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How to Use Chalk Paint Like a Pro


Are you looking to add life into your grandma’s chest or end table? Then chalk paint is a great choice! It gives older furniture a modern update without losing its vintage feel. Painting heirloom furniture can be a little nerve-racking, but don’t worry. It paints like normal paint, with just one extra step. And in the end, if you change your mind (because we all do!), don’t worry. We’re happy to tint another paint color, or help you find a paint stripper too.

What you’ll need:

  • Paint stir stick 
  • Primer
  • Chalked Ultra Matte paint (we like Rust-Oleum) 
  • Matte Clear Protective Topcoat 
  • A good paint brush (we like Wooster Brush Company’s Ultra/Pro Firm)

Step 1: Scuff-sand it. 

Grab some 220-grit sandpaper and get to work! This is especially needed if parts of the furniture or old paint is already chipping. Keep in mind, you are not trying to get all the previous finish off, just enough to dull any shininess or smooth out rough parts.

Step 2: Prime it.

If you don’t want the texture of the wood grain showing through, then we recommend using primer. If you want an extra smooth finish, don’t skip this step. Personally, we like the Cover Stain primer by Zinsser.

PRO TIP: Choosing the right brush is important. But don’t get overwhelmed in the brush aisle. We like the Wooster Brush company because the bristles are durable, the brush tips are smooth. And it’s made locally. You can’t beat that!

Step 3: Paint it. 

Give your furniture two coats of chalk paint, letting it dry in between. 

PRO TIP: If you want a distressed look, choose two colors of chalk paint. The first color that you apply will peak through in the distressed parts. Once that paint is dry, add the second color of paint (the main color). Then sand the edges to make a distressed look. 

Step 4: Add the topcoat. 

After your furniture has dried for a full day, paint on the topcoat. The matte clear topcoat won’t change the matte look of your chalk paint, but it will give it a silky texture and make the furniture more durable and washable. (Without the topcoat the paint has no scrubbability. One time we didn’t use a topcoat and the chalk paint started to come off. Trust us, you’ll want that topcoat!)