How To's & Pro Tips

Annie Sloan IS Chalk Paint® period. Chalk Paint® is the brand name of Annie’s decorative paint. Just like Pepsi® is a brand of cola, Chalk Paint® is NOT a TYPE of paint. There is much confusion on the internet by uninformed or misinformed individuals that just don’t know any better. It is called Chalk Paint® for its chalky look and feel but that is the only similarity to other paints. Any paint with a flat finish could be described as “chalky” and most of these other paint (the box store brands for example) are repackaged flat finish latex house paint. There are other “mineral” paints on the market, some of which, like “lime paint” have been around for centuries. Lime paint was one of the inspirations behind the formulation of Annie’s decorative paint. These vary greatly in their composition, quality and workability. If formulated properly, a mineral binder creates a permanent bond to the surface rather than forming a film on top of the surface like latex acrylic does.

No. Chalk Paint® is not simply a paint with chalk added to it. It is not made by adding plaster of Paris or grout or even baking soda to an existing paint. Starting with a latex paint is the first issue—latex is a film forming paint whereas Chalk Paint® is not film forming. Chalk Paint® is breathable and flexible. Secondly, by adding ingredients to latex paint, you fluff up the paint making it a flatter finish and stretching how far it covers but you are also voiding any warranties by the manufacturer because now you have broken down the binder—the very thing that makes it stick—and diminished its ability to bond to the surface! Making your own paints at home can be a lot of fun, so for inspiration and ideas on paints that you can make at home, please refer to one of Annie Sloan’s many books about making paint and traditional paint recipes and consider trying one of those.

All paints contain at least a little bit of “chalk” but that is not what makes Chalk Paint® special. It does not have a lot of chalk in it at all! Annie decided upon this name for her brand of decorative paint because of how her product looks and feels. Using a large amount of chalk actually makes for a poor quality product. Chalk does not make paint stick—it is not a binder. Keep in mind that combining the individual ingredients of any product do not always make for the same end result. For example a loaf of bread and a cake both contain the same ingredients with very different end products. And not every loaf of bread or cake is the same either. Many variable including the amounts and quality of each ingredient among other factors change the end product tremendously.

Milk paint is a type of paint that has been around for centuries using casein (milk protein), lime and pigments. It comes in powdered form (so-called milk paint sold in liquid form is not real milk paint) and must be mixed with water to create liquid paint. Because it contains milk protein, the paint has a short shelf life once mixed and works best if used the same day. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days if necessary but isn’t recommended. It has a flat finish and is environmentally friendly. It must be sealed for stability with wax or varnish. Milk paint works best over new wood. If painting over an existing finish, proper prep work is required (sanding at minimum) and a bonding agent should be added to the paint. The results can be somewhat unpredictable sometimes creating a “chippy” finish that mimics old paint chipping off of the surface.

Milk paint was one of the inspirations behind Annie Sloan’s unique formula for her Chalk Paint® decorative paint. It has the same flat finish and is also environmentally friendly with zero VOCs. It comes pre-mixed so each batch is consistent and will not spoil as long as it is well-sealed in an airtight container and not allowed to freeze. The bonding qualities of Chalk Paint® are unmatched by any other paint or primer on the market and no prep other than cleaning the surface is necessary prior to using.

Not at all! Chalk Paint® is matte enough that it can be used like a chalkboard but chalkboard paint is not an appropriate product for painting furniture or cabinets. Although the names may sound a bit similar, they are two totally different things.