Chalk Paint® Tips & Tricks

Using Chalk Paint®

Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan can be used to paint almost any surface indoors and outside without having to sand or prime.

Chalk Paint® is typically applied with a brush. Almost any brush will do, but using a natural bristle brush works best. Keep in mind the best brush has fairly long bristles that have a little bit of bounce. You also want to make sure that the handle and the brush as a whole is comfortable to hold and easy to work with. Don't be shy; apply paint liberally and embrace your brushstrokes.

Once you are done painting, clean up is simple; rinse out your brush with warm water (and a little grease-cutting dish soap if needed.) Let air dry.


Chalk Paint® Finishes

There are a number of styles and finishes that can be achieved by using Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. Some of the most popular include:

- Single-Color Finish

- Two-Coat Rustic Finish

- Smooth, Modern Finish

- Distressed Finish

- & More!


Using Annie Sloan Soft Wax

Think of Annie Sloan Soft Wax as a lotion and finishing step to your painted surface*. You will want to to apply wax to the entire surface of the piece. To do so, start by waxing smaller, manageable sections. Using a brush or cloth, apply a thin layer of wax. (The Annie Sloan brushes work great for this too.) Before  the wax is dry, wipe the waxed area with a clean, absorbent cloth to remove any excess wax. Make sure to switch cloths when it becomes clogged with wax.

Once the wax is dry (typically overnight), buff with a soft cotton cloth. The more vigorous the buffing, the greater the sheen.

When using dark wax, apply clear wax as normal. Next, apply dark wax in the corners and creases where you would like an aged look. Wipe with a lint free cloth. Now here's the trick; finish by applying more clear wax over the dark to help pull away excess dark wax. (This takes the piece from "dirty looking" to aged.)

If your surface feels sticky or you can see fingerprints it means that there is too much wax. If you've just applied the wax, continue wiping with your cloth. If the wax is no longer pliable and you are not able to wipe any additional wax up, apply a small amount of wax over the area again (this helps to soften the wax already on the surface) and wipe with a clean, absorbent cloth.

To clean wax off a brush, wash with warm water and grease-cutting dish soap. Let air dry.

*If the surface you are painting is going to be outside, there is no need to apply soft wax. And not to worry, Chalk Paint® is designed to hold up in the elements. Simply allow the painted piece to dry overnight indoors and wipe down with a damp cloth before putting it outside.


Sanding & Priming

Most of the time, other than simply cleaning and dusting off your surface, there is no need to sand or prime before painting with Chalk Paint®. However, there are a few exceptions that require a little prep before painting:

     - New, Untreated Wood - Apply shellac to wood knots and open grains to block the tannins that can bleed through the paint. (This is especially important when using pine, oak and certain types of mahogany.) 

     - Stained Pieces of Older Furniture - A yellow or pink stain may bleed through the paint on some pieces, typically from the 1930s and 1940s. The way to prevent this is with one to two coats of shellac applied with a cloth pad.

     - Surfaces Treated with Linseed Oil or Furniture Polish - Used on some older and antique furniture pieces, linseed oil will inhibit Chalk Paint® from adhering to the surface, along with any other oil based cleaners (such as Pledge). If the oil is not worn off, lightly sand the surface and wipe down with a mix of dish-soap and water on a damp cloth. Finish by wiping with a cloth with clean water only and allow to fully dry prior to painting. 

     - Glossy Surfaces - When painting very glossy surfaces (including melamine and laminates), lightly sand prior to painting to ensure that the paint will adhere well to the surface. An 80 grit sandpaper will usually do the trick. You may also need to follow the steps above for "Surfaces Treated with Linseed Oil or Furniture Polish" because many of these pieces have also been exposed to oils during the manufacturing process.

     - Loose Paint, Rust, Surface Debris - Sand and brush all loose particles off and ensure the piece is clean. Check and change out your sandpaper when it becomes clogged with old paint and other debris to make the process faster and easier. When finished, wipe down with a clean cloth to remove all dust.

     - Permanent Marker - Sometimes found on the surfaces of old desks, permanent marker, pen or pencil marks can bleed through paint. Again, apply one to two coats of shellac, let dry and start painting.

If you are unsure whether your piece falls into one of these categories, we recommend spot testing an area first.


Caring for Your Chalk Paint® Finish

Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan takes approximately 30 days to harden and cure. Annie Sloan soft wax takes approximately 5 to 14 days to fully cure. Warm, dry conditions are best for the curing process.

This does not mean the furniture piece or surface cannot be used. Instead, treat the newly painted surfaces with care and respect and take precautions to prevent scratches and damage during this time.

Avoid all liquid furniture polishes. Also avoid excessive water. If your painted finish is exposed to water and heavy use, we recommend waxing periodically to help maintain the protection and integrity of the finish.


Customer Resources

We always want to ensure our customers have all the information they need when working on a project. Below you will find additional information which you can download and print to ensure you always have the best success when working with the one an only, Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Working with Chalk Paint® Wax

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Dyeing and Painting Fabric


Additional Information

Can't find the answer to your question? Check out for information on using Chalk Paint® and other Annie Sloan products. You can also give us a call or shoot us an email anytime and we will work to get you back to painting as soon as possible.

We also recommend signing up for one of our Chalk Paint® Workshops for hands-on instruction in using Chalk Paint®, achieving various finishes and more tips and tricks on how to make your painted pieces even more fabulous.

Happy Painting!