What Is Chalk Paint? Chalk Finish Furniture Paint Explained

Jameson Blue painted cabinet

It’s no secret that life is getting more expensive in most of the western world. Those of us who are fortunate enough to own a home or rent an apartment know how much it costs to make the place we live livable.

Chalk finish paint is one of the few products to come out over the last few decades that has lowered the cost of enhancing home decor. Over 9 million tons of furniture gets deposited into our landfills every year. Some of this waste is necessary, but much of it is a matter of changing tastes. Unless a furniture piece is in pristine condition, most people have no problem putting it out at the side of the road.

Many furniture companies have moved toward lighter, cheaper, assembly required, furniture. The cost of this furniture is low upfront, but the long term cost can be seen in our landfills. The life cycle of manufactured wood and Ikea furniture, in particular, is short — some estimates say 5 years some say up to 15 years depending on the piece.

Solid wood furniture on the contrary was built to stand the test of time. Many people have pieces in their homes dating back to the 1950s or earlier. Styles change but quality craftsmanship never goes out of style. Solid wood furniture is harder to transport, but you have a lot of options if you want to refinish it. Manufactured wood furniture from places like Ikea can be repainted, but the furniture is usually less durable, and some common refinishing projects like wood staining are out of the question.

A hardwood bookshelf can be purchased at a second-hand store like the Habitat Restore for less than the big box alternative and can be transformed into something you can continually change without having to throw it out or buy something new. Manufactured furniture, for the most part, can be given a new lease on life as well. It can easily be painted and dressed up with new hardware. The only time one ever really needs to say goodbye – is if the piece begins to fall apart and becomes unsafe or unusable.

What is Chalk Paint?

Chalk Paint is a registered trademark of the Annie Sloan company. They are credited with making the first commercial decorative paint that dries to a chalky finish (there’s no actual chalk in it). In the United States and where the trademark exists, every company that is not Annie Sloan who manufactures a similar product has to call their product something else. The trademark is intended to protect the consumer from buying an unintended product. In the United States, the Annie Sloan company owns the brand name Chalk Paint. You will see the ® symbol used on their packaging to emphasize their exclusivity to the term and to reassure their customers that they are buying genuine Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

There are a variety of terms floating around for this style of paint. Words like mineral paint, chalky paint, chalk finish paint, ultra-matte paint, DIY paint, and furniture paint are all used to describe products that are decorative paints with similar qualities. These products may all dry to a matte chalky finish, and people may refer to them as “a chalk paint” — so it’s important to distinguish the brand Chalk Paint from the concept of flat furniture paint. Chalk Paint is a brand name. Other decorative paints that provide a similar chalk finish are competitors with different names that emphasize different attributes.

With most paint, there is a generally acceptable way to describe what it is. When people set out to buy wall paint, they go to a paint store to knowing they want an interior latex in eggshell which is offered by a number of brands. Most consumers know there are differences between competing brands, but the universal terms eggshell and latex give them a point of reference to compare products. Chalk Paint isn’t a type of paint like latex or a sheen like eggshell, its a brand name that some people use incorrectly as a category term. The difference between Chalk Paint and its competition has less to do with the brand name and more to do with, color, application, price, availability, and finish.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was first to market so they rightfully own the trademark to the brand Chalk Paint. Being first to market doesn’t mean they are the only option when it comes to refinishing furniture or other DIY projects. Today, many decorative paints from other brands are able to achieve a similar finish in a wide range of colors. Every formula is different, and every painter has their favorite. Chalk Paint is still a popular brand in a sea of decorative paint choices. It’s up to the consumer to decide whether they choose the first to market or choose one of the countless competitors who each have their own formula. with their own unique decorative properties, pricing and other features and benefits.

What Can I Do With A Chalk Finish Paint?

Chalk Finish Paint is usually latex or acrylic paint with an additive that allows for a smooth, self-leveled finish. Some DIY enthusiasts have tried to create their own from scratch and many are convinced its simply plaster of paris mixed with latex paint. There is obviously more to the recipe. With dozens of chalk finish decorative paints to choose from, it seems there is a DIY chalk style paint for everyone. The differences are usually seen in the application, viscosity, color options, pigment intensity, coverage, dry time, finish, durability, and even the smell of the paint.

With a brush and any brand of chalk finish paint, you can take old wooden furniture, or even new IKEA furniture and transform it into something that represents your style and matches your home decor. The paint isn’t limited to furniture, it can be applied to all sorts of surfaces including metal and wood veneer. Instead of sanding, priming, and reupholstering a chair — you can simply dust it off and paint right over both the wood and upholstery.

What Brand Of Chalk Finish Paint Should I Use?

There are many brands of Chalk Finish Paint available and people are brand loyal for different reasons. Enthusiasts shop around for the perfect combination of attributes, others stick with the first one they try. The biggest considerations when shopping for a chalk finish paint should be price, color selection, online availability (in case you run out), and ease of use — both in the application and when applying advanced techniques to your project.

House&Canvas Chalk Finish Furniture Paint, is an easy to use, water-based, multi-surface paint. It’s affordable, has great color choices, has a low odor, and has extreme coverage. Some chalk style paints are stiff and difficult to apply, Furniture Paint is more fluid allowing you to quickly and easily cover your piece. One of the main reasons people choose decorative paint is to apply techniques that enhance the look of the finished furniture pieces. Techniques like distressing, layering, and chipping work really well with this product.

Many of us have been conditioned to reject hand-me-down furniture. If the piece comes from a friend or family it should be welcomed! There are plenty of listings on craigslist for furniture, many of them are from homes just like yours.

Most of us are aware of or becoming more aware of the size of our footprint on this planet. Our footprint isn’t simply carbon, it’s our consumption of all things, including furniture. Furniture can be brought back to life and be enjoyed a second or third time and kitchen cabinets can have their life extended for a fraction of the cost of replacement. A little bit of chalk finish paint and some new hardware can make even the least loved piece in your house shine.