Frequently Asked Questions
Before You Start Painting
Q. Do I need to sand before I paint?
Chalk Paint® decorative paint adheres to almost any surface, indoors and outside, and there’s rarely a need to sand or prime. Most times simply cleaning and dusting off the surface will do. There may be times, however, when you’ll 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 to fine grit sandpaper and remember to change it out when it becomes clogged; a fresh sheet makes the task at hand easier to accomplish.
Q. What is the best way to apply Chalk Paint®?
To get started, tip the can upside down and shake before use. Then open and stir well. If the paint is too thick just add a little water and stir well.
As a rough guide, one quart of Chalk Paint® covers approximately 150 square feet, or the equivalent of a small dresser – of course, this will vary depending on how many coats of paint you use to cover a piece.
Q. What type of brush should I use?
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® and Annie Sloan Soft Wax. They hold lots of paint and they are comfortable to hold and easy to work with.
Q. How do I find the perfect color for my project?
The best way to find your perfect color is to visit your local Annie Sloan Stockist. All of our Stockists have been trained in the Annie Sloan Method and can guide you with making the right choices.
There’s a very informative chapter on working with paint colors in 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 using Chalk Paint® and Annie Sloan Soft Wax. It is available from your local Annie Sloan Stockist, booksellers, and online.
Q. Is Graphite Chalk Paint® a true black?
The Chalk Paint® palette doesn’t include a true black. Graphite, which is almost black, is not a simple, hard color but a mellow, sophisticated one. You can create a darker appearance to Graphite by first applying a layer of Aubusson Blue. Follow this with a coat of Graphite. When the paint is dry, apply Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax. You can also mix a bit of Aubusson Blue into the wax to make it appear more black than brown.
Q. Are there any special preparation steps for painting unfinished wood?
If you are working with new, untreated wood, you will need to apply clear shellac to any knots and open grains. This will block tannins that can bleed up through the paint. Simply wipe on one or two coats of shellac with a cloth pad. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!
Q. What is the easiest way to distress my finish for a more aged look?
With Chalk Paint® distressing is no longer an arduous chore. Most finishes are best when just a bit of paint is evenly rubbed away here and there using fine grit sandpaper. This will be easier to do if you apply Annie Sloan Soft 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?
After painting with Chalk Paint®, wash your Annie Sloan Pure Bristle Brush well with warm water to rinse out all the color.
Whether you apply Soft Wax with your Annie Sloan Wax Brush or Pure Bristle Brush, simply wash your brush with warm water and grease-cutting soap to clean it.
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), metal, concrete, matte plastic, and 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 my 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 brush or roller for coverage and let dry. You can leave the paint as is, but some like to apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax over the paint for a really smart polished look.
Q. Can I use 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 Annie Sloan Lacquer for added durability.
If you are working on open-grain wood floors, such as oak, apply clear shellac first. This will block tannins that can bleed up through the paint and Lacquer. Simply wipe on the shellac with a cloth pad or floor mop. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!
Q. What about painting metal with Chalk Paint®?
You can use 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 Soft Wax safe for use on baby cribs, etc.?
Absolutely! Both Chalk Paint® and Annie Sloan Soft Wax are safe to use on furniture destined for baby and child use. However, before putting the item to use, please allow the Soft Wax to cure for a minimum of 14 days.
Samples of Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax have been independently tested and certified as Toy Safe according to strict European regulations (BS EN 71-3:2013).
Annie Sloan cares about your health. While there are no inherently harmful ingredients in Soft Wax, we do advise that expectant mothers get someone else to apply it.
Q. Are Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax good choices for kitchen and bathroom cabinets?
Yes! You can use Chalk Paint® on most wood cabinetry. Typically there is no need to sand or prime, although in areas that receive a lot of use, like the cutlery drawer, it might be wise. Apply at least two coats of paint and then two or three coats of Annie Sloan Soft Wax for protection, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Soft Wax makes a good bond to the paint for durability. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water to clean, and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax.
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 Annie Sloan Soft Wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer, will not be 100% non-porous and this can present problems with cross contamination. The surface may look clean but it may not be deep down into the finish.
Q. Can I paint my fireplace surround with Chalk Paint®?
Although Chalk Paint® can be applied over many brick, stone, and concrete surfaces, you should first check with your local government offices to see if it is permissible to paint around your fireplace. Your local building codes may restrict the application of paint within a certain distance from the firebox.
Q. Can I paint melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint®?
There are many success stories from people who have painted melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint®, including pieces from IKEA. 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. Lightly sand the melamine or laminate with fine grit sandpaper and dust off. Next, apply a thin first coat of paint, and let dry about 48 hours to encourage the paint to bond to the surface. After that, you can continue painting for your desired look.
Finishing Your Project
Q. What is the best way to apply Soft Wax?
Annie Sloan Soft 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 very slight sheen. It’s really easy to get sensational results.
As a rough guide, you will need one 500ml tin 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 always 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 too thickly. When the paint is dry, brush on a thin coat of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax, gently spreading the wax so it absorbs into the paint. Work in manageable sections and remove the excess wax with a clean absorbent cloth as you go. Change to a clean cloth frequently as an old one can become clogged with wax and become ineffective. Let the remaining thin layer of wax dry before buffing. This process can take as little as 10 – 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. Buff with soft cotton cloths. Buffing lightly will produce a satin sheen, while more vigorous buffing can produce a higher sheen or even a gloss.
Always apply Clear Soft Wax before applying any Dark Soft Wax. For an aged effect, push Dark Soft Wax into crevices, and wipe it back with some clear wax to achieve your perfect result.
Soft 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 temperature and application thickness.
For a demonstration on how Annie Sloan applies Soft Wax, visit her YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/user/AnnieSloanOfficial and watch her Chalk Paint® Tutorials Nos. 1 and 2.
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?
Annie Sloan Soft Wax, once cured, provides a durable finish that is easy to maintain. After painting, apply two or three coats of wax, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next, to get the extra durability you need. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface 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 wax 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 and now I’ve changed my mind about the color. Can I paint over Soft Wax?
One of the key features about working with Chalk Paint® and Annie Sloan Soft Wax is it’s easy to change your mind. You can apply another coat or two of Chalk Paint® over your previous finish, and then seal your new paint layers with additional wax.
Q. Can Soft Wax be used on outdoor projects?
Annie Sloan Soft Wax should be used on interior projects only. It is not suitable for outdoor use.
Q. What is the best way to apply Annie Sloan Lacquer?
Annie Sloan Lacquer is a water-based varnish that is particularly good on interior wood and concrete floors that have been painted with Chalk Paint®.
Annie Sloan Lacquer should be applied with a quality sponge roller and/or brush. Stir well before using and during use. Apply two thin coats for even sheen and durability. A small amount of water (up to 10%) can be added to the Lacquer for the first coat. Let the first coat dry one to two hours before recoating, and leave the final coat to dry overnight before walking on it.
As a rough guide, one litre of Annie Sloan Lacquer covers approximately 100 – 125 square feet, but this will vary according to the absorbency of the floor. It is not suitable for areas of high water such as bathrooms.
When dry, it gives a beautiful matte finish with a slight sheen for added strength.
Q. Can I seal my outdoor patio with Annie Sloan Lacquer?
Annie Sloan Lacquer was designed for use on interior wood and concrete floors. It is not suitable for outdoor use.
Caring For Your Finish
Q. How long will it take for my finish to cure?
After you have applied Annie Sloan Soft 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 may need to treat it with extra care until the wax has cured completely.
Annie Sloan Soft Wax is food safe when completely cured.
Q. How do I care for my painted furniture?
Furniture finished with Chalk Paint® and Annie Sloan Soft 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. 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. Avoid extreme temperatures or humidity. Waxes dissolve in alcohol, so using wax on bars is not advisable.
Q. Can I apply another clear protective finish over Soft Wax?
Once Annie Sloan Soft Wax is applied, 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. A yellow or pink stain has appeared in 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 – apply clear shellac. One or two coats of shellac applied with a cloth pad will stop this from happening. There is no need to remove the stained layer of paint; you can apply shellac directly on top. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!
Q. My paint is not sticking. What should I do?
A clean surface is important for any paint project. Remove the loose paint with sandpaper and inspect the surface. Wipe away any heavy buildup of greasy, waxy or oily residues with a soft rag moistened with mineral spirits. Then clean with soap and water. Use a Scotch Brite pad to lightly scrub the surface, and a soft brush to work into open grain and intricate carvings. Rinse well with warm water and let the piece dry completely. Then reapply your paint.
Q. I painted a piece of furniture that had been previously maintained with spray furniture polish and the paint cracked. How do I fix this?
Many spray furniture polishes contain dimethicone, a silicone used as a film former to protect surfaces. This silicone can cause cracks to appear in your paint layers, especially along edges. Sand the affected areas with fine grit sandpaper. Then seal the surface, including the remaining paint, by wiping on one or two coats of shellac with a cloth pad. Once the shellac is dry, reapply your Chalk 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 Annie Sloan Soft 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?
Annie Sloan Soft 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 Annie Sloan Soft Wax on a soft cloth to rub it out.
Q. What is the best way to remove wax?
Annie Sloan Soft Wax can be easily removed by wiping the surface with a clean rag moistened with a small amount of low-odor mineral spirits. Have several rags on hand and switch to a clean one when the one you are working with becomes clogged with wax. Wipe repeatedly until your rag remains clean. Take care with your used rags. Place them first in a bucket of water and then spread them out on the lawn to dry. They can then be disposed.
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