Chalk Paint VS Acrylic Paint: Which Is Best For Furniture Painting?

Furniture painting is a great way to refresh the look of your home without spending too much money. But which type of paint should you use? Chalk paint and acrylic paint are two popular options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will compare chalk paint vs acrylic paint in terms of ease of use, durability, coverage, finish, cost and more.

With our help you can find out which type of paint is right for your project so that you get the perfect finish every time! Plus we’ll provide tips on how to get the best results when using either type of paint.

Don’t forget to get more painting furniture tips and ideas here.

chalk paints and acrylic paints with text

As a DIYer, you want to give your furniture a new look without spending too much money.

But which type of paint should you use? Chalk paint and acrylic paint are two popular options, but it can be hard to know which one is best for getting the desired look.

We’ve got you covered!

Read on and discover which option is perfect for your next furniture painting project!

Chalk Paint and Acrylic Paint

Chalk paint and acrylic paint are two popular options for furniture painting projects.

Both paints offer a matte finish, water-based formula with no fumes or strong odors, and can be used on wood, metal, plastic, glass, walls and cabinets.

However, there are some key differences between the two that should be considered when choosing which type of paint to use for your project.

Chalk paint is thicker than acrylic paint and dries in a chalky finish while acrylic paint has better self-leveling properties which leave minimal brush marks behind.

As far as cost, depending on the brand of paint you choose, you can find cheap or name-brand versions of each paint.

Let’s dive into each paint specifically.

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Pros and Cons of Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is an increasingly popular option for painting furniture due to its ease of use and wide range of uses.

jar of country chic chalk paint

It can stick to wood, metal, plastic, glass, walls, and cabinets with minimal effort.

However, it has some pros and cons that should be considered before you decide if this type of paint is right for your project.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of using chalk paint on furniture so that you can make an informed decision about if it’s the paint for you.

Pros of Chalk Paint:

  1. Beginner friendly
  2. Dries quickly
  3. Sticks to a variety of surfaces better than wall paint
  4. Can create a variety of finishes from distressed or antiqued, blended, or even a solid finish
  5. Waterbased so no fumes or strong odor
  6. You can find cheap chalk paint or expensive chalk paint, whichever works for you

Cons of Chalk Paint:

  1. Has been overhyped and needs more prep (scuff sanding and priming) than paint companies lead people to believe
  2. It also has to be topcoated to make the chalk paint durable and so it can be easily cleaned
  3. Expect a lot of brush marks in your finish – it does not self-level at all

If you’re shocked by this list, you aren’t alone.

I was lead to believe that chalk paint was an amazing paint that could stick to just about anything without sanding or priming.

But over the years I found out that wasn’t the case.

Check out this post on how to chalk paint furniture to see what happens when you don’t sand or prime before using chalk paint. It was on wood furniture where it is advertised to stick very well.

Here are other important things to know about using chalk paint for furniture.

If you don’t care if your furniture gets easily scratched up, then by all means brush the chalk paint on your furniture without any thought of prepping.

Check out the Best Chalk Paint Brushes here.

How to Use Chalk Paint for the Best Results

If you want your hard work to turn out well and last for a long time, please take the time to scuff sand before painting, and use one of these best primers for painting furniture before you apply the chalk paint.

You can use a paint brush, a roller, or a paint sprayer to paint your furniture with chalk paint.

Also, read this post to learn how to prevent brush marks when painting furniture if you don’t like brush marks in the paint.

Also, read about these topcoats for painting furniture, and learn about the pros and cons of wax for chalk paint.

Here is how to apply polycrylic to painted furniture… my favorite way to topcoat chalk paint.

But there are honestly easier paints to use than chalk paint when painting furniture. Check out this list of the best all in one paints for furniture.

Check out my guide on how to paint over chalk paint here.

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Don’t get me wrong, I have used chalk paint on hundreds of pieces of furniture. You can get really great results using it, but only if you take the right steps.

Check out these 5 chalk paint problems and how to fix them to create a beautiful, long-lasting finish.

Here’s a list of some of my recent chalk-painted furniture makeovers:

collage of chalk painted furniture

Where to Buy Chalk Paint

Country Chic Paint is my favorite chalk paint. But there are other great chalk paint brands.

Check out this post to learn about the top chalk paint brands.

Check out my honest and detailed Country Chic Paint Review here.

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a great choice for painting furniture, as it is also beginner friendly and dries quickly.

can of general finishes milk paint

It also sticks to many surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, glass and walls but I would say that it sticks better than chalk paint does.

Acrylic paint comes in matte finish and can create a variety of finishes just like chalk paint.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of using chalk paint on furniture so that you can make an informed decision about if it’s the paint for you.

Pros of Acrylic Paint:

  1. Self Levels, so you don’t leave many brush marks in your paint
  2. Beginner friendly
  3. Dries quickly
  4. Also sticks to a variety of surfaces, but it sticks better than chalk paint
  5. You can also create a variety of finishes from distressed or antiqued, blended, or even a solid finish
  6. Waterbased so no fumes or strong odor
  7. You can find cheap acrylic paint or expensive, name-brand acrylic paint

Cons of Acrylic Paint:

  1. Acrylic paint also requires scuff sanding and priming for best results
  2. It also has to be topcoated so it can be easily cleaned, and to help it be more durable

These lists are pretty similar to the chalk paint lists huh?

They are pretty similar paints when it comes to painting furniture.

The biggest difference is that acrylic paint sticks better than chalk paint, (though I still recommend you scuff sand and prime before using acrylic paint for the best results.)

But if you want to skip those, you’ll get better results with the acrylic paint than the chalk paint.

The other big difference is that acrylic paint levels out better.

So, when you paint it on with a paint brush, you can expect the paint to slowly flatten out when it dries, leaving barely any brush marks behind.

That’s a huge advantage if you ask me.

How to Use Acrylic Paint for the Best Results

Just like with chalk paint, iIf you want your hard work to turn out well and last for a long time, take the time to scuff sand before painting, and prime with a stain blocking primer to stop stains from coming through the paint.

You can use a paint brush, a roller, or a paint sprayer to apply acrylic paint. But you don’t have to worry about the brush marks as much with acrylic paint.

To make sure your paint job is extra durable and that you can wipe it clean if you spill anything on it, make sure to topcoat it. Waterbased polyurethane is the best for this. Learn how to spray polyurethane for a perfect-looking finish here.

Here’s all there is to know about painting furniture with acrylic paint.

Find out the top acrylic brands available in the market in our best acrylic paint for furniture blog post, and check out this post on best paints for wood furniture to see how acrylic paint compares to other paints.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite acrylic painted furniture makeovers:

collage of acrylic painted furniture

Where to Buy Acrylic Paint

Paint Couture Paint and General Finishes Milk Paint are my favorite acrylic paints.

Check out my General Finishes Milk Paint Review here.

Which is best for painting furniture?

Ultimately, when choosing between chalk paint and acrylic paint for painting furniture, you should consider your skill level as well as the outcome you are looking for.

If you need to brush on the paint, but don’t like brush marks, then acrylic paint is your best bet.

If you want the paint to stick the best it can without prep work, then you will probably have better results with acrylic paint.

Though even acrylic paint still has its limitations, and neither stick well on slick surfaces like laminate.

And either way you can still have bleed through issues if you don’t prime with a stain blocking primer before painting.

If you need something quick, and you only have chalk paint in your area, then chalk paint will work great if you scuff sand and prime before using it.

I hope that helps you pick which paint will work best for you!

Ultimately, it’s up to you decide what works best for your needs!

With these tips in mind, you should be able to make an informed decision about which type of paint will give you the results that you want.

Good luck and happy crafting!

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