Before You Start Painting with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan...

Q. How do I prep my piece?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint adheres to almost any surface, indoors and outside – and there’s rarely any need to sand or prime before painting

Most times simply dusting off the surface will do the trick. Wipe away any noticeable dirt and grime with a safe-to-use biodegradable cleaner and warm water. After that, rinse well, and let dry the surface completely.

There may rarely be times when you will need to sand to remove loose paint, rust, and other surface debris, or when the surface is glossy or made of melamine or laminate. Use medium or fine grit sandpaper and change it out when it becomes clogged; a fresh sheet makes the task at hand easier to accomplish.

If you are painting new, untreated wood, apply clear shellac to any knots and open grains to block tannins that can bleed up through your new paint layers. Simply wipe on one or two coats with a cloth pad. It dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting!

Q. What is the best way to apply Chalk Paint®?

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

Your brush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to have certain qualities. The bristles should be fairly long and flexible with a little bounce to allow you to be expressive in your work. Avoid brushes with bristles that are too soft, too short, or hard and inflexible.

Q. How do I find the perfect color for my project?

We have over 30 colors in the Chalk Paint® range, from soft and pale to bright and strong.Our range of colors is hugely flexible as you can mix colors together to extend the range and create endless possibilities.

If you want to make a color paler, add Old White or Pure White. Old White will give the color a softer vintage feel, and Pure White will make the color more modern.

Find out what ratio you need by experimenting – use your fingers to dab and mix colors or a teaspoon to make small amounts. Start with a dollop of your chosen color, slowly adding the Old White or Pure White. A dollop of Provence and two dollops of Old White gives you a ratio of 1 to 2, making a lovely pale, slightly aged turquoise like old faded French shutters. Use Pure White and the color is cleaner and fresher, giving a more vintage 1950’s look!

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

If you are working with new, untreated wood, you will need to apply clear shellac to any wood knots and open grains. One or two coats of shellac applied with a cloth pad will block any tannins that can bleed up through your new layers of Chalk Paint® decorative paint. This is particularly important on pine, oak, and certain types of mahogany.

Q. What is the easiest way to distress my finish for a more aged look?

Most finishes are best when just a bit of paint is rubbed away here and there using a fine grit sandpaper. This will be easier to do if you apply Chalk Paint® Wax first. This will also reduce any sanding dust, helping to keep your workspace clean.

Q. How do I clean my brushes after painting and waxing?

After painting with Chalk Paint®, wash your brushes with warm water to rinse out all the color. Use a gentle soap to remove any stuck-on bits of paint.

After waxing with Chalk Paint® Wax, wash your wax brush with very warm water and a grease-cutting soap, and rinse well.