Frequently Asked Questions:


Do I need to sand before painting with Chalk Paint®?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint adheres to almost any surface, indoors and outside, and there’s rarely a need to sand or prime before painting. Most times cleaning and dusting off the surface will do. There may be times, however, when you’ll need to sand with medium or fine grit sandpaper to remove loose paint, rust, and other surface debris, or when the surface is very glossy or made of melamine or a laminate. Remember to change out your piece of sandpaper when it becomes clogged with old paint, etc. A fresh sheet makes the task at hand easier to accomplish.

What is the best way to apply Chalk Paint®?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint is typically applied by brush. Enjoy your painting and don’t be shy with your brush. Apply the paint liberally. Some brush marks showing in the finish can be part of the look.


What type of brush should I use to apply Chalk Paint®?

Your brush doesn't have to be expensive, but it does need to have certain qualities because working with bad brushes can be very frustrating. The bristles should be fairly long and flexible with a little bounce to allow you to be expressive in your work. Don’t choose brushes with bristles that are too short since the paint will not flow well, and don’t use a brush with hard and inflexible bristles because the paint will look scratchy. Don’t have a floppy brush either because you will have to work too hard to make the paint spread. Annie Sloan’s Pure Bristle Brushes are excellent for applying both Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax. These brushes give you the freedom to paint expressively, they hold lots of paint, and they are comfortable to hold and easy to work with.

I am looking for the perfect color for my project. Do you have any suggestions for mixing colors to get the color I need?

The best way to find the perfect color for your project is to visit our shop. 
Every one of on our staff has been trained in the Annie Sloan Method and we can guide you with making the right choices.  There is also a very informative chapter on working with paint colors in Annie Sloan’s book,
Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, including tips for mixing colors and layering one color over another. This book contains 40 step-by-step projects using Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax. It is available from your local Annie Sloan Stockist, booksellers, and online.

I am planning to paint an unfinished piece of furniture with Chalk Paint®. Are there any special preparation steps I need to take?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint can be applied over new untreated wood with ease. However, on wood that has wood knots and/or open grain, you should first apply one or two coats of clear shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer, with a cloth pad to block any tannins that can bleed up through your new layers of paint. This is particularly important when applying lighter colors of paint over pine, oak, and mahogany.

I want to distress my finish for a more aged look. What is the easiest way to do this?

With Chalk Paint® decorative paint distressing is no longer an arduous chore. Most finishes are best when just a bit of paint is evenly rubbed away here and there using fine grit sandpaper. This will be easier to do if you apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax first. This will also reduce any sanding dust, helping to keep your workspace clean.

Are Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax good choices for kitchen and bathroom cabinets?

Yes! You can use Chalk Paint® decorative paint on most wood cabinetry. Typically there is no need to sand or prime although in areas that receive a lot of use, like the cutlery drawer, it might be wise. Apply at least two coats of paint and then two or three coats of Annie Sloan Soft Wax for protection, allowing each wax coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next. Soft Wax makes a good bond to the paint for durability. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water to clean, and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax as needed.

Are Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax safe for use on baby cribs, etc.?

Absolutely! Both Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax are safe to use on furniture destined for baby and child use. However, before putting the item to use, please allow these materials to harden and cure for a period of 2 to 3 weeks.  Annie Sloan cares about your health. Expectant mothers should not apply Soft Wax themselves but find someone else to do so instead.

Can I paint my walls with Chalk Paint®?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint can be used to give both old and new walls depth and interest and even a bit of texture. Apply one or more coats of paint with a brush or roller for coverage and let dry. You can leave the paint as is, but some like to apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax over the paint for a really smart polished look.

Is Graphite Chalk Paint® a true black?

The Chalk Paint® decorative paint palette doesn’t include a true black. Graphite Chalk Paint®, which is almost black, is not a simple, hard color but a mellow, sophisticated one. You can create a darker appearance to Graphite by first applying a layer of Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint®.

Follow this with a coat of Graphite. When the paint is dry, apply Annie Sloan Dark Soft Wax. You can also mix a bit of Aubusson Blue into the dark wax to make an almost black wax.

Can I paint my kitchen countertops and backsplash with Chalk Paint®?

It is not advisable. Chalk Paint® decorative paint, even when sealed with a quality sealer such as Annie Sloan Soft Wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer, will not be 100% non-porous and this can present problems with cross contamination. The surface may look clean but it may not be deep down into the finish.

Can I paint the brick around my fireplace with Chalk Paint®?

Although Chalk Paint® decorative paint can be applied over many brick, stone, and concrete surfaces, you should first check with your local government offices to see if it is permissible to paint around your fireplace. Every county or province in North America, Australia, or New Zealand will have a set of building codes, including codes that may restrict the application of paint within a certain distance from the firebox.

Can I paint my melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint®?

There are many success stories from people who have painted their melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint® decorative paint, including pieces from IKEA. A little bit of prep an some patience are needed. New IKEA pieces may be coated with a light oily film for packing and shipping purposes and this should be wiped away with a cloth moistened with mineral spirits. Lightly sand the melamine or laminate with fine grit sandpaper and dust off. Next, apply a thin first coat of paint, and let dry about 48 hours to encourage the paint to bond to the surface. After that, you can continue painting for your desired look.

Can I apply Chalk Paint® over a surface that was previously finished with linseed oil?

Linseed oil, a finishing product used to restore wood's natural moisture, is typically found on vintage pieces of furniture that have a stained finish. Unless the finish has weathered to the point of almost being gone, the surface may not be receptive to new paint. Clean well and apply one or two coats of clear shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer. Chalk Paint® decorative paint can then be applied as you would on any other wood surface.

I am painting a piece of furniture with Chalk Paint® and a yellow stain has appeared in my new paint layer. How do I cover it?

Yellow or pink stains can appear in your new paint layers when painting over pieces previously finished with a non-colorfast stain (typically found on older pieces from the 1930’s and 1940’s) or certain woods with open grain, such as oak and mahogany. When this happens, don’t worry. Apply one or two coats of clear shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer, with a cloth pad to stop this happening. There is no need to remove the stained coat of Chalk Paint®; you can apply shellac directly on top. Shellac dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!

I have painted my project with Chalk Paint® and the paint is not sticking in some areas.  What should I do?

A clean surface is important for any paint project, especially on items from the kitchen or bathroom. Sand the areas where the paint is not sticking to remove the loose paint and inspect the surface. Remove any heavy buildup of greasy, waxy or oily residues with a soft rag moistened with mineral spirits. Then clean with soap and water. Use a Scotch Brite pad to lightly scrub the surface, and a soft brush to work into open grain and intricate carvings. Rinse well with a clean rag and warm water and let the piece dry completely. Then reapply your Chalk Paint® decorative paint.

I use spray furniture polish when dusting my furniture. I recently tried to paint one of my pieces with Chalk Paint® and the paint cracked in some spots. How do I fix this?

Many spray furniture polishes contain dimethicone, a silicone used as a film former to protect surfaces. This silicone can cause cracks to appear in your paint layers, especially along edges. Sand the affected areas with fine grit sandpaper. Seal the surface, including the remaining paint, with one or two coats of shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer, either sprayed or brushed on.   Shellac dries in minutes, and you can then get on with your painting!  We prefer Zinsser Bull's Eye Shellac, which is sold at Simpler Times or can be purchased in the paint aisle of most big box stores. 

What is the best way to apply Soft Wax?

Annie Sloan Soft Wax should always be applied in thin layers using a brush or cloth. We find brushes specially designed for waxing work best.  Gently
spread and push the wax into the underlying paint so it absorbs (just like hand cream!)  Work in manageable sections and remove the excess wax with clean cloths as you go.  We prefer cheesecloth for it's 'gripping power' and loose weave.  
Change to a clean cloth frequently as an old one can become clogged with wax and become ineffective. Let the remaining thin layer of wax dry before buffing. This process can be as little as 10 – 20 minutes, but 2 hours or even overnight can sometimes be best. You will know when the wax is dry when the surface no longer feels cool or damp to the touch. Buff with soft cotton cloths. Buffing lightly will produce a satin sheen, while more vigorous buffing can produce a
higher sheen or even a gloss. If the wax has been properly applied and all of the excess was has been removed, the finish should be dry and not feel sticky or smear easily.

I have been using my Annie Sloan Wax Brush for some time now and I've noticed that some of the bristles have become shorter. Is this normal?

It's normal for all bristle brushes to wear down over time. There is really just one reason that your wax brush will wear down and that's from working it too hard. If you find that the hairs on your wax brush are getting short very quickly then you should look at your waxing technique.  The best way to apply wax with a brush is to move quickly and avoid overworking the brush,  You don't particularly need more force for waxing than you do for painting. Working the wax into the paint with the brush until there is no excess is unnecessary hard work.

Can Soft Wax be used on outside projects?

Annie Sloan Soft Wax should be used on interior projects only. It is not suitable for outdoor use.   In some climates where there is low humidity, waxed furniture outside under a porch does fine.

I finished my project with Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax and now I’ve changed my mind about the color. Can I paint over my finish?

Of course! One of the key features about working with Chalk Paint® decorative paint is it’s easy to change your mind. You can apply another coat or two of Chalk Paint® over your previous finish, and then seal your new paint layers with Annie Sloan Soft Wax.

Now that I have painted a table for our kitchen with Chalk Paint®, I want to put a durable finish on it that I can clean frequently. We have kids and we all tend to be kind of rough on things. What should I use?

Annie Sloan Soft Wax, once hardened and cured, provides a durable finish that is easy to maintain. Apply two or three coats of Soft Wax for protection, allowing each coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next to get the extra durability you need. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water, and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax as needed. When scratches, stains, and watermarks happen to your wax finish, they are easily fixed with just a bit more wax rubbed into the marked area with a soft cloth.

How long will it take for my new finish to harden and cure?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint will take approximately 30 days to harden and cure, a process that takes significantly longer than drying. Annie Sloan Soft Wax will take about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks in low humidity climates - about a week longer in humid climates.
All finishes prefer warm, dry conditions during the curing process. Cold temperatures, high humidity, and application thickness will extend drying and curing time substantially. You can use your newly finished piece during the curing process; however, it should be treated gently and with respect. Avoid placing objects that would scratch or otherwise damage the surface. Wipe up spills immediately and avoid any harsh cleaning.


How do I care for my new finish?

Furniture finished with Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax stands up very well to everyday wear and tear. Treat your furniture with respect. Allow your new finish to harden and cure (see above) before placing items that may scratch the surface. Avoid excessive water. Use coasters under water glasses and placemats on dining tables. Clean with a soft cloth and avoid all liquid furniture polishes. To clean marks or stains, use a slightly damp cloth with a bit of mild soap. Keep your piece away from extreme temperatures or humidity. Waxes dissolve in alcohol, so using wax on bars is not advisable!

Can I apply another clear protective material over Soft Wax?

Once Annie Sloan Soft Wax is applied, no other protective finish can be applied to your project. Attempting to add another coating, such as Annie Sloan Lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane, over a wax finish is futile.

I placed a water glass on my new finish and it left a mark. How do I repair this?

Annie Sloan Soft Wax offers water resistance but it is not waterproof. Spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. If spills remain on the surface, the moisture can penetrate through the wax coating and leave a mark. These marks typically disappear as the moisture evaporates, but if not you can use a bit of Soft Wax on a soft cloth to rub it out.

I want to apply another layer of Soft Wax for additional protection. Will this cause the wax to build up, making the surface sticky?

Annie Sloan Soft Wax builds up only if you fail to remove all of the excess wax after each application. Each time you apply a new coat of wax, the solvents in it dissolve the underlying wax, making one new mixture. When you remove all of the excess wax you will be left with the wax that is stuck on the surface. It’s easy to remove the excess wax by wiping it away with a clean absorbent cloth. You will want to have several cloths on hand and switch to a clean one when your old one becomes clogged with wax.

My finish feels sticky and leaves fingerprints. What can I do?

Don’t worry if this happens. It is easily fixed by simply applying another thin layer of wax. The new layer of wax will soften or “melt” the underlying wax. Work in manageable sections at a time and remove all of the excess wax with clean soft cloths as your go. Have several cloths available and change to a clean cloth when the old one becomes clogged with wax.

How do I clean my brush after I have used it to apply Soft Wax?

Brushes used to apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax can be easily cleaned with very warm water and a grease cutting soap. This method is good if the wax is still fresh on the brush. If you find the wax has hardened, soak the bristles in low-odor mineral spirits for approximately 5 minutes to dissolve the wax, and then wash the brush. Allow the mineral spirits to evaporate before disposing the container.  For a more ecologically friendly way, use Scrubby Soap (all natural, citrus scent,
built-in netting) or Big Fat Lye/Little White Lye Soap (all natural, unscented, built-in conditioner.) 


Does Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan actually contain chalk?

First and foremost, the Chalk Paint® brand name does not reference the ingredients of the paint, but rather, its finish. Like many paints, Chalk Paint® decorative paint contains calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate can be obtained from many sources including, limestone, chalk, and marble. In addition to those natural sources, calcium carbonate can be synthetically produced. While the Chalk Paint® decorative paint formula is a highly-protected trade secret, we can say that the calcium carbonate used in Chalk Paint® decorative paint is derived from a number of sources, including U.S. limestone quarries.


What about other paints that contain chalk? Can’t they be called ‘Chalk Paint’ too?

To begin, the Chalk Paint® brand name does not reference the ingredients of the paint, but rather, its finish. Chalk Paint® is Annie Sloan Interiors’ brand of decorative paint. It is not a generic good.

There has never been a collective name for paints that contain chalk, probably because their properties vary so much. Historically, there have been traditional paints that contain whiting ('whiting' is the equivalent of chalk in the paint-making world), such as gesso and calcimine or distemper. There are also paints made with lime, such as whitewash. In modern times, calcium carbonate is used in all manner of emulsions, eggshell, acrylic and latex paints. While they may have some ingredients in common, all of these paints will behave in different ways and achieve different finishes.

So I can't make my own ‘Chalk Paint’ at home?

No, Chalk Paint® is Annie Sloan Interiors’ brand of decorative paint, which draws on a lifetime of research and experience in working with paint and color. Chalk Paint® is not simply a paint with chalk added to it. It is not made by adding Plaster of Paris or grout or even baking soda to an existing paint. Making your own paints at home can be a lot of fun, so for inspiration and ideas on paints that you can make at home, please refer to one of Annie Sloan’s many books about making paint and traditional paint recipes.

 Where is Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan made?

All Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan sold at Simpler Times is made right here in the USA, by Davis Paint Co, in Kansas City, Missouri.