Sometimes, the best products are not the most well-known or popular. This is certainly the case with Renaissance Chalk Paint, a product that stands out due to its fantastic richness, ease of application and overall high level of quality.
Most people who are into home improvement and similar activities will agree with me when I say that using chalk paint can be intimidating.
Should it be, though?
As it turns out, as long as you know how to do it properly, painting with chalk paint can be even easier than doing it with regular paint. What is more, using chalk paint correctly can give you fantastic and beautiful results. Of course, choosing the right product for the job is essential.
With that in mind, in this buyer’s guide, I will review seven of the best chalk paint products on the market. In addition, I will provide useful information about chalk paint in general. Hopefully, all this will help you give new life to your furniture.
Renaissance Chalk Paint
|Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint
|FolkArt Chalk Paint
|DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint
FOR PAINT GUN
|Chalky Chicks Chalk Paint
|Chalked Country Paint
|KILZ Interior Chalk Paint
1. Renaissance Chalk Paint – Best Overall Chalk Paint
If you are looking for a chalk paint that can be used by amateurs and experts alike, look no further. Easy to use while capable of producing professional results, the Renaissance Chalk Paint can be a great option for anyone looking to give new life to old pieces of furniture.
Featuring a rich formula that’s thick and sumptuous at the same time, the Renaissance Chalk Paint offers great coverage and saturation. As a matter of fact, this paint doesn’t usually require the application of a second coat. Its formula contains high-quality ingredients that ensure durability as well as resistance to external elements.
Even more than that, this chalk paint product was specially designed to provide easy and full coverage for either furniture or cabinets. As if all that wasn’t enough, its formula dries very quickly, allowing you to apply wax or additional coats within the hour of the first application.
- Thick and rich.
- Comes in 45 different colors.
- Comes in a variety of sizes, including a full gallon.
- Smooth, chalky finish.
- Quick-drying action.
- Specifically designed for furniture and cabinets.
- Dries very quickly.
- Does not require priming.
- Comes in a wide variety of sizes.
- Comes in a great variety of colors.
- Very affordable.
- Contains no VOCs.
- Self-leveling chalk paint product.
- Easy to apply and clean.
- Its thickness makes it difficult to apply with a spray gun.
- It may clump if it’s not thinned.
- Container is difficult to open and close.
Choose the Best Renaissance Furniture Paint colors chart and check the price
Taking everything into account, it’s easy to see why the Renaissance Chalk Paint is the top product in this list. Despite being remarkably affordable, this fantastic product is rich and sumptuous. What is more, it provides fantastic coverage and saturation. The fact that it comes in a wonderful variety of colors and sizes is the cherry on top of the cake.
2. Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint – Spray Chalk Paint Option
Rust-Oleum is a brand that’s mostly known for its automotive-related products. Their commercial and industrial paint products are incredibly high-quality. Of course, that includes the Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint.
Those who are looking for chalk paint that’s practical and easy to use would be remiss not to give this product a chance. Smooth, consistent and featuring a creamy finish, the Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint can certainly help you with your furniture renovation projects. The paint’s various colors are bright, and they saturate opaque surfaces fairly easily.
What is more, this paint offers great coverage capabilities, allowing you to get away with applying a single coat in most cases. Considering all these benefits, the Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint’s affordable price is all but shocking.
- Comes in different presentations, including a spray can.
- Dries to the touch in 30 minutes or less.
- Requires minimal preparation.
- Low odor.
- Low toxicity.
- Allows cleaning with water and soap.
- Very affordable.
- Can be applied in different ways.
- Ultra-matte finish is very dry.
- Very easy to clean.
- Latex base is thin and watery.
- Only comes in 12 different colors.
- Contains a small amount of VOCs.
Choose the Best Rust-Oleum chalk paint colors chart and check the price
Having gone through all the benefits and features that this product has to offer, it’s easy to understand why it’s so popular among casual and professional renovators. Despite its high level of quality, the Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint is very affordable. Despite being latex-based, the substance has great adhesion properties. Even better, one can provides 150 square feet of coverage.
3. FolkArt Chalk Paint – Best Budget Chalk Paint
Sometimes you will need chalk paint to renew or decorate small objects. If that is the case, purchasing a high-quality chalk paint product that comes in a small presentation may be the best choice. How does an 8-ounce bottle sound?
The FolkArt Chalk Paint was specially designed to be used on smaller objects. This makes it a great option for enthusiasts of arts and crafts projects, including miniature painting. Still, this product is versatile enough to be used in a variety of projects, including furniture renovation, as long as you have enough of it.
Luckily, the FolkArt Chalk Paint is very affordable. That doesn’t mean it’s a cheap product, though. Despite its low price, this chalk paint boasts a rich formula. If you decide to use it, though, take into account that its coverage is not great, requiring you to apply more coats in order to get the right level of saturation.
- Comes in an 8-ounce jar.
- Over 40 colors to choose from.
- Great for hobby and miniature painting.
- Completely non-toxic.
- Ultra-matte chalk finish.
- Comes in many different colors.
- Very affordable.
- Does not contain dangerous chemicals.
- Very easy to clean.
- Matte, chalky finish.
- Does not provide much in terms of coverage.
- Takes a long time to dry.
- Too thick to be used with a spray paint gun.
Choose the Best FolkArt colors chart and check the price
All in all, the FolkArt Chalk Paint is a great option for hobbyists, particularly when they are working within a tight budget. Despite its affordability, this chalk paint product has many benefits to offer. In particular, it’s worth mentioning how its formula is rich and saturates very nicely despite being somewhat thin. Its thinness has the unfortunate side-effect of sub-par coverage.
4. DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint – Best Chalk Paint for Furniture
If you are looking for a chalk paint product with a unique style and a niche sort of quality, look no further. This charming product by DecoArt Americana has a vintage look and feel that’s hard to resist.
The first thing you will notice about this ultra-matte chalk paint is its wonderful consistency. Thick and sumptuous, the pain can quickly and easily cover the grain of the wood while producing intense, bright saturation levels. Another great thing about its formula is that it’s powerfully adhesive and compatible with a wide variety of materials.
Self-leveling, the product is capable of producing smooth, consistent and homogeneous results without losing the slightly rugged nature of chalk paint. At this point, I should also mention that this product is great for creating distressed looks.
- 41 different colors.
- Inter-mixable colors.
- Thick consistency.
- Can be used on metallic surfaces.
- Produces a unique ultra-matte look.
- Rich and thick consistency.
- Great for creating distressed and vintage looks.
- Comes in 41 inter-mixable colors.
- Great for combining with sealing waxes.
- Great saturation capabilities.
- Only comes in 8-ounce jars.
- Somewhat pricey.
- Produces strong odors.
Due to its unique formula, the DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint can be a good choice for people looking to renovate and spruce up vintage-style furniture. In fact, its consistency and homogeneity make this a good option for furniture in general. I should also note that the fact that it’s easy to distress allows this paint to be used for creating vintage looks.
5. Chalky Chicks Chalk Paint – Best Chalk Paint for Spray Paint Gun
Most chalk paints out there are too thick to be comfortably used with a spray paint gun. Luckily, there are some options available for spray enthusiasts. Introducing the Chalky Chicks Chalk Paint, a high-quality product with practical applications.
Even though it’s a very small brand, Chalky Chicks has been gaining popularity due to its high level of quality. In particular, it is well-liked among renovation and crafts enthusiasts that enjoy working with spray paint guns.
The reason for this is that its consistency hits a great balance in terms of consistency. Not too thick, the product is easy to apply and very versatile. It’s not too thin either, even allowing for single-coat applications.
- Thin enough to be used with spray paint guns and rollers.
- Very low VOC contents.
- Does not require priming.
- Comes in 44 different of colors.
- Adheres to a variety of materials.
- Very easy to apply.
- It can be used with rollers or spray paint guns.
- It comes in many different colors.
- Provides good coverage.
- Requires waxing.
- Too thin for distressing.
- Only comes in small jars.
Choose the Best Chalky Chicks colors chart and check the price
Undisputable, this chalk paint is pricier than most. Its high level of quality and unique charm compensate for this fairly well. Generally speaking, this is a great product if you are looking for a thinner product that can be applied using a roller or a spray paint gun.
6. Chalked Country Paint – Best Chalk Paint for Cabinets
Created by a small company in Battle Creek, Michigan, Chalked Country Paint has risen to prominence due to its fantastic level of quality. Today, the brand’s products are sold in the entire country.
The Chalked Country Paint stands out due to its colors. While their variety is not too large (50 colors), each of these colors is incredibly vibrant and rich. The consistency of the paint is very satisfying, hitting the sweet spot between thick and thin. , the product’s formula is viscous enough to make priming unnecessary in most cases.
You should note, though, that if you want to produce a very smooth finish, sanding the surface prior to painting can be a good idea. It’s also worth noting that this paint is non-toxic and can be cleaned with soap and water.
- Does not require priming or prepping.
- Ultra-adhesive formula.
- Easy-distress formula.
- 50 colors available.
- Easy to clean.
- Comes in a wide variety of colors.
- Very easy to clean.
- Completely non-toxic.
- Self-leveling qualities.
- Comes in different size presentations.
- More expensive than most chalk paints.
- Requires waxing.
- Requires thinning.
Choose the Best Chalked Country Paint colors chart and check the price
Due to its consistency and adhesiveness, the Chalked Country Paint can be a great option for those looking to give their furniture a vintage, old-school look. Smaller items such as cabinets can be spruced up quickly and easily using this product. As a matter of fact, this is the best chalk paint for kitchen cabinets on the market. Its sheer thickness will force you to thin it before you can successfully apply it.
7. KILZ Interior Chalk Paint – Best High-Coverage Chalk Paint
Rejuvenating a piece of furniture means covering old paint and finishes. If that is your situation, you need chalk paint with great coverage capabilities.
Ultra-matte and very viscous, the KILZ Interior Chalk Paint offers fantastic coverage. This makes it great for upcycling furniture and other interior design projects. At the same time, its adhesiveness and self-leveling properties make it a great option for external painting as well. In fact, the KILZ Interior Chalk Paint is the best chalk paint for wall in this list.
Depending on the look you want to achieve, you may apply a single coat or more. This versatility certainly adds to the value of the product. Whatever you decide, this paint dries evenly and achieves a very homogenous finish.
- Specifically designed for upcycling furniture.
- It requires little or no preparation.
- Compatible with KILZ Clear Sealing Wax.
- Dries in one hour.
- Allows a new coat in two hours.
- Offers a very high level of coverage.
- It can be easily cleaned with soap and water.
- Produces great results when used in combination with sealing wax.
- It does not require surface prepping.
- Chips off easily if not waxed.
- Color may change dramatically after drying.
Taking into account the properties of this product, I can confidently say that KILZ is the best brand of chalk paint for projects that require extreme coverage. Despite its thickness and richness, the paint dries impressively quickly. Even better, it dries evenly and consistently throughout the entire surface without losing that matte, chalky charm.
How to Choose the Best Chalk Paint – Buyer’s Guide
Before buying any particular brand of chalk paint, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of how this product works. Being aware of the important factors that differentiate products from each other will allow you to make a wiser choice. Take the following into account:
In essence, all paints are simply a mixture of chemicals in different proportions. What truly defines the product, is the base formula that is used to make it. This formula will determine the great majority of the physical properties of the paint. This includes its thickness, its application properties, its drying time, its resistance to external elements, its durability, and various others.
Regarding chalk paint specifically, there are two main types of bases that can be used: latex and acrylic. The main difference between them is the amount of vinyl in them.
To be clear, when people talk about latex-based paint, they are usually referring to water-based paint that includes a certain amount of acrylic or vinyl. Typically, this type of pain is a lot more affordable than acrylic chalk paint. Its level of quality is normally inferior as well.
In particular, vinyl-based paint is a lot thinner than its acrylic counterpart. As such, it needs more applications in order to get the same level of saturation. As if that wasn’t enough, vinyl latex chalk pain tends to be less durable and resistant to external elements.
Typically, acrylic chalk paints are considered to be the highest in quality. The reason for this is that their formulas contain a much higher concentration of acrylic resins and much less vinyl. As a result, acrylic chalk paints tend to be better than their latex counterparts in practically every way possible.
What makes acrylic chalk paint different?
For one, it is thicker, resulting in better saturation with every coat of paint. What is more, acrylic chalk paint is a lot more durable than latex chalk paint. In fact, most acrylic paints do not need a protective coating in order to remain in place for a long time after application. Unfortunately, acrylic chalk paint is also significantly more expensive than vinyl latex chalk paint.
Pre and Post Painting
Chalk paint brands advertise their products as not needing any kind finishes or treatments either before or after application. That is not always the case. Generally speaking, this type of paint holds up wonderfully as long as the painted surface doesn’t come in contact with people, animals or external elements vary. Realistically speaking, that is very rarely the case.
Priming is the umbrella term for preparing a surface before painting it. More than not, priming is done by applying a coat of special paint design to help the main paint adhere to the surface and saturate it. That is not all there is to it, though.
Most of the time, priming a surface will also require you to either sand it down or scuff it up. Depending on the type and the condition of the surface you are trying to paint, you may have to take such steps even before applying the priming product.
After you finish applying the chalk paint to the surface of your choice, it may be necessary to apply a finish. Due to differences in their formula, some chalk paints are more durable and resistant than others. Typically, formulas with high levels of acrylic resin are more durable. Meanwhile, water-based formulas tend to be less durable.
If you have reasons to believe your chalk paint may not be as long-lasting as you need, it may be a good idea to apply a finish to improve its durability and resistance.
Normally, chalk paint requires using a special type of wax in order to resist whatever life throws at it. Some chalk paints have rich formulas that are capable of withstanding anything without the help of a finishing wax product.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Over time, we have come to learn that some compounds found in paint are hazardous to human health. Some of these compounds are VOCs, otherwise referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds.
Volatile Organic Compounds are the oxidized by-product of a paint’s formula after it has been exposed to the oxygen in the air over long periods of time. Sadly, VOCs are carcinogenic, meaning they can increase the risk of people getting certain types of cancer. For that reason, it’s best to get a chalk paint that contains as little VOCs as possible.
The consistency of chalk paint is hugely important. It depends on the formula. As previously mentioned, whether the paint is vinyl latex or acrylic latex will greatly affect its consistency.
The consistency of any given chalk paint will affect various different factors, including its application, its saturation and the number of coats that will be needed in order to fully cover a surface.
On the other hand, thinner paints can be a lot easier to apply using certain methods such as spray paint guys or rollers. Thinner paints will crack or chip a lot easier than paints with more consistency. As a result, it is necessary to apply a protective coat on top of them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chalk Paint?
Chalk paint is a special type of paint that has a characteristic matte finish. Its look and feel make it a great option for vintage pieces of furniture and other surfaces with lots of texture and detail. Due to its special formula, chalk paint works very well over other paints.
How Should Chalk Paint Be Used?
More than not, chalk paint is used to provide a matte, vintage look to pieces of furniture. It can transform a mundane bedroom dresser into a truly standout piece. It can also be used to paint a room and give it an old-school, antique style.
One of the best things about chalk paint is that it can be applied directly over previous layers of paint. Instead of hurting, these previous layers of paint can help give the chalk paint a slightly distressed, more textured look. The thickness and consistency of this type of paint make it possible to cover basically anything with ease. As a matter of fact, depending on its color, you may get away with applying only one coat of chalk paint.
What is the Best Way to Apply Chalk Paint?
There are different ways to apply chalk paint. Apart from simply using a brush, you can apply it with a spray paint gun or a roller. Due to the thick consistency of this kind of paint, those methods of application may not be the most effective. In the end, using a good paintbrush is still the best way to apply chalk paint to any surface.
What Happens If You Don’t Wax Chalk Paint?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not always necessary to apply wax to surfaces that were chalk painted. In some cases, doing so can help prolong the durability of the paint job as well as preserving its saturation and smoothness. If you decide to use a latex-based chalk paint that’s remarkably thin, applying wax after the fact that be of great help.
How Should You Paint Furniture With Chalk Paint?
In order to successfully paint furniture with chalk paint, follow these steps:
1. Clean the Piece
Before applying chalk paint to a piece of furniture, it’s not necessary to strip off old paints or finishes from it. It is necessary to clean its surface. To do this, simply apply water and soap. Don’t use furniture wax. It will not mix well with the chalk paint.
2. Apply the Chalk Paint
When working with chalk paint, you don’t have to be particularly careful with your application technique. As you can probably imagine, that means that you don’t have to use a specific type of paintbrush. Use anything that you are comfortable with as long as it’s clean and its bristles don’t fall off with ease.
3. Sand Lightly (Optional)
If you want to create a distressed, vintage look, try sanding the surface of the furniture lightly after the paint has dried completely. To do this, use fine-grit sandpaper. Also, make sure not to apply too much pressure as you sand. Remember that your goal is to create a slightly distressed look and not to sand through to the wood.
4. Clean Again
If you decided to sand the surface of the furniture, it will be necessary to clean it again after. To do this, use a damp towel, running it across the surface in order to pick up any dust that you created while sanding.
5. Apply the Finishing Wax
If you think applying a finishing wax is necessary, do so at this point in the process. Before applying the wax, make sure that the surface of the furniture is completely dry. Use a brush different from the one you used to apply the chalk paint. There are paintbrushes that were designed specifically to apply finishing waxes. Apply the wax generously on one small section of the surface at a time. Make sure you don’t miss any sections.
Why Use Chalk Paint Instead of Regular Paint?
There are various different reasons why you may want to use chalk paint instead of regular paint. As previously mentioned, chalk paint is thicker and more consistent than regular paint, which may be more fitting for a particular job. Also due to its consistency, chalk paint is self-leveling, making it easier to apply. Chalk paint is also better for creating distressed, vintage looks. As if all that wasn’t enough, chalk paint doesn’t require priming or finishing.
How Can You Remove Chalk Paint?
Removing chalk paint is almost as easy as applying it. To do it, follow these steps:
Remove the Paint
First, apply some mineral turpentine to a sponge and scrub down the surface of the furniture. From time to time, pour some water on the surface. If possible, do this outside while the sun is shining so that the sunlight helps dry the surface as you work. Repeat this process until the paint is gone and the wood becomes clearly visible.
Sand the Furniture
After you have eliminated as much paint as possible, sand the surface of the furniture down using 150-grit sandpaper. Remember to always follow the direction of the grain in order to avoid damaging the wood.
If possible, apply Danish oil to the piece of furniture using a lint-free cloth. Let the oil be absorbed by the wood and then re-apply it. Repeat this process at least two more times. This process will help bring out the natural beauty of the wood’s grain.
Is Chalk Paint Durable Enough For Your Kitchen Table?
More than not, chalk paint brands will advertise their products as not needing any type of priming or finishing. If you want to chalk paint a piece of furniture that people will touch and interact with, that may not be enough. A kitchen table is a great example of an object that people touch and interact with. If this is the case, you should apply a finishing wax or any other type of protective coating after the painting.
How Can You Get Rid of Brush Strokes?
Unfortunately, due to its consistency, chalk paint is not very easy to level off. Most people use chalk paint precisely because of its uneven and peculiar texture. In other words: Trying to get rid of the brush strokes on chalk paint is not worth the hassle.
How Can You Get a Smooth Finish With Chalk Paint?
If you want to get a truly smooth finish when using chalk paint, it’s very important to take a few steps before applying the paint. First, you should fill any holes and gaps in the wood with putty. Then, you should sand the surface of the wood with great care. After that, you should apply a high-quality primer to the entire surface of the piece of furniture you want to have painted. The goal is to have a smooth, consistent piece of wood. Only after all that is done you should start applying the paint.
How Can You Distress Chalk Paint?
There are various different ways to create a distressed look on chalk paint. After all, distressing is all about creating a bit of chaos on a painted surface. One of the best ways to do it is by using steel wool. Simply rub the steel wool on specific spots of the wood’s surface. This step is all about creativity.
How Long Should You Let Chalk Paint Dry Before a Second Coat?
Depending on the brand and type of chalk paint you are using, drying time may vary. Generally speaking, You should let at least 24 hours go by before applying a second coat of paint to your project.
Criteria Used to Review Chalk Paint Products
If you are wondering what my criteria are to review these chalk paint products, take the following into account:
Color and Brightness
When talking about paint, there is no doubt that color and brightness are terribly important. For that reason, I am taking these factors very much into account. Note that a paint’s color should be evaluated both before its application and after. The color and brightness of a paint product change slightly after it has dried.
When talking about chalk paint, consistency is terribly consequential. As a matter of fact, one of the main differences between chalk paint and regular paint is consistency. Good chalk paint should be thick and rich. It shouldn’t be too thick as that can make its application rather difficult.
No matter how good it looks, paint is not worth very much if it is not durable. Cheap and poorly manufactured chalk paints will start chipping and fading very quickly after application. On the other hand, high-quality chalk paint will maintain its color, vibrancy, smoothness and overall integrity for years after application.
Ease of Application
No one wants a paint that’s difficult to apply. Apart from making your job a lot harder, using chalk paint that is difficult to apply can bring about subpar results. Mostly, it’s about consistency. There are other factors that come into play, including viscosity and drying speed. All of that has been taken into account in these reviews.
As with anything, price is an important factor for judging the value of a chalk paint product. Note that water-based chalk paints tend to be a lot cheaper than acrylic-based chalk paints. As previously mentioned, the former tend to boast less quality than the latter.
Recommendations and Tips For Chalk Painting
- Use a good paintbrush: This can be said about any type of painting. Because it’s hard to level out, however, chalk paint can look hideous if it’s applied with a bad brush.
- Clean before painting: It’s very important that any wooden surface you attempt to chalk paint is perfectly clean. To clean it, use a lint-free cloth with water and soap.
- Sand or prime with care: In some cases, sanding and priming a wooden surface before painting it can dramatically improve the results. If you decide to do this, make sure that you are gentle enough not to damage the wood.
- Distress before sealing: If you are going for a distressed look, make sure to take the appropriate steps before waxing or otherwise-sealing the piece of furniture. If you attempt to distress the piece after waxing, you’ll get uneven results.
- Always cure wax or other sealers: If you decide to apply wax or other sealers to your piece, make sure to cure it for an appropriate amount of time. Normally, the cure time for waxes is between 10 and 20 days. In order to be sure of what you are doing, however, check out the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always buff waxed furniture: Whenever you decide to wax a chalk painted piece of furniture, make sure to buff it slightly after the fact. To do this, use 400-grit sandpaper. Be gentle and make sure to buff the entire surface of the piece evenly. This will help improve the smoothness of the surface while bringing out the brightness and saturation of the paint.
- About touchups: Sometimes you will notice slight imperfections even after waxing the piece. If this happens, do not worry. Simply use the same chalk paint and cover any imperfections. Then, apply wax and buff as you did before.
- About cleaning: If you have followed all the steps up to this point, cleaning your project should be very easy. To do it, simply use a clean lint-free cloth dampened in soapy water. Remember to always be gentle but firm.
After going over these seven chalk paints as well as general information regarding this type of product, it’s a lot easier to make judgments. Without a doubt, all the products featured in this guide are worth looking into.
However, it is clear that the best product on this list is the Renaissance Chalk Paint. Boasting a fantastic formula that’s free of toxic agents, superior consistency and an overall high level of quality, this product can help you achieve great results quickly and easily. As if that wasn’t enough, the product is one of the most affordable chalk paints on the market.