kids, tools, wood for the fire, etc. I’ve since used the same product to paint over paneling, a kitchen counter, etc. Also, for kitchen counters, I then coat with a layer of epoxy resin for an extremely durable finish.
I have no problem with certain furniture items being slathered with chalk paint (I never liked the look myself) but continue to cringe when seeing beautiful pieces of antique furniture covered with the stuff. Example: an acquaintance wanted to make a dark oak Mission table with a beautiful color and grain look trendy, so she sanded the top down to make it look new, then painted the base with chalk paint. Another person I know chalk painted a circa 1840 mahogany Empire dresser that was in beautiful condition. Y-u-c-k! We are stewards of antiques from yesterday and the future antiques of tomorrow, yet are often no different from folks in the 1970’s who decided that it was really cool to slap white paint on antique oak furniture from circa 1900/1920.
Yes, love this honest post! I recently painted over chalk paint and am tired of the old trend.
Ohhhh You are Soooo Funny. I literally thought to myself while reading your article “We could be friends” I laughed out loud more than a few times while reading this and was actually so impressed with your feedback I am leaving a “comment” for the first time ever. I have been researching, not crazily, but here and there because I have wanted to paint my Kitchen cabinets since I first was married three years ago and moved into a 20 plus year old Bachelor pad my husband and his friends had perfected. I literally had to hire help to dust the years of build-up off and for our wedding present I bought a New Toilet, Shower, Bed, Floors, stove, hood, dishwasher and beautiful black sparkling countertops. With the Help of a cleaning service and slowly making over the home, I am finally at the last step of painting the worn out cabinets. I was sold on the Chalk Paint for the Cabinets. It looked so easy. Thank You for this Post and all the giggles you provided me along the way.
Terrific article. Such sound thinking and fair considerations. What’s that blue color you used on the desk? I love it.
I’m so glad I came across this article! It makes me so happy. I just discovered chalk painting (during the COVID shutdown) and the price really shocked me. And the colors were somewhat limited. Don’t get me wrong; they are tons of colors but not always what I needed. With latex paint, the possibilities are endless!! Thanks again!
I’m halfway done with my first piece (a large bookcase unit). It’s taking forever to dry the 24 hrs between coats. Major regret and I’m so disappointed. Your posts is my thoughts exactly!
I chalk painted and waxed an armoire, spent over $100 on supplies, and I hate it. It shows all the brush marks. Please let me know if I can paint a latex over the piece. What steps do I have to take to prep?
Since you waxed the piece, I honestly have no idea how to remedy it. If it were mine, I would try sanding (especially to get rid of the brush marks, but maybe to remove some of the wax), and then seal/prime it with some sort of oil-based or shellac-based primer. My favorite oil-based primer is Zinsser Cover Stain. I can’t recommend a shellac-based primer based on personal experience, because I’ve never used one. But I have heard very good things about BIN Shellac-Based Primer. Once it’s primed with oil-based primer, you can paint with latex paint. I’m not sure about painting over shellac-based primer with latex paint, so be sure to check the label on the primer if want to use that instead.
Ive been using Annie Sloan for over 10 years (before any others hit the market). There different types of painters. Those that like a new smooth ikea like finish and those who are true furniture artists and like to experiment and create effects. Guess you aren’t the second. Annie Sloan is an artist so her paints are made for artists not furniture flippers but of course anyone can use the paint but the furniture artists appreciate the value of wax and texture and different finishes. Most like me don’t do shabby chic but we would fall asleep with mind numbing smooth flat coats of paint and the thought of sanding and priming everything is crazy to me. I have pieces chalk painted and waxed over 10 years old now and they are still perfect and wearing well. Maybe as they say a bad craftsman blames the tools 🥴
So let me see if I got this right. “Furniture artists” like rough finishes on their furniture, but a “bad craftsman” like myself prefers “mind-numbing smooth” coats of paint on my painted furniture and blames the tools? Blames the tools for WHAT, exactly? I blame the tools that I use to get super smooth finishes on my painted furniture. 😀 No, my dear. I get super smooth finishes because that’s what I set out to do on my painted furniture, and because I’ve worked many years at my process and know what I’m doing. Your comment sounds absurd. And yes, I do prefer (and can very easily get) super smooth finishes with latex paint from Home Depot without having to pay the ridiculous prices for Annie Sloan paint that “true furniture artists” use to get “texture” (brush strokes) on their finished pieces. I fail to see how my use of paints that create a super smooth finish (one that looks sprayed even though it’s painted on with a brush) makes me a “bad craftsman”. Again, absurd.
“Maybe as they say a bad craftsman blames the tools.” You literally said that Annie Sloan paints are used to get “texture” (brush strokes). I HATE brush strokes in paint. How, exactly, does getting brush strokes (and hating them) while using a paint that you claim is main to give “texture” (brush strokes) make a person a “bad craftsman” who “blames the tools” when you literally said that’s what that particular “tool” is for? According to you, it’s supposed to give “texture”. I used it, and it gave me “texture”. I hated it. I think brush strokes in painted finishes make furniture look cheap, and like it was painted by an amateur DIYer who was too lazy to take the time to sand and finish the piece properly. But yes, I do blame the product for being so “textured” and showing brush strokes, but that’s what YOU say it’s supposed to do. So how in the world does that make me a “bad craftsman”? You really didn’t think this through, did you?