How to Apply Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Top Tips and Tricks and FAQs

Aug 5, 2020

How to apply Annie Sloan Chalk Paint FAQs

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a unique decorative paint for furniture, walls and paint effects. We are Interior Designers and Furniture Painters and have been Annie Sloan Paint stockists for 5 years and been using it for over a decade. Here are our top tips and hacks on how to apply it and get great results. Along with a few frequently asked questions for beginners to furniture painting.

Getting Started

Chalk Paint is super easy to use, there is no need to prime or sand, you can apply to virtually any surface.

Make sure the surface is clean

On a high gloss or shiny surface lightly scuff sand to give the paint something to grip to otherwise paint straight onto the surface. 

Open the tin and give it a good stir.

Dip in your brush and apply.

Two coats is usually enough to get great coverage. The only exception to this is Pure White, see our blog post on "Painting Furniture Pure White - The Best Method"

Old White painted onto pallet wood wall

Chalk Paint Drying Times

Because Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is water based drying times depend on the atmosphere. As a general rule in the UK each coat will take 30-45 minutes to dry. 


Chalk Paint should be sealed with either soft wax or lacquer to protect and finish.


Always use Annie Sloan Soft Wax with Annie Sloan Paint in order to keep the colour pure and not discoloured. We recommend using a wax brush to apply for the best results but you can also use a cloth if you don't have one. The small wax brush is the most versatile but if you have a large piece of furniture to tackle such as a wardrobe or bed frame then the large will save to time. Work the clear wax over the dried paint and wipe away excess with a lint-free cloth (an old tea towel or pillow case work well). We recommend applying two coats to ensure you have the piece of furniture completely covered.

You can leave it as it is for a matt finish or wait 24 hours then buff to a high shine.

Wax will be touch dry within a few hours but will take up to 3 weeks to cure completely. You can use your furniture during this time but be careful with it as it can chip or scratch. 

If you want to apply a dark or black wax (for an aged or industrial look) then apply after the clear wax and make sure you wear gloves as it can stain your hands. See our top tips video on how to apply dark wax.

White wax gives a beautiful soft scandi look, it can be applied directly onto the paint or over clear wax. 

Applying wax with a brush


Lacquer is available in gloss or matt finish and can be applied with a flat brush or a microfibre roller. You will need to apply two coats, make sure the lacquer is very well stirred prior to application to avoid cloudiness. 

If applying lacquer over a dark colour such as Oxford Navy or Graphite leave the pice of furniture to dry for at least 48 hours before application as these darker colours can get a milky look if moisture is trapped in. 

For ultra durability on high use areas such as table tops Annie recommends two coats of gloss lacquer followed by a single coat of matt lacquer.

For outdoor furniture do not use wax, only lacquer. 

Outdoor furniture painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and lacquer

How far will one tin go?

The coverage is very good with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a one litre tin will cover 13 square metres which is about a 2 cupboard dresser, or two medium sized chest of drawers. A project pot contains 120ml which is enough to give you an idea of the colour, you can usually stretch it out to cover a small bedside table or coffee table as an example. 

Annie Sloan Oxford Navy Chalk Paint Sideboard

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Colours

The Chalk Paint Colour Card is designed to help you decide on which colours to use for your project. There is a great variety from a subtle range of neutrals through to bright colour pops. Because Chalk Paint is pigment based you can also mix your own colours to create the perfect match for your home.

Top Tip: If you're mixing a bespoke colour, always make 20% more than you think you'll need, just in case you need to do an extra coat or touch it up later on. 

Annie Sloan Colour Chart

How to Achieve a Smooth Finish

Make sure that the surface you are painting is smooth to start with, use a sanding pad or sand paper to remove any bumps or dinks. 

You can add a little water to the paint to make it more viscous, this is particularly important if you're using a tin that has been previously opened. 

Paint gently, the lighter the touch the smoother the finish. 

Once the paint is dry you can sand gently to remove any brush marks.

Finish as usual with wax or lacquer. 

Smooth Finish desk in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Provence

Decorative Finishes

There is a beautiful range of finishing touches that can add detail to your furniture such as metallic gilding waxes in copper, warm gold, bright gold, dark silver and bright silver. Pearlescent glaze for a pearly look, craqueleur for an aged effect like crazed china, gilding metals and gold size. Your imagination is your only limit. 

Annie Sloan Gilding on wall with aubusson blue cupboards

Painting Kitchen Cupboards with Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint can transform old, tired kitchen cabinets. It even works on melamine and laminated cupboards. Make sure the surface is spotlessly clean before applying paint, use sugar soap and rinse well. Build up thin layers of coverage on shiny surfaces and allow time to completely dry between coats. Always protect and finish with wax or lacquer. 

Kitchen cabinets painted in Annie Sloan Antibes Green

Chalk Paint Outdoors

Chalk Paint can also be used outdoors and is perfect for transforming hard surfaces such as brick, stone, terracotta and concrete. See our blog on Terracotta Pot Makeover Projects for a step by step guide. You can also paint Summer Houses, sheds and even fences with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, all garden furniture should be given two coats of lacquer to protect after painting. 

Front Door Painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Amsterdam Green

Chalk Paint on Walls

Chalk Paint is breathable so is therefore ideal if you have an older property and are painting over lime plaster or other surfaces that need to breathe and it gives a beautiful velvet matt finish, there is no need to seal.  For a more durable and wipeable finish seal with lacquer or wax. 

Annie Sloan Chateau Grey Chalk Paint on walls

Chalk Painted Floors

Chalk Paint is a quick and easy way to makeover wooden or concrete floors, even if they've previously been painted or varnished. You can create a white-wash effect on wooden floorboards by diluting the paint and applying and wiping back, once dry seal with lacquer. You can paint concrete floors and create a tiled effect with stencils for maximum impact! Always seal floors with lacquer. 

 Floor Painting in Napoleonic Blue and sealed with gloss lacquer

Washing Brushes

Chalk Paint is water-based so there is no need to use chemicals to clean your brushes and rollers, simply rinse under the tap until the water runs clear and then hang to dry naturally. To clean wax brushes use warm water and a small amount of dish-soap to remove all traces of wax, dry with the handle upwards to ensure that the ferrule of the brush does not rust. Make sure wax brushes are completely dry before using. 

Tools Checklist

  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in a colour or colours of your choice
  • A paint brush, we recommend a Small Round Bristle Brush for most projects, you get a good amount of paint on it so you get a better finish. The medium is good for large projects and the large is best for decorative techniques such as ombre or dry brushing. 
  • Either wax or lacquer depending on what look you want to achieve and where the piece of furniture is going to live and what it is used for. 
  • If you're using wax you'll need a wax brush, small is the most versatile for a variety of projects, large is better for big projects like a kitchen or wardrobe. You will also need some lint-free clothes for wiping off the excess, we use old sheets cut up into squares or tea towels. 
  • If you're using lacquer you will need a flat brush and/or a microfibre roller and frame
  • If you have lots of spindles or carved areas on your piece of furniture you might find the Annie Sloan Detail Brush Set good for getting into the fiddly bits
  • Clean Edge Painters tape is great for masking off the sides of drawers and inside cupboards.
  • Sanding paper is good for preparation and in between coats if you want an uber smooth finish.
  • Some sort of floor covering is good, dust sheets can stick to furniture, we like to use Antinox floor protection which is available at most builders merchants or large DIY stores.
  • Baby wipes are great to have on hand to wipe up any splashes and clean your hands with.
  • Remember to use gloves if using dark or black wax as it can stain your hands.

Have Fun! 

The great thing about chalk paint is that you can achieve so many different looks. If you decide after a while that you want to change the colour of a piece of furniture you can simply paint over it. There is no need to remove the wax or lacquer, just get painting. If you're not sure whether to paint something or not then perform a small patch test or grab a project pot and paint a piece of wood to see what the colour will look like in that room. 

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is certified toy safe, it is a highly versatile paint that can be used for many projects. Why not have a go at making your own eco wrapping paper with kraft brown paper and get crafty with potato prints.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Potato Print Christmas Wrapping Paper

If you want to find out more have a look at our Youtube Channel for video demos or to come along to one of our workshops

Happy Painting

Steph & Stu



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