Tips and Tricks for Using Chalky Finish Paint

Posted by: on January 2nd, 2014 | 21 Comments
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Old Chair Restored Using Chalky Finish Paint


Chalky finish paint is an ultra-matte finish paint that’s getting a lot of attention from designers and DIYers. This is not chalkboard paint, by the way. That’s something totally different. Chalky paint is made for giving furniture or decorative pieces a high-end, professional finish. The Home Depot’s Americana® Decor™ chalky finish paint is great for giving new life to old pieces you might find at a flea market, or giving a luxe look to discount store furniture.

We wanted to find out what DIYers could do with our chalky paint. So we sent Americana Decor chalky finish paint to some of our favorite home improvement bloggers for our Paint Style Challenge.

Gwen Hefner is the creative mind behind The Makerista. She used The Home Depot’s chalky paint to rescue an old homeless chair she found. She shares a few tips on using the chalky finish paint to its full effect.


I’ve heard so much about chalky paint and been curious to try some myself, so I was thrilled when The Home Depot sent me a box of chalky finish paint to put to the test. As any good thrifter and DIY’er, I had a large collection of projects stacking up (much to my husband’s chagrin) and several of them got a fresh coat of paint thanks to the samples I received.

The Home Depot’s Americana® Decor™ chalky finish paint samples


I opened the box to find quite the array of colors to choose from. They were all really lovely, but I thought it might be fun to mix two of them for something a bit different.

I’ve been seeing plum in fashion a lot lately and traces of it in the fall leaves the last few weeks. Mixing the Romance and Treasure colors together created a nice, saturated result; so I filled a cup with 1 part Romance and 1 part Treasure and mixed it well with a spoon. I found this chair on the side of the road a few months ago, and had already given it some white primer, originally thinking I would do something lighter with the finish.


An old chair restored using chalky finish paint


I’ve read great things about the staying power and coverage of chalk paint. I figured a dark, rich color over a white primer would really test those claims. The first coat showed a lot of the primer, but that’s pretty normal with any paint.


Old chair after one coat of chalky finish paint


As it dried, it did start to smooth out.


Chalky finish paint smooths out after two coats


And after two coats I had complete coverage and this pretty finish with lots of character.


Adding wax to chalky finish paint on old chair


I thought some wax would add another dimension to the piece, so I tested out the Brown Creme Wax on a scrap piece of wood and liked the results.


 Brushing on wax finish to old chair restored with chalky paint


The key here was to not use too much. I gently brushed in the direction of the paint’s brushstrokes and let it dry for about 30 minutes. Then I took a rag and buffed the finish a bit, helping to remove any excess wax. I came back in with my sanding block and lightly took some of the wax off to bring back touches of the original color.


Old chair restored with chalky finish paint.

I’m really happy with the end result. The color is rich and sophisticated, yet the matte finish feels relaxed. The wax and paint strokes add depth and character.




I topped off the chair with some lilac ikat fabric. You can find a tutorial on simple bench and chair upholstery on my blog. Along with the chair, I added some of the Carbon color to the base of a dresser I just refinished and a Beethoven bust I snagged for 10¢ at an estate sale.




I really love the contrast of the high gloss, white paint from Rust-Oleum and brass knobs with the matte black base.


Tips and Tricks for Using Chalky Finish Paint


I would highly recommend this paint to anyone looking for a low odor, quick-drying, matte finish with some character. I can’t seem to stop using it, even painting the plastic pot of this little Christmas tree!

Gwen calls herself a “Jane of all trades,” who enjoys making just about anything. She lives with her husband, two children and black Labrador in Missouri. Read her tips and tricks for decorating, entertaining and living on her blog The Makerista

Our whole line of Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint is available online at The Home Depot. Download this brochure to learn more about this furniture and decor paint. You can also read more about chalky finish paint in our Paint Style Challenge series. And be sure to follow our All About Paint board on Pinterest.





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  1. Tina says:

    So I am a complete newbie when it comes to chalk paint – I figured this might be the place for me to get some advice. I’ve read you can make your own using latex and calcium carbonate which means you don’t need to add a finishing step and it is more durable. I am thinking of using this formula, without distressing it …. on my walls. Am I crazy? Can you do chalk paint walls? Can you do painting techniques like ragging with chalk paint on walls? Have I lost my marbles? Someone help a girl out.

  2. Ecard says:

    Hi all,

    I was given my grandmother’s Ikea buffet and want to revamp it with chalk paint. It is not real wood, it appears to be a mixture of particle board and veneer. Can I use chalk paint on it. Do I need to prime first, sand first? Will it adhere? Please help.

  3. Pam Stromberg says:

    I would love to use the chalk paint wondering if I need to sand down the old chairs I am redoing or if I can prime and paint right over the wood

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Pam.

      One of the best features of DecoArt’s Chalky Finish Paint is that sanding is not required. Just paint over the wood.

      That said, if you have bad scratches in the chair or perhaps some bad chipping of the paint, you still might want to do some sanding to smooth out those issues.

      But in general, you don’t need to sand.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

    • Nancy Fay says:

      There is a simple spray primer called “prep” . You needed to sprat it on lightly and wipe it off with a soft cloth. It’s easy and the prep has no odor. You do NOT need to sand. That’s what makes this chalk paint so great to use ! I actually painted my white kitchen cabinets ( not real wood) with a grey chalk paint and they looked terrific. No peeling . Go for it!

  4. Peggy Doll says:

    Loved the end results!!!

  5. Nicholas says:

    I’d never heard of this ‘chalky’ paint before, but I do have to say that I love the texture! That plum colour you created for the chair is amazing and I cannot wait to mix some together myself (I have a little girl who would love a toy box done in this colour). Thanks for sharing, looking forward to trying out this chalky paint for myself.

  6. I’ve been looking just for this kind of finish to make over a few retro pieces i have. The matte look seems to go well, but I didn’t want it to turn out “flat’. Thanks for sharing the perfect fit!

  7. Is this something the Homedepot might start carrying? And if so will it be all Homedepot’s? I would like to see them carry a chalk paint product.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Yes, The Home Depot does carry this brand of chalky paint.

      It’s a new product available online at <==click that link to see it online.

      It is also available in many Home Depot stores now. It will be in ALL Home Depot stores soon.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  8. Jennifer says:

    I was at a HD workshop last night and made a comment that the trunk would look good painted with the chalky paint and the paint expert had never heard of it! I educated the HD paint expert on their new product and they were not even carrying this product. I have not looked at other local stores, but is this only sold at bigger stores/cities?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Thanks for spreading the word about chalky paint!

      Don’t be too hard on the associate, though. The Americana Chalky Finish Paint is a new product exclusive to The Home Depot, and it’s being introduced to stores in stages. It’s not on the shelves of all 2000+ stores yet, but very soon all stores will carry it. Meanwhile, you can certainly find it in the virtual aisles of our online Paint Department.

      –Craig, from The Home Depot

  9. Julis says:

    How much paint does it take to cover a nightstand or a chair?

  10. I love the color you ended up with. Lovely lines on that chair. I do love me some chalk paint and think its great that Home Depot is now selling some too.

  11. I love how you created your own color! The chair looks great!

  12. ohhh! that color is delish! I love chalk paint, and would definitely give this a try :)

  13. I love chalk paint and have used it many times but have never tried Home Depots chalk paint. I will have to give it a try. The chair looks great.

  14. Great tip to mix the colors for your own shade! I didn’t get black in my kit….might have to pick one up! Great project…such a cute little chair!