Friday, August 3, 2012

Part Two-Milk Paint vs Chalk Paint vs Latex

Part One-Milk paint
Part Two-Chalk paint
Part Three-Latex 

There are many tutorials on chalk paint in the blog world, but I wanted to share own personal experiences with it. You can never have enough info when you are trying to learn this stuff yet sometimes simple tips are and advice are easily overlooked.  Click on the above links (Part One, Two or Three to see my thoughts on other paint types).  Here are my tips for Chalk Paint;

 Part Two-Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

So many fans, so many testimonials, new stockists popping up all the time and a whole industry built around this stuff.  Many feel it is worth it, and honestly I have spent the $ myself and will probably continue to on occasion.  But I am blogging about the three different paint types to be completely truthful and give advice from my own personal experiences on each, and so I have to say - I feel a lot of this is hype.  I do like chalk paint for the right piece, and I keep a can or two on hand but I feel it is an unnecessary expense most of the time. 

Just humor me and let's see if you can tell which of these pieces is chalk paint and which is latex?

Any guesses which were Annie Sloan Chalk Paint?

None...all of these pieces were done using latex.  The only exception being that the last one-the teal green vanity/console-was done by making my own chalk paint (calcium carbonate + latex) which I've blogged about before.   My hope is that those pictures demonstrate you don't have to spend a fortune on 'special' paint to make something special.

That said, here are some of the things I like about Chalk Paint;

-The ease of distressing with it.  If you want to create a heavily distressed, very 'worn' look to your piece then it's very easy to accomplish with this.  It truly does sand off as a powder and you can get it done quickly!  (However if you are going for 'chippy', then stick with milk paint or even latex)  This also makes it easy to sand any brush strokes out before sealing it with a wax.  Here is an example of the distressing;

-It can make any piece look shabby or vintage.  This can be achieved with latex too, and I will get to that in the next post.  But chalk paints lack of any sheen is what helps to create that time-worn effect like the finish is decades old.  For instance if you have a newer piece that you want to look more aged or shabby, this paint achieves that pretty easily by virtue of it's 'chalkiness'.
1980's desk with hutch, had thin particle board on back.

 I used French Linen Chalk Paint and gave it a glaze to give it a farmhouse/country chic look.
-It CAN be used in a sprayer!  I have many times and you don't have to water it down (chalk paint is thicker than most), but I live in Texas where my garage is 85 degrees in the morning so all the paint is nice and thin already.  If you store yours somewhere cooler, then place in a nice warm location and let it sit for an hour or so before using, this will thin it for easier use in a sprayer. Another idea would be to sit a sealed can about half way, in a bowl of hot water for 10 mins or so.

-You don't have to buy the Annie Sloan clear wax to seal it.  I use Minwax finishing paste instead which is less than half the price of Annie's and I love it.  It forms a hard, more durable seal as opposed to the soft and tacky feel of Annie's that never seems to completely dry or buff out.  You can also use clear coat products as well, for instance the hutch and desk above I used varathane instead to protect the top and it worked beautifully.  No matter what you seal it with, it will change or darken your color slightly....that can't be avoided.

Things I don't' like about Chalk Paint

-It dries really fast, some see this as a plus but when applying this by hand, your paint brush will start to dry too, creating small clumps or larger grooves in the paint strokes.  I always have a few different brushes on hand to switch to as this happens.

-It's claim that "you don't need a primer" is false, false, false!  You will still have bleed through with this, maybe some things are covered easier than others but I have always had to get my can of Kilz out for something seeping through and then reapply the paint.

-Lastly, the expense.  One QUART (not gallon) costs an average of 38.00 not to mention shipping costs if a 'stockist' isn't near you.  I paint to resale, so for me it's an added expense I have to work into my prices though I do keep a quart or two on hand just in case a piece would really benefit from it (ie; newer, smaller, lots of distressing). Another down side is the limited amount of colors, though all are beautiful and can be mixed with each other to achieve other hues...but I guess I find more benefit in finding the perfect swatch color at Home Depot for half the price.

Up next, Latex....XOXO


  1. amazingly helpful post! Thank you!

  2. Yes, thank you for doing this. Very helpful.