Skip to Content

How to Chalk Paint Furniture

How to Chalk Paint Furniture

Have I told you that I previously did faux finishing part time? That was back in the day, when you spent hours & hours, using expensive products to achieve a distressed look on walls and furniture. Thankfully, there is an easier way to achieve those same results on furniture.

Here is how to Chalk Paint furniture and thrift store finds. It’s a super easy and quick way to transform old wooden pieces into chic farmhouse style décor.

First, I’m sharing a wall shelf transformation with step by step easy instructions that even a beginner can follow.

In addition, I’ll share some larger pieces of furniture for more examples.


The Before

This wooden shelf was a great thrift store find for only 4.00, however, it needed a little update to work in my farmhouse décor.

Step 1 – Clean in preparation for Chalk Paint

Although I’m working on this small shelf today, the instructions are the same for all furniture.

Begin by washing or wiping down your piece before starting. Remove any stickers and sticky residue from the wood. With chalk paint, you do not have the sand the surface unless there is a really shiny finish on the wood. If there is, a light sanding to roughen the surface will be enough.

Step 2 – Protect your surface

Next, if you are working on a surface that needs protecting, place something under your item to be painted. Here I’ve just used a sheet of wax paper and some of my trusty tuna cans to elevate the shelf off the table surface and to protect it from my sloppy painting techniques.

I prefer to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for most of my projects. I find it works extremely well and will adhere to almost any surface including metals, fabrics, glass and ceramic.

Step 4 – Paint a light coat over the entire surface

For this step, you don’t need a heavy coat. I attempt to paint in the direction of the wood grain, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

It is so easy to use chalk paint for many projects because it’s very forgiving and dries really fast.

I like to use the Annie Sloan Paint brush for ease of application, especially for larger projects.

Here is how to use Chalk Paint to distress wood and furniture. It's a supper easy and quick way to transform your old wooden pieces into chic farmhouse style décor. Chalk Paint can be used on trash to treasure updates, including wood, metal, glass, fabric & ceramics.

Once the project is completely covered with paint, close your paint can and protect your paint brush from drying out. The next coat can be applied as soon as the paint is dry to the touch.

Tip: To keep brush from drying between coats, you can place in a zip lock bag or wrap in plastic wrap. If you are unable to apply the second coat within a few hours, place the wrapped brush in the refrigerator to protect it.

Step 4 – Apply a second coat of Chalk Paint

Once the first coat is dry to the touch, you can apply a second coat of paint. Usually 2 coats of Chalk Paint will be sufficient especially when you are wanting a distressed appearance to your project.

Note: If you don’t want a distressed appearance, 3 coats may be necessary.


If your original piece is unfinished wood, see this technique to stain your wood before applying the paint.

Step 5 – Finish Wax for Chalk Paint

This final step can be done a couple of different ways. You can use a clear wax or a dark or colored wax depending on the desired finish. Caution: a dark wax will grab to the chalk paint resulting in a very dark finish. If you just want a tint, mix the dark wax with clear wax for a lighter finish.

  1. This is the first option. Apply the wax with a soft cloth over the surface of your project in small sections, allowing the wax to dry slightly. Then using a different soft cloth, begin to buff the waxed surface until you achieve a gloss appearance. This method will not remove the paint while waxing.
  2. Option 2 – This is my preferred method because I like a distressed finish on most of my chalk painted projects.
    • Mix your wax with a small amount of mineral spirits resulting in a mayonnaise like consistency.
    • Use a chip brush to apply the mixture over the project and wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.
    • Once the wax mixture has dried, begin to buff until you have a gloss finish.
    • Note: This method may result in removal of thin areas of paint causing a more distressed look.

Buff off wax mixture with a ruff cloth and remove some paint for a distress look. If you want more paint removed, you can use a light grit sand paper around the edges.

Wax can totally transform the appearance of chalk paint. See the kitchen island makeover and how the addition of wax changed the island from yikes to wow.

I did not use any mineral spirits with this wax because I didn’t want a distressed look on the kitchen island.


Add Some Hardware to the Chalk Painted Shelf

To really dress this thrift store shelf up, let’s add some hardware. I purchased these fun hooks for cheap and knew I’d find a use for them.

First, measure the location for each hook and screw them to the board underneath the shelf.

Since I didn’t have matching screws, I used what I had on hand and then used a sharpie pen to color the silver screws. You don’t even notice them now.


Finished Chalk Paint Transformatoin

The transformation is complete and I quickly styled the painted shelf for your approval. I hope you like it.

Here is how to use Chalk Paint to distress wood and furniture. It's a supper easy and quick way to transform your old wooden pieces into chic farmhouse style décor. Chalk Paint can be used on trash to treasure updates, including wood, metal, glass, fabric & ceramics.
Here is how to use Chalk Paint to distress wood and furniture. It's a supper easy and quick way to transform your old wooden pieces into chic farmhouse style décor. Chalk Paint can be used on trash to treasure updates, including wood, metal, glass, fabric & ceramics.

I can’t wait to style it for Christmas! It’s in such a fun spot and I know you’ll be seeing a lot of this shelf.

Here is how to use Chalk Paint to distress wood and furniture. It's a supper easy and quick way to transform your old wooden pieces into chic farmhouse style décor. Chalk Paint can be used on trash to treasure updates, including wood, metal, glass, fabric & ceramics.
Previous Projects with Chalk Paint

I did a quick makeover with Chalk Paint and then decided to do a complete transformation. See all the details at Amazing Furniture Transformation.

Even my deconstructed chair received a fresh coat of Chalk Paint. See The Real Truth About Deconstructing a Chair for all the details.

Here is a 3 Step Furniture Makeover that was quick and easy.

Here is another trash to treasure transformation of a thrift store find. You can also learn more about shopping thrift stores here.

You can see this 2 hour Makeover and this Easy Table Riser Project! Both were accomplished by using chalk paint. My most recent post is a Simple Chalk Paint Makeover for Vintage Furniture.

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY! IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, I’LL BE HAPPY TO ANSWER, JUST LEAVE A MESSAGE BELOW.

PIN IT TO REMEMBER IT
Here is how to use Chalk Paint to distress wood and furniture. It's a supper easy and quick way to transform your old wooden pieces into chic farmhouse style décor. Chalk Paint can be used on trash to treasure updates, including wood, metal, glass, fabric & ceramics.

Renee

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

I really enjoyed this post!!! It was very informative for when I do my next chalk paint project!!!

rahrags@gmail.com

Thursday 3rd of December 2020

Renee, I'm so glad you found this helpful

Cindy@CountyRoad407

Saturday 24th of October 2020

I've not thought to use Mineral Spirits. I'll have to try that! Love your collection of little brooms too. Everything turned out so cute! Pinned

rahrags@gmail.com

Monday 26th of October 2020

Cindy, Thank you so much. Rachel

rahrags@gmail.com

Monday 26th of October 2020

Cindy, You are so sweet. Thank you for this. Rachel

stacy

Saturday 24th of October 2020

We are on same page today! Great blog Rachel!

rahrags@gmail.com

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Stacy, I appreciate you for stopping by.

Miche Ortega

Saturday 24th of October 2020

That's a great transformation, and I love your collection of brooms. Thank you.

rahrags@gmail.com

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Hey Miche, Thanks for stopping by.

Rachel

Kristi @ Mulch and Paint

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Wonderful makeover! The instructions were very easy to follow. PINNED! Thanks! ~Kristi

rahrags@gmail.com

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Kristi, Thank you so much. glad you found this helpful. Rachel