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General Questions


Q. I have painted my project with Chalk Paint® and the paint is not sticking in some areas. What should I do?

A. A clean surface is important for any paint project, especially on items from the kitchen or bathroom. Sand the areas where the paint is not sticking to remove the loose paint and then inspect the surface. Remove any old greasy, waxy or oily residues with a soft rag moistened with mineral spirits. Then clean with soap and water. Use a Scotch Brite pad to lightly scrub the surface, and a soft brush to work into open grain and intricate carvings. Rinse well with a clean rag and warm water and let the piece dry completely. Then reapply your Chalk Paint® decorative paint


Q. Can I apply Chalk Paint® over a surface that was previously finished with linseed oil?

A. Linseed oil, a finishing product used to restore wood’s natural moisture, is typically found on vintage pieces of furniture with a stained finish. Unless it has weathered to the point of almost being gone, the surface may not be receptive to new paint. Clean well and apply one or two coats of clear shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer. Chalk Paint® decorative paint can then be applied as you would on any other wood surface.


Q. I am painting a piece of furniture with Chalk Paint® and a yellow stain has appeared in my new paint layer. How do I cover it?

A. Yellow or pink stains can appear in your new paint layers when painting over pieces previously finished with a non-colorfast stain (typically found on older pieces from the 1930’s and 1940’s) or certain woods with open grain, such as oak and mahogany. When this happens, don’t worry. Apply one or two coats of clear shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer, with a cloth pad to stop this happening. There is no need to remove the stained coat of Chalk Paint®; you can apply shellac directly on top. Shellac dries in minutes, and then you can get on with your painting! Click here for more information on shellac. 


Q. Can I paint the brick around my fireplace with Chalk Paint®?

A. Although Chalk Paint® decorative paint can be applied over many brick, stone, and concrete surfaces, you should first check with your local government offices to see if it is permissible to paint around your fireplace. Every county or province in North America, Australia, or New Zealand has a set of building codes, including codes that may restrict the application of paint within a certain distance from the firebox.


Q. Can I paint my kitchen countertops and backsplash with Chalk Paint®?

A. It is not advisable. Chalk Paint® decorative paint, even when sealed with a quality sealer such as Annie Sloan Soft Wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer, will not be 100% non-porous and this can present problems with cross contamination. The surface may look clean but it may not be deep down into the finish.


Q. Can I paint my melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint®?

A. There are many success stories from people who have painted their melamine or laminate furniture with Chalk Paint® decorative paint, including pieces from IKEA. A little bit of prep and some patience are needed. New IKEA pieces may be coated with a light oily film for packing and shipping purposes and this should be removed with a cloth moistened with mineral spirits. Lightly sand the melamine or laminate with fine grit sandpaper and dust off. Next, apply a thin first coat of paint, and let dry about 48 hours to encourage the paint to bond to the surface. After that, you can continue painting for your desired look.


Q. Can I paint my walls with Chalk Paint®?

A. Chalk Paint® decorative paint can be used to give both old and new walls depth and interest and even a bit of texture. Apply one or more coats of paint with a brush or roller for coverage and let dry. You can leave the paint as is, but some like to apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax over the paint for a really smart polished look.


Q. Are Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax safe for use on baby cribs, etc?

A. Absolutely! Both Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax are safe to use on furniture destined for baby and child use. However, before putting the item to use, please allow these materials to harden and cure for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Expectant mothers should not apply Soft Wax themselves but find someone else to do so instead.


Q. Is Graphite Chalk Paint® a true black?

A. For a true black, try Annie's Athenian Black. For a more subtle black, try Graphite Chalk Paint®. Graphite is almost a black, is not a simple, hard color but a mellow, sophisticated one. You can create a darker appearance to Graphite by first applying a layer of Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint®. Follow this with a coat of Graphite. When the paint is dry, apply Annie Sloan Black Soft Wax. 


Q. I would like to distress my finish for a more aged look. What is the easiest way to do this?

A. With Chalk Paint® decorative paint distressing is no longer an arduous chore. Most finishes are best when just a bit of paint is evenly rubbed away here and there using fine grit sandpaper. This will be easier to do if you apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax first. This will also reduce any sanding dust, helping to keep your workspace clean.


Q. Are Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax good choices for kitchen and bathroom cabinets?

A. Yes! You can use Chalk Paint® decorative paint on most wood cabinetry. Chalk Paint® is meant to give character and interest to cabinetry rather than a perfectly smooth “factory” finish. Typically there is no need to sand or prime although in areas that receive a lot of use, like the cutlery drawer, it might be wise. Apply at least two coats of paint and then two or three coats of Annie Sloan Soft Wax for protection, allowing each wax coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next. Soft Wax makes a good bond to the paint for durability. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water to clean, and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax as needed.


Q. I am looking for the perfect color for my project. Do you have any suggestions for mixing colors to get the color I need?

A. The best way for you to find the perfect color for your project is to visit your local Annie Sloan Stockist. Each of our Stockists has been trained in the Annie Sloan Method and they can guide you with making the perfect choices. If you don’t know who is your local Stockist, please visit and click on “Find a Retailer.” Enter your zip code and a listing of Stockists closest to you will appear.There is also a very informative chapter on working with paint colors in Annie Sloan’s latest book, Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, including tips for mixing colors and layering one color over another. This book also contains 40 step-by-step projects using Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax. It is available from your local Annie Sloan Stockist, booksellers, and online.


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

A. Chalk Paint® decorative paint can be applied over new, untreated wood with ease. However, on wood that has wood knots and/or open grain, you should first apply one or two coats of clear shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer, with a cloth pad to block any tannins that can bleed up through your new layers of paint. This is particularly important on pine, oak, and mahogany.


Q. What type of brush should I use to apply Chalk Paint®?

A. Your brush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to have certain qualities because working with bad brushes can be very frustrating. A brush that is made of natural bristle works best. The bristles should be fairly long and flexible with a little bounce to allow you to be expressive in your work. Don’t choose brushes with bristles that are too short since the paint will not flow well, and don’t use a brush with hard and inflexible bristles, because the paint will look scratchy. Don’t have a floppy brush either because you will have to work too hard to make the paint spread. Annie Sloan’s oval Pure Bristle Brushes are excellent for applying both Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax. These brushes give you the freedom to paint expressively, they hold lots of paint, and they are comfortable to hold and easy to work with. To purchase Annie's brushes, click here


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

A. Typically Chalk Paint® decorative paint is applied by brush. Enjoy your painting and don’t be shy with your brush. Apply the paint liberally. Some brush marks showing in the finish can be part of the look.

For a demonstration on how Annie herself applies Chalk Paint®, visit her official YouTube Channel by clicking here.


Q. Do I need to sand before painting with Chalk Paint®?

A. Chalk Paint® decorative paint adheres to almost any surface, indoors and outside, and there’s rarely a need to sand or prime before painting. Most times cleaning and dusting off the surface will do. There may be times, however, when you’ll need to sand to remove loose paint, rust, and other surface debris, or when the surface is very glossy (this includes melamine and laminates). Remember to change out your piece of sandpaper when it becomes clogged with old paint, etc. A fresh sheet makes the task at hand easier to accomplish.

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