Brush Strokes & Chalk Paint®

brushIn case you don’t know, I work for my local Chalk Paint® stockist Total Bliss.  I spend Tuesdays and Thursdays interacting with our customers and helping them with Chalk Paint®.  I love it!  My 5 hours a day there feel like 5 minutes….good problem to have huh?

It seems lately that much of our dialogue has been about Brush Strokes and Chalk Paint®.


Yes, you will definitely have brush strokes if you use Chalk Paint®!

Is that bad or good?

It’s a good thing and even and awesome thing most of the time.  Annie created Chalk Paint® as a decorative paint primarily for furniture.  She created it to do lots of different things, and many of those things are based on the texture that you can create with the paint. You create that texture primarily using a natural bristle brush. If you are using the Dark Wax you can achieve a much better look with it by having brush strokes, especially when they are in different directions and length.


Can you see how the Dark Wax sits in the strokes here?


On this piece I only used the Dark Wax in small areas, so my strokes give it texture only where I want and the other areas the strokes are really not noticeable at all unless you really look closely.

There are ways to lessen the appearance of strokes…

First of all the lighter the pigment of color, the more brush strokes the color seems to show.

1.  You can control the paint and lessen the appearance of strokes by using some water to thin your paint.  I always like to keep a spray bottle of water by my side to either mist my brush or the actual work surface.  The paint drys so fast that if you brush through drying paint, you disturb it and create “texture”.  Spritz that spot with some water and “paint it out”.

2.  You can also be more “anal” about your strokes. Painting in one direction with longer strokes helps.

3.  You can also vary the tools you are using to apply the paint with.  I have found that using a flat brush that is either all synthetic bristles or a blend of natural and synthetic bristles produces a much smoother look.  Foam brushes and rollers also are great ways to apply the paint for a smoother look.

4.  You can also perform a light sanding between coats, or after your final coat to smooth out your surface.


I generally use 150 or 220 grit sandpaper…but you can even go up into the super fine grits like 600 to really smooth our your surface. Yes, this take extra time…but if that is the look you want then a few extra minutes to do this really is not that big of a deal.

I’ve had people come into the shop and be very frustrated because their pieces have brush strokes.  They are under the impression that the furniture we paint in the store is “perfect”.  I usually walk them around and show them our pieces and our brush strokes.  It is funny when they realized that they are really just being hyper focused on their piece, and when they step back and look at the piece is really is beautiful and perfect.

Don’t hyper focus on the strokes!

That being said, if you are extremely OCD and just can’t handle it….then maybe Chalk Paint® is not the right paint.  There are lots of other paints and products out there.  Choose the one that is right for you and your desired look!

12 Comments on Brush Strokes & Chalk Paint®

  1. Portia McCracken
    March 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm (4 years ago)

    Looks like your text got lost in the brushstrokes?

  2. Kathy Bridges
    November 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for answering about brush strokes! I have a tendancy to be ocd so your suggestion to step back, and not be so focused! That helped me immensely!Thanks a lot!!!

  3. Glenda
    January 16, 2015 at 9:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for explain how to do brush strokes with paint.

  4. Terri
    March 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm (3 years ago)

    I was thinking of trying an additive like Floetrol for a client piece, have you ever tried this with Chalk paint?

    • Dale
      May 5, 2016 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      I am trying floetrol in my latex house paint soon. I will be painting it on a drop cloth to make fabric for throw pillows, so no big deal if it flops. I am just using all products that I have around the house. I called Floetrol today they have no idea if it will work on fabric. I know it slows drying time but wonder if it will allow paint to fade onto other upholstery that pillows sit on. Any ideas or advice?

  5. Kristy
    May 11, 2015 at 10:13 am (3 years ago)

    This helped me so much! I just painted a buffet, and loved it in a “dimmer” light in my garage. To the point that it was hard to sleep I was so excited. Only to open the garage door this morning and see a bunch of paint stroke lines. GASP! I’m going to go home and sand it and then say, this is how God intended it! 🙂

    • Cathy
      September 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Just experienced the same thing! Was so proud when I went to bed only to wake, open the garage door and see all the strokes.
      Thank you for this explanation and giving a close up look at your finished pieces. Very helpful and calming 😉

  6. Laurie
    September 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm (2 years ago)

    I added a little water to my.paint, thankyiu for that suggestion. It helped with the strokes. I didn’t add water to the whole can. Poured a little in a styrofoam cup and added just a touch of water, maybe 2tablespoons, mixed well, and it looks perfect to me. I havent waxed the peice yet. This is my first piece. I am using Pure White. It is a dresser for a little girls room. Every peice in her room is white so I didnt have much of a choice. Cant wait to do some of my own pieces. Then I can play with color, texture, wax., and everything else. Adventurous, I am.

    • Todd
      August 7, 2016 at 9:33 am (2 years ago)

      I did what Laurie said and watered down the paint slightly. Before my second coat I sanded the piece very lightly – 600 grit. I did the same for a third coat and sanded and distressed before applying a wax coat. It’s smooth as butter.

      • Amber
        May 15, 2017 at 4:20 am (9 months ago)

        Do you end up having to paint extra coatings when watering down the paint?

  7. Kirsten
    September 19, 2015 at 1:48 pm (2 years ago)

    I use the foam brushes, and I get a pretty stroke-free finish! I rarely use a brush anymore when I paint with Annie Sloan.

    • Jenny
      February 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you for that tip, I will try it.


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