What is chalk paint?
They say if you use it you don't need to prime! You don't need to sand! You don't even need to paint, just dump the stuff on your project and it settles perfectly in place!
Ok, maybe not the last one. It's some seriously hyped up stuff though!
If you've followed any crafty blogs or spent much time on Pinterest in the last few years, you must have heard of chalk paint. Not chalkboard paint (which is great stuff), but chalk paint. It's made its way into the whole distressed furniture scene in a big way! Chalk paint supposedly required little to no prep work, covers well, and distresses easily and naturally. But, you have the added step of sealing it with wax afterwards. Some people say the waxing step is a piece of cake, while some have horrific experiences with it.
I'm not an expert on chalk paint. I do have quite a bit of experience with plain, boring latex paint. During my last summer in high school and for a year or two after school I even worked as a painter (of houses, not art, sadly). Occasionally my friends and family still call on me to use my 'she can trim walls without using tape' skills.
The biggest reason I've been sucked into the chalk paint fad at all is because I loooove the soft, satiny wax finish!! Looooooove it! I'm not sure how to describe it, except latex gives a layer of....smooth rubberyness? Nicely applied and buffed wax just melts into the paint and gives the paint a buttery soft, smooth, sheen. Whatever, I don't know. I just like it, a lot.
The majority of the chalk paint brands (Annie Sloan, CeCe Caldwell, etc.) are rather pricey. Thirty-five for a quart? Ouch! Many people consider it worth buying anyway so that says something for it, but I haven't tried any of them myself. I've tried DIY chalk paint recipes (here's a great article comparing some of them) and they worked, but I wasn't completely thrilled with them even though I always loved the end result after waxing. The DIY recipes didn't really seem to live up to the chalk paint hype and I wondered if it was really so great. Then I saw this Chalky Paint Powder option, which seemed like a happy medium between the 'real' stuff and 'DIY/hope it works' stuff.
I first used it on this clock end table.
Now, I'm using it on this vintage, thrifted frame.
I bought this tiny little sample size bottle, all of 2 oz. of powder. (Isn't their packaging adorable?!) The instructions consist of this:
- Add 2 Tbsp Vintage Storehouse Chalky Paint Powder to 1 Tbsp Water.
- Mix well, making sure to get out all lumps for an even, creamy texture.
- Add mixture to 1 cup latex/acrylic paint – any brand or color.
I mixed up a batch in a cool whip container several weeks ago, using one cup of paint and half my little sample container of powder. I painted my little end table with that batch and still had a bit left over so I popped the lid back on and put it in the basement. This week I got it back out, stirred it well, and used the rest to paint the frame. Apparently one cup of paint goes a long way with this stuff!
Two coats covered it really well, but not quite completely. I used the last drops to give just a very quick coat to the last areas that needed it, then let it dry and sanded some the raised areas to distress it.
Speaking of distressing furniture and decor....I'm a fan of it, in moderation. I'm also pretty sure that twenty or fifty years from now our children and children's children will look back in horror and disbelief at how much time and effort we put into making freshly painted pieces look old and worn out. Ha. But we'll just live in the moment and enjoy it while we can, right?
So, Chalk Paint Powder makes paint reach further, but how is it really different from latex and is it worth fussing with? Would I buy it again?
Actually, yes! A very big yes! I really enjoyed working with it, and though I can't compare it to the big chalk paint brands (yet), I think I can understand much more now why people say the things they do about chalk paint.
The consistency changes drastically! Latex sticks to itself more than what you're painting, it creates a kind of film that sometimes peels off in those rubbery paint flakes. Chalk paint sticks more to what you're painting than to itself and only comes off in a powder when you sand. I'm not sure if it's even possible for it to peel off like latex sometimes does.
It also dries incredibly fast! I just so happened to be painting on the first really warm day of spring and couldn't stand to be indoors so I painted outside. I could hardly stay ahead of the paint drying in the sun. So, painting in hot sunlight might not be a good idea if you want a nice smooth surface with minimal brush strokes. 🙂
Clear as mud? This might be one of those things you just need to try for yourself. It's a very budget friendly way to try chalk paint if you've ever wanted to. You might like it, you might not.
In my own humble opinion, the best thing about this Chalky Paint Powder is that you can get a glimpse of what chalk paint is like without selling your firstborn child. Maybe someday I'll try ready made chalk paint, but until then I'll certainly keep using this.