Why I Don’t Do Chalk Paint

Don’t misunderstand me. I am awed by beautifully painted furniture of any kind. The gentle colours of chalk paint are lovely, and it’s commonly seen in furniture makeovers. But it isn’t for me. Here’s why…

Chalk paint is a cover-up. The whole intent is to cover the piece easily, without sanding, without scraping, without getting down to bare bones. It’s to be completed quickly and smoothly, with exquisite results.  And that’s okay… but one of my great loves in this business is actually digging down to those bare bones, then inspecting the piece, learning how it’s put together, how life’s knocks and repairs have altered it, how it might be changed into something bright and new. If I don’t know what problems lie beneath, then I don’t know how refinishing might affect it.

Chalk paint adds a layer (at least) (and not including waxing). Therefore, if you choose to paint over existing paint, then the thickness is going to increase. It means you’re limited to painting surfaces that don’t slide against each other, like drawers. And I love to paint drawers, both the insides and the outsides. It gives some added surprise and happiness as you slide them in and out!

Chalk paint has a matte finish. But I like glossy. Really glossy. It’s fun and it’s unexpected in today’s world.

Chalk paint needs waxing.  Waxing takes time and experience to get it right. It produces a surface that continues that same matte (dare I say “dull”) look. Did I mention I like glossy?

Chalk paint might not be as sturdy when protected.  Can it handle little people throwing stuff at it in quite the same way as well-cured Varathane? Will it take water spills? I certainly know you can’t draw with chalk on it if it is has a protective coat applied.

Chalk paint colours are limited. Yes, you can intermix.  But I have all the world’s colours at my fingertips. It doesn’t matter what brand I use.

Chalk paints are expensive.  Yessiree. Go out and compare.

Chalk paints invite shabby chic and distressed styling.  These aren’t my style. I figure if you’re going to go to all the work of refinishing an old piece into something new to love and use for a while, why try to make it look like it’s already beaten up? The look is so ubiquitous now that it’s lost its edge.

No doubt I’ve tread on toes and upset readers. But I’m a perfectionist and I love perfect little details. I can do this with my little pots of paint and my assortment of paintbrushes.  Then I can protect it all with a solid varathane finish and watch it shine. Who could ask for anything more?


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