How to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for Beginners

My name is Steph Briggs, professional upcycler, interior designer and owner of La Di Da Interiors in Andover, Hampshire, UK. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a great product to update and upcycle your furniture with. Simple to use and with little preparation required you can transform your furniture in a matter of hours. 

One of the most common questions I get asked is "what do I need to get started on my first painted furniture project?" So here's our how to list and top tips for simply painted, one colour flat finish furniture...

 Tools and materials you will need

What you'll need:


  1. Once you've decided on which colour to choose from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint range you will need to open it and give it a good stir.
  2. Stiring paint
  3. Remove any handles that you don't want painted if applicable.
  4. If needed, take your cloth and dampen it to give your furniture a good wipe over to get rid of dust and cobwebs. If the piece of furniture has been in a kitchen previously or outside in the shed, or saved from a skip then it's worth giving it a quick clean with some diluted washing up liquid or sugar soap and leaving to dry naturally. 
  5. Cleaning the furniture before painting
  6. There's no need to sand or prime your furniture. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint will adhere to most surfaces including plain wood, paint, varnish, metal, glass and plastic. Even laminated surfaces can be painted. 
  7. Using an Annie Sloan round bristle brush (I find no.8 the most versatile) dip the end of it into the paint. You will only need to dip it in about 1cm. Apply the paint to the piece of furniture, use the end of the brush to get into the corners, apply the paint in every which way. The first coat never looks perfect so don't worry about it too much. 
  8. Paint brush dipped in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
  9. Have a cup of tea and leave to dry for 30-45 minutes, after which it should be dry to touch and have that lovely chalky matt finish.
  10. Apply a second coat and leave to dry again about 30-45 mins depending on temperature and humidity. You should see a real difference in the second coat with complete coverage. 
  11. Wash your brush in cold water and leave to dry naturally. Washing your Annie Sloan Bristle Brush
  12. Once the paint is dry apply a thin layer of wax using the wax brush using circular motions. Annie likens it to applying hand cream, make sure it's rubbed in.
  13. Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax
  14. Remove any excess wax using the clean lint free cloth (an old tea towel or pillowcase work well). Then straight away (or your can leave it a few days if you're pressed for time) apply the second coat of wax, again removing any excess immediately with a clean dry cloth. 
  15. Clear wax will enhance the colour of the paint but not drastically change it.  On darker colours such as Aubusson or Graphite it's really easy to see where you've been with the wax, it's not so easy on colours such as Old White or English Yellow so start one side of your piece and work methodically.
  16. Wax comes in clear, dark, black and white. White wax gives a softer coastal effect. Dark wax is good for ageing and antiquing a piece. Black wax is great on Graphite to give it shine and depth, and can also add an industrial look to colours. See our youtube video on applying dark wax for application technique.
  17. Wash your wax brush using warm water and washing -up liquid to remove the wax, leave to dry naturally, standing up so that the water doesn't sit in the ferrule (metal part) and cause rust.
  18. Your furniture is now finished! Officially the wax takes 3 weeks to cure and you should be gentle with it during this time, although it will be touch dry within 30 minutes or so. If you've painted a table top or something that is going to be used to put cups and mugs on then always use a coaster, just like you would if it was plain wood or a polished finish. 
  19. If you want to achieve a high sheen finish on your furniture leave it for 48 hours and then buff with a clean dry lint-free cloth. You can get a high gloss shine with a cloth and some elbow grease! It's a great arm workout too! 
  20. If you wish to distress your furniture you can go over the edges, corners and handles with some fine sandpaper or wire wool. Consider where it would have worn naturally over time to get the best effect. Don't forget to add a little more wax to these areas to protect and make sure they're protected too. 
  21. If you're wanting to leave an area in natural wood (such as a table top) the clear wax works well on this too on it's own. 

Do you have any more questions? We have a painters facebook group with lots of before and after photographs, top tips and hints and tips. To request to join click here.

Be warned, furniture painting is quite addictive! Good luck with your projects

Happy Painting! 

Steph signature

Photography by Helen Jones