Short on time? Aren’t we all? Here are the key takeaways. I prefer BB Frosch Chalk Paint Powder instead of regular chalk paint. It’s so much more versatile and cheaper. You can mix it with any kind of paint. You can get it below for cheap.
If you really want chalk paint instead of the powder, then go with Rust Oleum because it is tried-and-true and won’t break the bank like some of the more boutique chalk paints. Get it below.
What is Chalk Paint?
For the newbies to chalk paint, you may want some background. What exactly is chalk paint? Chalk paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint, is a water-based paint that dries to an attractive matte, “chalky” finish. Chalk paint was first created by the designer paint brand Annie Sloan, and the term “chalk paint” is a registered trademark for that company. However, there are many paint companies now selling their own versions of this type of paint, often marketed as “chalked paint” or “chalky paint”.
Chalk paint is a popular choice for anyone who is decorating with the “modern farmhouse” or “cottage core” aesthetics. It can transform an ordinary piece of furniture into a noticeable one-of-a-kind piece with very little effort. The unique finish can make a modern, inexpensive piece look like a treasured heirloom. A little light sanding with fine or medium grit sandpaper over chalk paint can give your furniture a distinctive distressed look.
I have done so many projects on this website with chalk paint. Here are a few below:
The Best Overall Chalk Paint
The best overall chalk paint for me isn’t even chalk paint. I prefer BB Frosch Chalk Paint Powder. There are sooo many reasons for this. Let’s start with the fact that you’re not limited based on color. You can use any type of latex paint that you want and just add the chalk paint powder to it. The result is no different than buying expensive chalk paint brands. This allows you to buy any color paint that you want. The second reason is that it’s much cheaper. If you want to mix a gallon of chalk paint it’s around $100 cheaper to do so with BB Frosch. You can read the full BB Frosch Review here.
Easiest Chalk Paint to Apply – Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint
Most chalk paint is easy to apply. However, you can make the mistake of getting the wrong chalk paint and having to do a lot of prep and sealing. One brand known for ease of use and excellent coverage is Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Chalked Paint.
This paint comes in 11 colors and is sold in a 30-ounce can. One can of paint covers up to 150 square feet. This versatile paint will work on wood, glass, and ceramic surfaces. If you’re applying this paint to any glossy surface, it’s best to scuff it up a little bit with some light sandpaper. The Rust-Oleum paint is a thicker texture than most paints, so it can potentially cover your furniture in just one coat. It’s better to apply two coats if you want a richer color, or if you don’t plan to distress whatever you’ve painted. It only takes 30-45 minutes to dry, so you can apply multiple coats in an afternoon. Because this paint is water-based, cleaning up is easy. You can wash out your brushes with hot soapy water; no solvents are necessary.
One small disadvantage of this paint is that it is rated for indoor use only. So it might not be a good choice if you’re considering chalk paint for your outdoor furniture.
Best No-Prep Chalk Paint – Kilz Chalk Style Paint
The Kilz paint brand is known for providing outstanding coverage with almost no preparation or priming needed. The Kilz Chalk Style Paint is certainly no exception to this.
It will easily glide onto most clean, dust-free surfaces without priming or heavy sanding. This is a thick paint, but it becomes dry to the touch in about an hour, and you can apply a second coat after two hours. If needed, this paint can be thinned by stirring in up to two ounces of water per quart of paint, until it reaches the consistency you want.
Kilz Chalk Style Paint comes in a variety of colors that are quite complementary to each other. You can achieve an interesting result by painting your furniture in two coats of contrasting colors, then lightly sanding so one of the colors shows through. This distressing technique is especially effective to bring out details in carved wood accents.
In addition to the 13 colors of traditional chalk paint available, Kilz also makes spray versions of their chalk paint in 6 colors. This spray paint gives the same great coverage, with the added ease of being able to just spray it onto your project. This could be a great time-saver if you’re painting a large piece of furniture.
Best Value Chalk Paint – Retique – It Chalk Finish Paint
While there are plenty of inexpensive chalk paints on the market, a low price does not always mean that it’s a good value. Retique-It Chalk Finish Paint is a high-quality chalk paint that is available in a wide variety of colors. It provides outstanding coverage with just one or two coats. What makes this paint stand out as being a good value is that it can be purchased in quantities ranging from a half pint (8 ounces) to a quart (32 ounces). This means that you won’t have to buy more paint than is needed for your project.
According to their website, an 8-ounce container of Retique-It paint is enough to cover a small nightstand or end table. The 16-ounce container is enough paint for a small dresser or two end tables, and the 32-ounce jar can cover a large dresser, armoire, or a kitchen table with four chairs. Not having to buy a large can of paint for smaller projects not only saves you money but also keeps leftover paint and packaging out of landfills.
Retique-It also offers product kits that include the chalk finish paint in your color choice, polycrylic topcoat, and paintbrushes. This is a nice bundle of products if you’re working on a project that would require sealant or a top coat of some kind. While not all chalk paint projects need to be sealed, high-traffic surfaces such as a tabletop or door will last longer with a sealant. It is a slightly better value to buy these products as a kit instead of individually.
Best Eco-Friendly Chalk Paint – Country Chic
Country Chic Paint is a company dedicated to manufacturing quality products, inspiring creativity, and being ecologically responsible while doing so. Their chalk finish paint is available in over 50 eye-catching colors. It’s a clay-based formula that also has a built-in primer and top coat, so the coverage is smooth and durable. If you are trying to achieve a “distressed” look for your project, Country Chic paints can be distressed without using sandpaper. This cuts down on the risk of breathing in a lot of paint dust while working.
All of their products are formulated so they don’t contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates, formaldehyde, heavy metals, turpentine, and more. Further, Country Chic products are tested to have low-to-zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels and the pigments used are also VOC-free. Volatile organic compounds are the gasses that are released by many paints, lacquers, and cleaning products. If you’ve ever experienced a headache or dizziness while using a particular paint, that was caused by VOC’s.
Other nice environmental awareness facts about Country Chic Paint Co. are that their brochures are printed on 100% recycled paper from sustainable sources, and they participate in paint recycling programs throughout North America to help keep leftover paint and containers out of landfills.
Best Chalk Paint for Kitchen Cabinets – Annie Sloan
The original creator of Chalk Paint is still one of the best choices, especially for larger projects like kitchen cabinets. Annie Sloan paints are easy to apply, durable, and they come in a wide selection of classic colors. The paint colors are inspired by 18th and 20th century decor but are easy to mix together to create your own contemporary custom colors. The paints can be thinned with a little bit of water if the texture is too thick, or you can simply leave the container sitting with the lid off for a while if you need it to thicken up.
For painting large projects, such as cabinet doors, walls, or large furniture, it is recommended to paint with two coats of chalk paint, then seal with either chalk paint wax or chalk paint lacquer. Sealing your painted project protects the paint from scratches and chips, and ensures that it will look good for a long time.
The Annie Sloan Paints website has detailed instructions and helpful video tutorials on how to use all of their products. There is also an “Inspiration” section on the website that shares ideas for unique decorating and art projects.
Tips for Chalk Paint Furniture Projects and Clean Up
Before painting any furniture with chalk paint, you should first make sure it is clean and dry. If it has a glossy or very smooth finish, a light sanding will help the chalk paint adhere smoothly and evenly. You don’t have to sand away all of the finish, just a light sanding to “rough up” the surface should be enough. Most brands of chalk paint will feel dry to the touch in an hour or even less. You can apply a second coat once the paint feels dry, but wait 24 hours after you are done painting to allow it to fully cure.
Sealants, such as polycrylic, wax, or lacquers, are only necessary for projects with “high touch” surfaces. Chalk-painted cabinets, doors, tabletops, and chairs will all last longer with a light sealant coat.
Chalk paints are water-based, so cleaning up is fairly easy! Cleaning brushes, rollers, and trays (and your hands) can be done with warm water and a mild detergent. It can be washed out of fabric before the paint is fully dry, but it might not launder out fully once the paint has dried. Chalk paint is slightly thicker than other paints, so it doesn’t tend to drip as much. It’s still a good idea to keep a protective drop cloth under your project, though.