What Is Chalk Paint And What Is It Used For?

December 24, 2019 by

If you have done your fair share of DIY-ing throughout your home, then chances are, you have heard of chalk paint. While plenty of Pinterest-loving crafters use chalkboard paint, that isn’t what this is. But if you find yourself wondering what chalk paint is and what it’s used for, you probably aren’t alone. Chalk paint is essentially a paint with a heavy matte finish which can be used to give furniture a more distressed look.

You might paint over an old dresser with chalk paint and then sand some of the edges to give it a purposeful antique look. Or, you might use it to go over the shiny paint of an end table without necessarily going through all of the steps that standard paint would force you to. Simply put, chalk paint is the matte paint of your dreams.

Chalk paint is water-based and thick, which makes it easy to use on almost any surface. You might want to go with a finishing coat on top to seal it in, but it has a lot less fumes than standard paint and it is ideal for refurbishing different pieces of furniture. There was once a time when chalk paint was hard to find and had to be purchased online only, but these days, it is becoming more common to see someone’s kitchen cabinet with the cool matte finish of chalk paint. But there is a lot to know and understand about the ins and outs of chalk paint before you totally commit to it yourself.

The Benefits Of Chalk Paint Vs. Standard Paint

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Standard paint you get mixed at the hardware store, also known as latex paint, might be your go-to option when it comes to painting furniture or creating large scale DIY projects. Maybe that’s because you see how long lasting and durable latex paint is on the walls in your home, so you figure it’s only natural to use it for any other project that needs a permanent coat of paint.

But when it comes down to it, chalk paint is just as durable as latex paint. One clear downside you will face is that chalk paint is more costly than latex and you might not have as many color options in chalk paint. But with latex, you typically have to sand down whatever wooden furniture surface you need to paint and lots of primer. Chalk paint, on the other hand, doesn’t always require these steps. If you are more impatient to get started on the fun part of your project rather than battle with sandpaper and primer for days beforehand, chalk paint could make things a lot easier for you than latex paint.

Both latex and chalk paint are also water-based. You might need to add a finish coat to whatever you use chalk paint with, but you would have to do the same thing with latex paint. Chalk paint offers a sleek matte color that can be a lot easier and less strong smelling to work with.

Where To Buy Chalk Paint

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When chalk paint first became all the rage for re-purposing, or reclaiming, furniture, it was harder to find. Years ago, you could only find small bottles or cans of chalk paint online and even then, it was a gamble that the color you received in the mail would be exactly what you needed for your project.

Luckily, these days it’s a lot easier to find chalk paint and in a multitude of colors. You can find it in a can or smaller bottle as well as a spray paint option. And while you can find it on the Annie Sloan website, which is famous for chalk paint, you can also find it on Amazon. And in-store, you can find different chalk paint options at Target, Walmart, and Michaels craft stores. Right now, it’s almost hard to find a store that doesn’t carry chalk paint. You can also find different colors and brands at big box hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

It has never been easier to delve into the world of chalk paint and get your hands dirty (literally) with a fun project.

How To Use Chalk Paint For Furniture


Just because you don’t necessarily have to sand furniture or use a primer when using chalk paint, it doesn’t mean you can’t. And if you follow these steps for how to use chalk paint for furniture, you should be left with a totally rehabbed version of what you started with.

First, make sure you clean the piece of furniture you want to cover with your spray can, container, or can of chalk paint. Then, use a chip brush to paint your piece. You can also lightly sand the surface of the existing varnish or paint is considerably darker than the color you want to use to cover it. However, with two or three coats of chalk paint, you can typically skip the sanding step.

Once it is totally dry, you can use a light grit of sandpaper to give it a distressed or antique look, if that’s what you’re going for. Then, use a damp towel to wipe off any dist left behind and add a coat or two of sealing wax made for chalk paint to finish off your project.

If you aren’t totally sold on using chalk paint for all of your home DIY projects from here on out, that’s totally fine. But you might kick yourself if you don’t use it to paint over your kitchen cabinets if you already planned to re-do them yourself anyway, since it doesn’t have to be used just to update your furniture. And you can save a small fortune on a new bedroom set if you refurbish your dresser and end tables with the chalk paint of your choice or buy a cheap set from the thrift store to make your own. The bottom line is, if you are already pretty crafty, it makes a lot of sense to do something with chalk paint.