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Monday, June 29, 2015

What is Chalk Paint?

The first answer is - it's not chalkboard paint!
Chalky finish paint would be a better name!  It's paint that contains a binder, such as talc or plaster of paris, which helps the paint stick to the object. The finish is matte - not glossy or shiny.  It may be called mineral paint, or plaster paint. You can buy paint premixed with the binder, such as Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (the original invented 25 years ago by a British woman) or many other brands.  See the Annie Sloan website at

This finish is often associated with the 'shabby chic' aesthetic. The biggest draw is that when you paint furniture, you don't need to sand or strip the old finish first.  (Although there are exceptions to that rule - in fact, the exceptions are probably more common than most writers will admit!)
Furniture may be painted, waxed, and sometimes distressed.  Here are some examples of chalk paint-type finished furniture for sale at Home Goods.

All very nice furniture, but you might wonder, why spend a lot of money buying furniture that looks old, but is not?  Zillions of women are now painting furniture in their homes either to get the 'in' look for cheap, or to sell!  Take a look at these blogs.

Here is an all time favorite of mine from Australia.

Many more examples are at my Pinterest Furniture board - Pinterest Furniture!

You can buy the paint in powdered form and mix it with a prescribed liquid, or you can mix your own binder with commercial paint - that way you get exactly the shade you want without having to mix colors from a limited palette available from the specialty manufacturers!  Many of the specialty manufacturers pride themselves that their paint is low VOC, if that is important to you.
One advantage of the paint is that it sticks to wood, but also to metal, ceramics, and fabric!

Want to learn more? How to do it and what supplies you need?  Paint a small piece?   Register for the Chalk Paint Decorating class at Great Escape!

And what goes around comes around - I remember my mother and aunt painting and distressing furniture in the 1970s.  They called it 'antiquing.'

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