A little over a week ago, we moved into our new Florida House! We only brought the items that would fit in the back of our truck and, well, it wasn’t much. I didn’t pack any chalk paint and since I’ve been thrifting like a crazy person, I needed a way to redo all of the furniture I’ve been buying!
Since I was buying all new items, I thought I would put together a guide on what to supplies needed to chalk paint. There are so many products- it can be overwhelming to know what to buy! I’ve been an avid chalk painter for 2 years now and do a few projects each month. I thought I would recommend my must haves.
Also, if you’re a newbie to chalk painting, you’ll want to check out my Chalk Paint 101 post. It goes into why chalk paint is so great and why you want to use it on furniture!
Note, these are all Dixie Belle Chalk Paint items since they’re my favorite chalk paint company. Also, keep reading to the end for a sneak peek of my living room makeover!
supplies needed to chalk paint
Once you buy a piece of furniture, it’s time to evaluate it to see what products are suggested to best paint it. You need to buy the furniture first since different pieces might require different products. Here’s a cheat sheet to help guide the process!
All furniture needs to be cleaned throughly before use. Make sure to get a cleaner like White Lightning or TSP to prep your piece for painting.
Most wood pieces don’t need to be primed first before chalk paint. But here are the exceptions-
- If the furniture stinks, prime with BOSS. Awhile ago, I bought a little end table that reeked of cigarette smoke. I use 2 coats of BOSS as a primer and it blocked all of the bad smells.
- If the wood on the furniture bleeds, prime with BOSS. I got the cutest mahagony wood table from a flea market and when I went to paint it, it bled through 3 layers of chalk paint! I finally gave in and used BOSS to prime it. It worked right away! If you don’t know how to check for furniture bleed, here’s a few tips-
Note, sometimes only one area of a piece of furniture bleeds. If you find you have a piece that needs to be primed after you’ve painted it, that’s fine! Just pause and prime and then go back to painting once the primer is dry.
- If you’re painting a super smooth piece of furniture, you’ll want to prime with Slick Stick. For example, I prime when painting smooth laminate, glass, metal, and super slick painted furniture. This will make it so that it won’t chip down the road!
how to pick Paint colors
Now it’s time to choose paint for your piece of furniture! But how do you choose? Here are some ways to pick-
- What room will it be going in? Knowing where it will eventually sit will give you big hints on what color to go. Pick a color from the art or rug or pillows and find a coordinating paint color.
- What’s your favorite color? If you have a color you’re drawn to a lot, you probably like living with it. You can also take a peek in your closet to see what you like to wear. Paint your furniture colors you love!
- Get inspired. You can always hop on Pinterest and search “chalk painted furniture.” Pin every image you like for 5 minutes. When the timer rings, open the board you’ve been pinning to and see if there’s one color that stands out.
- Ask for help. Maybe you have a friend who is great at colors. Show her the piece and see what he or she thinks. Sometimes getting a little input can help you decide.
- Don’t overthink it. Go with your gut and have fun with it! Chalk paint is great because you can always paint over it if you change your mind. But the chances are, you’ll choose the right color.
- A neutral is always a safe bet. Getting started? Try going neutral as you build up your confidence! Grey, white, or beige is a great place to start
my favorite chalk paint colors
I use the 4 same paint colors over and over again! I thought I’d share the ones I keep coming back to in case you need a good starting place.
- Fluff white. After trying all the white colors Dixie Belle offers, Fluff is my favorite. I’ve used it on an end table, cabinets, and a picnic table. A safe and classic white! I’ve also recently started using Cotton– it’s more of a pure white (Fluff has some gray).
- Driftwood. My favorite gray color is Driftwood. It’s a soft medium gray color not too blue and not too red. I’ve used it on an entertainment center, bed, and a nightstand.
- Seaglass. The most beautiful minty blue! It’s a beautiful pastel that is sweet, but not too girly. I’ve used it on kitchen cabinets, a play kitchen, and a headboard.
- Soft Pink. I’m a huge pink lover, so I use soft pink a bunch as it’s the most pastel pink available. I’ve used it on a bathtub and fridge.
For the full list of paint colors available, go here.
what brushes to buy
When starting out, you need one paint brush. I suggest buying one formatted to work with chalk paint. Keep it clean and it’ll last you a long time!
- 2” Chip Brush– This is the lowest prices brush and is great for starting out! If you’re on a budget, go with this one.
- Premium Chip Brush– This has the same shape as the 2”, but the quality is better (and the bristles fall out less). Buy this is you are looking for a higher quality and affordable option.
- The Belle Brush or Oval Synthetic Brushes– Oval brushes are good for getting into hard to reach spaces- which is good for furniture with lots of details. I personally prefer working with a flat brush. But, if you have arthritis or have a hard time holding onto a brush, this will be the best option for you. Buy the Bell Brush for the cheapest oval shape brush. Buy the Oval Synthetic Brush for the highest quality oval shape brush (and most expensive option).
- Flat Synthetic Brushes– These are the most expensive brushes, but worth the splurge! The quality is SO good. When you paint with these, they help the paint glide onto the furniture super smoothly. The mini size is my favorite for painting furniture. Buy this if you’re looking for an investment brush.
- Mini Angle Synthetic Brush– I like using angled brushes when I’m cutting in (doing one color that is touching another color). Since I don’t usually cut in with furniture, I prefer the flat brush. But this is also a good option for getting into hard to reach places (especially if you don’t like the oval option). Super high quality! Buy if you want to get in tight places, prefer flat options over oval, want to make an investment and have a quality option.
top coat and sealers
Technically, chalk paint doesn’t need to be sealed. But I always to a top coat so the piece is easier to clean and protects it. Plus, a top coat makes the finish not chalky and absorbant. Here are your top coat options-
- Clear top coat– I usually do a clear satin top coat on all of my pieces. It really finishes the piece off! The clear top coat comes in flat, satin, or glossy. I apply it with a paint brush.
- Gator Hide– For pieces that’ll have lots of exposure to water (cabinets, table tops, counter tops), I use Gator Hide as a top coat. It gives a similar look as the satin top coat, but also repels water. Make sure to get the special blue sponge to apply the Gator Hide.
- Wax– Wax is known as a way to distress paint, but it is also a great way to seal a piece of furniture. For this, I love Easy Peasy Spray Wax. You just spray it on and then rub it in with a rag (or this applicator pad). This wax doesn’t give a distressed look, but is a fast way to finish furniture. It’s my current favorite option.
sample shopping list
Ok, I know that was a TON of information all in one spot! But don’t get overwhelmed. For an absolute beginner, I’d suggest starting simply with these items-
- Lightning Cleaner
- 2” Chip Brush
- Paint Color in the 8 oz. size
- Clear Top Coat or Wax
That’s it! 4 items! That’ll cost around $30 in supplies. You’ve got this!
my furniture makeover
At the thrift store, I spotted this $6 end table. I really liked the lines- the bamboo and rattan top adds a tropical feel. And the scallops on the side are cute! Plus it is stable. I thought It’d be adorable painted.
The finish was shiny, so after cleaning with lightning cleaner, I started by priming with slick stick. Then I did two coats of cotton chalk paint which I applied with a mini angle brush. Last, I finished with Easy Peasy Wax.
Also, this is the first look at my living room on here! We (my husband and I), worked SO hard with the Trelliage panels! I’ll have a tutorial up soon for those. I’ll have more details on this space soon!
Ok, who’s in the mood to chalk paint now?! I hope these tips are helpful if you’re just starting out. Or if you want to check out some new products!
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