This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using this link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
So you have that great piece of furniture that you are ready to paint…maybe it’s something you already have, or you found it at a resale store or even better you found it for free on the curb! Now, I’ll tell you how to use chalk paint to make it into a beautiful and unique showstopper!
In my last post, I talked about the “why” for chalk paint and listed my favorite paint and top coat. Below are some additional supplies you will need to paint your furniture:
1. something to paint! (this could be a dresser, a table or a chair)
2. paint brush
4. fine sand paper
5. wax or General Finishes Top Coat (I like the flat finish)
6. painters tape (if you choose)
7. drop cloth, plastic or old sheet to lay down
8. small plastic container to mix paint if necessary
Decide where you will paint your piece of furniture. This should be a place where you are comfortable, where there is good natural light or good overhead lighting and is relatively out of the way of day to day living. This is important so that your piece doesn’t accidentally get bumped or knocked over- you want your hard work to be protected until it is dried and sealed. If you need to, place a drop cloth, piece of plastic or old sheet down to protect whatever surface you are painting on. I personally prefer to paint in our “formal living room” for all of the above reasons. Yes, some of you may think I am crazy for doing this, but this space checks off all of the above boxes and as long as everything is covered up, you are good to go!
Gather your materials and get ready to paint!
You can see the wear and dings in the original finish. You will not be able to see most of this after it is painted.
As I mentioned in my last post, you do not have to do any prep work to your piece unless you want to. If there is a layer of old paint, you may choose to sand it a little to get a smoother surface, but you do not need to apply primer before you chalk paint! Make sure your piece of furniture is clean- wipe it off with a damp rag if necessary and let it dry before you start painting. If your furniture has any knobs or drawer pulls, remove them if you can. This will allow you to get a nice, clean brush stroke. Now grab your brush and paint! Go with the grain of the wood and try to use continuous, smooth strokes with your paint brush. If the paint appears to be too thick, add a little water. Not too much though, you do not want bubbles in your paint and you do not want any drips!
Apply 2-3 coats. If you want some of the original finish to show through, use less coats. If you are painting a darker piece a lighter color, you may need 3-4 coats. You have to start with 1 and see how it looks when it dries. Remember, when it dries, it will be a flat, chalk-like feel. It’s better to apply several thin coats than 1 or 2 thick coats. Be sure to wait for the paint to dry before you add the next coat. Lightly sand in between to get any rough spots out and smooth any brush strokes. Be careful not to sand too hard because it will take the paint off.
Murphy and Sage watching paint dry…
These are after 1 coat of paint
This last picture is after 3 coats of paint.
Decide how you are going to seal your new masterpiece. You do have to put some kind of top coat after you chalk paint. Think of what chalk feels like- you can scratch it and it is soft- you need to put something on top of the chalk paint to harden it and make it durable for years to come.
You can choose to use a wax or a liquid top coat. As I mentioned in my last post, I prefer to use General Finishes Top Coat. This stuff is amazing! It’s easy to use and it is VERY durable (my dining room table, front door and bathroom vanities are all finished with this!).
I am going to tell you how to seal your piece of furniture with General Finishes. You will need a clean brush. Some people prefer to use foam brushes, but that is completely up to you. Apply a thin coat in the same direction of the wood grain. It will dry quickly- do not over brush. This is important and very hard for me (I have zero patience). You want to apply 3-4 coats, letting it dry completely between coats and sanding lightly in between.
After 1 coat of top coat. You can see where it is still wet.
You are almost done! Carefully add your hardware if your piece has it- that includes knobs, pulls, etc. If you are painting an older piece, chances are it has gorgeous original hardware that you cannot find at your local hardware store. I cleaned up the original hardware on this piece of furniture with this brass cleaner. You can choose to paint the hardware or completely replace it too! Have you decided where this beauty will go in your house??? Find a special spot to display all your hard work 🙂
Look at this gorgeous hardware- you can’t find that at Home Depot!
Do not be intimidated by painting something. If you do not like your results, you can wipe it off, sand it down or paint over it. Do not overthink the actual painting- this is hard to do sometimes, I admit. Paint your coat and then leave it alone! If you bother it too much, you will get brush marks or an uneven surface- you don’t want that! If you do happen to lose your self control and find yourself repainting before it is dry, dab your brush in some water and try to even out the stroke marks. This whole process will take a few days- you need to leave time in between each layer of paint and top coat. Give yourself enough time and restraint to do each step and allow for drying time. You can do it!
Lastly—your piece is not going to be perfect! It probably was a little worse for the wear before you painted it and now this is something you have pride and ownership in because you worked hard on it! Love your painted piece of furniture because of it’s uniqueness and because of what YOU were able to create!
The finished product!!! Isn’t she pretty?
Did you see my pictures of the dining room chairs on Facebook or Instagram??? They were on the curb– as in they were free!!! In the next post, I will show you how a few coats of paint and new fabric can breathe new life into something that was destined for the trash and cost me just a few dollars in paint and fabric!
So many of you have reached out to me saying that you have considered chalk painting, but haven’t tried it yet. What is stopping you? How can I help you? Please comment below if you still have questions or something more that is holding you back!
Make Your Home Beautiful
5 Easy Ways to add beauty and meaningful touches to your home!