Chalk paint was a huge trend just a few years ago and proved its lasting power in the DIY world. From the ever-popular farmhouse style to shabby-chic, to just being an easy way to flip antique or thrifted furniture, chalk paint is common in the DIY space and may be just as prevalent in your home! Like all trends, the window of enjoyment comes and goes, and you may now be craving a change. Are you wondering, can you paint over chalk paint?
It is possible to paint over chalk paint. Painting over chalk paint could even cut out the priming step depending on what paint you are using to cover. However, the steps you take to paint over the chalk paint may vary based on how the item was primed or sealed.
This article will go over the how-tos and specifics of painting over chalk paint. There are step-by-step instructions and a supplies list you can follow to prepare and repaint your chalk-painted project.
What is the Difference Between Chalk Paint and Other Paints?
Chalk Paint was originally developed by Annie Sloan in 1990 as a decorative furniture paint that was easy to use, quick, and reliable for everyone from the amateur DIYer to painting professionals. Since the conception of Sloan’s Chalk Paint, many other brands have come onto the market with similar products.
So what categorizes something as chalk paint? Chalk paint is water-based, has a matte or chalky finish, and has a thick consistency that is less likely to drip. It can smooth over cracks and old paint and can be thinned with more water for different finishes. The appeal of chalk paint, besides its versatility, is that it doesn’t require prep work other than giving the project you’re working on a good wipe down.
Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint?
Like other paints, it is possible to paint over chalk paint. The smooth and matte finish of this type of paint lends itself perfectly to act as a primer for a new paint job. However, there are a few extra steps if the project has been sealed.
Most chalk paints recommend that once you’ve finished painting, that you seal the porous finish with wax, gloss, or polyacrylic products. This preserves the longevity of the product and prevents wear and tear to the paint. This shiny, glossy, or lacquer-like topcoat is what can complicate the process of repainting.
First things first, you must determine if there is a sealant on top of the chalk paint. Can you see a shine or gloss on the piece? If so, then it has most likely been sealed.
Removing the Topcoat
To remove the sealant layer on your chalk-painted piece, you must first give the project a thorough clean. You’ll then need to scuff and sand the piece with 120-grit sandpaper until you can no longer see or feel the smooth and shiny top layer. This will once again open the pores of the chalk paint, and your piece will be ready for priming and repainting.
How to Paint Over Chalk Paint:
Supplies Needed to Paint Over Chalk Paint
- Tarp or drop cloth
- Protective clothing and gear
- TSP Cleaner (or another heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner) and Sponges
- 120 Grit Sandpaper, Sanding Sponges or Blocks
- Primer (optional but recommended)
- Paint of your choice
- Paint applicators
Step 1: Prep Your Work Area
Both sanding and painting are messy jobs that require ventilation. If you have the option to complete your project outside, you won’t have to worry about ventilation or fans. Paint is difficult to remove if spilled, so you’ll want to protect your work area whether it is inside or outside. Lay down tarps or drop cloths to prevent excess paint from ruining anything. Consider wearing protective clothing as well to keep your clothes and self safe. Safety goggles/glasses, mask, and gloves are also ideal.
Step 2: Clean the surface
First, clean the chalk-painted project with a TSP Cleaner or another heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner to remove all built-up grease and grime from everyday wear.
Step 3: Sand Old Paint
Use whatever sanding device you choose to scuff away any sealant or topcoat used on the chalk-painted piece. Sand until you can no longer see or feel a smooth and lacquered topcoat. Don’t forget to change out your piece of sandpaper when it becomes clogged. Remember to follow safety guidelines when sanding! Sand outside when possible and wear safety glasses or goggles and a dust mask. To find out more, check out Purdue’s Sanding Safety Guidelines.
Step 4: Prime and Perfect
Make sure to thoroughly wipe down all surfaces to remove any dust residue after you’ve finished sanding. Dust particles will mess up the finish and may prevent adherence to any new paints applied to the project.
If you choose to prime your project (recommended), do so now with the primer of your choice. Apply a thin layer of the primer to all surfaces that are to be repainted. A bonding primer is a great choice since it adheres to all sorts of materials, plus, most bonding primers are self-leveling to create an even and consistent surface to repaint.
Primer dries fairly quickly. Once completely dry, if there are any thick drips of paint, dips, or imperfections, you may want to go over the project one more time with sandpaper. Take it slow, because you do not want to sand off all of the primer that you just applied, but you’ll be impressed with how smoothly your new paint will go on.
If you buff any imperfections from the primed piece, don’t forget to wipe it down to remove any dust particles before beginning to paint.
Step 5: Paint
Finally, you can paint your project with whatever paint you have chosen! Remember, always paint in a well-ventilated space and take fresh air breaks when needed. If you want to look into more healthy indoor painting practices, check out CPSC.gov’s informative outline and infographic.
With Chalk Paint
If you are trying to paint over a chalk-painted piece with more chalk paint, the process is simple! Once you have determined if there is sealant on the project and removed the lacquered layer, you can go right in with the new chalk paint, no primer is needed.
With Latex Paint
Latex paint is also water-based like chalk paint. It also contains a plastic resin made of acrylics or polyvinyls to help it adhere better. As long as the furniture was not waxed or sealed, the chalk paint will act as the primer and you can just paint over it with the latex paint of your choice. Otherwise, remove the topcoat, prime, and then paint.
With Regular Paint (any finish)
Clean the piece and remove the topcoat before painting. Since regular paint doesn’t contain the adherents that latex paint does, prime the previously chalk-painted piece before painting with your regular paint.
With Spray Paint
If you are going to use spray paint, follow the same steps as with regular paint. Take special care to make sure the piece is sanded and then buffed; imperfections will show through the thin layer of spray paint easier than with thicker consistency paints. After applying the primer, and once it has dried, coat the project in one layer of spray paint.
How to Paint Over Hard Waxed Chalk Paint with More Chalk Paint
The exception to the rule is when you are trying to paint over a chalk paint that has been sealed with a hard paste wax with another chalk paint. Once you clean the project with the all-purpose cleaner, you can paint right on top of the hard wax with new chalk paint.
If you’re unsure what kind of sealant was used on the original chalk paint, to be safe, scuff and sand as normal. Then, continue to follow the outlined process.
It’s pretty simple to paint over chalk paint. The steps to do so vary slightly based on the type of paint you will be using. However, the steps are relatively simple once you determine if the chalk-painted project had been sealed or not. Hopefully, you found these instructions for painting over chalk paint helpful. What kind of projects have you repainted? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below! If this article helped you, please share it with your friends and family! We truly appreciate any and all support that you provide.