How to use Chalk PaintDiva~Ally Alison Grisham Grisham Interiors
Chalk Paint 101
Paint like a Diva..or a pro
Chalk paint how to: As the chalk paint buzz makes its way around the DIY world, more and more beginners have been asking how to use chalk paint and where do I start. Everyone seems to know the benefits of chalk paint… no sanding… no priming. But that’s not exactly a user’s manual. So the Divas have a little Chalk Paint 101 Just for our favorite Diva Followers
First… chalk paint isn’t new. It’s one of the oldest paints available. But a renewed interest in aged finishes has also given rise to a renewed interest in authentic paints from days gone by.
Chalk Paint contains calcium carbonate, a natural substance that makes up 4% of the earth’s crust. It is more commonly known as limestone, marble and yes… chalk. But it’s also found in paper, plastic, concrete and many other household items. In fact, egg shells are made of 95% calcium carbonate.
So what does all this have to do with paint? Calcium carbonate is a useful bonding agent. When used in paint, it allows the paint to bond to any surface, including laminate, glass, fabric, and wood, which is just a sciencey way of saying… the rumors are true. Cross my heart… no priming or sanding. Just paint.
So, here’s what you’ll need:
1. a piece of furniture to paint
2. a drop cloth or plastic
3. chalk paint
4. a good paint brush
6. clean rags
7. sandpaper or sanding block
8. basic tools*
* optional items depending on what you’re painting
Here’s what to do:
1. Set up a work area with a drop cloth and the piece you’re about to paint. There are no fumes with chalk paint, so it’s perfectly safe to paint indoors.
2. Wipe down your piece with a damp rag so you have a clean surface. Take out drawers or any other parts of the furniture that should be painted separately, and remove any hardware, knobs or hinges.
3. If you are painting near fabric or an area that you want to keep free from paint, make sure to tape off the paint free areas. For instance, I like to tape around drawer edges since I don’t usually paint the sides of the drawers. This helps give nice clean lines.
4. I usually start with the underside of the furniture. It’s the area that matters least and it gives the painter a chance to get used to the paint.
5. You can paint directly from the can or in a separate container. But in either case, give the can a good shake before using it.
6. When starting out, I recommend using a separate container so you can play with the paint a little bit. This is the easiest way to determine the texture that fits your personal taste. You can leave it exposed to the air and it will get thicker, or you can add water to make it thinner… or, of course, you can use it as it comes. Just remember to put the lid on the paint can while you play, so the full amount of paint doesn’t get too thick.
7. Dip your brush into the paint, about a third of the way… and start painting. If you feel like it’s a little too thick just add in a little bit more water until you’re comfortable.
8. Once you like the coverage and the thickness of the paint, keep going until you’ve finished your first coat.
9. Sometimes, one coat is enough, especially with the darker colors. In other cases you may need two coats. But very rarely three.
10. Chalk paint dries quickly, especially outside. So chances are, the first coat will be dry by the time you’re ready to start the second.
11. After the second coat, give the paint a little bit of time to thoroughly dry… a couple of hours is plenty… and then decide how you’re going to finish it.
12. If you decide not to distress the furniture, I would suggest leaving it over night to really let the paint cure before doing anything else. Then you can wax. It’s easy for the paint to rub off a little, during the waxing process, if the paint isn’t entirely cured. If you decide that you DO want to distress, just make sure the paint is dry and you’re ready to go.
13. There are two different ways to distress your piece. 1. You can use a damp rag and rub the paint off in random places until you get a look you like, and then wax… or 2. You can wax first, and then use a sanding block or some sandpaper to distress. You can use sandpaper beforehand if you like. But sanding can be messy and waxing often rubs off a little more paint naturally, so don’t overdo it with the sandpaper before waxing. It may sound counterintuitive to wax first, but it makes the sanding dust a lot less messy.
14. And speaking of wax… it’s not mandatory. But I highly recommend it to protect your finish and to deepen the color of the paint. Waxing is sort of like icing a cake… to me it doesn’t feel quite finished without it.
15. When you’re finished with the look you want, wipe down the piece again, and see what you think. You may want to add more wax. But usually one coat is enough.
The most important thing to remember about chalk paint is that it’s really an art form. There are no rules and no one way to do it. Your ideas, your choices and your vision is what will make it unique. So dive right in and enjoy the freedom of making something beautiful from your heart!
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