Chalk Painting Furniture

Have you ever wanted to chalk paint your old furniture but didn’t know where to start? Chalk painting furniture is an easy and affordable way to transform outdated pieces of furniture into works of art.

Whether you want an aged, shabby-chic look, or a vibrant and colorful modern piece, chalk paint has something for everyone.

Learn how to make your own transformation with our step-by-step guide on chalk painting furniture.

brushing chalk paint onto the furniture with text at the bottom of the photo

Chalk Painting furniture is an easy way to update your old furniture… but there are some tricks that you need to know before you start painting.

Let’s dive into this chalk paint desk makeover so you know what to expect.

laminate desk before the makeover

There’s the desk we’re painting today.

We thrifted it for $25 and we’re going to turn it into a fun, bold statement piece.

Check out more painted desk ideas here.

Supplies for Chalk Painting Furniture

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Get our list of 10 Must Have Products When Painting Furniture here.

Preparing Furniture for Paint

First, we removed all of the hardware.

Removing the hardware is an easy way to make your paint job look better and it’s pretty easy with this electric screwdriver.

Then, we cleaned the desk with Krud Kutter to remove oils, dirt, and grime from the surface so the paint will stick better.

Learn more about How to Clean Furniture Before Painting here!

Plus, get all of the tips on How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.

If you want to change your drawer hardware, here’s our Comparison: Filling Holes when Replacing Cabinet or Furniture Hardware.

This desk was used in our Chalk Spray Paint Review: Rust-Oleum VS Magnolia VS Krylon VS Behr as a way to compare chalk spray paints and find out which one was the best…

So after that comparison was done, we removed all of that paint so we had a nice, even surface to work with.

removing paint from the top of the desk with a carbide scraper

Here are the Best Tools for Removing Paint from Wood.

We didn’t have to remove the paint, but we needed to at least smooth out the edges where the painter’s tape was, or else you would have been able to see those lines through our new paint.

Then I filled the small damage with wood filler.

Here’s Best Wood Filler for Furniture. If you have larger damage, here’s How to Repair Damaged Furniture.

Does Chalk Paint Scratch Easily?

For this chalk paint makeover, we went with the original chalk paint… Annie Sloan in Scandinavian Pink.

Before I painted it on though, I wanted to show you something.

I brushed some of the paint onto the desk side and back where we had only cleaned.

And then I brushed some on the top that was sanded laminate.

I let it dry for almost 48 hours, and then I scratched at it…

The results??

It was pretty easy to scratch it off of the back. It held on a little better on the side, but it still scratched off. And the laminate top… well it didn’t stand a chance.

Check out this How to Paint Laminate Furniture | Without Sanding VS Sanding for more information.

scratching off chalk paint with fingernail

If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, is that if any paint doesn’t stick well to a surface after 24-48 hours, there’s a very good chance that it won’t ever adhere well.

So, the second your kids or pets run into it, it’s gonna get scratched or dinged.

Yeah, chalk paint is known as a no-prep paint… but that’s just not true.

I’ve seen it time and time again.

If you want your paint job to look good for a long time, you have to scuff sand and prime before chalk painting.

Want to skip the sanding and priming? Check out these Best All-in-One Paints for Furniture.

Sanding Before Chalk Painting

My husband used 220-grit sandpaper to sand all of the desk before painting.

Learn about the Best Sanders for Furniture in this post!

The point here is to scuff up the surface to help the paint stick.

So we don’t have to go all the way down to the bare wood… Actually, this desk isn’t made of real wood, so we would have never gotten to bare wood. Haha

scuff sanding surface of the furniture with a power sander

See how the surface looks lighter where he sanded? That’s what we want.

Learn more about The Importance of Sanding Before Painting Furniture, and how to scuff sand here.

Then he cleaned up all of the dust with our shop vacuum and a tack cloth.

Priming Before Chalk Painting

And then we moved the desk outside to prime it.

I like to use spray on clear shellac for my primer before chalk painting.

It’s clear, so I can distress the chalk paint.

It sprays on easily and yes, even though it makes the surface nice and shiny again, chalk paint sticks to it really well.

It also Stops Stains from Coming Through Paint when painting wood furniture, so it’s all-around a great primer.

Chalk Painting Furniture

The next day, it was time to chalk paint!

I ended up using a Country Chic Paint Oval paint brush to brush on the chalk paint.

Wondering What is Chalk Paint exactly and why it’s popular? Click the link to learn more!

applying pink chalk paint with a paint brush

The more I use this brush, the more I love it.

Learn more about The Best Paint Brushes for Painting Furniture here.

This paint is thick, so I used a misting bottle to make the paint wetter.

This helps prevent the paint from leaving so many thick brush marks everywhere.

There are a few other ways to Paint Furniture Without Brush Marks too.

Personally, I prefer just mixing some water into the paint before painting.

The misting bottle was annoying to constantly have to use to keep the paint from drying to fast.

Here’s what the 1st coat looked like when it was dry. I definitely needed another coat.

first coat of paint after it was dry

I painted on another 2 coats of paint, the same way as the first coat.

One of the awesome things about chalk paint is how fast it dries. It makes the project go much faster.

Sanding Chalk Paint

When I finally had full coverage, I looked closer at my paint job, and I had these ridges of paint on all of the edges. I hate those!

ridges of paint on the edges of the furniture

So, I sanded them off to create a distressed look… and in the process, I sanded too much.

But at least those globs were gone. haha

So I ended up painting another 2 coats of paint to get full coverage everywhere.

Applying Furniture Transfers

This next part is totally optional, but I wanted to make this desk even more fun, so I busted out these rose furniture transfers.

rubbing rose furniture transfer onto the desk drawer

Learn How to Apply Furniture Transfers here.

Distressing Chalk Paint

Since they weren’t perfect, I decided to lightly distress everything to go for more of a worn look.

I used 400 grit sandpaper to sand the transfers lightly.

And then I used 220 grit sandpaper on the rest of the desk to distress the edges and smooth out the brush marks.

Then I cleaned up the dust.

Sealing Chalk Painted Furniture

The worst part about chalk painting furniture is that you have to topcoat the chalk paint.

Read through this post to learn more about the truth of using chalk paint for furniture.

I planned to brush it on by hand to show you the process…

But by this point I just wanted to be done.. so instead, I sprayed 3 coats of waterbased polyurethane on because that’s the easiest and fastest way to apply the topcoat.

Here’s How to Spray Polyurethane.

Check out more ways to Apply Polycrylic to Painted Furniture here.

I have some other posts that show how to apply polyurethane by hand, like this tutorial on Paint Furniture Black – Everything You Need to Know, if you want to see that process!

You can use wax too.

But it’s just not very durable and it takes a lot longer to dry, so I like to use waterbased polyurethane instead.

Get more ideas for Topcoats for Painting Furniture here.

And here’s what the desk looks like now!

a pink chalk painted laminate desk

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

close up on the drawers with rose furniture transfer
side angle of the laminate desk painted with pink chalk paint

I have 3 little girls, and the 2 that can actually talk kept telling me how much they love this desk. Haha I guess I should paint their dresser pink for them!

What do you think of the new look? Are you a fan of pink furniture?

Check out more pink painted furniture ideas here.

What about transfers? Do you want to see them more often?

Let me know in the comments!!

Chalk Painting Furniture

pink chalk painted laminate desk

Chalk painting furniture is an easy and affordable way to transform outdated pieces into works of art. Here's how to chalk paint furniture.


  1. Clean, fill in any damage and scuff sand the furniture to prep for paint.
  2. Prime with a few coats of clear shellac.
  3. Spray some water then brush the chalk paint on to prevent any brush marks.
  4. Paint 2 more coats of paint.
  5. Sand the edges to create a distressed look.
  6. Apply furniture transfers onto the desk. (optional)
  7. Lightly distress the transfers for a worn look then sand the rest of the desk to smooth out brush marks.
  8. Seal the chalk paint with 3 coats of waterbased polyurethane.

Recommended Products

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More Chalk Painting Resources

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desk before chalk paint

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