Questions Often Asked About Chalk Paint™

Chalk Paint™ Questions and hopefully……Answers

What is Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan?

Chalk Paint™ is an incredible product specifically designed for furniture, and it can be used on walls and in painting leather couches, vinyl chairs, outside of tubs, refrigerators, and exterior surfaces such as doors and shudders (like on The Purple Painted Lady’s Palmyra store.). It is a water soluble paint (meaning a major component of Chalk Paint™) is water. So, when you think of a product being GREEN…think Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan!

Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan is also highly pigmented material that is made with little or no black. This is excellent when mixing colors since the end result will be true to hue and not muddy. Annie created it to produce an old-world, European look- but Chalk Paint™ has so much more versatility!

I don’t want my piece to be primitive or distressed- so I guess Chalk Paint™ is not for me.

Oh my- that is far from the truth! Chalk Paint™ is not a one dimensional paint! You can create many types of finishes and the paint has an incredible about of functionality within one quart. Want to create a textured surface? No problem. Want to create a super smooth surface? No problem. Want to sand your piece and get that shabby – French Country feel? No problem. But oh- you want to create a piece that will look perfectly cohesive in your modern home? NO PROBLEM! Chalk Paint™ is perfect also when you want to add depth and character versus just a plastic feeling, one dimensional surface. And it can be used to accommodate any design decor ranging from Mid-Century Modern, Contemporary to french Country, to Primitive. Your color choices and preference of how you “finish” your piece will influence what design style it will be.

Annie Sloan – being a fine artist herself, created her Chalk Paint™ based on her knowledge of paint, pigments and art history. Annie created Chalk Paint™ over 20 years ago, and in the last two decades, her Chalk Paint™ has been pushed and tested beyond probably what either you or I could imagine! So, when it comes to feeling secure in your decision to use Chalk Paint™ – know that you are not a beta test!

As for when it became available here in the US, although the paint was created over 20 years ago- it was around 2010 when Lisa Rickert – who is the proprietress of Annie Sloan Unfolded imported to use on her home in New Orleans.

What are the qualities that make Chalk Paint™ superior?

With Chalk Paint™ there is:

No Stripping

No Sanding

No Priming

and I often add……No kidding!

When you paint with latex paint – you must strip, sand and always prime! That requires a significant amount of your time and money when it comes to buying the materials to do this. Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan allows you to create a beautiful finished piece without doing all the extra work of stripping, sanding, and priming prior to painting and without sacrificing the quality. In fact- you are using a product that rivals any high end finish- and in fact- will be superior to it! The colors are beautiful, and are inspired from 18th Century European furniture. Chalk Paint™ is water soluble and has extremely low VOC’s. Due to this – it is considered a “kind” paint by Annie and virtually has no odor to it. One of The Purple Painted Lady’s Retail Partners, Blue Sky Design in Buffalo, NY only sells green building materials. And Blue Sky Design has chosen to include Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan to their suite of products! It is safe for you and the environment. <br

Ok- it states above “No Stripping, No Sanding or Priming” but you don’t believe it!
If you read this page from the beginning you realize- that I already stated this! But whenever I am doing a Home Show or festival- I will repeat this mantra over and over again. Only to have someone then immediately ask after listening, “so do I have to sand?” I know that this concept is difficult to believe- but the proof is in the pudding. So, YES!!!! Chalk Paint™ was designed to be very easy to use and it adheres to almost any surface including wood, concrete, walls, leather coaches, vinyl, washer & dryers, porcelain bathtubs …so just about anything! It can be used both outside and in. (But remember when using it for outdoor applications do NOT use wax.

Also, something amazing about Chalk Paint™- is that it provides 50% more coverage in regards to square feet of painting compared to latex.

Wax Top Coat? Why would I use wax versus polyurethane?

Chalk Paint™ is very porous and the wax will penetrate the paint and literally fuse with it making it very strong. Waxing the paint provides protection. Chalk Paint™ in nature- is a very flat chalky finish and over time could be effected by oils from your skin, stains from beverages, dirty fingertips. They can permanently stain the paint. The wax finish is what seals and protects your piece. This is a bit of a crude analogy, but if you have ever replaced the commode (toilet) in your bathroom, before placing the new commode down on the top of the sewer pipe, a thick wax ring is placed. And then, the commode goes on top of that and pressure is applied to “squish” the wax and seal it. Wax is used in many applications to protect materials. A perfect example of this is when we wax our cars.

Why should I use Annie Sloan waxes?

First off, Annie Sloan developed her waxes specifically for her Chalk Paint™ line. The wax is very smooth, like soft margarine or if you are in the south- Crisco! It is easy to use and contains very little odor. It does not contain harsh chemical solvents like quick drying agents so you are not breathing harsh chemicals into your lungs. Also, we have actually heard of other brands of waxes that have removed the paint right off the piece and can stain the paint. Annie Sloan waxes are guaranteed to work with her Chalk Paint™. And guess what- if later in life- you want to change the color of your piece- Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan goes directly over Annie Sloan Wax without sanding or priming!

I have never used wax before, how do I use it?
  Keep reading this post but also watch my video by clicking HERE!

If you are new to waxes, it does take a little bit of getting used to, but it really is easy. The most common mistake people make is to use too much. ? If all you take away from what I say and do is this…you will be ok! SO….take note …we are not icing a cake! We are waxing furniture. So, very thin – uniform coats are best. If that is all that you remember from this hand out- you should be ok! Just like when you put moisturizer on your skin- you do not put a thick coat on, but rather a THIN coat and rub it in- so that it will be absorbed into your skin. OR when you use hair conditioner…you apply it and the do what? Rinse it off. That is because your hair will absorb what it needs. Annie’s Chalk Paint will do the same thing in regards to the wax!
CLEAR WAX- this is how I use it:
1. I take a plastic spoon and a paper plate. Using the backside of the spoon- I take a good tablespoon amount of wax out of the tin and put it on the paper plate. (Place the cover back on the tin of wax until you need more)

2. I use my wax brush and pull some of the wax from the glob (for lack of better words.) Only the tips of your wax brush should have wax on them- and not a lot!!!! A little goes a long way! Again- you are not icing a cake where you want a generous amount of thickness. We are applying the wax very thin- pressing uniformly with steady pressure- but not so much that you are bending the bristles on the wax brush. I like to use the analogy that this is similar to waxing your car…you apply the wax- BUT NOT SO MUCH that when it is time to wipe it off or buff- you need a power tool to do it! So- apply a thin layer of wax and GET IT IN THE GROOVES OF THE PAINT.

3. DIRECTION TO APPLY WAX For most pieces (except when going for that Rustic look or when you have a textured piece) I usually apply the wax in the same direction as my painted brush strokes. Or- if I use a circular motion- I still ALWAYS finish with a few clean straight finishing strokes in the direction I painted. If I was doing a dresser top- I would start at the back reaching across while standing in front of the piece and as I apply the Annie Sloan wax – I work my way toward the front as so I don’t lean into a previously waxed area. You will see where you waxed prior because it does deepen the hue of the paint a slight amount but be aware of where you just waxed, and overlap slightly as you begin your next section.

4. After a few strokes from one side to the other with the wax brush- I will notice when the wax is not covering as much- that is my queue I need more wax. But first….using a lint free cotton t-shirt (an old one from my husband or an old sheet) and I wipe off the residual wax with one or two strokes in the same direction as I just waxed. (I am not buffing the wax at this stage! Merely just removing or incorporating any small wax “crumbs” that may be present.) Again- just one or two uniformed swipes across the whole area in one sweep – and that is it.

5. Resume waxing the next area- I wax strategically – meaning in an organized direction so I do not miss a spot.

6. The wax will dry (meaning no longer be tacky to the touch within a short time….maybe an hour or two?) However a variable in the dry time is the temperature and humidity where you are located. Is it is humid and cooler- cure time will be longer. If it is taking a long time and your wax is still tacky and you are not in the rain forest- reread my warnings above regarding applying the wax thin!

Depending on the piece I am finishing- I may have different amounts of wax coats. For instance…..a dresser. I may have 2 – 3 coats of wax on the top, but only 1 coat of wax on the sides and front. 7. Once the piece is no longer tacky- if you want to have a shinier finish- buff your piece. If you like it as is- then you are done! It does not take much rubbing and the piece will be quite shiny- so pay attention and have good lighting so that you do not over do it.
8. Remember NO WAX when painting pieces for outside.
9. Surfaces that will get serious use (wear and tear) like tops of dressers and tables – should receive 2 to 3 coats of wax. Follow the procedure above – always allow wax to dry between additional coats.
I will always lead my customers on a path to get the best value from their purchase. If a person walks in and is describing an application where another product would be better- I let them know! Now when it comes to tools- in the sense of brushes – I strongly believe that wax brush is a necessary purchase if you plan on doing multiple pieces. I understand that they are not inexpensive, but if you maintain them- they will last forever and will make your waxing process much faster and from a cosmetic perspective- will significantly improve your application! I always say- this is similar to applying make up. I honestly don’t think the applicator you choose for putting on eye shadow is a big deal- but try putting blush on with a skinny brush versus a nice big soft brush and you are going to look ridiculous. Invest in a wax brush and get a professional quality finish. You will not regret it.

The wax is important to protect the paint – like polyurethane does when using Latex. Also – in regards to water protection, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. In that case- you need something made from wax and or oil….ie.oil and water don’t mix. (and not to be too odd here- that is why when you install a new toilet- they set the piece on a very THICK wax ring) I have tested waxes that are water based and they just don’t work as they come off when you wipe them with a cloth! Petroleum wax, also known as paraffin wax, is a by-product of the petrochemical industry…it is a residual from another manufacturing process. Annie Sloan Wax upcycles… in that the petroleum by-product is used in our wax versus of it being disposed. It is a good and economical base for Annie Sloan’s wax and besides that- there is also bees wax (which comes from bees!) added to make it soft and carnauba wax (from a plant) to make it very water repellent. The paint because of its particular structure allows the wax to soak in- like quality skin lotion will on your body. This is why Chalk Paint and Annie Sloan waxes marry each other perfectly- they were created to do so and no other mixing of products will produce the same results.
Ideally- I do recommend a wax brush and that is because when you apply wax with a rag- often you will get uneven application. Why is that? To help you understand- take your two hands and press them together like you are praying. (go ahead and do it- no one is watching!) Pay attention to where the pressure is when you push your hands together. It is in the cushy part of your palm and at your fingertips…but not under your knuckles. Now you understand why people get peaks and valleys when using a rag. If you can afford a wax brush- I strongly recommend using one. You will get a much better even level of wax. So, with all that said, brush or wipe your clear wax on. I typically apply the wax in the same direction I applied the paint or taking my brush and making small circles. I do this strategically – starting at one end and working my way across the piece. I apply the wax in sections and rub off the excess before starting a new section. I typically use a lint free old white t-shirt or rags that you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot. And sometimes- I use cheesecloth to wipe off the excess wax. Once the clear wax has cured… can then accent areas with dark wax if you would like to, wiping off as you go. Wait until it is no longer tacky (usually a couple of hours or less) and buff to desired sheen. Wait 24 hours in between adding more layers of clear wax if you are building up a for a stronger finish. As for the application- I like to use the analogy of hair conditioner. When you wash your hair- you put on conditioner after the shampoo. And then what do you do? Immediately wash it all off! Why is that? Because your hair will absorb only what it needs and we rinse the rest away! Imagine leaving the conditioner on your hair with out washing it off- what would happen? You definitely won’t have a “Good Hair Day!”, that’s for sure!

Why do I need to wax it before I sand, that seems backwards?

When it comes to sanding the paint prior to wax to make the surface smoother- that is fine. I often do that and almost always distress with sand paper prior to waxing. (but keep reading to understand the pros vs cons on this!)

The only caveat to be aware of when sanding your painted surface – is that sometimes people will over sand- and begin polishing and burnishing their paint. They are breaking down the surface tension, compact the paint down, – making the paint very hard versus being porous. When you do this- the wax may not be able to be absorbed uniformly into the normally – porous chalk paint- and you run the risk of streaks where the wax is not absorbed well. As long as you have a handle on this and understand at what point you begin to temper the paint – then sanding prior to waxing is totally fine!!!

Why do I need to wax my piece before I distress, that seems backwards?

Annie Sloan recommends to distress after waxing….. As an Annie Sloan stockist we are obligated to promote that on behalf of Annie. But first – let’s clarify…you apply Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, immediately wipe off the residual and then let cure….once the wax is dry- then you distress.

Ok- here are some of the reasons Annie prefers this hierarchy to approach distressing. so first….by distressing AFTER you applied wax it actually gives you a lot more control when you are sanding since it allows you to expose layers of paint or wood underneath gradually. Meaning- it is a bit of a safeguard if you are new to this type of painting. This is how you recreate that natural look of furniture that has been painted layer by layer over the years.

Another reason is that the paint is, well, chalky. It can be very messy when distressing if not waxed prior! By waxing it first, you really cut down on the dust made when sanding which is important if doing a piece in your home. Much more convenient than having to move it out- or perhaps it is a large hutch and you do not have enough muscle to move it.

Another reason to use clear wax first is that it will protect your paint from the dark wax- if you plan on “aging” your piece. The dark wax will actually stain the paint color. Now- you may want that actual effect- and if that is the case do a test spot on the back of your piece. Otherwise- apply a coat of clear wax and let cure…..then add your dark wax. But keep in mind- having a few layers of wax- especially on cabinets or the top of the dresser is important for protection!

As for me at my shop though, I typically will distress before applying my first coat of clear wax. (I know that is the opposite of what I just wrote above though) I distress before waxing since since less elbow grease is necessary. And since I paint a lot of pieces- this does help me. It does create a bit more dust to accumulate at the base of the piece I am working on- but I manage that fine.

So- now you know there is no correct answer to your question. : )

Why do I need to use clear wax first if I want a rustic, antique look ….shouldn’t I just use the dark wax?

Excellent question, we get this one a lot! First off, please know that the dark wax goes a LONG way, you need very little of it. Let me stress that- you need very little. The reason you clear wax first is that it will protect your paint color and it adds additional layers of protection.

As for the dark wax- it has a stain in it and can permanently stain your paint color if the barrier of clear wax is not there. When you apply clear wax first & let cure, then dark wax, you can control how much dark wax is applied and where it goes. If you just use dark wax first, where you apply it is exactly where it goes. That is it, and that is where it stays, darkened paint and all!However- sometimes I want a piece to be very dark- so in that case- I make the choice to Dark Wax without a applying a clear wax layer prior.

Dark Wax is not meant to be used where you apply 2 or 3 coats of it. It is one of the final steps you do to a piece. Kind of like adding decorative roses on the top of a Birthday Cake. You don’t add roses than add an additional layer of frosting over them.

My piece is way too dark I used too much Dark Wax! Now what? (How to remove Dark Wax)

I actually did this on this piece shown. I liked how the dark wax looked on the body of the dresser, but not on the top.

If you applied a base of clear wax first and have let it cure before applying the dark wax, you can actually use more clear wax as a “magic eraser.” Just get some clear wax onto a rag and use it to remove the dark wax. Wipe in the same motion as you applied the Dark Wax.

If you did not use clear wax first (like my example shown in the photo), or the dark wax has dried completely and cured, don’t worry! First try a rag with a little mineral spirits on it. It should be damp but not dripping! I like to use “real” Mineral Spirits..meaning not the “green” Mineral Spirits that has a milky white appearance. I just don’t feel it works nearly as well as the original Mineral Spirits. With a bit of Mineral Spirits on your rag, rub the piece in the direction you applied the wax. (Meaning- do not going against the grain) The mineral spirits on the rag will remove some of the Dark Wax- but it won’t restore the piece as it was before you applied the Dark Wax. For me- in regards to this dresser shown- that was just fine and I loved the look I got. However, if this was not what you had intended….you have a little more work, but all is not lost. With chalk paint, you can simply paint right over the wax and start again. No extra prep work needed. Just make sure the dark Wax has dried! You cannot repaint over freshly applied wax…clear or dark! That is like walking on quick sand- ..not good!

My wax is still tacky and will not dry, WHY?

Again, the most common mistake I have found with calls I receive is that people have applied too much wax and are not wiping off the excess.

If you are thinking, “I applied the wax days ago and it is still tacky”- that is a sure sign you have too much wax!

The Purple Painted Lady will provide a hands on waxing demo if it will help you since an educated customer- is a prepared customer!

The Purple Painted Lady always recommends to apply wax with a wax brush (as explained above) and wipe off the excess! You cannot take too much wax off- but you do not want to be buffing your piece during this step either. When waxing- it is important to remember this:

We are not icing a cake! We are waxing furniture. So, very thin – uniform coats are best. If that is all that you remember from this hand out- you should be ok! Just like when you put moisturizer on your skin- you do not put a thick coat on, but rather a THIN coat and rub it in- so that it will be absorbed into your skin. OR when you use hair conditioner…you apply it and the do what? Rinse it off. That is because your hair will absorb what it needs. Annie’s Chalk Paint will do the same thing in regards to the wax! If you start buffing and find that your wax is still tacky, wait until it is no longer tacky to start buffing.

I would like a smoother finish. Mine has brush strokes on the surface.

If you have brush strokes in your paint and you do not like the look them – before applying your wax top coat…consider sanding your surface with some 220 or 400 grit sandpaper. Just enough to polish the surface and knock down the surface tension from the brush strokes. Also- something to consider is on your second coat…or final coat of paint…sometimes I will thin the paint by placing only a ¼ inch of water in a plastic cup. I dip the tips of my paint brush in the SMALL AMOUNT of water and then dip the tips of the brush into the quart of the paint. I am not gobbing my brush with paint here. This extra bit of water allows the paint to be a little thinner and smoother and it will glide on easier. And an end result, is a smoother finish.

Another option is using a kitchen cabinet sponge roller. I like the 4″ Whizz rollers and sell them at my shop. The roller will allow you to apply thin coats of paint.

Since Annie Sloan created Chalk Paint™ based on a desire to reproduce European charm. Depth and texture is key to the paint, making it more authentic. If, however, you would like a traditional super smooth finish, use a sponge roller to apply the paint. If that is not smooth enough, sand the surface prior to waxing with a sanding block sponge or sand paper- perhaps a 220 grit or a little higher. Or- on my “How To” page I reference using “auto body” grade sandpaper! This stuff is amazing! Use it before the wax is applied to remove some of the “ridges” left from the brush strokes.

USING A SPRAYER (spray your chalk paint®):

In regards to the surface based on application, if you are more of a seasoned furniture painter, you can also use Chalk Paint™ with a paint sprayer, but you will need to thin out the paint with water to get the right viscosity.  

When it comes to spraying chalk paint®, here is some information for you:

Sprayers are awesome when doing a lot of painting at one time…or chairs with cane webbing or spindles.  Or- if you want to achieve a buttery soft finish that is velvety smooth! 

NOTE!!! You will use more paint due to over spray- but you also thin your paint with water. 

Here are some suggestions for you:

1.  If you are spraying your cabinets- we recommend FIRST TO paint a base coat of Chalk Paint® on them applying it in the traditional way- with a brush.  Then, use your sprayer for all remaining coats. 

2.  The most popular and trending sprayer right now is HomeRight Finish Max Sprayer.  Google it.  The stockists that do spray- say they are impressed!  It retails around $90.


High Volume Low Pressure!  That is the way to go. Look at Graco … a very reliable brand.

Go to at Harbor Freight. High velocity, low overspray model  It is low cost – around $15.  Many love It! It’s a pneumatic sprayer.  Harbor Freight offers the quart size sprayers for just $9 but You have to own a compressor. Harbor Freight will run sales a lot where the pricing is:
If you purchase on sale it’s a $55 set up 
Harbor Freight offers an airless set up for $170… and get the warranty because it is worth it. They honor it without question.


Another is the Graco Spraystation 2900 from lowes. They’re $119 and don’t require a compressor.

3.  You will need to thin the paint- it is a bit trial and error on exactly how much- but the tip or nozzle size will play in to this.  Most start by adding about 20% water to the paint- but you may need more water.  Even with Annie Sloan paint- I have found that some colors to be a bit thicker than others.  And depending on the tip you use on the sprayer- the viscosity may differ.


What does it mean if the wax stays “soft” showing indentations or impressions based on placing something on top??

As with any product, it needs time to cure! But this also can mean you have too much wax on your piece!!! While Annie Sloan products are very quick and easy to use, they do need time to cure and set up- this is beyond dry time. Many factors effect the curing time (temperature, humidity, how much wax was used, etc). But if there has been adequate “curing time” …and your wax is still tacky- that is a good indication you used too much wax.
If you do have too much wax- First try a rag with a little mineral spirits on it. It should be damp but not dripping! I like to use “real” Mineral Spirits..meaning not the “green” Mineral Spirits that has a milky white appearance. I just don’t feel it works nearly as well as the original Mineral Spirits. Take your rag and place it on the opening of the Mineral Spirits. Flip the container a couple of times in different areas of the rag. (Think like how you would put nail polish remover onto a cotton swab or ball!) With a tiny bit of Mineral Spirits on your rag, rub the piece in the direction you applied the wax. This is primarily important if you applied your wax in strokes and not a circular motion. The mineral spirits on the rag will remove some of the Dark Wax OR Clear Wax – but it won’t restore the piece as it was before you applied the Wax. Worse case scenario- with chalk paint, you can simply paint right over the wax and start again. But try to avoid this and wasting your product and note that you cannot repaint over freshly applied wax…clear or dark! That is like walking on quick sand- ..not good.

I am having trouble with the under color or stain bleeding through.

Most surfaces can be covered with one coat of Chalk Paint, occasionally two is necessary. Annie likes to say that it takes one and a half coats of paint. (read my “How To” page to learn more about that technique) With that said, some pieces of furniture can be difficult to accept for any type of paint! Bleed through can occur on pieces that have been polished with oil-based polishes that include a stain like “Old English” or deep red pieces that have a mahogany stain. If bleed through is really a problem, we recommend you go back and use Zinsser Shellac! I have a whole post on my “How To” page regarding this stuff. I LOVE IT! This will act as a barrier and seal from bleeding through the paint. It will prevent water stains from bleeding through. It will help when you have a piece that smells! Seriously- if it has a musty smell or smells like cigarette smoke. Coat the whole piece using Zinsser and it will “trap” those foul smells in- and you won’t have any more issues! After the Zinsser Shellac is dry, which takes whole 5 – 8 minutes ….simply begin painting right over it! This tip also applies to when you are painting with Old White or Pure White over a dark piece. As soon as you realize- that you have bleed through- grab the Zinsser. But first- finish painting the surface you started otherwise you run the risk of seeing a “lines” or where you stopped painting. Again…. **GO TO MY “HOW TO” PAGE AND READ MY POST ON SPRAY SHELLAC. I THINK OF IT AS A MIRACLE IN A CAN) When using spray shellac- apply it to the whole piece or side- not just a spot fix! You will actually see that when you paint. TRUST ME ON THAT! Using shellac will also help if the piece stinks! Yes- I said it…the piece smells. Perhaps it was in a basement or in the home of a heavy smoker….shellac seals in whatever you do not want to smell anymore! Can you tell I love this stuff?

I want to paint my Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan.

As shown in Kitchen 2012 magazine- Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan is suggested as being the hottest paint in the DIY Blogosphere!

The Purple Painted Lady is a strategic partner with Sunny Days Painting in Rochester, New York! Painting kitchen cabinets is something we do superior together. From our experience it is best to paint kitchen cabinets using at least 2 coats of paint. Again- depending on the finish you desire, you can brush or roll. (even spray if you have the capabilities) Most of our jobs are brushed or rolled)

After painting, apply your was top coat- just like you would on a dresser. The only thing additional is that when it comes to the wear and tear a kitchen endures- if you actually cook that is…. you will want to apply two or three coats of wax to seal it. Annie’s wax is water repellent and strong and basically becomes one with the Chalk Paint™.

You may need to re-wax your cabinets in a few years based on the usage, but overall, a periodic buffing should be more than adequate to maintain a superior finish. To clean your cabinets (or furniture) just use a damp cloth to clean. Lisa Rickert has children and a dog and puts her cabinets through some serious testing… and Annie has pieces that were waxed over 10 years ago in her home.

With cabinets- depending on the age of them and the style- you may want to do a test on one regarding coverage and verify that the stain does not bleed through. If you find that the stain on the doors bleeds through your paint, please reference my site here regarding my post on Zinsser Shellac. It is on my How To page.

Would I have to strip this chair before using Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan?

I have painted chairs that were in much worse condition than that and did NOT strip. The most important part is to remove any serious loose paint. So, perhaps you may want to lightly sand the area where all the paint is chipped off in this photo. Also- – paint picks up the profile of what is already existing on the foundation. So- if you do not want it to be potentially “pocketed” or uneven due to the existing chipping- you should lightly sand that area.

Lastly- what is the price for Chalk Paint™ relative to using Latex?

The Purple Painted Lady has been painting furniture for over 10 years. In the past when I used Latex paint- I always sanded (which = $ & time), then using a tact cloth to clean what I just sanded ($ & time.) Once done with those two steps- the piece would be primed ($ & time) and then the piece would be base coated and then- finally painted. (phew- makes me tired thinking about all that I use to do) Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan costs $36.95 per quart. A quart of Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan will cover roughly 150 square feet – compared to any latex sold at Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Home Deport or Lowes brand paint- which will only cover at most 100 square feet.

Chalk Paint™ also dries super fast and will allow you to begin and finish a project in one day. Depending on the size of your project- you could easily finish it in one afternoon. When you add up the time, money, and paint saved, it really is worth the price! With Chalk Paint™, the average cost invested per piece (now this is dependent on the size of the pieces you are painting) but I would estimate your costs to be between $6 -$12 (that is for both the paint and wax.)

Outdoor use: I am hoping /planning on painting some outdoor wooden chairs this next week and I am wondering what you would suggest I use as a topcoat if any. I am hoping to use a few of my favorite colors to create a beautiful peaceful garden atmosphere instead of the usual stark white or wood stained patio chairs that you usually see. Thanks again, FROM Cheryl in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

To address your question— Typically- Annie recommends NO WAX if painting “outdoor” furniture such as wrought iron, Adirondack chairs- or any piece that was built to withstand the elements.

However- if you have a protected area- like an outdoor porch where the piece will be protected from the hot sun – you can wax a piece.

Another variable is typically where you are located in regards to temperatures. Being that you are in Canada- I doubt sweltering HOT heat is an issue- but keep in mind- hot sun beating through a window on to a piece of furniture or a piece sitting outside in the sun that has been waxed- the heat can reactivate the wax a bit. Now with that said- keep in mind that Annie has had her Decorative Paint Products for over 20 years and they have been used in Spain where temps can get very warm- and there has been no issues.

The last idea- is sealing the chalk paint with an outdoor polyurethane. You may want to get the spray can kind and carefully cover the whole chair uniformly. : )

I used the lacquer on my floor over Pure White Chalk Paint and it is yellowing a little, why?

If you have gotten some yellowing with the lacquer- you applied it too think. It is very important to roll it on in a thin coat using a sponge roller.

Have another question you don’t see here? Please contact me and I will be happy to answer your question! Just email and note “Dear Purple Painted Lady” in your subject.

SHELLAC – when to use it! What To Do About Water Stains or Wood Grain Bleeding Through Paint? Raw wood? Or musty smelling pieces too. VIDEO

Painting and having issues with:

Water stains bleeding through
Wood grain showing
Wood tannins bleeding
Painting with a “white” or light colored paint over Mahogany or Pine

Painting kitchen cabinets that have a lot of grain and it is causing tannin to bleed through?  Or, even though you cleaned the cabinets well and rinsed off any cleaning products, you are still getting “grease” stains coming thru?  Keep in mid, we promote Chalk Paint® as a minimal prep paint, but you have to be realistic and it is not a miracle.  Especially when it comes to kitchen cabinets- where – personally I like to say, some people use their cabinets and some people abuse their cabinets.  If the doors have a heavy grain, or are oak, or perhaps the pre-existing top coat has worn away …….especially on doors near the kitchen sink, or the cooking area near the stove or above it, next to the dishwasher where the door opens and hot steam is released or doors that get handled a lot like where you keep your drinking glasses – the pre-existing top coat may have been worn away.  Keep in mind too, if using “white” colored paints…all of these issues above are a concern, but even more so – because again, “white” does not contain as much color blocking pigment.

Painting RAW WOOD and the paint is getting sucked up
Issues with the paint cracking or not adhering in a certain spot?
Painting a piece that you have sanded and now have different finishes visible
Planning on painting Pure White or Old White over a wood piece and concerned with stain or wood grain bleeding?
You used wood filler on a section and the paint is taking to it differently?

The piece stinks really bad of either cigarette smoke, a musty basement…or who knows what!

Painting kitchen cabinets and you are concerned of bleed through?  Personally, I do not apply shellac – UNLESS I have to. It is extra work. If I get bleed through after my 1st coat of paint dries- then I will apply my 2 coats of shellac based on my instructions below. Shellac can be applied over chalk paint but not wax. So, wait and see what happens. And – you may only have bleed through on a couple of doors.

Please read this post:


Real quick- if you need to use shellac- typically you would do it in this order:
1.Apply Shellac  …..Most importantly- remember with this solution – that you cannot “spot treat” a water mark or “issue” areas- rather you must do the whole section. For example- water marks from a glass on top? Shellac the whole top, not just the water mark.  Have a section on a kitchen cabinet door that keeps getting a stain bleeding though?  Shellac the whole door!


Apply TWO uniform thin COATS of Shellac

2. Lightly sand after using to prevent paint from crackling.

3. Paint with Chalk Paint®

4. Wax

If you realize you need to shellac after applying Chalk Paint®- that is okay…go ahead and apply the shellac. Just remember you cannot shellac directly over wax!

If you have applied wax already, then you will need to lift the wax using mineral spirits.

Lightly moisten a rag and wipe your furniture. Wipe edge to edge- not circular. Also- make sure to NOT drip mineral spirits on to your floor. The rag should be moist, not dripping wet. The piece should feel almost like it did prior to waxing after removing the wax.


I prefer to use shellac in a container. Reason being- even with two applications using an aerosol can- I cannot guarantee that your coverage (thickness) is adequate.

Do not shake the shellac but rather stir it or roll the container in your hands prior or use a stir stick.

I use a lint free, cotton rag to apply the shellac. I usually take a rag and fold it into four’s. The I dip an edge into the shellac and wipe it on the piece in the same direction that I will be applying the paint. (usually the same direction as the wood grain.)  By using a lint free rag- folding it like a hankerchief, then dipping the edge in- and wiping the shellac on – starting the farthest away from you. and wiping from one edge to the opposite side- you should have better coverage.  The analogy I use – is that this is similar to washing your kitchen table.  But always wipe in linear lines- not circular.

You will need two coats.  And note- too thick of an application of shellac can lead to other problems also- so a uniformed thinned application is best.
Once done applying the two coats- waiting 15 to 20 minutes in between applications- then you will lightly sand!
Never shake the shellac in the can, but rather use a stir stick and mix well and note that shellac has a shelf life of about a year to 18 months.

I prefer to use THESE RAGS (click here to link to the “better Than Cheesecloth” rags.)

Give the surface about 15 minutes to dry, and then repeat with a second, (uniform and thin) coat of shellac. Never apply it thick. That can lead to problems too. But – I often use the analogy, “Measure twice, cut once.” So, two uniform coats is best.

Having to apply shellac when painting with a “white” Chalk Paint® is sometimes necessary over certain surfaces – like raw wood, mahogany, heavily exposed grain.


Ahh- the dreaded problem when you finally decide to paint a piece of furniture or even worse yet….kitchen cabinets and then……stains are bleeding through the primer and paint you have painstakingly applied. Or- what about that amazing piece you picked up at a garage sale for next to nothing- but OH BOY! It stinks! Either that musty smell from sitting in a damp basement, or the owner was a cigarette smoker. Or, did you use wood filler to “fix” some damage or did you decide to go from a “handle” to just a knob in regards to hardware and – you filled in the holes on the drawer fronts? Or, you have a hutch that your hubby built for you out of raw wood that has not been top coated? (that one is for you Laura!!) OR…you painted your piece with Chalk Paint™ and you now see bleeding coming through. Now what do you do?

Here is a story true story of the progression of this issue with a trestle table that I recently painted for my shop, The Purple Painted Lady. A photo of her is below. Doesn’t she have great lines? I saw her and was in love and knew immediately how much potential she would have once she received a little TLC.:

First of all, at my shop I use and prefer specific products. Yes…I have used many products over the last decade, but just like make-up or soda pop, we are creatures of habit and usually stick to the brand that we like the most and that does the job for what our needs are. Now before I go on…here is a little disclaimer I wanted to add regarding this post. I am not endorsed or sponsored by this particular brand/company I am going to write about. But I can say that I always have a bunch of cans of this product in my shop for sale and for my personal inventory because it has been a life saver…and also a money and time saver for me. I do sell Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paint Products, and that is because I love it and believe in all that it can do. I am passionate about what I do and will never link my name to a product that I don’t use myself and love! So AMEN to all of that!!!

OK…with that out of the way- let me get back on track! So, you can see in the photo above a beautiful trestle table- but look close at the top if it. Now check out the image below and you can sadly see the water stains that bled through after beginning painting it. Foolish me…even “experts” (and I use that term very loosely) make mistakes. Again- if you look closely at the top of the unpainted table- it was quite obvious this was going to be an issue!

I totally knew I should have taken precautionary steps – but perhaps I was in denial. I don’t know, but either way- after that first coat of paint- reality hit me quickly and I did what I needed to do.

Ok, are you ready? Here it is…my secret to covering up water stains, that red stain wood that was popular in the 1930’s &, 1940’s , Mahogany colored stains or preventing wood tannins from bleeding through my painted pieces of furniture or cabinets. This is especially important if using a light hued color of paint…like white! It is…ta-dah…..using a spray shellac. Just like the one I have shown here.


Please click here to watch a video about Zinsser Shellac.
This “miracle in can …or quart” also works great when dealing with knotty pine or if painting kitchen cabinets that were manufactured and installed in the 1980’s or 1990’s that have that yellow maple look to them or if you are painting a red stained piece and want it to be white. I typically recommend only getting the CLEAR shellac versus the white. This is especially important if you want to distress your piece after being painted and would not want a white sealer being revealed. And- sometimes we start a project thinking it is going to be painted in one color- and then change our minds. Once you use the white sealer- you have sort of committed yourself to a white paint if you are going to distress the piece.


As for the cabinets I referenced- you know the ones that have that yellowish wood stain color and you can see the grain of the wood. The wood tannins bleed through your paint like the photo above shows. To prevent the bleeding some people approach this problem by using multiple (meaning many!!!!) coats of a serious excellent covering primer (adding more expense to their project.) And keep in mind- that primer is NOT needed with Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan products! Lastly- just want to clarify- there is a functional difference between sealers and primers. So….here is something you can consider- my secret weapon using Zinsser.
Make sure when using any product to read the manufacturer’s usage and safety directions first. Like most spray paint, polyurethane or shellac – this stuff has some serious smell to it. I always recommend- when possible to use this in an outside area or ventilated garage. Wear a mask and even safety glasses. (do I wear safety glasses? NO! But I should probably tell you due to some legal mumbo-jumbo!) But you do not want any wind or dust happening when using this stuff- or any spray paint, shellac or polyurethane. Because – like Murphy’s Law- if there is a breeze and dust….the dust or dog’s hair will end up on your piece. Also, (and I do this) …remember to take off that sparkly diamond ring you might be wearing or any other jewelry or watches, so you do not accidentally over spray them. When you spray your piece – use common sense “Spray Painting” techniques. Meaning- don’t hold the aerosol can in one place- you will get drips. Don’t hold the can too close to your piece either. Even movement, uniform coverage – and you will be just fine! After you have sprayed the piece (or brushed on the shellac) ….once the piece is dry – which is very quickly (like 5 minutes)- reopen the front and back garage door to get a cross breeze to air out your work space. It doesn’t take much time and the smell dissipates quickly and in the end- this will be all worth it!!

When you have stains and need to spray your piece, always spray the whole surface that contains the stain- do not just spot treat. Just to reiterate some important points: Get uniform coverage – do not just target the stain section. You wouldn’t think just a quick spot treat spray of shellac in only a small targeted area could be visible once painted, but it is! I am going to repeat that because this is important! Make sure when you spray the whole area of the piece! So in my example- I sprayed the whole top of the table. And feel free to do this twice. First, spray it once and let it dry which only takes 5 minutes. And I love the quick drying time because even the most impatient people will be impressed with this stuff! Next- spray another full second coat! When done using spray paint or a spray shellac- go outside and holding the can, flip it upside down and spray. You will see the spray in a few seconds will disappear and this ensures you that you cleaned out the nozzle and won’t have a clogged can next time you need to use it. Always do this before placing your spray paint or spray shellac away and you will never have a plugged nozzle!

Again, play it safe! Do this step outside if using the spray shellac since the shellac has a serious strong odor- but the smell goes away quick and dries in minutes.

And just to reiterate this- when you have a piece of furniture made out of different types of wood- keep in mind – that when you paint- the color can appear differently. For instance… a wonderful customer of mine, Laura McGarrahan Koppelmann has a husband who is very skilled. he built her – from scratch a hutch! He used bead board and pine, and some other types of wood when constructing it. When she began painting it she had two issues:

1. The raw wood was just sucking up the paint!!

2. There was an obvious difference in the shade of the paint depending on which surface you looked at. The pine sides took the paint differently than the back bead board.

So, I emailed her this post regarding shellac. Laura applied the shellac right over her existing Chalk Paint® and repainted- and loved the outcome. She wrote to me, “My beautiful, finally complete hutch! I LOVE IT! Shew, it was a lot of work, but so worth it…thanks for all your help to make this work. I learned a lot in the process. It is now “priceless” hutch ; )”

Lauras Hutch


And although- I am mentioning this near the end here- this stuff is amazing for blocking out odors that may be coming from a piece of furniture. It seems when I spot the most amazing piece of furniture with incredible detailing at a garage sale, it always happens when I get next to it- IT STINKS! LIKE, “make you gag” stink. Either that musty smell from sitting in a damp basement, or the owner was a HEAVY cigarette smoker. I like to use the analogy that spraying the piece with Zinsser is like laminating a piece of paper. Water cannot penetrate through and get the paper- and that smelly odor – will be totally contained. ***Just make sure to spray inside the drawers and any surface you can…like underneath, inside drawer pockets, and inside cabinets.

I don’t think it matters what you use to clean or air out something that has been permeated with nicotine….. On a damp day- it will smell all over again. The only thing I have found to really work- is encapsulating the entire piece of furniture with Shellac. If it is a dresser- spray the Shellac in the cavities. Smoke gets everywhere!

Below is the same table after one coat of Zinsser Spray Shellac and a coat of Old White- which is a paint that does not require a primer to stick to the shellac. Doesn’t it look better? Again- what I did was spray it with the Zinsser. Then repainted using Chalk Paint®. And then – waxed.

Whenever I have to sand a piece of furniture due to damage of some sort. It could be due to a scratch, a dent, chipping. After sanding, the piece will have a variation of materials on one surface- like the dresser shown below. You can see the raw wood where we sanded. In this case- I also always spray that whole section with Zinsser Shellac. So in the example below- I would spray the whole top.:<br?

Again, this is wonderful stuff and if you paint lots of furniture… I recommend always having a can on hand. Or two, or three….!

Imagine when you go to paint those old kitchen cabinets that you cannot stand the color of. Save yourself time- just take the precautionary step and spray shellac all the doors after a good cleaning- and spray them twice. And don’t forget to brush on the shellac to your kitchen cabinet frames too.

The Purple Painted Lady just completed painting 40 cabinet doors for a home in Penfield, New York. We sprayed the cabinets outside prior to using Chalk Paint™ Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan. Sometimes with kitchen cabinets- even though they have a top coat of their own from the factory – after over 20 years of use…that breaks down. The stain from the cabinets in certain places can then bleed through. (It is interesting to paint cabinets- as an experiment prior to shellac. You will notice the stain that bleeds through is in a shape of a streak as if something splattered on the cabinets and then dripped down the front and it is the shape of a splatter or spot) You will often find this most near cabinet doors located near the dishwasher or kitchen sink where there is more water movement from washing dishes or emptying the dishwasher.

Another reason to use shellac: Painting Chalk Paint® over a previously painted surface that has some type of effect – will most likely pass through to the Chalk Paint®. This would happen no matter what type of paint you were using.

So for example—–

If you paint Chalk Paint® over a previously crackled surface- it will cause the Chalk Paint® to crackle.

If you are painting Chalk Paint® over chipping Milk Paint- that will still cause the Chalk Paint® to chip since the foundation beneath …the “Milk Paint” is still chipping since it has not “bonded” with the base surface.

In this case- I recommend that you sand back the milk paint or crackle lightly to accelerate any loose paint to come off or to remove the crackled surface. Then- blow off the surface of all dust and use Zinsser Clear Shellac (again, I like the aerosol cans- but you have to use it outside) and applit in a thorough coat over the whole piece. Possibly two coats. Shellac is very inexpensive and can be a life saver depending on the piece you are working on. I have a post on my website noted below you may want to read.

Anyway- I think this trestle table looks lovely now! Tomorrow this gorgeous table will receive a mix of Dark & Clear wax to showcase the “crocodile” textured surface around the front and sides.

Okay- now here is a spin to all of this information! I personally think that I use shellac on about 20% of my jobs. If I am painting cabinets in a kitchen a=or a bath- they almost always get shellac. But using shellac is a necessity for many jobs and something to consider- is what color Chalk Paint® are you using in your project. Reason being – colors with more pigment will have better coverage. Below is a bunch of photos that are an example of that!

I picked up an old dining table for free. But it had a large burn mark on the top of it.

I thought I would need to apply Zinsser Shellac over it as so the paint would cover it, but thought I would experiment first and just try the Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint® directly over the burn mark to see how it covered.


shop table TLC cover burn mark Duck Egg Blue

After rolling one coat over the table with a foam/sponge roller I knew that I did NOT need to use shellac since the Chalk Paint® covered the burn mark 100%. I am pretty sure though, if I had used Old White Chalk Paint® or Pure White Chalk Paint® this would not of been the case.

After I painted the table it looked so much better, but I thought it was a little plain. So I played around with a large stencil.





I think the table looks so much better now and learned quite a bit regarding coverage when using Chalk Paint® on this little project!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this not-so-little article- but isn’t that typical of me? Please write to me, “Dear Purple Painted Lady” with questions and you may be featured right here online! Any painting questions, color selection issues, or even design issues- send them on in. Please just write me at and note in your subject, “Dear Purple Painted Lady.”

Until next week…. in the words of St. Francis of Assisi:

A woman who works with her hands
is a laborer.
A woman who works with her hands
and her head is a craftsperson.
A woman who works with her hands.
her head and her heart
is an artist.

Stay well!

Tricia Migliore Kuntz ~ aka…The Purple Painted Lady