The 411 on Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint hit the blog world this past year and everyone was talking about it.  I read some rave reviews about it and decided to purchase a few quarts to try it out.   It’s about $36-38/ quart depending on which retailer you purchase from.  I paid for shipping as well, because the nearest retailer was across town from me.  I paid about $200 for 4 quarts with shipping.

I painted about 15 pieces of furniture using Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, instead of my traditional method (sanding & latex paint).  Here’s a list of the pros & cons I’ve found with using ASCP.

{This is just my opinion from trying it out in my own home with real kids and real life.  I am not paid or sponsored in any way by any of the products I use}

Pros:

No prepping! It was great to be able to paint a piece of furniture without breaking out a sander!

Dry time- Chalk Paint dries very quickly compared to latex

Color Options- I loved the muted tones that ASCP offered {Color Chart}

Every color can be used to make a chalkboard (see the side of the can)

 

Cons:

Price  It’s very expensive at $34-38 per quart.  I pay about $28-32 for a gallon of Behr Premium latex paint.  I can paint 4x as much furniture for the same price using latex paint. {Yes, I do have to sand- but for me it’s worth it}

Workability   ASCP dries quickly, so it’s easy to mess up and have brush strokes on the large flat surfaces of a piece (think dresser top & sides)  Some people love this look, and I agree on some pieces the texture is great.

Uneven distressing   I personally don’t like the way the paint distresses unevenly.  I have a bit of OCD, and I prefer a more even distressing on my pieces.  If you wax the piece before you distress it (as suggested by ASCP), it makes a big mess with fine chalk powder.  Distressing with latex paint creates quite a mess as well.

Grease! {not the musical}  Most of the pieces I painted to test out this paint were in my own home, because with 3 kids under age 11, I knew they would give it a true test of durability.  I applied several coats of wax as suggested, to a breakfast table and set of chairs.  My grandpa came to visit for the summer and made sugar cookies with my kids.  Once the cookies were cooled, they set them on wax paper on the table.  When the cookies were gone, there were 2 dozen round greasy circles on the top of the table from where the cookies had been. GROSS!  I tried to clean it, and finally put the table on the curb.  I also have a set of aqua chairs at my formal dining table that were painted with ASCP that have 40 million little greasy fingerprints forever stuck to them.   Yuck!  That is NOT good in a house with 2 little boys!

I have found that if I use the Ralph Lauren Antique glaze over the chalk paint, the antique glaze seals in the paint and keeps out the grease stains, so if I use ASCP, I prefer to use Ralph Lauren’s antique glaze over it.  I love Ralph Lauren glazes.

One of the best-selling points for ASCP is that you do not have to prep your furniture before you paint.  This is true if you paint a piece in great condition with no dings, scratches, or damage.  I rarely find a piece in perfect condition- I almost always have to sand out deep scratches or use wood filler to repair something on a piece before I paint.  So, the “no prep” benefit to ASCP only applies if you have a piece in great condition.  Many of my painting friends find pieces in excellent condition often- I’m so jealous.

  So, what do I use instead of ASCP? 

This:  Rust-Oleum Tintable Chalk Board Paint from The Home Depot.  It’s $12.98 for a quart.

There are 12 color options on top of the box, but my local Home Depot Paint person was able to tint this paint to many of the Behr color cards that I asked him to try.  I did find a couple of paint counter employees who were not willing to try to custom match it, but most were very helpful.

Tintable Rustoleum Chalk Paint

  Rust-oleum Tintable Chalk Board Paint from The Home Depot

  You can use a primer if you’d like, but I’ve painted several pieces without the primer- directly onto unsanded shiny wood furniture in my own home & the durability of this paint is phenomenal.  It dries quickly, but gives you enough time to work out the brush strokes and the matte finish is beautiful. Each piece I’ve painted using this paint covered completely in 2 coats.  If you want to be able to write on your furniture with chalk (cute ideas all over pinterest) then stop reading here and do not seal your piece with one of the products below.  If you want a painted look (no chalkboard) and  prefer a more shiny finish, simply wipe on Minwax Wipe On Poly  in Satin or Semi-gloss finish.

 Or, if you prefer a more matte look, you can use Minwax Paste Finishing Wax for protection without shine.

  I really like the Rust-oleum chalk board paint (it comes in black too), and the only draw back is that it’s not available in white.  I paint a LOT of pieces in white, so Rust-oleum if you’re reading this (yeah, right!) please come up with a white chalk paint, thanks!

I’ve also read that you can create your own chalk board paint with this simple recipe  from Martha Stewart:

If you prefer to prime your pieces before you paint them, my favorite primer is Kilz spray primer (cheapest at Lowe’s), but you’ll need fine (220 grit) sandpaper to sand the piece after your prime before you paint.

What’s your opinion on chalk paint? Love it?  Not a fan?  Never heard of it? :0)

We still paint all of the furniture we sell the old-school way {sanding, priming, painting with latex} because I need a LOT of research and proof that chalk paint is durable as latex before I’m willing to change my ways.  I love trying out new methods on my own furniture though; my daughter’s room gets frequent makeovers with my furniture experiments.

If you’re not into chalk paint, or want to learn how to paint furniture the old-school way, I’ve written an eBook all about the process we use to create Altar’d Furniture.  It’s $10, and walks you step-by-step through the whole process start to finish.

 

If you love Annie’s Color Palette- I’ve color matched each color to Behr and Sherwin Williams here. 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi there- just finished reading your review. First- I want to preface my response that yes- I am a proud Annie Sloan Stockist in upstate NY. I became a stockist after reading about ASCP on blogs and NOT believing that the paint could possibly perform as it was being promoted. So- skeptical me …..purchased a bunch of paint and started painting furniture- LOTS of furniture!….like 40 pieces that I was going to sell at my September 2011 Barn Sale. Can you guess that this is what I did for a living? Well, not only did the paint live up to all that it was promoted to – but I sold all 40 pieces and had customer requests for more. I have always been a latex girl…which- as we all know if you paint pieces with latex- you had better prime it well! SO, my choice for primer is Stix and at $18 a quart, plus paint- it adds up. Not to mention the application time & drying time. and then I would always apply a protective poly coat. With ASCP I am able to paint a piece, finish it- wax & buff all with in one afternoon. Something else to consider is that with one quart of paint – I painted a medium size hutch, a tall dresser, a bench and a side table. AND…I still have about 20% of the paint in the can left…so coverage is beyond belief and only until you use it- can you understand. I saved that can so when customer’s come into my Upstate NY shop– I can have them hold the can and feel how much paint is left in it! As for getting a smooth surface- I personally like that on top of tables or dressers. too. So- all you need to achieve that is a small roller like you would use to paint cabinets. There is absolutely no difference in how ASCP looks when using a roller compared to latex. In fact- if you use a brush with latex- you will also have grooves in the paint- it doesn’t matter if it states self-leveling or not. If however- you used a brish with ASCP and you do have some surface texture you prefer to not see- after waxing (allow wax to dry) then use a mild grit sandpaper and lightly sand the surface. The surface will end up feeling like glass and be totally smooth. Again- I recommend using a roller for a smooth surface- but that is another option if you prefer. When it comes to cost- yes, absolutely a quart of paint ranging between $35 – $38 seems to be on the higher end and competes with high end paint as such. However, the coverage from one quart is tremendous, the work time saved is huge, and the versatility of the different applications the one paint can do- impressive. I am always available to answer any furniture paint questions- and hopefully by sharing my experience and information- I can prevent someone from using the paint incorrectly and then thinking it is due to the product. The paint is very kind with extremely low VOC’s- and it is water soluble. Please visit my website to get more information or if you would like to contact me with other questions. Thanks so much!!! Trish- The Purple Painted Lady

  2. says

    I have used Annie Sloan’s paint, but I don’t like the wax. Instead I use varathane diamond floor polyurethane (water based). I don’t trust the durability of the wax, and have not been satisfied with answers to questions that I had.
    There is also a new Chalk paint by Cece Caldwell. Haven’t used it yet, but hoping to buy samples tomorrow. Have you tried that yet?

  3. says

    I’ve actually made a couple different versions of DIY chalk paint. All with sample of flat paint adding Plaster of Paris, baking soda even spackling plaster. I would say my favorite is the Plaster of Paris. I use an emulsifier hand blender used only to mix the paint with a little bit of water the after distressing I glaze then wax. Perfect. I like the look of it I just can’t bring myself to pay that much money for chalk paint. Oh, gesso paint gives a similar effect too : )
    Just giving my 2 cents : )
    ~ PS Bought your eBook and LOVE it … Thank you : ) Deanna

  4. elaine says

    thanks for the info … i’ve heard so much about ASCP and was very put off by the price and how hard the wax looked to work with. i’m just starting out and didn’t feel like i had the luxury of any mistakes :)

  5. says

    Great info on ASCP. You’ve answered some very important questions I had about the paint. I think there is a place for it. I do alot of kitchen cabinets for clients and don’t see me using ASCP for those.

  6. says

    Just before the holidays I was in my local Lowe’s purchasing paint for my wall. I had read about making your own chalk paint and talked with the paint clerk about it and the expense of ASCP. He said that I should consider using their matte paint. He thought that I might get the same look that I desire and that it would be easy to use and durable. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. But, I’m planning to. I’m wondering if I would need to add a protector coat, too. I must say, I really think that waxing the furniture would be a chore and I might as well paint or protect it.
    Thanks for your insights and suggestions.

  7. says

    I have been wanting to try ASCP for a long time now, but I want to paint my kitchen table and chairs. Right before reading your review I fixed my daughter her favorite breakfast – buttered toast and fruit. Grease anyone? I may still try the paint, but I am definitely rethinking the waxes. Thank you so much for this review!

  8. says

    Thank you for this informative post! I am new to furniture painting and your e-book gave me the confidence to paint a hutch that turned out beautifully. It makes me so happy! I’ve since tried ASCP and it has it’s uses and is perfect for certain pieces, but I will always go back to your tried and true steps using latex paint. Thanks!!

  9. says

    thank you soooo much for your information. I purchased a can of Annie Sloan, have not used it yet, a little intimidated, but after reading your post’s, I’m ready to give it a try. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your information in regard to substitutions with Behr and SW, you did the hard work, now we can reap the rewards.

    Thanks so much, Shara
    Just For You!

  10. leslie bryan says

    I love your website. Last year I purchased your e book on painting furniture. Is the new one shown the same book? Also, love your list of AS substitutes. I was in Oxford,
    England last summer studying, and stumbled across Annie Sloan’s shop. They were lovely, but Annie was in the states giving a workshop. It is tiny. Would love the formula for making my own chalk paint.
    Thanks so much
    LB

    • Mandie says

      Yes, it is the same eBook, I just created a prettier cover. :0) Here’s a recipe I’ve recently found out about and would like to try:
      1 1/2 cups paint
      1/2 cup plaster of paris
      1/2 cup hot water

      First, mix the hot water and plaster of paris together until dissolved. Then, mix in the paint until well mixed.

      I have NOT tried this one yet, but among my friends who paint professionally, this is the one they recommend.
      Good Luck! :)

  11. Gigi says

    I, too, was put off by the cost of ASCP, and so I mixed flat paint with the unsanded grout. I painted the inside of my armoire, and then the inside of my French provincial china cabinet. Both turned out well, but I did not care for the sandy texture of the paint. Now I am contemplating painting the frame of a bergere chair and think this might be worthy of ASCP. Maybe I can use a 4 oz sample instead of buying a full quart.
    What stymies me is the wax finish. I’ve not used that yet. Annie Sloan wax seems expensive, so what could I use instead?

    • Mandie says

      You have a few options- I like Minwax paste finishing wax- it’s $15 I believe (it lasts a long time, so you won’t have to buy it often). Or, Minwax wipe on polyurethane (as long as your paint is not white- this can slightly yellow over time). Or polyacrylic is a decent clear coat choice too that will not yellow over time.

  12. says

    Hi Mandie! That’s a well written and concise “Pros & Cons” on chalk paint!
    Another way to get the look of chalk paint is to use only gesso. For my specific project I was after a specific feel and color so I used stain on top and then a paste varnish. You can see the post at http://blog.art-for-your-walls.com/2012/02/craigslist-dining-table-before-and.html

    I also mentioned your post here: http://blog.art-for-your-walls.com/2012/02/chalk-paint-and-gesso.html

    • Mandie says

      Thank you! I can’t wait to take a look, I just read about gesso a few days ago and I can’t wait to see what it can do! Thanks so much for sharing this link!

  13. says

    I have been using a homemade chalk paint recipe this month with GREAT RESULTS!
    I am using calcium carbonate (amazon). I have tried every recipe I could find in the beginning, The Grout and Plaster of Paris I realized has a hardening agent in it so it clumps and hardened really fast, it dried very gritty, and it never really mixed well. Also I could not save the paint I had mixed, it hardened over night.I ended up having to sand the pieces after painting but the end result was smooth. The calcium carbonate I use now works fabulous, it mixes well, covers better than ASCP and I ran it thru my sprayer and it work GREAT. The consistency is just like ASCP and it stores that same as well. I have found that it seems to be more durable than ASCP as well because I have to really put some pressure to sand it to distress it.
    I found a 50 lb bag of calcium carbonate locally here in Dallas and its was CHEAP. Like 15 bucks! I used 3 parts flat paint to 1 part CC. Added water and it covers like butter!
    I actually like ASCP clear wax, but I have used Minwax Paste Wax, Johnson’s Paste wax and Briwax with great results as well. Poly also does well ove the DIY mixture.
    I do NOT sanding or priming.
    Awesome!

    • Marilyn says

      I have been making chalk paint with calcium carbonate from Amazon as well. I’m in the Dallas area and would love to know where you found it for $15! That’s such a good deal. Thanks in advance!

  14. Kimberly says

    I’m so glad you talked about the chalkboard paint! I’m wondering if you have any advice on a primer to use underneath the chalkboard paint to level out a textured wall? I’m looking for a classic chalkboard look as an accent wall, so need it smoother than the ’70s textured paint that’s there now – or do I just need to bite the bullet and sand it all down?

    • says

      That’s a good question! I would say either sand it flat or use a piece of mdf from Lowe’s or the Home Depot and hang it on the wall instead of sanding down the wall texture- I don’t know of a primer that would smooth out a textured wall.

  15. RD Shugart says

    Quick question – I just finished painting a dresser with ASCP, but I really don’t want to use the wax. I would like to glaze it with Ralph Lauren glaze, but wondered what steps I should take. Should I mix it with semi-gloss or satin paint and would it need to be sealed first before glazing? Thank you for your help!

  16. danielle says

    I just painted and waxed my kitchen table with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. I have no idea where a grease stain came from but I was wondering if I can put a poly coat over the wax.

    • says

      This is exactly why I don’t use Annie Sloan’s paints or waxes. According to Annie Sloan, poly is not compatiable with her products because the paint needs to be able to breathe. CeCe Caldwell’s Paints offers a clear Satin Finish (varnish) which will seal in the paint, and seal out any grease marks or stains- making your furniture more durable.

      • Laurie says

        I have been researching poly over chalk paint, and came across someone who had the oily looking blotches appear after she coated with polycrylic, no wax at all. I am wondering if the oily blotches come from below…no primer to block, and obviously nothing should have gone through the polycrylic from the top side. (perhaps the silicone issue like finishers have with things that have been dusted with Pledge and the like? Their solution is to add silicone to the finish to eliminate “fish eyes”. Hair of the dog?!!)
        I am in the process of painting my first furniture piece with the calcium carbonate recipe and bought Fiddes & sons waxes, but am apprehensive. (I primed my piece anyway-I am not sure I believe that no primer is a good idea).
        By the way, I tried Valspar Ultra Paint & Primer…with Plaster of Paris and had no problem with it seizing up. Also is fine with the calcium carbonate. I purchased the flat finish. The POP recipe is still liquid after a week.

  17. Mike says

    I discovered this post while searching for painted furniture. I pretty much agree with most of the comments that are for chalk paint with this exception, ANNIE Sloan’s paints is good but there is a new chalk paint Masion Blanche
    that I find is far better than Annie’s paint. I have used both of these paints and the one thing Masion Blanche has over Annie is there is a true black color offered called “Wrought Iron”. One thing I get better overall covage with Maison then Annie

  18. Linda gregory says

    Enjoyed your blog and info. I bought Ascp and painted my first piece. A huge tv cabinet. I also bought the Home Depot brand, but was told they could not tint it any other color because their computer was programmed to that particular base color and they could not manually change the colors from what the preprogrammed tints were. He even showed me on the screen that it would not do it. That was a shame because I really thought their version went on smoother. I did the outside of the cabinet in AS and the inside and inside drawers with Home Depot rust oleum. Haven’t waxed yet, letting it dry 24 hours first. Let me know how they changed the colors if you can. Thanks

    • Rene says

      I love Annie Sloan chalk paint but i do agree that the wax is not very durable. I have painted and waxed several of my own pieces and had similar problems with a hot coffee mug leaving a rings….I do love using polyurethane instead of wax. I love the shiny finish and just love the way it looks plus it’s alot more durable!

  19. Marilyn says

    @Misti French….would you mind sharing where you found calcium carbonate in Dallas for $15? That is a great price!

    I love hearing all of the different ideas about the paints.

  20. Lisa says

    You many know this by now but Benjamin Moore has a tintable chalkboard paint now..tintable to any of their colors..so you are no longer limited! I did a wall in my kitchen with a blueish gray about 6 mo ago.. LOVE it! get the most compliments.. I was looking at redoing my kitchen table with a wash of maison blanche for the top and now im thinking i’ll use the leftover of my chalkboard paint for the bottom with some poly over! I didn’t realize it was the same thing! Also would you recommend the wipe on poly for my kitchen table top or something different? Thanks for your help!

  21. Shirley says

    I would like to redo a computer desk that gets a lot of abuse. is chalk paint durable enough to hold up and last? if so, how do I apply and protect it?

  22. Katie says

    For those in the Dallas area looking for calcium carbonate–you can find it at masonry supply companies. Gartex Masonry Supply 10310 Plano Rd 214-343-0571 has 50 lb bags. One is about $6 and one is about $8. The $6 is ground up finer and a little darker in color. It is chalk that is used to mark the lines for baseball games and that is how they sell it at Gartex, but they checked and told me that it is calcium carbonate.
    For anyone interested in knowing the other ingredient added to the paint in ASCP, it is talc. If you go to the Annie Sloan website you can access the sheet on each color with the chemical analysis published by OSHA–it’s called a Material Safety Data Sheet. By weight, the paint is appx. 25% calcium carbonate and 5% talc.

  23. Suzanne says

    Saw on Pinterest and lady who painted the wicker and wood of a chair a light color. Then she painted the dark brown fabric of the chair a turq color. The chair looked wonderful. Have you any experience in painting on fabric? I have a chair that is slipcovered to cover ugly upholstery and would love to change the color.

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