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How do I apply Chalk Paint™ and Soft Wax?

Well a picture paints a thousand words so a video must be even better! Here is Annie Sloan herself teaching how to use Chalk Paint™and Soft Wax, both Clear and Dark. Annie Sloan - Chalk Paint™Tutorial N0.1 - one-colour distressing technique with dark wax.

What can I paint with Chalk Paint™?

Chalk Paint™ can be used on almost any surface! Wood – (unfinished, varnished, previously painted), metal, concrete, matt plastic, fabric.

Can Chalk Paint™ be used for outdoor furniture

Yes. Paint your piece as usual and then leave it indoors or in a very dry outdoor place for 24 hours for the paint to fully harden before placing it outside. Wax should not be used on outdoor pieces. The paint will slowly fade and wear away in a charming rustic manner over time.

Do I need to sand, prime or do anything special before painting?

No need to sand or prime! One of the many joys of Chalk Paint™ is that it goes on to most surfaces. The surface must be clean and stable. Wash your piece with soapy water (dishwashing liquid) to give a clean surface to paint.

There are some special occasions when sanding might be needed. If the surface has any loose material eg flaking paint or rust, this should be removed before painting – sanding or scrubbing with a wire brush.

If your surface is very glossy (for example some melamine and laminates, or some plastics) giving the piece a swipe with a coarse sandpaper before painting to roughen the surface will produce a better surface for the Chalk Paint™ to adhere to.

Is there any surface not suitable Chalk Paint?

Most surfaces are suitable for Chalk Paint™ without any special preparation, in some circumstances you will need to take an extra step before painting. Chalk Paint™ does not like oily surfaces. This can be oil you have applied (oiled outdoor timber, oil splashed onto cupboard fronts in the kitchen) or the natural oils in some wood eg Teak, knots or sap. If the oiled surface is old eg your teak furniture has been around for a couple of years, or your outdoor timber was oiled last year and is now dry on the surface you can proceed as normal. If the oil is still present you should firstly apply a Shellac sealer to separate the paint and the oil. Shellac is amazing stuff – a natural product that will block stains and smells too. In Australia Zinsser have a clear Shellac finish as a spray or brush on formula, as well as a white Shellac based product.

Once you have applied your Shellac and let it dry, just continue with you Chalk Paint™ as usual.

Remember that you cannot distress back into the timber (through the Shellac) or you will release the oils again. Similarly, if you are working with an oily timber with an old dry surface, if you sand the surface (even a tiny bit) the oil will be exposed.

There is only one surface I know of that really is not suitable to paint - vinyl wrapped kitchen cupboards. Oh well.

Do I need a special brush?

No, you will be able to use a brush from your local hardware store, but you should look for a brush with certain features to make your painting easier.

Natural bristles are recommended to achieve the textured finish the Chalk Paint™ is designed to achieve. If you want a flatter finish a synthetic brush is recommended. Medium length bristles will hold sufficient paint and ensure a nice flow of paint. Overlong bristles will make the paint difficult to spread, as will floppy bristles. However stiff bristles will give a scratchy finish to the paint. Aim for medium length bristles with a bit of bounce.

Annie Sloan’s oval Pure Bristle Brushes are excellent for applying Chalk Paint™. They come in three sizes, hold paint well and the oval shape lets you get paint into nooks and cranny’s with ease. The wide metal ferrules make a great shape to hold and work with. Here is a video that shows how Annie uses her paint brush - among other things! Annie Sloan - Chalk Paint™ tutorial No.2 - two-colour distressing technique with clear wax.

What is Annie Sloan Soft Wax?

Chalk Paint™ alone has an ultra-matt, chalky finish (hence the name). To make the surface more durable Soft Wax was developed. The Soft Wax is applied over the dry paint and is taken up by the paint. Excess wax is removed, leaving a fine layer of wax over and within the paint. Once the wax cures, the painted surface is more durable to normal wear and tear. The Soft Wax also protects the painted finish, so when you piece shows signs of surface wearing, another quick coat of wax will bring the surface back to new.

How do I apply Soft Wax?

Soft Wax can be applied with a clean soft cloth, or with an Annie Sloan Wax brush. Another clean soft lint-free cloth is required to remove the excess wax.

How long do I need to wait after painting with Chalk Paint™ before applying the Soft Wax?

When Chalk ™ is dry to touch, it is ready to be waxed. Chalk Paint™ dries quickly, the drying time depends upon the environment and how you have applied the paint, but generally speaking I would expect to be able to wax within an hour of painting.

What is curing? How long does it take?

Annie Sloan Soft Wax contains solvents to make it soft and spreadable. These solvents will evaporate leaving a durable wax finish – this process is called curing. Curing is faster in warm dry environments. In deepest darkest England (damp and cold) this process takes up to 21 days, the process will be quicker in most places in Australia, as fast as five days.

I can’t wait three weeks before using my freshly waxed table, can I use it before then?

Try and leave your table in a warm dry ventilated place for at least a day to get the curing off to a good start. Then protect the waxed surface using table cloths or placemats under anything you rest on the table. After using the table remove the placemats and cloths to let the wax continue to cure.

How often will I need to re-apply Soft Wax?

Generally you will need to re-apply the Soft Wax every 12 to 18months, more frequently for areas of high wear, eg table tops, less frequently (?never) for pieces of minimal wear e.g. picture frames.

How do I care for my Chalk Paint™ and Soft Wax furniture?

Use a damp cloth to remove surface dust. Mop up any spills immediately using a dry soft cloth. A soft cloth damped with dishwashing liquid and water is usually sufficient to clean your piece. More persistent marks eg black shoe scuffs on chair legs and kick boards can be removed with fresh soft wax.

Can I use a different wax over my Chalk Paint™?

Soft Wax has been developed to use with Chalk Paint™ and is the recommended wax.

Can I use Soft Wax over different paint?

Soft Wax has been developed to use with Chalk Paint™. You can apply it over other paints, it will sit on top of the paint and give a matt finish.

Can I repaint over Annie Sloan Soft Wax?

Yes, you will need to wait up to three weeks for the Soft Wax to fully cure before repainting.

Can I use Chalk Paint™ and Soft Wax for my kitchen and bathroom cupboards?

Yes, you can use Chalk Paint™ for cupboard and drawer fronts. I recommend two coats of a shellac based sealer to kitchens that are not brand new, as there will always be airborne oils that have soaked into the surface (see above to find out about shellac and oil with Chalk Paint™). 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.

Can I paint my work surfaces in the kitchen with Chalk Paint™?

No, painting kitchen countertops or backsplashes is not recommended. Paint, even when sealed with a quality sealer such as Annie Sloan Soft Wax or 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.

Can I paint my bathroom counter top with Chalk Paint™?

Chalk Paint™ is not recommended for areas that are frequently wet.

Can I paint my bathroom walls with Chalk Paint™?

Yes. You can also wax the walls after painting to give a harder wearing soft lustre finish.

Can I paint my bathroom floor with Chalk Paint™?

Chalk Paint™, Annie Sloan Soft Wax and Annie Sloan Lacquer are not recommended for areas that are frequently wet.

Is Annie Sloan a real person?

Yes! And she is lovely - here is a clip, Annie Sloan - the paint, the person - Chalk Paint™