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Chalk Finish Paint Ideas & Tips For Upgrading Your Space

By Amitha Verma

Distressed furniture adds texture and dimension to your interior when done correctly.

I'm sharing the exact chalk finish paint technique I used to achieve the distressed paint look and feel on the popular How To Paint A Buffet Table video.

You'll learn techniques for painting textured pieces and tips and tricks for professional-looking distressed paint results with chalk finish paint.


Choosing Pieces To Distress

I'm demonstrating these painting techniques on two decorative wood panels that have lots of intricate details. These carved wood panels are great candidates for a makeover because you can see that the wood has aged differently.

Softwoods such as pine, cedar, fir, or hemlock work well for distressing projects because they're inexpensive, and they have more open pores in their fibers that respond well to paint.

You can use all of these chalk painting techniques to achieve the distressed paint look on a flat piece of furniture without any raised details or carvings as well.

Materials For Distressed Paint Look

Chalk finish paint is used for creating a chalky, matte, and worn appearance on wooden furniture and other decorative items. The beauty of chalk finish paint is that it’s easy to use — no priming or sanding involved.

For these wooden panels, I'll demonstrate two colors distressing with chalk finish paint to cover the wood's original stain and create more dimension and interest to the pieces.

Here's the list of materials:

  • Two carved wooden panels
  • A soft cotton cloth
  • A degreaser (mineral spirits)
  • A piece of cardboard
  • Two paint colors (I used Provence Blue and Chantilly White)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Water

Step 1: Clean Your Furniture

When working with old wood, the first thing I do is clean them with mineral spirits to remove grease, grime, or accumulated dirt, so that your paint adheres well to the wood fibers.

One of the best things about working with chalk finish paint is that this is all the prep work you need.

Step 2: Apply Your Base Chalk Finish Paint Color

Now that we've got things cleaned up, I'm going to start with a base coat of Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint in Provence Blue. 

When I'm working on a piece with many details, I like to use the technique called the "dab and wipe." I dab the paint onto the piece and wipe it with a soft cotton cloth to get into the little nooks and crannies.

Because my two wooden panels don't match, I'm going for full coverage with my base coat. I'll apply a thin layer and allow it to dry before coming in with more thin layers of Provence Blue paint to cover up most of the original wood color.

This is a great tip to make a mismatched piece of furniture match.

Chalk Finish Paint Application Techniques For Distressed Wood

Distressed Paint Technique: Use Less Paint

If you find you're going in a little too heavy-handed on the paint, dab the brush on a piece of cardboard to remove excess paint before going in with your fully loaded brush.

Distressed Paint Technique: Dry Cloth | Wet Paint 

Use your soft cotton cloth to rub off the wet paint, which allows you to see bits of the base paint or original wood to come through or use high grit sandpaper to gently wear away at the layers of paint (once it's dry).

Though it’s much easier to get a distressed look when the paint is wet.

The fun part about this project is that the paint and painting style are very forgiving. You want the finished paint application to look perfectly imperfect for that antique charm.

Distressed Paint Technique: Dry Brush Painting

To get the streaky look of paint that you get with wear and tear, use a "dry brushing technique." To do this, you want to make sure that there is very little paint on your bristles. You can dab off excess paint on your scrap cardboard paper.

Step 3: Take A Break 

Wait for your paint to dry by step away from your project, so you can have a fresh set of eyes to see what your next steps are — do you need more paint? Or can you move onto the next step?

Since I can still see the color difference in my two wooden panels, I will add more paint to one panel to get them to match better.

Now that I'm happy with my base color, I want to take it a step further to make it look even older.

Step 4: Distressed Paint Technique Two-Color Patina Wash

After my base color is completely dry, I apply Chantilly White in very light layers to add dimension to our distressed effect.

You'll need a clean piece of cardboard and two smaller brushes for this step (if you're working on a project similar to my panel sizes).

I use a dry brushing technique with the white paint with a smaller paint brush, where I will rub off most of the chalk finish paint on the cardboard before applying thin layers of the second paint color onto the panels. With a small brush, I have more control of the paint application, and I can reach the smaller detailed areas.

I love how this step adds another layer of interest to the distressed paint look.

Distressed Paint Technique: Second Color Highlights

Last, I applied a fuller coat of Chantilly White to the various raised details on my project to add another layer of contrast and make the details pop.

Summing Up: Tips For Distressed Chalk Finish Paint Projects

I love this project because you don't need many materials to create unique textures and colors to stained wood to give it that old-aged character that usually comes with a high-end retail price tag.

Here's a recap of the tips:

  • Work with high-quality Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint
  • Use a soft cotton cloth and smaller brush sizes for detailed work
  • Paint in thin layers
  • Apply dry brushing techniques
  • Use the two-color paint technique for depth
  • Make the details pop

Learn more about how you can upgrade your space with Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint home styling tips by signing up for our newsletter.

If you re-create this project please send us your chalk finish paint before and after photos. We love seeing your creativity. You can send them to info@amithaverma.com or post them on our Facebook Page or use the hashtag #amithaverma when you post on Instagram.

You can purchase Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint on our website or through one of our many retailers.

In friendship,

Amitha

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