Chalk Paint FAQ | Maine Country Home

You have questions, we have answers! Consider this your jumping off point for your Chalk Paint® journey…

What makes Chalk Paint® so different from other paints?

Chalk Paint® is a decorative paint. As an artist Annie Sloan developed this paint to specifically use on furniture. She did us all a huge favor by creating a paint that goes on any surface with little to no prep work. You heard me, no more sanding, priming, or stripping off an old finish! Just clean the surface with a mild soap and water and you’re good to go!

You can achieve a soft patina and sheen naturally. All the junk that you find in latex and oil paints; fillers, hardeners, VOCs, etc; are absent from Chalk Paint. It is water based, which means easy cleanup, and with no VOCs, there is virtually no odor, and certainly no harmful fumes. Safe for you and the environment! It’s a wonderfully soft paint, so it is very easy to distress if that’s the look you’re going for. You can also get a multitude of different looks, finishes, and techniques with this versatile paint. And the other good news is you can use it on a whole lot more than furniture! We like to say, if you see it, you can paint it!

Do I have to sand and prime before painting?

Of course not! No priming, no prepping, no sanding! Having said that most of the time I like to take off the dirt and cobwebs, but it really is optional. You can paint over any surface; glass, metal, ceramic, laminate, lacquers, waxes, upholstery, etc…

We recommend giving a good scrub to kitchen cabinets, or any other surface that would have come in contact with grease or oil, such as an oil-based or wax-based furniture polish.

There are very few instances where any prep work is needed. Surfaces that are extremely glossy (high gloss lacquers and polys), glass, and laminate will need a very cursory sanding with 220-grit sandpaper, but that’s all! Ok, maybe clean off the sanding dust first…and then paint away!

Also, if you’re painting over a rusty metal make sure you seal the rust spots with a rust inhibitor (like Rustoleum) to prevent any more rust from coming through your paint job. (Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using their products.) It’s miracle paint, but it doesn’t stop rust!

Can’t I just make my own?

Sure you can, but we can promise you it won’t be the same! Does anyone really believe that Chalk Paint®, or even other decorative paints, are just latex paint with chalk or plaster of paris mixed in them? We’ve tried these recipes, and what we got most of the time was a plaster cast on a piece of furniture. It was just like the cast on a broken bone, and just as hard. Distressing was impossible, and the look was nothing like what you get with Chalk Paint.

Remember, all of that junk that’s in latex paint (fillers, additives, hardeners) is absent from Chalk Paint, giving you more versatility and a wider range of techniques and finishes. It sticks to surfaces from the get-go, something that latex paints just won’t do, even with additives. Plus, there’s the VOCs and chemicals in latex paints that you simply won’t find in Annie’s.

Is it really worth the price?

You better believe it!

  1. You save loads of time in prep work, no sanding, priming, or stripping, just get to painting!
  2. You are able to paint without any extra expense of stripping agents or primer
  3. Chalk Paint® covers more and uses less than traditional paints. It goes a heck of a long way too, which means you can do more with less
  4. Chalk Paint® dries very quickly, allowing you to finish your project and move on with your life!
  5. No VOCs means you don’t need to ventilate or use a mask when you paint, no more harmful fumes!

When you add it all up, can you really afford not to be using this miracle paint?

What’s up with these waxes? Why do I need to wax?

Remember that Chalk Paint has no hardeners built into it, the Clear and Dark Waxes are your topcoat. Annie developed these waxes to be 100% compatible with the paint. This wax actually bonds with the paint, unlike other topcoats. Annie Sloan Soft Wax has a very low amount of solvent in it to make it soft. All wax dries and hardens when the solvent evaporates from the surface. Most of the waxes on the market have a drying accelerator in to speed this process up. Annie Sloan Soft Wax dries and hardens naturally as the low VOC solvents evaporate. Other waxes have more chemicals. These chemicals can crack and peel the paint off, or even discolor your beautiful paint job.

And no, you can’t use polyurethane or cheap lacquer either! These will almost always discolor your paint, they can peel the paint completely off the surface. They sit on top of the paint, they don’t bond with it. Not a very sturdy finish to your beautifully painted piece.

We like to say work smarter, not harder. Go with the sure thing and save yourself from having to start your project over.

Why Clear Wax before Dark Wax?

Without that layer of Clear Wax, the Dark Wax actually stains your paint. It settles down in all those little pores and will not budge. What you’re left with a a dirty looking mess. When you apply the Clear Wax first, you have a thin base coat. You can then add as much Dark Wax, or as little, as you like. It gives you surface you can manipulate. So remember, Clear before Dark, it’s a stroll in the park!

Help! My piece is too dark!

Did you apply Clear Wax first? If not, read “Why Clear Wax before Dark Wax” above.

If you did apply Clear Wax first it’s an easy fix! Sometimes we get a little heavy handed with the Dark Wax, and our project turns out much darker than we were anticipating, or it looks “dirty”. Apply a little Clear Wax with a brush or a rag and use like an eraser. Wipe up those areas and you’ll see the Dark Wax fade where you want it to. No worries, there’s always an easy fix to a problem!

The most common mistake in waxing is applying too much. Wax is like your facial moisturizer, your skin can only absorb so much. With that in mind, the solution to this problem is to just add a little more wax to the surface. This sounds counter-intuitive, but the solvents in the wax will soften the original layer making it easy to wipe off the excess with a cloth.

Also, make sure your cloth isn’t saturated with wax when you’re wiping off the excess. A saturated cloth can’t absorb any more wax, so switch it out for a new one every so often.

Do I need to invest in all new brushes?

Yes and no. When it comes to tools, every artist needs good ones. Annie Sloan brushes are made so that if they’re taken care of they will last for a very long time. Once we season a brush we see very little bristle breakage (which can be super annoying! No one likes to pluck bristles out of wet paint).

Annie’s paint brushes are full and thick, which means they hold more paint, and the round tip gives a lot of texture and movement to the painted surface. She was gracious to make a smooth finish brush that reduces the amount of brush strokes seen for those who are looking for a more modern, sleek finish.

Annie’s wax brushes are not only ergonomically friendly, but the pointed tip makes it so much easier to get into corners and crevices when you’re waxing. You end up using less wax, and they cut your waxing time in half. Well worth it in our opinion! The small brush has a shorter handle, much easier to get into tight or small spaces now.

You can use any brush you like, and different sizes and shapes will give you different looks. But, if you’re looking for quality, look no further than the Annie Sloan brushes!

How do I clean my wax brush?

Clean your wax brush with mild soap and hot water. If your brush has a lot of wax in it, especially Dark Wax, use a tiny amount of odorless mineral spirits. Fill a container (not styrofoam) with a tiny amount of mineral spirits, about enough to cover about 1/4 inch of bristles. The mineral spirits will get pulled into the bristles within seconds. Wash the mineral spirits and remaining wax out with soap and warm water. Once your brush is dry it’s ready for your next project. Easy!

I‘m seeing some weird discoloration coming through my paint job, what’s happening??"

This is the dreaded bleed-through. Take a deep breath, this too is easy to fix. Bleed-through can manifest in two ways, hot pink or brown. This often happens on mahogany stained pieces from the 1930’s-1940’s. It can also happen on pieces that have been polished with oil-based polishes like “Old English”.

Stop painting immediately! There is an easy fix. Once the paint has dried apply a layer of Artisan Enhancements Clear Topcoat Sealer to the entire piece just to be safe. Use a brush or disposable cloth to apply, allow the sealer to dry, then continue painting. On stubborn areas a second coat may be needed. Apply the same way you did the first coat. Once it is dry to touch continue painting as you normally would. Phew! Crisis averted!

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