How to chalk paint furniture

With no prep needed beforehand, it's brilliant for beginners and up cycling projects.

chalk paint furniture

by Ellen Kinsey |

If you enjoy DIY or upcycling projects, you will probably have heard about chalk paint. The versatile furniture paint, which was created by colour expert Annie Sloan in 1990, has a matte, chalky appearance and is brilliant for adding a new lease of life to worn out looking furniture, such as cabinets, draws, chairs and doors.

Chalk paint is easy to use as you don’t need to sand or prime your item beforehand, you just simply brush it onto the furniture you would like to paint. This makes it ideal for beginners and it can be used on a range of surfaces including wood, plastic, metal, concrete, walls, ceramic and brick, giving a full chalky coverage.

Sounds pretty cool right? Read on to learn how to chalk paint furniture with tips from Annie Sloan herself.

How to chalk paint furniture

In this beginner's guide to Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan, the founder of this style of paint talks through the basics of upcycling furniture with chalk paint. You can also find a collection of videos on her website, demonstrating how to use chalk paint to paint a fence to kitchen cabinets.

Step 1: Prep your piece of furniture

Although you don’t have to sand or prime your furniture beforehand, there’s still other ways you need to prepare to ensure a great finish. Remove any handles from drawers and use a damp cloth to clean down surfaces. It’s best to lay down a dust sheet too, to avoid any mess! If there’s grease on your furniture item give it a quick wash over with some soapy water. Don’t use furniture wax to clean it as the wax component of the polish will not mix well with chalk paint once applied.

Step 2: Start Painting

Chalk paint is a very easy substance to paint with, so you do not need to be overly precise here. In the video, Annie suggests quick, big brush strokes to cover your item all over. Don’t feel like your painting has to be too neat either. In the video you’ll see Annie uses her paint brush in lots of different directions. The most important thing is to get the paint on there.

Step 3: Let the paint dry

Once you’ve applied your first coat of paint, allow it to dry. This could take anywhere between one to three hours. Don’t panic if you think your paint looks patchy or streaky, this will disappear once you’ve applied a second coat

Step 4: Apply a second coat of paint

Once you first coat of paint has dried, go in and apply a second coat in exactly the same way as you applied the first (quick, big brush strokes in different directions).

Step 5: Wax

Chalk paint lacks the sealant that most paint has so it requires a coating of wax to seal the colour. It also means there will be no fingerprints left on your item once the paint has dried. Do make sure that the paint is completely dry before applying the wax. Annie says you can apply the wax with an old paint brush or an old cloth. It can take around 2-3 weeks for the wax to set fully.

Upcycling inspiration

Chalk paint is an amazing way to save money on buying new furniture. You can transform thrift shop finds or your old furniture into new creations. See the gallery below for some chalk paint furniture inspiration.

View Gallery
8 photos
Colour Inside Out Cabinet
1 of 8

Colour Inside Out Cabinet

Use chalk paint to create a quirky inside out coloured cabinet. Choose the colours to match your interiors and you have a fresh new piece in the house! See the details on Iowes website.

Where can I buy the paint?

If you want to get started on chalk painting your furniture you can plenty of paint options on Annie Sloan's website. We've also rounded up some suggestions to get you started.

Classic white chalk paint from Annie Sloan

white paint

View offer

Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan's trademark paint. A great option for if you're just getting started with chalk paint, this colour goes with everything and can be used for lightening other chalk paint colours.

Clear chalk paint wax from Annie Sloan

paint wax

View offer

Annie Sloan

Use Clear Chalk Paint Wax to seal and protect furniture and walls painted with Chalk Paint decorative paint. It's great for emphasising your chalk paints colour or you can buff it in for a beautiful sheen.

Chalk paint brushes from Annie Sloan


View offer

Annie Sloan

Annie Sloanu2019s bespoke Chalk Paint Wax Brushes are made of predominantly pure bristle with natural split ends. The ergonomically shaped handles make applying paint and wax effortless.

Popular articles to read next

Upcycling ideas: DIY projects that you’ll actually make

9 upcycled furniture ideas: before and after

The best home DIY kits UK

Why arts and crafts make us happy

How to wallpaper a wall

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us