Home How-To DIY Chalk Paint Tutorial

DIY Chalk Paint Tutorial

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


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


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


What You’ll Need

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Soft-bristle brush or clean rag

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

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

Optional: clear wax, wax brush, and a rag


How to Do It

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

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


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

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  1. Repeat the process to add a second coat.


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


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Wanda March 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Beautiful! What color ASCP did you use on this piece?

Fresh American March 18, 2016 at 11:45 am

Hi, Wanda—great question! This gorgeous ASCP color is Coco. You can find it here: http://www.anniesloan.com/coco-chalk-paint.html 🙂

Ruth Lewis May 22, 2016 at 7:14 am

Have you dry brushed one chalk paint color over another? Want to paint Paris gray and dry brush old white.

annieselke July 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm

So sorry for the delay in responding! We have been having some issues getting comments. We have not done what you are suggesting but I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t work and look gorgeous. It would add depth and texture to an otherwise neutral piece. Send a photo!

Jackie May 26, 2017 at 11:07 pm

I have done this on a small piece, lightly sanded it, then waxed it. It turned out great! I used a cream base over oak with a second coat of turquoise.

Debi Barrett August 9, 2016 at 9:18 pm

I’ve done the dry brush over another color technique many times. Have even done a couple of dry brush colors over initial paint. It works great!
I would suggest having a rag handy to wipe off any excess paint you might have.

Annie_Selke August 30, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Thanks for the tip, Debi! An extra rag kept handy for mess is never a bad idea!

Gail December 9, 2016 at 2:57 am

How durable is chalk paint? Would it stand up in daily use of kitchen cabinets?

Beth January 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Hi Gail, We’re definitely not experts in paint, but presumably it would depend on the brand of chalk paint. This is a great question to relay to your local paint supplier! Good luck!

Laurie February 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm

What does dry brush mean?

Beth March 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

Hi Laurie! Dry brushing is a technique– check out this fab tutorial we found on YouTube to see it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T44QmNKdMn0

Karon July 18, 2017 at 10:26 am

Hi there. Would you need to sand back a glossy varnished piece of furniture? And would you need a stain blocker?


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