How to Get a Professional Finish with Chalk Paint
I created a photo collage to give you a quick idea of the process to transform a piece of furniture with Chalk Paint. Not every project requires all steps, for instance, I don't always sand or distress the paint, but for most projects I do.
Following these steps will take your project from basic to professional. I'll include a supply list of the products I use at the end of the post, but I've tried to also include some alternatives as well.
This lovely oak table was gifted to me by my son-in-law, Anthony. Both the finish and structure were in great shape, but I wanted to give it a classic black finish with an aged appearance.
Steps to Get a Professional FinishAfter cleaning and making any necessary repairs, follow the steps below to get a professional finish:
Apply one to two coats of chalk paint.
|Painting is so fun!|
Some colors with less pigments, such as Pure White or any of the reds, might require 3 or more coats to get complete coverage. One coat of paint might be appropriate for a primitive or heavily distressed finish
The next steps assume that the paint will be sanded. Following the sanding steps in between coats of paint will provide the smoothest finish possible, although it's not necessary. But it will set your project apart and give it a professional finish.
Sand back the paint using a flexible sanding pad.
|Use a flexible sanding pad.|
The flexible sanding pads are especially useful on rounded edges, furniture legs and spindles as it gives more control. I use the sanding pads on almost every project I work on. I cut the pads in half with scissors and they fit my hand perfectly. The pads are reusable and I get a lot of use out of each pad.
Be sure to wear a mask while sanding and cleaning the sanding dust!
Use 220-grit sandpaper to wear back the finish and apply distressing.
|220-grit sandpaper wrapped around a sanding pad.|
I wrap my sandpaper around my sanding pad for added control and to avoid over-sanding. I start with a light pressure and gradually increase the pressure until I get the look I want.
For instance, if I want a worn look I will apply a little more pressure, rubbing back and forth, in the area I want to achieve a worn finish.
Use a soft brush to gently brush off excess sanding dust.
|A large soft bristle paint brush makes clean up easy!|
There will be lots of sanding dust to deal with, so I use a large soft bristle paint brush to gently brush off the excess, trying to avoid creating a giant dust cloud. Alternatively a soft bristle broom could be used, but only if it's clean as you don't want to add dirt to your project.
For flat surfaces, I use the brush to sweep the dust into a pile and then use a plastic grocery bag as a dust bin.
Rub a tack cloth over the furniture to remove remaining sanding dust.
The tack cloths come folded, so simply wipe the furniture with the cloth. When the area of the cloth becomes full of dust, refold the cloth and continue wiping.
For small projects I don't use the entire cloth, so I fold it up and put it in a plastic sandwich bag for future use.
Use a dampened shop towel to remove any remaining residue.
|Dampened shop towel|
For this step I use a dampened shop towel which is basically a heavy duty paper towel, but it doesn't fall apart easily when wet. As the towel picks up residual sanding dust, I re-wet it, wring it out, and continue wiping the furniture.
A lint-free rag, such as a t-shirt could also be used instead of a shop towel. However, I don't recommend a wash cloth as the rougher texture can actually remove the paint (although I do use a wash cloth when I want to "wet sand" a project).
Apply a coat of soft clear wax.
|Soft clear wax|
Working in small sections, use just enough wax to spread evenly over the surface. Then use a lint free cloth to wipe off the excess. It is "dry" to the touch almost immediately; however, it can take a few weeks to fully cure and harden.
Once it's cured it will provide a strong durable finish. For table tops a second or third coat can be applied for extra durability, but wait at least 24 hours or more between coats.
AfterI mentioned in a previous post that my camera isn't working properly; specifically the auto-focus. So until I can get a new camera, I've switched to using the manual focus. I took a lot of photos of the finished table, but the following are the only ones that are even close to being in focus!
|Oak table painted in Graphite.|
|The paint was sanded to apply a worn and distressed finish.|
|The table top was given a worn finish using 220 grit sand paper |
wrapped around a flexible sanding pad.
The flexible sanding pad is especially useful when working on rounded corners, spindles, and furniture legs.
|A flexible sanding pad is perfect for distressing rounded edges.|
I painted the hardware and then gently sanded back the paint to reveal the original finish for some added dimension.
|Original hardware was painted and then distressed.|
The photo of the drawer below gives an example of the different looks that can be achieved with various amounts of sanding. The drawer front was sanded smooth, heavier distressing was applied to the edges, and the trim areas were given a worn finish.
|This photo shows the heavier distressing on the edges|
and the worn finish in between.
I hope you found today's post informative and I appreciate you stopping by! I am including my supply list below as promised (some affiliate links included).
Supplies used for this project:
- Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (Graphite) and Soft Clear Wax. Click on the link to find where you can by her products from local stockists. Some stockists also ship via online orders.
- Brushes (1 1/2" for painting, 5" for cleaning, large wax brush)
- Flexible sanding pad These come in a box of 20, but I cut them in half so I get 40! One box will last for a very long time. The pads also come in a superfine finish for even smoother results.
- 220-grit sand paper
- Tack cloth
- Shop towels
- Lint free rags (you can use t-shirts, but since I sell my furniture I don't like to use old clothes on my projects)
- Pip berry garland for decorating. I'm including a link because I always get a lot of questions on the garlands. They come in lots of fun colors for all seasons and are very versatile for decorating. I use mine on my fireplace mantel, and also use to make into wreaths (just wrap in a circle and secure with wire).