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How to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

A 1 litre tin of Chalk Paint will cover approximately 13 square meters in area, this is roughly the size of a small welsh dresser or a two door wardrobe.

Chalk Paint will adhere to most surfaces and on most of pieces of furniture you don’t need to sand or prime.  Usually one coat of paint is sufficient when using darker toned colours, but two coats of paint are better for lighter toned colours.  

To start painting, turn your pot upside down with the lid secured on of course and give a little shake.  Open up and stir well with a mixing stick.  If you want a vintage texture look, paint straight from the tin but if you prefer a smoother modern flat finish add some water.  Don’t worry if you put too much water in the tin, just leave the lid off the tin for a few hours or overnight and the paint will thicken back up!

A painter will always say your finish is as good as your tools.  We would recommend using a good quality paint brush and Annie’s brushes are just the ticket and remember to store your chalk paint indoors.

If you wanted to know more, we hold workshops and give good practical advice on how to use the paint directly in store, by email, phone or social media.

Applying Chalk Paint™ Wax

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Wax is best applied over your finished painted surface to seal and protect, but it also adds a depth and texture to the colour which is just lovely.  The wax once applied will give a very light sheen, almost matt.  It is best applied with a fibre free cloth or Annie’s Wax Brushes make light work of waxing and are ideal for getting into all those nooks and crannies. 

In our experience one tin of 500ml wax goes a long way and will compliment at least 3 to 4 one litre tins.  One coat of wax is perfect for most projects.  For areas with more use such as tabletops or kitchen cabinets two coats of wax will suffice.  Store your wax at room temperature as this will keep the wax soft and pliable which is easy to apply.  When finished make sure you keep the lid on tight for future use, this stops the wax from drying out. 

Here is a few top tips when using wax:

  • When applying the wax apply evenly and consistent pressure onto the paint, like applying hand cream!
  • Think less is more and don’t apply to thickly, it should feel touch dry immediately after you have applied it.
  • When applying two coats, your second can be applied directly over so no need to wait!
  • Remove any excess wax attached to corners or edges of the furniture
  • Leave the Wax overnight and to achieve a nice sheen, buff up with a clean fibre free cloth or leave for a lovely matt effect.
  • Work you wax in sections or areas to ensure a consistent finish.

Annie also has a great range of coloured waxes which can be used to create age and texture.  The waxes come in black, white and dark and are best applied over clear wax to control the colour and to get the perfect finish. 

Wax will naturally harden and this is termed as a “curing” process.  In ambient temperatures this process can take between 5 and 21 days but this doesn’t mean to say you can’t use your furniture right away, just be careful for the first week.  When completely cured, it becomes food safe. 

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Comes in 36 Colours

Annie has carefully selected the range of colours and they range from soft and pale to bright and strong.  The colour palette can be mixed so you can create your own colour or as near to a special colour you like. 

To make a colour paler or lighter then add Old White for a softer vintage feel or pure for a more modern crisp feel.

The Annie Sloan Mix Mat is ideal for creating colours and because the paint is water based you can use your fingers to play around with the colours.  When mixing remember your colour ratios and for larger amounts you may want to use a cup for measuring. 

It is a good idea to keep a little sample of your colour in your work book in case you need to use them again.  Annie’s book Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More is a great source of inspiration. 

What to do if stains bleed through the paint

In some instance, not all you may find that the wood underneath the paint will stain or bleed after your first coat of paint.  This can come directly from furniture from the 1930’s and 1940’s which may have a previous oiled based finish.  When working with new or untreated wood a clear shellac is best used on wood knots or open grains as this will block tannins that can bleed through the paint.  A product we use here at Love Restored is Zinsser B.I.N.Primer Sealer and Stain Killer.   

Best advice is test a patch of paint to a corner or a panel to check first.  If this does happen, apply your blocker or shellac directly over the painted area, or if necessary for severe bleed through apply all over the furniture before you paint the remainder.  Blockers or Shellac based products dry quite quickly so you can get on as soon as you can with your painting.

How to Care for your Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ Finish

Like all pieces of furniture treat with care.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Wax is durable, but if you need to clean any marks or stains, use a slightly damp cloth with a little mild soap. If the mark is deeper than normal, you may need to use a stronger cleaner.  If this is so, re-waxing the area after cleaning will help.  Most marks however can often be removed with a little Clear Chalk Paint Wax on a cloth.

Heat mats and coasters are great for protecting your painted and waxed surfaces.  Extreme temperatures or humidity will over time create damage.  A moderate climate or placement is always better.  Waxes dissolve in alcohol, so using it on bars is not advisable – or cleaning with Spirits!

Caring for your Annie Sloan Brushes

After painting with Chalk Paint, squeeze out as much excess paint from your brush as you can, then wash your Chalk Paint Brush well with warm water to rinse out all the colour. Hang to dry with the bristles pointing downwards.

Whether you apply Soft Wax with the Chalk Paint Wax Brush or Chalk Paint Brush, simply wash your brush with warm water and grease-cutting soap to clean it. Harsh detergents may shorten the life of your natural bristle brushes.

Using Chalk Paint Lacquer

As a guide, one litre of Chalk Paint Lacquer will cover 10-12 square metres, but this will vary according to the absorbency of the floor. Lacquer should always be applied in very thin coats. Results may also vary depending on previous treatment of the surface.

When applying Chalk Paint Lacquer, bear in mind that it is a 'penetrating' finish and can pull tannins or stains from the wood up through the paint. This can be especially noticeable on whites, manifesting as a yellow stain. Always test Chalk Paint and Lacquer on several areas before you begin your project. If a stain appears, simply apply a thin coat of Chalk Paint Lacquer directly over the entire surface to be painted before painting and lacquering again.

Using Chalk Paint on walls

Apply Chalk Paint to walls with a large brush, like the Annie Sloan Wall Paint Brush. A brush will use less paint than a roller and will add depth and texture to the final finish. You can then wax the wall with a big brush, or just leave it – bedrooms walls look great with a soft, matte, unwaxed finish. For kitchens, bathrooms and walls that require a tougher, scrubbable finish, we recommend Annie Sloan Wall Paint.

Using Wall Paint outdoors

Wall Paint can be used outside, however it will age over time when exposed to the elements. You can use a water-based exterior varnish or sealant to protect the finish if you wish.

Using Wall Paint on previously varnished or gloss-painted surfaces

Annie Sloan Wall Paint can be used on previously varnished or gloss-painted surfaces, but it will not have the same adhesion as Chalk Paint. To increase durability, an appropriate primer (or a coat of Chalk Paint) is recommended as a base coat.

Using Wall Paint on furniture or kitchen cupboards

Wall Paint is an extremely durable finish and could be used on furniture, however it does not offer the same adhesion as Chalk Paint. We would always recommend that you use Chalk Paint® on furniture and save the Wall Paint for what it does best – painting walls!

Is Wall Paint breathable?

Wall Paint contains ingredients that make it very durable. It doesn’t have the same breathability as Chalk Paint. If you are painting over lime plaster or other finishes that require a breathable paint, we recommend you use Chalk Paint.

Does Wall Paint need to be waxed or varnished?

There is no need to use Chalk Paint Wax or Lacquer with Wall Paint.

Touching up or repairing damage for Wall Paint

As with all decorative paints, it’s not advisable to paint over small areas that need a touch up – even if you are working with paint from the same batch. When you apply a first coat of paint to a surface, the rate at which the water is absorbed by the surface (‘wicking’) has an effect on the final colour. Subsequent coats will be absorbed by the paint underneath at a different rate, leading to a subtle shade difference in the finish. For this reason, where repairs are necessary, it’s best to paint the entire surface of the affected area, whether this is a section of wall (from corner to corner & top to bottom) or the face of a piece of furniture (for example, a drawer front). There is no need to repaint the entire room or the whole piece of furniture!

Using Chalk Paint on floors

Chalk Paint can transform old concrete and wooden floors, even if they’re varnished. Just apply two or three coats of Chalk Paint, and then apply Chalk Paint Lacquer with a sponge roller, for added durability.

Always test the paint and Lacquer on a few areas of the floor before you start, to check whether any stains will bleed through.

Using Chalk Paint on metal

You can Chalk Paint straight onto all kinds of hardware, including metal work. Chalk Paint can re-invigorate old brass and other metal fixtures and fittings, and it even covers and slows down rust.

Any rusting areas should be sanded and treated with a rust inhibitor before painting.

Using Chalk Paint on kitchen cabinets

You can achieve beautiful results using Chalk Paint on – and in – your cabinets. Apply at least two coats of paint, and then two or three coats of Chalk Paint Wax to seal and protect them. Simple.  Its best to ensure that you have thoroughly cleaned the kitchen cabinets down with sugar soap or a degreaser cleaning product (wipe down with clean damp cloth) to get rid of all that hidden grime and grease. 

Using Chalk Paint outdoors

Chalk Paint even works outdoors! It’s particularly good on brick, concrete, stone and terracotta – and there’s no need to wax. On garden furniture, a coat of water-based exterior varnish will protect against stains and keep the finish looking good for longer. Look for a varnish with UV protection to prevent colour fading.  It is always best to ensure the surface you are painting on is dry. 

Chalk Paint will fade in the sun and age gracefully with the elements. Chalk Paint is a water-based decorative paint and does not have any weatherproof or protective properties. Depending on the look you want and the site-specific conditions you may find it needs a fresh coat periodically.

Chalk Paint is not recommended for teak or other oily woods. Always test, if in doubt!

Using Annie Sloan paints as a chalk board

Both Chalk Paint and Wall Paint have a matt finish and can be written on with chalk.

Using Chalk Paint on upholstery and leather

When it comes to painting upholstery, small items which are firmly upholstered (such as a dining chair seat) and made from natural fabric (such as cotton or linen) give the best results. In these cases, Chalk Paint can be diluted with water and painted on as a 'wash' which will stain the fibres. Fabric that is painted in this way does not require to be waxed afterwards. Take a look at our video tutorial for more on this technique.

There are other ways to paint upholstery, but the success of painting any upholstered piece does depend on factors such as the condition, colour and composition of the fabric, how firmly it is upholstered, and the colour you are using (reds are less colourfast).

For any project, we would recommend testing in a small area first before you commit to painting the whole piece. As a general rule, we don’t recommend painting very cushioned sofas or suites or items that get very heavy use.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques either – applying the paint more thickly will change the composition of the fabric, making it stiffer. This can then be waxed and buffed to create a leather effect.

You can also use Chalk Paint on leather and vinyl – build up the coverage in thin coats, and then wax to finish. As the leather creases and cracks with age, so will the paint, so bear this in mind on well-worn or cushioned items.

Stencilling on fabric with Chalk Paint

To stencil fabric with Chalk Paint, apply with a sponge roller. There is no need to dilute the paint, but to keep the image from bleeding around the edges, try not to overload your roller with paint. Allow the fabric to dry naturally, then heat seal by tumble drying or pressing with a hot iron.

Dip dyeing fabric with Chalk Paint

Dip dyeing with Chalk Paint a great way to completely change the colour of fabric. You can control how intense the colour comes through simply by adding more water. Linen, cotton, cotton voile and synthetic curtains all work well with this technique. You can also use patterned cottons or linens.

We have found that the deeper pigmented colours work best, such as Aubusson Blue, Scandinavian Pink, Antibes and Florence.

Using Chalk Paint on Fireplaces, Mantelpieces and Radiators

Chalk Paint adheres very well to marble, stone, wood and brick fireplaces with no undercoat required. It can also be used on radiators! Make sure the radiator or fireplace is cold before you start painting in order to prevent the paint from cracking. You can leave the paint unsealed or finish with Clear Chalk Paint Wax if you wish. Remember to leave the wax to cure for 48 hours before exposing it to heat.