Frequently Asked Questions
Before You Start Painting with Chalk Paint®
Q. How do I prep my piece?
Most times simply dusting off the surface will do. Wipe away any noticeable dirt and grime with a safe-to-use biodegradable cleaner and warm water, rinse well, and let dry completely.
There may be times when you will need to sand to remove loose paint, rust, and other surface debris, or when the surface is glossy or made of melamine or laminate. Use medium or fine grit sandpaper and change it out when it becomes clogged; a fresh sheet makes the task at hand easier to accomplish.
If you are painting new, untreated wood, apply clear shellac to any knots and open grains to block tannins that can bleed up through your new paint layers. Simply wipe on one or two coats with a cloth pad. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!
Q. What is the best way to apply Chalk Paint®?
Chalk Paint® is typically applied by brush. Enjoy your painting and don’t be shy – apply the paint liberally. Some brush marks showing in the finish can be part of the look.
Your brush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to have certain qualities. The bristles should be fairly long and flexible with a little bounce to allow you to be expressive in your work. Avoid brushes with bristles that are too soft, too short, or hard and inflexible. Annie Sloan’s Pure Bristle Brushes are excellent for applying Chalk Paint®. They hold lots of paint and are comfortable to hold and easy to work with.
Q. How do I find the perfect color for my project?
We have over 30 colors in the Chalk Paint® range, from soft and pale to bright and strong. Annie Sloan’s carefully selected range of colors is hugely flexible as you can mix colors together to extend the range and create endless possibilities.
Find out what ratio you need by experimenting – use your fingers to dab and mix colors or a teaspoon to make small amounts. Start with a dollop of your chosen color, slowly adding the Old White or Pure White. A dollop of Provence and two dollops of Old White gives you a ratio of 1 to 2, making a lovely pale, slightly aged turquoise like old faded French shutters. Use Pure White and the color is cleaner and fresher, giving a more vintage 1950’s look!
It’s useful to keep a sample of the colors you make in your Chalk Paint® Workbook, just in case you want to recreate them.
There is an informative chapter on working with paint colors in Annie Sloan’s book, Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, including tips for mixing colors and layering one color over another. This book contains 40 step-by-step projects and is available from your local Annie Sloan Stockist, booksellers, and online.
Q. What is the easiest way to distress my finish for a more aged look?
Most finishes are best when just a bit of paint is rubbed away here and there using an Annie Sloan Sanding Pad or fine grit sandpaper. This will be easier to do if you apply Chalk Paint® Wax first. This will also reduce any sanding dust, helping to keep your workspace clean.
Q. How do I clean my Annie Sloan Brushes after painting and waxing?
Painting a Variety of Surfaces
Q. Can I use Chalk Paint® in the garden?
You can use Chalk Paint® on exterior walls, garden furniture (except teak or other naturally oily woods), metal, concrete, matte plastic – even terracotta. Just leave it to harden overnight – preferably in a protected area – and then wipe it down with a damp cloth before exposing it to rain. There’s no need to add a protective coating.
Q. Can I paint walls with Chalk Paint®?
Chalk Paint® can be used to give both old and new walls depth and interest and even a bit of texture. Apply one or more coats of paint with a sponge roller or large brush to achieve a slight texture. You can then apply Chalk Paint® Wax for a really smart polished look, or just leave it – bedroom walls look great with a soft, matte, unwaxed finish.
Q. Can I use Chalk Paint® on floors?
Q. What about painting metal with Chalk Paint®?
You can apply Chalk Paint® directly onto all kinds of hardware, including metal work. Chalk Paint® can re-invigorate old brass and other metal fixtures and fittings, and even covers and slows down rust.
Q. Are Chalk Paint® and Chalk Paint® Wax safe for use on baby cribs, etc.?
Absolutely! Both Chalk Paint® and Chalk Paint® Wax are safe to use on furniture destined for baby and child use. However, before putting the item to use, please allow the wax finish to cure for a minimum of 14 days.
Annie Sloan cares about your health. While there are no inherently harmful ingredients in Chalk Paint® Wax, we do advise that expectant mothers get someone else to apply it for them.
Q. Are Chalk Paint® and Chalk Paint® Wax good choices for kitchen cabinets?
You can achieve beautiful results using Chalk Paint® on – and in – your wooden cabinets. Apply at least two coats of paint, and then two or three coats of Chalk Paint® Wax to seal and protect them. Simple!
Q. Can I paint my kitchen countertops and backsplash with Chalk Paint®?
It is not advisable. Chalk Paint®, even when sealed with a quality sealer such as Chalk Paint® Wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer, will not be 100% non-porous and this can present problems with cross contamination.
Q. Can I paint my fireplace surround with Chalk Paint®?
While Chalk Paint® can be applied over most brick, stone, and concrete surfaces, before beginning your project it is best to check with your local government offices to determine whether painting around your firebox is permissible under your local building codes.
Q. Can I paint melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint®?
There are many success stories from people who have used Chalk Paint® to paint their melamine or laminate furniture. A little bit of preparation and some patience are needed.
New pieces may be coated with a light oily film for packing and shipping purposes and this should be wiped away with a cloth moistened with mineral spirits. Rinse with water afterwards.
Lightly sand the melamine or laminate with fine grit sandpaper and dust off. Next, apply a very thin first coat of paint and let dry for about 48 hours to encourage the paint to bond to the surface. After that, you can continue painting for your desired look.
Q. Can I paint a Thermofoil surface finish?
It is not advisable. Thermofoil is a plastic material that is thermoformed to the profile of an underlying engineered wood core such as medium-density fiberboard. Paints of any kind will not bond to this type of finish.
Finishing Your Project
Q. What is the best way to apply Chalk Paint® Wax?
Chalk Paint® Wax is the perfect complement for Chalk Paint®. In fact, we’d say it’s an essential partner! It adds durability, deepens the colors, and gives a soft sheen. It’s really easy to get sensational results.
As a rough guide, you will need one 500ml can of wax for every 3-4 quarts of paint – of course, this will vary depending on how many coats of wax you use to cover a piece. And it’s best to have a little wax left over for touching up. With the lid tightly on, it will last indefinitely.
Less is more, so there’s no need to apply the wax thickly. When the paint is dry, brush on a thin coat of Chalk Paint® Wax, gently spreading the wax so it absorbs into the paint. Work in manageable sections at a time and remove the excess wax with a clean absorbent cloth as you go. Change to a clean cloth frequently as the one you are working with can quickly become clogged with wax and become ineffective. Let the remaining thin layer of wax dry before buffing. Drying can take as little as 10 to 20 minutes, but 2 hours or even overnight can sometimes be best. You will know when the wax is dry when the surface no longer feels cool or damp to the touch. You can then buff with soft cotton cloths.
Chalk Paint® Wax is best on interior projects only. It is not suitable for outdoor use.
Q. I need a durable finish for my kitchen table that I can clean frequently. Our kids tend to be rough on things. What should I use?
Chalk Paint® Wax, once cured, provides a durable finish that is easy to maintain. Apply at least two coats of paint, and then two or three coats of Clear Chalk Paint® Wax to seal and protect your table and get the extra durability you seek. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping it with a soft cloth and mild soap and water, and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax. When scratches, stains, and watermarks happen to your finish, they are easily repaired with just a bit more wax rubbed into the marked area with a soft cloth.
Q. I finished my project but the color is wrong for me. Can I paint over it?
Q. Can I apply another clear protective finish over Chalk Paint® Wax?
Once Chalk Paint® Wax is used, no other protective finish can be applied to your project. Attempting to add another coating – such as Annie Sloan Lacquer or another varnish or even polyurethane – over a wax finish is futile.
Q. How do I apply Annie Sloan Lacquer?
As a rough guide, one litre of Annie Sloan Lacquer will cover approximately 100-125 square feet, 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 Lacquer, bear in mind that it is a “penetrating” finish and can pull tannins or stains from the wood up through the new paint layers. This can be especially noticeable on whites, manifesting as a yellow stain. Always test your Chalk Paint® and Lacquer on several areas before you begin your project. If a stain appears, apply one or two thin coats of clear shellac over the entire surface before painting.
Stir well before and during use. For larger projects, mix your cans of Lacquer together into one larger container and stir well to help ensure a consistent sheen across your entire surface.
Apply two thin coats with a quality sponge roller or brush for even sheen and durability. A small amount of water (up to 10%) can be added to Lacquer for the first coat, and the second coat should be applied full strength. Let the first coat dry one to two hours before recoating, and leave the final coat to dry overnight before walking on it.
When dry, Lacquer gives a beautiful matte finish with a slight sheen for added strength.
Lacquer is not suitable for outdoor use or in areas of high water such as bathrooms.
Caring for Your Finish
Q. How long will it take for my finish to cure?
After you have 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. Finishes prefer warm, dry conditions during the curing process; high humidity, cold temperatures, and application thickness can extend drying and curing time substantially.
Of course, you can use your newly finished piece straight away, but you should treat it with extra care until the wax has cured completely.
Chalk Paint® Wax is food safe when completely cured.
Q. How do I care for my painted furniture?
Furniture finished with Chalk Paint® and Chalk Paint® Wax stands up well to everyday wear and tear. Allow your new finish to cure before placing any items that may scratch the surface. Avoid excessive water. Use coasters under water glasses and placemats on dining tables.
Keep away from extreme temperatures or humidity. Like you, your finish prefers a moderate climate!
Clean with a soft cloth and avoid all liquid furniture polishes. To clean marks or stains, use a slightly damp cloth or chamois with a bit of mild soap.
Waxes dissolve in alcohol, so using Chalk Paint® Wax on bars is not advisable.
Q. A stain has appeared through my new paint layer. How can I cover it?
If you see a yellow or pink stain coming through your new paint layers – especially on older furniture from the 1930’s and 1940’s- wipe on one or two coats of shellac with a cloth pad to stop this from happening. There is no need to remove the stained paint; you can apply shellac directly on top. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!
If you are working with new, untreated wood, remember to apply clear shellac to wood knots and open grains. This will block tannins that can bleed up through the paint.
Q. My paint is not sticking. What should I do?
A clean surface is important for any paint project. Remove the loose paint with medium grit sandpaper. Clean the exposed areas with a safe-to-use biodegradable cleaner. Rinse well with warm water and let the piece dry completely. Once dry, sand with medium or fine grit sandpaper and dust off. Then test your paint in a small area to see if it is adhering. If the paint comes loose again, remove it and wipe on one or two coats of clear shellac with a cloth pad and let dry. You can now reapply your paint.
Q. My finish feels sticky and leaves fingerprints. What can I do?
Don’t worry if this happens. It is easily fixed by simply applying another thin coat of Chalk Paint® Wax. This will soften or “melt” the underlying wax, making it easy to remove all of the excess wax that is causing the stickiness and smearing. Work in manageable sections and remove the excess wax with clean soft cloths as your go. Have several cloths available and change to a clean cloth when the old one becomes clogged with wax.
Q. A water glass left a mark in my finish. How do I repair this?
Chalk Paint® Wax offers water resistance, but it is not waterproof. Spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. If spills remain on the surface, the moisture can penetrate through the wax coating and leave a mark. These marks typically disappear as the moisture evaporates, but if not, you can use a bit of Chalk Paint® Wax on a soft cloth to rub it out.
Q. I painted a piece of furniture and my paint cracked. Why did this happen?
There are several factors that can cause your dried paint layers to crack:
- Dirt and moisture. Always ensure your surface is clean and dry before painting.
- Using harsh cleaners, or not rinsing well after cleaning. Use a safe-to-use biodegradable cleaner and warm water. Rinse well and let the piece dry completely.
- Rushing the process. Enjoy your painting but take your time. Allow each paint layer to dry completely before applying the next.
- Painting in direct sunlight or near an operating heat vent, or rushing the drying process by using a blow dryer. Move to a protected area and allow each layer to dry naturally.
- Using old shellac or shellac that has been exposed to high temperatures. Always use the freshest shellac and apply it in thin layers. Store your shellac in a dry area that is room temperature.
- Using spray furniture polishes. Many of these contain a silicone used as a film former to protect surfaces, but can cause cracks to appear in your paint layers, especially along edges.
Regardless of the reason, the fix remains the same in all cases. Sand the affected areas with medium or fine grit sandpaper. Then seal the surface, including the remaining paint, by wiping on one or two coats of clear shellac with a cloth pad. Once dry, reapply your paint.
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