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How to Paint with Chalk Paints Easily and Quickly!

Learn how to paint with chalk paints easily! Chalk paint dressers are a quick and cheap way to update a bedroom. I love this grey chalk paint!

One of the last rooms to update in my house was the master bedroom.  I’ve been busy painting, making new rustic wall shelves, a padded headboard, and adding plank wallpaper.  The last thing that sat unfinished for months was our furniture.

We bought a complete set of bedroom furniture before we even got married back in 2002.  It was from one of those stores that sell furniture that was used in staged new homes at a good price.

So it’s solid wood and overall great furniture.  But the color just didn’t go with our new master bedroom decor.  The furniture was still an orangish color and everything else was a white and grey tone.

Since it’s not something that gets seen to anyone but us, I didn’t want to spend much time or money on it.  I turned to one of my favorite ways to update things easily… chalk paint!

This time I used some grey chalk paint and I was able to knock out this project over a few days while my husband was out of town.  What a difference some chalk paint can make, right?  Here are the chalk paint furniture before and after pictures!

chalk paint furniture before and after pinterest

How do you Chalk Paint furniture?

The amazing thing about this kind of paint is that no real prep work is needed.  Chalk paint is thick and has a chalky appearance and goes on furniture easily. 

I prefer to use paintbrushes specific to chalk paint because it helps provide good coverage while holding a lot of chalk paint.  They usually have natural and synthetic bristles that are dense and non-shedding.  Cheap chip brushes are not going to give you a good smooth finish!

chalkboard paint on glass

Do you have to sand before chalk paint?

No!  For the vast majority of projects, you do not need to sand before applying chalk paint.  That is one of the pros of working with this paint.  If for some reason the wood you are going to paint is old and rough then sanding for safety and aesthetic reasons might be needed.

Chalk paint is specifically formulated to stick to a huge variety of surfaces without sanding it first.  This saves a huge amount of time and mess!  Win-win, right??

Tips for Distressing Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is the perfect paint to give furniture or decor a worn or rustic look.  I have remodeled the majority of my house into a farmhouse style, so chalk paint fits in with my vibe perfectly.

You can distress chalk painted furniture or decor as little or as much as you want.  Grab a sanding block or some sandpaper and sand the corners or edges to give it a low distressed look.  You will notice the paint will sand off and you are left with the color that is underneath.


If you want an even more worn look, you can sand in the middle of the piece and sand off more.  This makes everything you paint with chalk paint a truly unique piece.

Materials Needed for Grey Chalk Painted Furniture

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  • Gray Chalk Paint – Rustoleum sent me some grey chalk paint to try out
  • Grey gel stain – I used Heirloom traditions gel wood stain in charcoal
  • Chalk Paintbrush
  • Barnwood Heirloom Traditions Antiquing Wax Liquid(Grey) – this is what I used 

So here are the lovely before pictures of my bedroom furniture.  Pretty blah, right?

before chalk paint pictures

I had grand plans of cutting the top wood off the mirror since I didn’t like the dowel look anymore, but as the mirror sat on our floor for months, it ended up getting sold.

chalk paint furniture before pics

I had one long dresser, one tall dresser and two nightstands to paint.

Prepping to Chalk Paint Dressers

The only real prep work I did was to remove all of the knobs off the drawers.  I didn’t even remove the clothes or the drawers.  I just painted the front sides of everything.

If you are not able to move your furniture outside, place drop cloths down to protect your carpet and open your windows.

If your furniture is really dirty or greasing, use a wet wipe and wipe it off.

How to Paint with Chalk Paints

I wanted my dressers two-toned so I started by painting the top of all my furniture with a gel stain.  I used a foam brush and just painted it on like any other paint.

For my cabinets and staircase, I used General Finishes gel stain, but I was placing a big order with Heirloom Traditions so I decided to try theirs.  It worked great!

gel stain on dresser
grey gel stain
how to paint with chalk paints

Once the tops were done, I used a round chalk brush paintbrush and started painting all of the sides of the dressers.

how to paint with chalk paints

Then I moved on to painting all of the drawers.  As I said, I just left them in the dresser and pulled them out.  I get lazy sometimes and it’s just my master bedroom furniture!

how to use chalk paints

I needed a break after painting all of the furniture with grey chalk paint, so I let them dry for quite a few hours.

Distressing Chalk Paint

I wanted the furniture to have a little bit of a distressed look so I used a sanding block to just sand off the edges and corners of the drawers.  You can see a little of the brown wood show back through.

distressing chalk paint

I almost stopped here since all the newly painted chalk furniture was looking great.  If you want to stop here, you can add a sealant or wax on top of the chalk paint as I did on my chalk painted cabinets in my laundry room.

I had a container of antiquing barnwood liquid wax and I wanted to see what it would look like.  I love playing with the look of furniture!

I used a round brush and squirted some wax on it.  Then I used long strokes to apply it along the length of the drawers.

grey chalk paint weathered
chalk paint dressers grey

Once the drawer was fully coated, I used an old cotton t-shirt to start rubbing off some of the wax.  Again I used long strokes until I got the look I wanted.

chalk paint furniture grey

It added a fun weathered grey look!  There are a ton of different brands of wax and antiquing gels that add different looks to chalk painted furniture.  That’s what makes them so unique and fun!

how to paint with chalk paint

I probably should add wax or sealant on the rest of the chalk painted sides, but since they don’t usually get touched, I called it a day…

Here is how my new chalk painted nightstand came out! 

That lamp used to be black, but I used white chalk paint on it… nothing is safe!

grey chalk paint furniture
how to paint furniture with chalk paint

And my new tall grey chalk painted dressers.

chalk paint dressers
grey chalk paint dressers

I love how the dark charcoal gel stain gives a nice contrast to the lighter gray chalked paint.

grey chalk paint dressers with gel stain top
dresser chalk painted grey

This project was done in a weekend and it was so nice to not to buy all new furniture to give my bedroom an entirely new look!

If you are a fan of chalk paint, make sure to check out my roundup of chalk paint ideas from other bloggers.

DIY chalk paint furniture is a quick and easy way to update old dressers and nightstand. I love my new grey chalk painted furniture! #chalkpaint #diydecor

If you’d like to save this how to use chalk paints tutorial for later, simply hover over the top left of the image below and PIN it now!

grey chalk paint furniture

How to Paint with Chalk Paints Easily and Quickly!

Active Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 8 hours
Difficulty: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $25

Learn the easiest way to update old furniture! Using chalk paint on dressers and nightstands is quick and cheap.



  1. No prep work should be needed unless your furniture is really rough.
  2. Remove furniture knobs.
  3. If using a gel stain, apply an even coat to the top of the dressers with a foam brush or paintbrush.
  4. Use a rounded paintbrush to apply chalk paint all over the sides of the furniture and drawers. Let dry for 2-4 hours.
  5. Distress the edges of the drawers and furniture by sanding.
  6. Wipe off dust.
  7. If adding a wax, use a wax brush to wipe the liquid on.
  8. Let it sit for a few minutes and then use an old cotton t-shirt to remove the excess wax. Wipe a little or a lot to get the desired look. If you remove too much, add more!
  9. Let the wax fully dry.
  10. Enjoy your new chalk paint dressers!

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!

leap of faith crafting


Monday 10th of April 2023

Love this. Going to try to do mine. Yours turned out awesome. Beautiful.


Friday 3rd of January 2020

This turned out so good! It looks amazing! I have some end tables in my bedroom that I have always hated. You've inspired me to give them a new look!

Leap of Faith Crafting

Friday 3rd of January 2020

Thank you so much! You definitely should, it was pretty quick and easy! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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