Painting over chalk paint doesn’t have to be hard. Read on to find out the best and easiest tips to cover this popular paint finish.
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Confession, this dresser has been sitting inside my garage for 7 months!!! That’s a lot of time to take up valuable parking real estate, so my poor hubby had to deal with parking in the driveway. I know, first world problems right?
I had every intention of making over this dresser for my daughter’s room back in January, but well, one thing led to another, and I got easily distracted with building our new bathroom countertop cabinet. My husband affectionately calls my distractedness “squirreling”, I say it’s creative genius, and I like my term better. 🙂
Before we dive in to all the details of learning how to paint over chalk paint, I wanted to let you know that this post is part of my fun Thrifty Thursday Collaboration.
It’s one of my favorite days of the month where I team up with some other lovely DIY bloggers to bring you a little dose of inspiration to help you update your home on a budget! So make sure to check out the other great projects at the bottom of this post and show them some love.
Can you paint directly over chalk paint?
Chalkboard paint, milk paint, Annie Sloan chalk paint. They’re all just very similar names for different types of paint that have that irresistible matte finish.
And they’re that’s so famous for being easier to apply than latex paint or other regular paint.
And as easy as it is to paint a piece of furniture using chalk paint, it’s just as simple to paint over it when you’re craving a new color or look. It only took me a weekend to paint over a chalk painted dresser with a new beautiful high gloss paint.
But is it as easy as simply painting directly over the existing chalk paint finish? Sadly, no, but I promise it’s not as daunting of a task as you might think. I’ll go into all the details of how you can prep an existing chalk paint finish so that it’s primed and ready for several different types of paints you might choose to use.
I fell in love with this gorgeous antique dresser when I designed my daughters vintage nursery a few years ago. This was also around the same time that I became obsessed with the look of chalky paint and the versatility of it!
I mean, you can paint this stuff on anything! And no sanding required?! Whoa count me in!
And the chalky finish on this furniture piece lasted quite a long time.
But I was also craving a more modern updated look for my daughter’s new big girl room. Something with a sheen and a little dose of glam. So I was determined to learn how to paint over the existing chalk paint finish.
I found the perfect satin paint when I was painting our bathroom cabinets so I decided to give it a try with this dresser project. Look at this color! Isn’t it the most perfect shade of blush pink you’ve ever seen?!
I had it color matched to one of the floral wall decorations in my daughter’s room using the Benjamin Moore Advance Paint Line in a satin finish.
supplies NEEDED for painting over chalk paint
- Mineral Spirits or TSP Cleaner and Sponges
- Power Sander (Trust me it goes faster with this tool)
- 120 Grit Sandpaper
- Sanding Sponges/Blocks
- Paint of your choice
- Paint applicators (I used this spray gun, but foam rollers are a great alternative)
- *If using the spray gun I recommended, be sure to use a 211 spray tip for a fine thin paint finish
how to paint over chalk paint that has been waxed
For the best results you’ll want to make sure that you have all the proper supplies and don’t skimp on the prep work.
Chalk paint wax is typically used to seal chalk paint finishes and provide a soft sheen to it. It’s always a good idea to removed glossy topcoats of chalk-painted furniture so that your primer can really adhere to the surface.
And since I applied wax to this dresser when I originally painted it, I now I had to learn how it remove it.
It turns out, there’s really nothing a little TSP can’t remove. It’s recommended by a lot of painters I follow so I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
The TSP worked like magic! After mixing it with a little water, I found the best way to remove the wax was to use the scrubby side of a simple dish sponge and work it into the entire surface of the dresser. I then gave everything a good rinse with warm water and a soft cloth to remove any of the chemical residue that remained.
I’m. pretty impressed with how quickly it was able to remove the wax finish. The TSP worked great for me, but you might want to read through this post on paint degreasers to find the best option for you. I even included some very safe natural ingredient cleaners.
Once the piece was dry, I was ready to move onto sanding down the surface.
Can you paint over chalk paint without sanding?
You might be a little intimidated at the thought of removing coats of old paint on your furniture projects. And while you certainly can paint over chalk paint without sanding it, I don’t recommend it for several reasons.
Even though chalk paint has a naturally gritty texture, sometimes even acting as a primer, there are a lot of instances where you’ll still need to sand down the surfaces of your projects before applying a fresh coat of paint. This really does ensure the best possible durable finish for your piece.
Old furniture comes with a lot of memories, some that you probably want to forget. Like deep knicks and grooves, or even stained water rings from a lot of use.
Sanding down the chalk paint surface of your furniture before painting it, gives you the opportunity to remove those stained warped bubbles that can be caused from moisture exposure.
And while you’re at it, this is also a great time to fill in those deep gauges or chipped corners with wood filler.
Even I thought sanding would be the most tedious part of this paint project, but it turned out to be fairly easy.
Using a power sander was a simple way to drastically cut down on the time spent sanding. A lot of folks might be under the impression that you have to sand down to the bare wood finish to start painting over furniture. And even I made this mistake and wasted plenty of valuable time in my early furniture flipping days.
But you really only need to sand just enough to scuff up the existing chalk paint finish. This gives the primer something to grab onto once you apply it.
I recommend using a medium grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for primer. Anything between 100 -150 will work just fine to remove some of the existing chalk paint finish.
Lightly sanding in between your first and second coats of primer with a higher grit sandpaper (220) is also ideal to ensure the smoothest possible surface for your paint coats without removing too much of your freshly applied primer.
Once you’ve finished sanding make sure to thoroughly wipe down all surfaces to remove any dust residue. I had some fun with my husbands leaf blower and decided to blow all the dust away and then wipe it down.
Quick, and fun!
best painting practices
Now you’re ready to begin the best part! Start by applying a thin coat of primer to all surfaces. I used my new toy, err spray gun and it made this step go by way faster than a traditional hand painting method.
This is my go to paint sprayer for large projects because it really leaves you with a professional looking paint finish. No brush strokes to worry about here.
But I also swear by using a foam roller if you don’t have the luxury of a paint sprayer. Which by the way, is an extremely handy tool to invest in. (I really do love my paint sprayers, wink wink).
Whichever application method you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you apply a minimum of two coats of primer before you paint furniture.
Don’t feel that you need to apply it overly thick for full coverage. The first coat is always more of a sheer coverage, but you’ll be ready for paint after the second one.
Primer dries fairly quickly, so I was able to lightly sand down the first coat a few hours later. Using a sanding block or sponge simply go over all surfaces to remove any imperfections, drips, or rough spots. You’ll be amazed at how smooth the paint finish feels after!
This is another one of those important steps that you don’t want to skip. Primer tends to have a dry, matte, gritty texture to it. So if you don’t sand it to knock down some of that bumpy texture, then you’ll be left dealing with it in your final paint finish.
Unfortunately, I got a little too eager with the paint gun and applied it heavy in one area which caused some thick drips. Luckily the power sander was able to remove them fairly easily.
After you’ve applied a second coat of primer and allowed it to dry you’ll want to repeat the light sanding process again to prepare the surface for the finish coat of paint.
Painting the top coat of paint was a breeze since everything was nicely primed. For better results, I do recommend allowing your primer to cure and dry for at least a day before applying this final paint step though.
Painting your topcoat is essentially the same exact steps used in applying the primer. The only change I would suggest making is to allow a bit more drying time in between coats.
The paint I used is the Benjamin Moore Advance line. It’s a favorite among cabinet painters for it’s durability and sheen. It is however, a very thick and self leveling paint. Which means it’s extremely forgiving but requires a bit more drying time. For a DIY paint job, it sure does have a near flawless finish!
Just look at that Pink paint color! My daughter was so excited to see it and declared it was for her princess room. I don’t have to tell you that I seem to be raising a diva these days.
I was really excited to come across these gorgeous gold knobs for 2 reasons. One, they’re the perfect touch of glam for this blush pink dresser. And two, the old knobs were practically useless and my daughter couldn’t even grip them to open the dresser.
I’m beyond thrilled with how easy this dresser makeover turned out. And a little annoyed with myself for stalling so long to finish it.
How do you paint over chalk paint? (A quick recap)
- Prepare the surface by thoroughly cleaning it with TSP, mineral spirits, or another high-quality degreaser
- Make any necessary repairs to existing chips, gauges or raised water stains
- Lightly sand using a medium grit sandpaper
- Remove dust and debris with a tack cloth or warm soapy water
- Apply 2 thin coats of primer, lightly sanding in between using a high grit
- Allow primer to cure overnight
- Apply 2 thin coats of paint using the directions on your selected paint can. For best results, apply paint using an appropriate sprayer or foam rollers only.
more thrifty thursday projects!
- Coffee table makeover from A Well Purposed Woman
- Watercolor Lamp from The Inspired Decorator
- DIY Home Sign from Practical Whimsy Design
- DIY Bone Stencil Inlay from Windmill & Protea