Are you amazed by all the gorgeous painted furniture pieces you’ve been seeing on social media? Are you considering trying your first chalk painting project? If so, I am going to give you five tips for success with your first chalk paint project!
Chalk painting furniture is not rocket science! It really is simple and tons of fun! And honestly, if I can do it, anyone can! You can certainly pick up a can of chalk paint and just start on your project without any tips at all! But with just a few pointers, you will be happier with your finished project and enjoy the process more! Oh, and by the way, I want to warn you that chalk painting furniture is very addictive!
Tip #1 Paint A Smaller Furniture Piece – A One Day Chalk Paint Project
Start with a furniture piece that is not too large, such as a small side table, bookshelf, or nightstand. If it is your first time painting with chalk paint, it is best to start with a project that you can finish rather quickly, even in one day. Chalk paint dries fast so it is very doable to complete one or more projects in a single day!
Like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Baby Steps, with chalk painting you want to have a quick win right off the bat. Starting with a small furniture piece allows you to finish the project on a single day, giving you a quick win. You can quickly see how fun and rewarding chalk painting can be! And honestly, it just feels good to see the end result and enjoy your accomplishment!
Tip #2 Paint Something You Are Not Attached To Sentimentally
Pick a furniture piece that has no sentimental value to you. In other words, don’t try your first ever chalk painting experience on your Great Grandmother’s Antique Hutch that you treasure! Now, if you want to paint Great Grandmother’s Hutch certainly go for it, but I recommend you do that after you’ve gotten a few pieces under your belt. It’s best to progress to a treasured sentimental piece when you feel good about your painting skills!
I like to pick up used furniture from Goodwill, Restore, local consignment or vingtage stores, and even the side of the road on big-item pick up days in local neighborhoods! It’s amazing what you can do by simply refinishing a super cheap piece of junk furniture from Goodwill!
Tip #3 Use A Simple Chalk Paint Technique
Keep your technique simple. If you follow many of the popular furniture painters on any social media or furniture painting hashtags on Instagram, then you will see so many gorgeous, eye catching techniques from blending to ombre techniques and even using gilding waxes, stencils and transfers. Honestly, the possibilities with all of the products available are endless. While I so love seeing all of these inspirational pieces, I also adore a simple paint finish. It’s amazing to see a piece of furniture updated with a simple coat or two of paint. I applaud you if you want to try a more complex technique on your first project, but there is no shame in doing a simple paint technique and seeing the transformation!
If you want to see a unique project idea for future projects check out my Patina Tutorials: Patina on Metal: http://easy-steps-to-a-gorgeous-patina-finish-on-metal-using-dixie-belle-patina-paint and my tutorial for Patina on Glass: http://easy-steps-to-an-aged-metal-patina-finish-on-glass
Tip #4 Start With What You Have on Hand or Have Easy Access To
You can start even if you don’t have all the fancy painting tools and equipment. The fun part is just to start and know that you don’t have to have everything perfect to do so! To start painting you will need a brush or two, drop cloth, and some paper towels for spills and clean up, and last but not the least, let’s not forget the paint!
Chalk Paint Brands
Now if you have read any of my blog posts or follow my social media you may know that I love, love, love Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint! So, yes Dixie Belle is my favorite. It is available and really affordable through local and online retailers, but it isn’t available in big box stores. However, I have used other brands and there are lots of brands out there. Other brands I’ve tried are Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and the Rust-o-leum chalk paint. Most of the big box stores sale a line of chalk paint. Joanna Gaines has even come out with a line of chalk paint available at Target.
If you have a Dixie Belle Retailer near you, check out their paint. It is very affordable, so many great colors and the quality is amazing! For more information on Dixie Belle Paint and products check out their website here https://dixiebellepaint.com/ You can search there for info on how to find your local retailer or you can order directly from Dixie Belle.
Chalk Paint Brushes
As for brushes, my favorites are again Dixie Belle brushes. But I also use Annie Sloan, Cling On, and I also love the Purdy XL Cub and the Wooster 1 1/2 inch Extra Long Tapered brush. Purdy and Wooster brushes are available at Lowe’s and Home Depot. Find Dixie Belle brushes here: https://dixiebellepaint.com/shop-dbp/brushes-more/ and the Purdy XL Cub here: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Purdy-XL-Cub-Nylon-Polyester-Blend-Angle-2-in-Paint-Brush/999972034
Chalk Paint Accessories
You’ll see people recommending different levels of prep for chalk painting. Often chalk paint is advertised as prep-free. While this is true, you can do as much or as little prep as you want. Certainly clean your piece to remove dust or dirt and fingerprints. You can sand any areas you want or not sand at all. Sanding will give a smoother finish, but it is not necessary. Chalk paint will adhere even without sanding. If you want to sand, pick up some sanding pads from your local home hardware store. I love to purchase my sanding pads at Klingspor. Klingspor carries a thin soft flexible sanding pad that will really help to get in the grooves of a detailed piece and they fit perfectly in your hand. Find Klingspor here: https://www.woodworkingshop.com/
Great ideas for drop cloths if you don’t have the plastic or canvas ones are to use cardboard boxes flattened out and even old sheets or beach towels that you don’t mind getting messed up. You can make do with a lot of things for a drop cloth!
Tip #5 Have Fun! Enjoy the Process!
My last tip is the most important one of all! Just have fun with it! Chalk painting is so fun and so forgiving! If you mess up it’s fine, honestly just keep going! You can get a very smooth modern finish with chalk paint or a rustic more chalky finish! Often times the first coat of paint doesn’t look great! You may see the first coat and think oh no, this isn’t going so well! But don’t give up! Apply that next coat and keep trucking! Once your item is dry you can decide if you want to topcoat it with wax or a liquid based clear coat. Do you want to distress it by sanding a few spots to give it a rustic farmhouse look? The possibilities are endless with chalk paint! Have fun with your project, but watch out as you may find chalk painting addictive!
Recap of My Five Tips For Success With Your First Chalk Paint Project
- Start with a simple furniture piece that is small enough to complete in one day.
- Start with a used or old furniture piece that you want to update, but preferably not a piece that has sentimental value to you. Consider your first piece a practice piece.
- Stick to a simple technique of updating with a new color for your first piece. So many gorgeous painting styles out there that you can certainly try, but simply updating a piece of furniture with color is fun too!
- Start painting, even if you don’t have all the perfect or expensive brushes and tools! There are endless options for paint brands, brushes, and painting accessories, but see what you have on hand and get started.
- Have fun with you project! Chalk painting is so fun and addictive! Your project can be beautiful even if it isn’t perfect! Enjoy the process!
I hope that I have encouraged you to give chalk painting a try! It is very rewarding! Whether you do one piece or twenty, I hope these 5 tips will help you get started on your chalk painting journey!
Additional Blog Posts You Might Find Helpful
Check out my blog post covering the basics of chalk painting to help you tackle your first furniture makeover: https://simplyrefinished.com/how-to-chalk-paint-furniture-makeovers-made-simple/
I also have some tips for getting a smoother finish with chalk paint here: https://simplyrefinished.com/how-to-get-a-smoother-finish-with-chalk-paint/