What is Chalk Paint?

Stuart Wellbert
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Chalk it up to Experience

Chalk paintWhat is chalk paint? Well, it’s paint, but it’s a little different than traditional oils, latexes and enamels. Chalk paint is designed to look like the old fashioned chalk paint that was "chalked up" and applied for a finish. The chalk paint of today will not leave visible or chalky residue on your walls the way that traditional chalk paint did, but as time passes chalk paint can dry to a matte finish in certain conditions.

The chalk paint finish can be flat like oil paints and stain resistant like latex based paints. This finish gives you a look like no other paint and is very popular among today’s DIY bloggers and designers.

Some people refer to chalk paint as crackle paint, but they aren’t the same thing. Crackle paint is produced specifically to crack when it dries creating a textured finish. As we will see, certain chalk paint will crack when it dries, but most paints labeled as chalk paint won’t.

How Distressing!

Chalk paint has become one of the most popular painting mediums on the market. It was originally designed to work over chalkboard paint, but today most people use it to refinish furniture.

If you are a regular DIYer and love to use a lot of supplies, you will love the cost effectiveness and workability of this paint. Compared to other painting mediums, such as oil based and latex, chalk paint is water based, which means you can clean up after using it with just soap and water. This is convenient especially if you are working on a small or large project.

For small projects, you can purchase disposable brushes that match the colors of the chalk. This is great when you go to paint small items. They also make it easy to see where you have already painted.

The great thing about this paint is that it is non-toxic and as water based, so it is easy to clean up and less toxic when compared to other mediums. When you are finished with the project, all you have to do is wash your brushes.

Watching Paint Dry

Most people get tired of the paint job around their home after only a year or two. The frequent home improvement projects and fresh paint simply will not do the job. Painting can get boring, especially if you have to do the same job over and over again.

The term “chalk paint” is used to refer to a type of paint in which powdered chalk and linseed oil is used to create a paint with a special finish. At its core, chalk paint looks to replicate the look of old chalkboard, hence the name, chalk paint.

The look, called matte, is derived from the absorption of oil by magnesium carbonate. The chalk paint is then applied with a square brush.

It is important to note that chalk paint is not paint made with chalk, but rather, paint that imitates chalk board. The paint is usually made from chalk pigments and linseed oil.

Finish as Easily as you Started

The great thing about chalk paint is that you can simply blend in more paint when you run out of the previous color. And if you aren’t satisfied with the shade, you can easily add more colors to achieve more subtlety.

Chalk paint is very easy to make and you can store it for several months. It’s made by combining water-based latex paint and powdered chalk. The ratio depends on the goal. Mixing 2 cups of water based latex paint and 2 tablespoons of chalk is a good starting point. You can gradually increase the ratio of chalk paint to water based paint, to achieve more coverage.

Adding a few drops of lemon essential oil will act as a disinfectant and filler. You can also add a few drops of any essential oil that you prefer. Apply two coats of the mixed paint on your furniture and let it cure for 24 hours. Then rub the paint to dissolve the chalk, remove excess paint, and sandpaper the furniture.

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is a water-based paint that is different than traditional paints, allowing it to be easily applied and removed without harming the underlying surface.

Chalk paint can easily be applied by paint brush or sponge and doesn’t require primer. And once you’re done using it, it’s easily removed by water and soap.

Chalk paint is popular on multiple surfaces, from walls and furniture, to tile and handmade items such as picture frames, decorative boxes and even clothing.

Chalk paint has a natural matte finish with a slight sheen, and is available in a variety of colors.

Chalk paint may become watery if it’s exposed to high heat, so keep this in mind and allow the chalk paint to dry before using it on high heat surfaces.