You may have heard of chalk paint, which recently became trendy after a surge in the popularity of vintage and rustic furniture. Chalk paint does not contain chalk; its name derives from the matte finish that looks as though you used chalk on your furniture. While Annie Sloan officially trademarked the product, many brands sell their own line of chalk paints. So, we curated the five best chalk paint brands for furniture, be it laminate, wood, or metal.
In this article, you’ll find out:
- What is chalk paint?
- The pros and cons of chalk paint
- The best chalk paint for furniture and where to buy them
What is chalk paint?
Chalk paint is a type of paint that has a matte finish that resembles chalk. Homeowners find that it is best used on furniture such as dressers, kitchen cabinets, and tables. This water-based paint is also thicker and easier to use than conventional paint.
Chalk paint actually came into existence not too long ago, thanks to the British artist and color expert Annie Sloan. Annie Sloan invented her trademark Chalk Paint® in 1990 to solve the need of having paint that is versatile, easy to use, and dries quickly. Her Chalk Paint® can be used on metal, laminate, wood, and glass. Moreover, preparation and sealing work is rarely needed, though you are highly recommended not to skip those steps for best results.
People loved chalk paint so much that many brands now sell their own line of chalk paint. Chalk paint is a trademark of Annie Sloan, so these brands market their paints as having ‘chalk finish” or being “chalky.’
Why use chalk paint?
People love chalk paint because of its various advantages that make it perfect for DIY projects. Also, its matte finish (no sheen) will give your house a beautiful bohemian, vintage style.
Pros of chalk paint
- Great for DIY projects
- You can use it on wood, glass, and metal
- You can even use chalk paint on laminate furniture
- Easier to work with than latex paint
- Rarely requires preparation such as sanding or priming
Cons of chalk paint
- Frequently confused with chalkboard paint
- More expensive than standard paint
The Best Chalk Paint for Laminate Furniture
Aside from Annie Sloan, there are many imitators available in the market right now. So, we compiled the five best chalk paint brands and where you can buy them.
|➕ Original creator of chalk paint||➖ Higher price point than its alternatives|
|➕ Dries quickly||➖ Leave paint brush marks|
|➕ Almost odorless||➖ Only found in boutique shops|
|➕ Matte finish that suits old furniture well||➖ Its thick paint can be hard to get used to|
|➕ Distresses nicely|
|➕ Almost 50 color options to choose from|
Overview of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint®
Annie Sloan, the founder, and brand of its trademark Chalk Paint® invented chalk paint in 1990. Her chalk paint can be applied to almost any furniture surface and dries quickly. This short dry time is perfect for DIY lovers who want to complete their projects rapidly while accomodating to their busy lifestyle. However, Annie Sloan only sells its Chalk Paint® in limited, carefully selected retailers.
Dry time of 20 minutes per coat
One coat of Annie Sloan’s chalk paint dries in about 20 minutes, much shorter than 1 hour by latex paint. This quick dry time means that you can do the entire process of preparing, painting, and priming within a day.
More than 45 paint options that distress nicely
While it can be challenging to access Annie Sloan’s physical retailers, you can buy their Chalk Paint® on their website. There are almost 50 colors for you to choose from, and each of them distresses beautifully for a vintage look. Moreover, the chalk paint is essentially odorless, and you can clean up the paint easily.
Difficult to justify its price point
The only downside to Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® is that its price is almost double compared to the alternatives available in the market. While Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® distresses better, the color and finish are too similar to other brands to justify the price point.
Rust-Oleum’s Chalked line
➕ Smooth ultra matte finish ➖ Two coats required for full coverage
➕ Good coverage and adhesion ➖ Small range of color selection
➕ Prep work and priming rarely required ➖ Topcoat pulls the paint out
➕ Can be used on wood, metal, glass, ceramic, and more ➕ Affordable price point ➕ Each coat dries in about 30 minutes
Overview of Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint
Rust-Oleum’s Chalked line of paint is another brand loved by DIY lovers worldwide. I find that Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint performs just as well as Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® at almost half the price. So, I recommend Rust-Oleu’ms Chalked paint for people who are just starting and are on a budget.
Good coverage with short dry-time per coat
One coat dries in approximately 30 minutes, which allows you to complete an entire furniture makeover in less than a day. The brand officially states that one coat is enough, but I recommend using two coats for a more finished look. Also, the coverage of Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint is indistinguishable as compared to Annie Sloan’s.
Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint retails at almost half the price of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint®. So, Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint is best for one-off furniture makeover projects or DIY lovers on a budget. Moreover, side-by-side comparisons have shown Rust-Oleum and Annie Sloan’s paints to be almost indistinguishable.
Terrible topcoat results
You can buy Rust-Oleum’s protective topcoat for sealing work. However, we DO NOT recommend you to buy it. The topcoat will pull out and leave cracks in your paint. Also, the topcoat will leave ugly yellow spots that will waste hours of your hard work.
➕ Most affordable chalk paint available ➖ Leaves behind brush strokes
➕ More than 40 colors to select from ➖ 8 oz is not e nough for bigger furniture
➕ Prep work rarely needed ➖ Emits some odor
➕ Good coverage ➕ Looks almost the same as premium brands ➕ Distresses nicely
Overview of Waverly Inspirations chalk paint
Waverly Inspirations is a sub-brand of Waverly that sells chalk paint. Currently, Walmart is the exclusive distributor of Waverly Inspirations’ chalk paint. Waverly Inspirations is one of the best options for furniture and craft because of its performance and price.
Budget-friendly chalk paint with good coverage
8 fl oz (236 ml) of Waverly Inspirations chalk paint retails at about 7$ excluding shipping. One bottle may not be enough for more oversized furniture. However, one coating of this thick paint will give you good coverage for small to medium-sized furniture. I recommend you apply at least two coats of this paint because of the brush strokes that it leaves behind.
Wide assortment of colors to choose from
You can choose from 40+ different colors on Walmart’s online shop. Waverly Inspirations’ chalk paint has one of the lowest price points in the chalk paint market. So, it is suitable for beginners who just started painting or those who want to experiment with chalk paint. However, I do not recommend you to buy Waverly’s paintbrush or wax because of their subpar quality.
Has some odor
The Waverly Inspiration’s chalk paints do emit some smell. However, it is bearable — not too strong, but noticeable.
➕ One hour dry time ➖ Requires slightly more time to dry than other chalk paints
➕ Coverage of up to 150 sq. ft. per quart ➖ Some thinning may be required
➕ More than 40 color options ➕ Affordable medium-ranged price
Overview of Behr Chalk paint
Behr’s Chalk collection is one of the best chalk paint brands in the market right now. They are sold exclusively at The Home Depot or on their official website. Moreover, the price point of Behr’s Chalk paints is middle-way — affordable but not a budget paint. There are currently 40+ color selections available. However, they glaringly lack shades of brown.
One quart of Behr’s Chalk paint covers up to 150 sq. for a smooth matte finish. You can use it on new and old furniture, metal surfaces, concrete, and cast stone. You should also apply two coats for the best results.
Fairly short dry time
Behr’s Chalk paint takes approximately 1 hour to dry and 2 hours for a recoat. Therefore, taking into account the cleaning, priming, and waxing, an entire furniture makeover project should take no more than two days to complete.
Priming and waxing required
While other chalk paint brands officially do not require priming or waxing, you are recommended not to skip those steps when using Behr’s Chalk paint. Of course, the best practice is never to skip priming and wax for any chalk paint brand. This is because every piece of furniture has different damages and requirements to be attended to.
DecoArt’s Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™ paint
➕ Priming and prep work rarely required ➖ You have to thin the paint for better coverage
➕ Excellent adhesion to wood, metal, terra cotta, ceramic, laminate, and even glass ➖ One can of paint is not enough for most furniture
➕ Low odor ➕ Short dry time
Overview of Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™
DecoArt is a forerunner in the paint industry with more than 35 years of experience. Currently, they are one of the most popular budget chalk paint brands for furniture and craft. You can buy their Americana Decor line of Chalky Finish paint on Amazon, retailers, or their official online store. Each can of paint sells for around 10$ per 8 fl oz (236 ml), which is in the budget range.
Americana Decor’s Chalky Finish paint sticks nicely to most furniture surfaces, including metal, laminate, wood, ceramic, terra cotta, and even glass. While priming or prep work is rarely required, you are recommended not to skip those steps before applying the chalk paint.
Short dry time
Each coat of paint takes about 1 hour to dry, allowing you to complete your project quickly. Moreover, the paint has a low odor and is easy to clean up.
Thinning or more coats required
The coverage for Americana Decor’s Chalky Finish paint leaves much to be desired. Some furniture takes up to four coats for complete coverage. So, I recommend you to use this paint only on more miniature furniture. You could thin the paint with water for better coverage, but you still have to buy at least two cans of this paint for your project.
These are the five best chalk paint brands for laminate furniture:
- Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint®
- Rust-Oleum’s Chalked paint
- Waverly Inspirations
- DecoArt Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™
- Behr Chalk
If you liked this comprehensive buying guide, share this article with someone who loves chalk paint as much as you do!