September 2016

Getting a smooth finish with chalk paint

Chalk paint is a thick paint that has a “chalky” feel to it when it dries. When you paint a piece of furniture with chalk paint right out of the can you can see the brush marks in it when it dries. With a good paint brush they will be less noticeable but with a chip brush you can see almost every brush stroke. Chalk paint can be sprayed on but you have to find the right spray gun and you need to add water to the paint to thin it out. When spraying chalk paint it comes out in a very fine mist and goes on smoother than brushing. And of course because you don’t use a brush there are no brush marks. Whenever I use a spray gun to paint a piece I always go over it once with a brush because I like the brushed look for most of my projects. Especially if I am going to distress it and give it a more antique’d look. This week I worked on a curio cabinet that I have in my living room and I wanted the paint to have a smoother look. Here’s the before picture of the curio cabinet:


I chose Old Ochre with just a little Old White added to it to lighten it up a bit to match the furniture already in the room. After taking the hardware off and successfully removing the glass without braking it (it was in there pretty tight and I spent about 20 min trying to pry one of the side pieces out) I took it out to the garage to spray it. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my paint sprayer. (I will do another post on spraying chalk paint another day and tell you all about it.) I was hoping to just spray a few coats on and wax it but I wasn’t getting the coverage I wanted so I ended up brushing the last coat on. When you add water to chalk paint always add just a little at a time and mix it well to get the consistency you want. For the paint sprayer I add enough until it sprays well. I haven’t measured how much water I add because I usually add some test it and add a little more. As for brushing it on you can get a smooth finish to chalk paint with a paint brush a couple of ways. You can paint it then use a fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand it til it’s smooth. Or you can dip the tip of your paintbrush into a cup of water before dipping it in paint. I have done this before and it works great. Just don’t get the brush too wet or it will start running down your brush and arm. (Yes I learned this the hard way) 😉 But for this piece I used the paint that was already watered down from the paint sprayer and brushed it on. It gives the same smooth finish as the other ways mentioned. One thing to remember when thinning chalk paint with water: Don’t pour water directly into the can of paint unless you are planning to use it all within a week or so. Instead pour some paint into another disposable container and then add the water. Water can cause things to grow in the chalk paint and you may end up with mold or just a funky smell. Nobody wants that! 🙂  I used a good flat paint brush and brushed the paint in the same direction to get a smooth, even look. I didn’t have to sand it, but I could have for an even smoother look. I also decided not to distress this piece or antique it with dark wax. I just used clear wax and buffed it.

Loving the smooth silky finish. And it always amazes me the difference a little paint makes in transforming a piece of furniture. I wanted a more classic accent piece that would showcase the fun pieces inside and give a little more polished look to the room. And I love, love, love this color. Old White was going to be a little too white for the room but by adding a little Old White to the Old Ochre it lightened the piece while staying with the color scheme of the room.

Want to see it all lit up?


I put it all back together last night, put all my pretty decorations in it and stared at it for a while. haha It’s a girl thing I guess. My husband teased me a little for leaving the light on all evening. But this is why I take on these projects. I love the end result. And there’s a definite satisfaction when you’ve put the time and effort into it yourself.

Thanks as always for taking a look at my latest project. Please share your thoughts and your projects with me. I would love to hear from you.