Chalk painting has become the newest craze in the past few years. I believe this is because you can paint ANYTHING with chalk paint, it covers any surface, and there is virtually zero prep work required. You can give any piece of furniture so many different looks with chalk paint which can totally change the feel and vibe of a piece as well.
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As quick, easy, and exciting that chalk painting is, there are a few different tools you need to do the best job you can in making your project the most beautiful piece you’ve ever painted. The 14 must have tools for chalk painting are:
- Clean, Dry Place to Paint
- A Piece to Paint
- Degreaser or Cleaner
- Drop Cloth
- Painters Tape
- Chalk Paint
- Paint Can Opener
- Paint Stirrer
- Lint Free Cloth
- Old Clothes
1. A Clean, Dry Place to Paint
While a clean, dry place to paint may not seem like a tool to you, this is very important. You will need to have a place to paint your project that isn’t real dusty, damp, or too hot. A place that you feel good about leaving the project to dry, where it won’t need to be moved or touched. Failure to have a clean, dry place to paint could result in longer drying time, which is a bummer because one of the advantages to chalk paint is the short time it takes to dry. Also, if your area is dusty or dirty, you run the risk of the dust and dirt getting in your paint and on your project. This will result in a rough finish, and no one wants that.
2. A Piece to Paint
Like we said before, you can chalk paint just about anything! I’ve painted end tables and made them nightstands, changed a hutch into a wine cabinet, painted oak shelves to have a farmhouse style look. You can paint beds, tables, shelves, candle holders, the list is endless. Anything you feel needs a new look, or anything you want to repurpose instead of getting rid of…chalk paint it! Why not save yourself some money on top of having fun redoing your own furniture? This will keep you from spending more money on new furniture, or you may find you enjoy it so much that you want to sell some of your pieces.
3. Degreaser or Cleaner
Yes, we said there is zero prep when you chalk paint, and that is true. However, you do need to make sure your piece is clean before you begin painting it. You can find a great degreaser from Amazon here. It is important to make sure to get all of the dust, dirt, sticky stuff etc. off of your piece before you begin painting so that you will have a smooth surface and the after effects won’t look like it has sand running through it.
You will need to have a screwdriver handy because it is much easier to remove all of the hardware on your project than it is to paint around it! Cleaning paint off of hardware is NOT a fun job! So let’s take care of that problem by removing the hardware before we start to paint. You probably already have one in your toolbox, but if not you can find a nice one from Amazon here that has different sizes and offers both flat head and philips heads.
5. Drop Cloth
Now that you’ve found the perfect place to paint your project, let’s cover the space with a drop cloth to take care of it. You WILL drop some paint, and it WILL splatter! There is absolutely no getting around it, so let’s get a drop cloth and avoid messing up the floor, even if it’s in the garage. Amazon offers this nice one, but you can always use an old sheet or a few old towels if they are handy.
6. Painters Tape
This is a great tool and comes in so handy! Sometimes you have areas on your project that you don’t want painted, or maybe you are doing a striped design, or there is hardware that just won’t come off. This is where painter’s tape comes in handy. You can use it to simply cover an area you don’t want to paint, or use it to give you a straight line. There are so many uses for this tool, and it comes in several different widths. Check it out from Amazon here. If you do not use the painters tape, you could end up with a mess to clean up on your hardware, and no one wants to make more work for themselves. Take the pre-emptive move of using painters tape.
7. Chalk Paint
Seems a bit obvious, but you need chalk paint. There are several different brands of chalk paint on the market today. Annie Sloan is one of the most popular, but it’s also one of the pricier options as well, and you have to order it online or get it from a distributor, which you may or may not have near you. It offers several color choices, and has excellent coverage. Rust-oleum has a chalk paint as well, but doesn’t have as many color options. Valspar Chalk paint can be found at Lowe’s hardware store and can be mixed into your choice of color which is nice. There are many other options out there as well, you just need to find one that you like.
8. Paint Can Opener
You need something to get that paint can open! You can usually get one of these for nothing when you get your paint at a hardware store such as Lowe’s. You can use a screwdriver to open your paint can too, but you will likely get paint on it and you may not be a fan of that. These paint can openers are nice to have on hand and are inexpensive.
9. Paint Stirrer
Paint settles when it’s been sitting for awhile. You will need to stir it up really well to get the look and coverage you need. While you will usually get a wooden stirrer from the hardware store for nothing, and they work fine, they also make these neat attachments for your drill that will give your paint a much better shake up than just stirring it with a wooden stick.
While brushes are obviously one of the most important tools you will need to chalk paint, you don’t have to spend a mint of the most expensive brushes out there. There are brushes made specifically for chalk painting, such as these from Annie Sloan, but remember, one of the nice things about chalk painting is that you don’t have to, or want to, be perfect. For this reason, you can spend less money on your brushes. Try these brushes from Amazon, for instance. You can
use the same kind of brush to wax your project as well.
Since chalk paint is a water based paint, these brushes are easy to clean with soap and warm water as well. Check out this article on our website to learn the best way to care for your paint brushes.
If you decide to distress your project, you will want to get yourself some sandpaper in all different grits and keep it on hand. You can sand as much or as little as you choose to in order to get the look you want on your project. This is where that famous farmhouse distressed look comes from.
12. Lint Free Cloth
You will want to use a lint free cloth to wipe down your project after you sand it. You want to get all of the grit off before you decide to wax your piece. A lint free cloth will wipe it clean without scratching it or leaving anything unwanted on your project. Try this one out from Amazon. You will also use these to apply wax when you can’t reach certain areas with a brush, and also you remove and rub in the wax. The ease these cloths give you with this step is immeasurable. If you do not use a lint free cloth, you run the risk of ruining the finish of your piece, or leaving little pieces of lint or dust on it. If you wax or seal over a piece with lint or dust on it, your finish won’t be nice and smooth, and you will be disappointed.
Waxing your project does several things to it. A clear wax will seal your project invisibly depending on the color of paint. It will help to protect the paint from wear and tear and give it a nice shine. The more you rub the wax after application, the shinier it will be. There are a few types of this as well. Annie Sloan clear wax works beautifully. You can also try Dovers brand or Minwax.
Dark wax will actually change the look of the piece. It gathers in the crevices and corners and gives it a whole new beautiful look. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many brand choices in the dark wax. Annie Sloan offers several different colors. There is dark wax, black wax, and even a white wax. All of these give your project a unique and beautiful finish.
14. Old Clothes
You will want to wear some old clothes, or something you don’t care about because chalk paint does NOT come out of your clothes! Believe me, you WILL get some on your clothes, shoes, or whatever else you have around you. It’s like Murphy’s Law…if it can happen, it will happen…no matter how careful you are.
Chalk painting is an easy and fun way to change the look of just about anything. This article on our website talks about chalk painting your bathroom cabinets if that is one of the projects you have in mind, it may also teach you some other details on chalk painting that you may not know.
The tools above will help you make your project all you want it to be. Take the time to gather your tools before you start your project and you will have a fun and enjoyable time, and likely spend your free time trying to find new things to paint! Just have fun with it!
Does chalk paint need to be sealed? You do not NEED to seal chalk paint with wax or other sealants but it is recommended. Chalk paint is porous, therefore it will pick up stains and look terrible in no time if it goes unsealed. Sealing will also help with scratches and knicks when your piece is bumped or moved.
What is the best thing to use to seal chalk paint? We talked about using wax here, but there are other options for sealing your chalk paint. And let’s be honest, many people have a love/hate relationship with wax.
Some of the other options include
- Spray topcoats
While polyurethane is the most water sealant option and is relatively inexpensive, it also yellows over time and may need several coats. It also could leave streaks or bubbles and takes a long time to dry and cure.
Polycrylic has options from satin to glossy and is the most durable of options. It will not yellow over time and you can use it in a paint sprayer. It is much more difficult to find though and you may need several coats.
This is a great option if your project has a lot of nooks and crannies as a spray makes it much easier to reach every inch. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find, and if you’re careful, the cleanup is not difficult. A problem is that it’s hard to achieve even coats with a spray, and an aerosol is not eco-friendly in the least.
A glaze is a liquid that you apply and then wipe off the excess to achieve an aged look. While this can add dimension and texture to your piece, it is meant to be used for things that will have less wear and tear. The glazes are more expensive and difficult to find as well.
Can chalk paint be rolled on? You can roll on chalk paint, but I would use a brush first, as this will give you a smoother finish.