Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ Tips

Annie Sloan developed her now famous decorative paint, Chalk Paint over 25 years ago to answer the need she had for a versatile paint that would have many uses from acting like limewash to looking like old painted furniture. She called it Chalk Paint™ because of its beautiful velvety, matte finish.

Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan is very easy to work with. It very rarely requires any preparation, such as sanding or priming, and can be used indoors or outside, on just about any surface - from wood to metal, and matt plastic to terracotta. It can revitalise old furniture, walls, ceilings and floors with ease. It's easy, fun and makes amazing results accessible to everyone. Do take a look a look at a tutorial to see just how simple it is.

 With a colour palette inspired by 18th and 20th Century decor and design, you can easily mix the colours together to extend the range. Chalk Paint™ is eco-friendly too. It contains extremely low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and has no odor.

Annie Sloan developed her now famous decorative paint, 

 With a colour palette inspired by 18th and 20th Century decor and design, you can easily mix the colours together to extend the range. Chalk Paint™ is eco-friendly too. It contains extremely low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and has no odor.

How to use Chalk Paint™

As a rough guide, one litre of Chalk Paint™ covers aproximately 13 square metres, or the equivalent of a small welsh dresser or china hutch.

For most purposes, one coat of paint is enough. Chalk Paint™adheres to almost any surface, and there is rarely any need to sand or prime before painting.

To get started, tip pot upside down and shake before use. Then open and stir well. If paint is too thick just add a little water and stir. For the best results, we recommend using a good quality paintbrush like the Chalk Paint™ Brushes to apply the paint.

Applying Chalk Paint™Wax

Chalk Paint™ Wax is the perfect complement for Chalk Paint™paint. In fact, we’d say it’s an essential partner! It adds durability, deepens the colours and gives a very slight sheen. It’s really easy to get sensational results – just use a cotton rag, or your Chalk Paint™Wax Brush, to get it into corners and crevices.

As a very rough guide, you will need one 500ml tin of wax for every 3-4 litres of paint – of course, this will vary depending on how many coats of paint or wax you use to cover a piece. And it's always best to have a little wax left over for touching up. With the lid tightly on, it will last indefinitely.
  • When you apply the wax, ‘push’ it into your Chalk Paint™ for the best results. Think hand cream – and apply it in the same way! Remove excess wax with a clean cloth. Don’t buff yet - leave the wax to dry for 24 hours before buffing with a clean lint free cloth, or leave as it is for a matt effect.
  • Less is more, so there’s no need to apply wax too thickly. The wax will feel touch-dry immediately after you’ve applied it.
  • Work small areas at a time, so the wax doesn’t dry before you get to work it in.
  • To bring out brushstrokes or for an aged effect, work Dark, Black or White Chalk Paint™ Waxes into crevices, wiping it back with Clear Chalk Paint™ Wax to achieve your perfect result. Always apply a coat of Clear Chalk Paint™ Wax before you apply coloured waxes – this will allow you to control the colour.
  • The Wax will be dry to the touch very quickly but take longer to harden or ‘cure’. The ‘curing’ process can take 5 - 21 days depending on ambient temperature.
  • If you want to achieve a really good shine, allow around 24 hours before buffing.
Annie Sloan Soft Wax is food-safe when completely cured.

Allowing Chalk Paint™ Wax to cure

After you’ve applied Chalk Paint™ Wax, you’ll find that it will become dry to the touch very quickly. At this stage, it is still what you might call ‘soft’. It will start to harden as the solvents in the wax evaporate. This hardening process is known as ‘curing’. Curing can take between 5 and 21 days depending on ambient temperature.

Of course, you can use your finished piece straight away, but you may need to treat it with extra care up until the wax has cured completely (you might want to use coasters, avoid sharp objects etc). Once cured, a piece of furniture finished with Chalk Paint™ and finished with wax will stand up to normal wear and tear.
Chalk Paint™ Wax is food-safe when completely cured.

Extending the range of Chalk Paint™ Colours

We have 36 colours in the Chalk Paint™ range from soft and pale to bright and strong. Annie Sloan’s carefully selected range of colours is hugely flexible as you can mix colours together to extend the range and create endless possibilities.

If you want to make a colour paler then add Old White or Pure. Old White will give the colour a softer vintage feel, and Pure will make the colour more modern.
Find out roughly what ratio you need by experimenting - you could use you fingers to dab and mix colours, or a teaspoon to make small amounts. For larger amounts you could use a cup or even a tin as a measure.
Start with a dollop of your chosen colour, slowly adding the Old White or Pure. A dollop of Provence and two dollops of Old White gives you a ratio of 1 to 2, making a lovely soft pale slightly aged turquoise like old faded French shutters. Use Pure and the colour is cleaner and fresher, giving a more vintage 1950’s look!
It’s useful to keep a sample of the colours you make in your Chalk Paint™ Work Book, just incase you want to recreate them.
For lots more information on mixing colours, see Annie’s book ‘Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More’.

What to do if stains bleed through the paint

If you’re working with new, untreated wood, you’ll need to apply clear shellac (knotting solution) to wood knots and open grains. This will block tannins that can bleed through the paint.

On rare occasions, a stain may bleed through your first coat of paint – this is often from a previous oil-based finish and is most likely to happen on old pieces from the 1930s and 1940s.
If you see a stain bleeding through the paint, apply a coat of clear shellac (knotting solution) directly over the paint you have already applied. Treat the whole affected surface to avoid any patchiness in the final finish. One or two coats of shellac applied evenly with a cloth pad will block the stain. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!

Using Chalk Paint™ on walls

Apply Chalk Paint™ to walls with a large brush, like the Annie Sloan Wall Paint Brush. A brush will use less paint than a roller and will add depth and texture to the final finish. You can then wax the wall with a big brush, or just leave it – bedrooms walls look great with a soft, matte, unwaxed finish. For kitchens, bathrooms and walls that require a tougher, scrubbable finish, we recommend Annie Sloan Wall Paint.

Using Chalk Paint™ on floors

Chalk Paint™ can transform old concrete and wooden floors, even if they’re varnished. Just apply two or three coats of Chalk Paint™, and then apply Chalk Paint™ Lacquer with a sponge roller, for added durability.

Always test the paint and Lacquer on a few areas of the floor before you start, to check whether any stains will bleed through.

Using Chalk Paint™ on metal

You can Chalk Paint straight onto all kinds of hardware, including metal work. Chalk Paint can re-invigorate old brass and other metal fixtures and fittings, and it even covers and slows down rust. Any rusting areas should be sanded and treated with a rust inhibitor before painting.

Using Chalk Paint™ on kitchen cabinets

You can achieve beautiful results using Chalk Paint on – and in – your cabinets. Apply at least two coats of paint, and then two or three coats of Chalk Paint™ Wax to seal and protect them. Simple.

Using Chalk Paint™ outdoors

Chalk Paint™ even works outdoors! It’s particularly good on brick, concrete, stone and terracotta – and there’s no need to wax. On garden furniture, a coat of water-based exterior varnish will protect against stains and keep the finish looking good for longer. Look for a varnish with UV protection to prevent colour fading.

Chalk Paint™ will fade in the sun and age gracefully with the elements. Chalk Paint™ is a water-based decorative paint and does not have any weatherproof or protective properties. Depending on the look you want and the site-specific conditions you may find it needs a fresh coat periodically.

Chalk Paint™ is not recommended for teak or other oily woods. Always test, if in doubt!

Using Chalk Paint™ Lacquer

As a guide, one litre of Chalk Paint™ Lacquer will cover 10-12 square metres, but this will vary according to the absorbency of the floor. Lacquer should always be applied in very thin coats. Results may also vary depending on previous treatment of the surface.

When applying Chalk Paint™ Lacquer, bear in mind that it is a 'penetrating' finish and can pull tannins or stains from the wood up through the paint. This can be especially noticeable on whites, manifesting as a yellow stain. Always test Chalk Paint™ paint and Lacquer on several areas before you begin your project. If a stain appears, simply apply a thin coat of Chalk Paint® Lacquer directly over the entire surface to be painted before painting and lacquering again.

Caring for your finish

To clean marks or stains, use a slightly damp cloth or chamois with a little mild soap. If you need to use a stronger cleaner, you may have to re-wax the area. Stubborn marks on waxed pieces can often be removed with a little Clear Chalk Paint® Wax on a cloth.

Always use heat mats and coasters to protect your painted and waxed surfaces. Keep away from extreme temperatures or humidity. Like you, your finish prefers a moderate climate!

Waxes dissolve in alcohol, so using it on bars is not advisable.

Caring for your Annie Sloan Brushes

After painting with Chalk Paint™, squeeze out as much excess paint from your brush as you can, then wash your Chalk Paint™ Brush well with warm water to rinse out all the colour. Hang to dry with the bristles pointing downwards.

Whether you apply Chalk Paint™ Wax with the Chalk Paint™ Wax Brush or Chalk Paint™ Brush, simply wash your brush with warm water and grease-cutting soap to clean it. Harsh detergents may shorten the life of your natural bristle brushes.

Touching up or repairing damage

As with all decorative paints, it’s not advisable to paint over small areas that need a touch up – even if you are working with paint from the same batch. When you apply a first coat of paint to a surface, the rate at which the water is absorbed by the surface (‘wicking’) has an effect on the final colour. Subsequent coats will be absorbed by the paint underneath at a different rate, leading to a subtle shade difference in the finish. For this reason, where repairs are necessary, it’s best to paint the entire surface of the affected area, whether this is a section of wall (from corner to corner & top to bottom) or the face of a piece of furniture (for example, a drawer front). There is no need to repaint the entire room or the whole piece of furniture!

Using Chalk Paint™ on upholstery and leather

When it comes to painting upholstery, small items which are firmly upholstered (such as a dining chair seat) and made from natural fabric (such as cotton or linen) give the best results. In these cases, Chalk Paint™ can be diluted with water and painted on as a 'wash' which will stain the fibres. Fabric that is painted in this way does not require to be waxed afterwards. Take a look at Annie's video tutorial for more on this technique.

There are other ways to paint upholstery, but the success of painting any upholstered piece does depend on factors such as the condition, colour and composition of the fabric, how firmly it is upholstered, and the colour you are using (reds are less colourfast).

In most cases, you will see better results where you are going from light to dark than if you are trying to go from dark to light.

For any project, we would recommend testing in a small area first before you commit to painting the whole piece. As a general rule, we don’t recommend painting very cushioned sofas or suites or items that get very heavy use.

If you do decide to give this a go, we wouldn't recommend it as a first Chalk Paint™ project, so if you've never used our paint before you might like to start with a small piece of furniture so that you can get a feel for the paint.

You can also use Chalk Paint™ on leather and vinyl – build up the coverage in thin coats, and then wax to finish. As the leather creases and cracks with age, so will the paint, so bear this in mind on well-worn or cushioned items.

Stenciling on fabric with Chalk Paint™

To stencil fabric with Chalk Paint™, apply with a sponge roller. There is no need to dilute the paint, but to keep the image from bleeding around the edges, try not to overload your roller with paint. Allow the fabric to dry naturally, then heat seal by tumble drying or pressing with a hot iron.

Dip dyeing fabric with Chalk Paint™

Dip dyeing with Chalk Paint™ a great way to completely change the colour of fabric. You can control how intense the colour comes through simply by adding more water. Linen, cotton, cotton voile and synthetic curtains all work well with this technique. You can also use patterned cottons or linens. We have found that the deeper pigmented colours work best, such as Aubusson Blue, Scandinavian Pink, Antibes and Florence. 

1. Create your dye by adding 1 tablespoon of Chalk Paint to roughly 1 litre of tepid water in a bucket or large bowl. Stir thoroughly to ensure the paint is completely dispersed.

2. Dip your fabric into the dye and agitate the fabric until the whole piece is evenly dyed.

3. Do not leave the fabric to soak. Remove from the water and leave to drip-dry outdoors or next to a heater.

4. Once completely dry, iron or tumble dry the fabric to seal the colour. Do not use salt, this tends to increase colour bleed.

You can then wash your material on a 30ºC wash with no colour loss. NB. if you use a stronger quantity of paint in your dye, there might be more colour lose when washed.

Chalk Paint™ on Fireplaces, Mantelpieces & Radiators

Chalk Paint™ adheres very well to marble, stone, wood and brick fireplaces with no undercoat required. It can also be used on radiators! Make sure the radiator or fireplace is cold before you start painting in order to prevent the paint from cracking. You can leave the paint unsealed or finish with Clear Chalk Paint™ Wax if you wish. Remember to leave the wax to cure for 48 hours before exposing it to heat.

Using Chalk Paint™ in a sprayer

Chalk Paint™ can be sprayed, but you will need to experiment to get the right results from your particular model. The most important thing to know is that there is no 'magic' ratio of paint to water and you will need to tweak it every time you spray, as each paint colour has a slightly different viscosity.

Firstly, using an airless sprayer is not recommended - the high solids content in Chalk Paint™ will damage the nozzle.

Warm paint will spray and settle better - place tin of Chalk Paint™ in a bain marie of very hot water for 15 minutes. As a starting point, dilute to just under 20% with clean water then adjust as necessary.

You can also add a paint extender to help get a smooth finish.

Workshops & Advice

We have a wealth of knowledge and experience with Chalk Paint.If you have any queries please feel to contact us by email or on the phone. We also run Annie Sloan Chalk Paint workshops where you can learn many techniques from paint distressing to gilding. Further tips can also be found on

 We stock a full range of Chalk Paint™ and Annie Sloan Accessories including specialist brushes, waxes, and books.