The Best Chalk Paints For Furniture Upcycling

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One of my favourite trends at the moment is taking old furniture and upcycling it with a brand new layer of colour. And along with this a lovely trend is to give furniture a contemporary matt look using chalk paint. But what are the best chalk paints for furniture, and how should you use it? Here are some great tips that are worth a read before you shell out a fortune on some really expensive paint!

The Best Chalk Paints For Furniture Upcycling – And Tips On How To Use Them



A piece of furniture can quickly and easily be given a whole new lease of life and a by adding a lick of chalky finish paint. And currently I am loving the ultra matte interior finish that chalk paint can achieve. It is a brilliant way to realise a folkart home decor look or a renaissance chalk finish to your furniture. It is thus incredibly popular right now for transforming furniture from drab to fab.

But which is the best home decor chalk paint for the job? If you go online searching for chalk finish paint, there is a massive amount of colors and choices when it comes to chalk paint brands. And as it is all quite expensive, choosing the wrong one for your project can be a BIG mistake. 

So I have done a little bit of research so that you don’t have to, and this is what I think are the best furniture chalk paint brands and types to use when upcycling.

Whether you want the best chalk paint for wood furniture, the best chalk paint for walls, the best chalk paint for kitchen cabinets or the best chalk paint for crafts, I have got some great tips and tricks for using this cool and on trend paint in your project!

Plus, I’ve also got some great hacks for getting the finish for your project exactly right! 

Painting furniture

What Do You Expect From A Chalk Paint?

Firstly, you do have to think whether you actually want the finish that chalk paint will bring to your project.

Chalk paint traditionally gives a totally matte finish (unless you use a top coat – I will come to that later) and also chalk paints tend to give rather a rustic finish to a piece of furniture. So is this what you are really after? If not, it may be better to go with an alternative paint product, such as a matt wood paint. Some people would even suggest that the best paint for furniture is Fusion Mineral Paint.

My own personal favourite if you don’t want a totally matt finish is the Dulux Renovation Range. This range can be used on all manner of cupboard doors, shelves, tiles and wood. And it matches up with other paints in the Dulux paint ranges. 

Do You Need To Prep When Using Chalk Paint?

Secondly, maybe you are looking for a quick fix for your upcycling project. Is chalk paint right for this?

One of the major advantages that people always talk about with using chalk paint is that there is no need to prep the item before hand. Supposedly you do not need to sand or use primer, you can just get painting with the color that you decide to use.

However, most people I have seen using chalk paint actually state categorically that this is a bit of a misnomer. Instead, most of the DIY experts that I have researched say that at the very least it is definitely a good idea to clean a piece of furniture well to ensure there is no dust before painting. And that it is also a good idea to sand down and perhaps even use primer to get a smoother finish.

So chalk paint may not be the quick fix that you are thinking it is.

furniture painted

Do You Need To Use An Undercoat Or Primer Before You Apply Chalk Paint?

One of the biggest dilemmas most people who I have seen using chalk paints is whether to prime their item of furniture first. And the answer is that it isn’t always necessary, but I would suggest you do it, especially if you want an ultra smooth finish to your piece.

A light sand with 320 grit sandpaper between coats is also a good idea, and you may need 2 or 3 coats.


Brands Of Chalk Paint On The Market – And What People Think Of Them

As I stated earlier, I have researched to see what various DIY experts and bloggers have thought about chalk paints when they have used them on their own projects. Here are some of the top brands of chalk paint on the market, the best chalk paints for furniture, and what has been said about these brands by the people who have used them.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan is generally considered to be the benchmark best chalk paint brand on the market today. However, the consensus is that the tins are quite expensive. People that have used it say that it is thick in consistency, easy to use and gives a good even coverage. which may mean you need to do less coats.

But, I have also seen that people have found a second coat leads to a rough and textured finish due to the initial thick consistency.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint

Most people are quick to point out that Rust Oleum chalk paint isn’t actually a true chalk paint. Instead it is a ‘chalk-effect’ paint that gives that distinctive chalky finish. However, the general consensus of opinion is that Rust Oleum is cheap to buy, quick to use and does give the look of chalk paint without the price tag. It also comes in a spray chalk paint variety, which I will discuss later on in this article.

Furthermore, I have seen mentioned time and again that the fact that it is thinner means it goes on more smoothly that the Annie Sloan alternative. That being said however, most people that I have seen use it have recommended a top coat or wax finish.

Rustoleum paints are widely available and you can buy a large selection of colours even on Amazon.

Porter’s Paints Chalk Paint

Porter’s Paints also have a popular brand of chalk paint, though Porter’s is actually an Australian brand and isn’t widely available in my home country. People who have used this paint have recommended it because it is cheap and it comes in a large selection of colours. Plus you can buy a selection of waxes and finishes.

Furthermore, the Porter’s website has some great tips and videos on how to use their products to get the best results.

Other Brands Of Chalk Paints

As the trend has exploded in recent years, I have seen lots of other brands of chalk paint being released, such as 

  • Blake and Taylor – in Australia
  • Ronseal ‘chalky’ paint – widely available worldwide
  • Frenchic Furniture paint – available here in the UK
  • Craig And Rose chalk paint – also a UK brand
  • Johnstones ‘Chalky’ Paint – available in the UK, including at the Range.
  • Gracemary chalk and clay paint – available on Amazon.

However I have not used any of them nor really seen a critique of how they are in use. And so I cannot comment on if they are better or worse than the 3 main brands that I have used or seen in use many many times.

What Are the Best Tips On How To Use Interior Chalked Paint?

  • Don’t overwork the paint as you apply
  • Have a spray bottle of water handy as you work – spray lightly to keep the paint from drying too quickly
  • Use a good quality paint brush – though if you do want brush marks and a textured look then a cheap brush i fine too!
  • Undercoat helps it be smoother
  • As I said earlier, use a 320 grit sandpaper to lightly sand between layers for a smooth finish
  • A foam roller may be better if you do not want brush marks 

Standard Paint Or Spray Paint?

Some brands of chalk paint also come in a spray variety, which some upcyclers swear by. It is considered to go on more evenly and be easier to apply.

However it can also cost a lot more than standard tins of paint, so it is worth thinking about if you have a large chalk paint furniture project to complete.

Chalk paint used on the wall

What’s The Best Top Coat For Chalk Paint?

Again the top coat that you use on a chalk paint determines the finish that you desire. 

You can just leave it as it is, but lots of people like to apply a wax or polish coat to extend the durability of the finish. Most brands of chalk paint have a corresponding wax or finish that goes with the product. 


And How Easy Is Clean Up After Using Chalk Paints?

Finally, and most importantly for me, clean up after using chalk paint is really easy, which is why I love to use it. As chalk paint is a water based paint, you can clean up just by washing your brushes without the need for chemicals or special equipment.

And you get to use your brushes another day.

Love This Post? Why Not Read Some Of My Other Upcycling Projects Posts?

I love to show you really easy projects that  build your confidence and produce useful items. So why not read these other posts I have written?

I have loads of sustainable solutions on my site so why not go take a look?

What do you think? Will you be having a go with some chalk paint? I love to see your makes, so please do comment below, or tag me in your makes on social media.

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And please do pin this post for later!

What Are The Best Chalk Paints For Furniture Upcycling?Which is the best one for kitchen cabinets, walls or craft uses? How do you use this paint for the best effect & results? Do you need a primer or to prep first? All these questions and more are answered in this ultimate guide to using chalk paints in your furniture and craft upcycling projects. Read on for tips & hacks.

4 Replies to “The Best Chalk Paints For Furniture Upcycling”

  1. Caz / InvisiblyMe says:

    I wondered what paint is used on some upcycled furniture before to get this sort of rustic effect. I wouldn’t be sure which chalk paint to go for either so your tips and research are really helpful. I’d probably go Rustoleum for the thinner consistency to make it a little easier and it being cheaper, especially if it gives the same finish you want as a ‘true’ chalk paint. Fab post lovely, makes me want to redo my smaller chest of drawers because I’ve wanted to for a while now! xx

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Caz, and I would love to see how your chest of drawers turn out!

    2. Jayne Smith says:

      No point in this paint seeing as all the prep you recommend!

      1. Jo Boyne says:

        But you would normally have to prep ANY project before painting. Even just rubbing it down or cleaning with sugar soap. So not sure I can agree with your comment.


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