The Cheapskate versus the Chalk Paint

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So most of us know all about the awesomeness that is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint by now.  I have been admiring chalk paint furniture transformations for awhile – there is no question, it produces really beautiful painted furniture.  The problem for me all along has been the cost.  At around $35 a quart plus shipping, it is very difficult for a frugal lady (cheapskate) like me to see the value no matter how beautiful the results.

Last week I was reading the post Chalk Paint Cost and Why I Use It at Perfectly Imperfect and I was inspired to reconsider chalk paint’s value.  I decided to do a little test.  Several months ago, I ordered some 4 ounce samples of a few colors of chalk paint from Shades of Amber.  I had used most of the paint on picture frames and other small doodads but I still had half the sample of my beloved Antibes Green.  I had been afraid to use my little samples on furniture pieces since they were so small.  But after reading Shaunna’s post, I was feeling feisty.

Aside from beauty, there are three main reasons people seem to love chalk paint so much:
  1. It can be painted straight onto pretty much any finish without sanding or priming.
  2. It provides really great coverage.
  3. It is much faster to paint using chalk paint than latex paint.
All very practical points that I wanted to really put to the test.
So I pulled a little end table from my hoard of unfinished furniture.  This is a pretty small table – only about knee high.  But I also had a very small amount of paint left – around 2 ounces.  (That would be equivalent to 1/4 of a paint sample from Lowes or Home Depot).  Also, the table had an extremely shiny black finish – typically this would require sanding (or at minimum deglossing) and serious primer.  Instead, I just started slapping on the chalk paint.
before: glossy black
I really had no expectations but this is what I found:
  1. It can be painted straight onto pretty much any finish without sanding or priming. – Even with this super glossy finish, there were zero problems with the chalk paint adhering.  Because the original color was so dark, I did have to do three coats of the chalk paint though.
  2. It provides really great coverage. – Even though I had to do three coats, my tiny little 2 ounces of paint still managed to get the job done.  (It did use every drop though.)
  3. It is much faster to paint using chalk paint than latex paint. – This was also true.  Aside from all the time saved by not sanding and priming, the actual painting was faster.  I really didn’t have to be careful about how I brushed on the paint because it dried to a smooth finish anyway.  And I also only had to wait a few minutes between coats.
The back table has the exact same glossy finish this table had before painting.
I have always thought chalk paint to be very beautiful, but did not think it was practical.  Now I am thinking that I may have been a bit hasty.  Yes, it is more expensive but it saves the cost of primer and sandpaper, lots of time, and goes pretty far.  And it is just so beautiful.  Pictures online really can’t do justice to the soft glow of pieces painted with chalk paint.  I may just end up a convert yet.
Anyone else out there overcome their innate cheapness to become a Chalk Paint devotee?
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Comments

  1. says

    My cheepness has won so far. I haven’t tried it yet. But, I’m thinking about trying some on a project I have coming up for my home. Debating. The thing is I have a TON of primer, so the cost analysis for me is different than someone who would need to get primer for a project using regular paint. AND there aren’t any chalk paint dealers anywhere near me, I’d have to drive over an hour or have it shipped (boo!). Maybe I’ll order some samples to test out as you did.

  2. says

    it looks awesome! love the green on it!
    i have found that sometimes it doesn’t work for me- it just doesn’t always have the adhesion it promises which always makes me nervous, so i still sand lightly before. but ia m also selling my pieces, so i would hate for someone to buy one and have the paint come off on them, so i have to be certain.

  3. says

    it looks awesome! love the green on it!
    i have found that sometimes it doesn’t work for me- it just doesn’t always have the adhesion it promises which always makes me nervous, so i still sand lightly before. but ia m also selling my pieces, so i would hate for someone to buy one and have the paint come off on them, so i have to be certain.

  4. says

    I am also very cheap but I think the chalk paint is totally worth it!! I also love how easy the clean up is, just soap & water-no chemicals! I recently bought some milk paint which was cheaper & is supposed to work as well……just haven’t found the right piece of furniture to paint yet.

  5. says

    I agree! I just tried my first chalkpaint project using homemade chalkpaint and was amazed! I now understand the fuss. It was beautiful, quick, good coverage, and easy to use. Why did I wait so long? P.S. The little piece looks divine!

  6. says

    I think I may need to try this. I have been to cheap (frugal) to pay for this but I have a cabinet that would be great with it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Now I need to find it locally so I don’t need to pay shipping. Jaime has a link on her blog for make your own, too. Maybe that will work.
    Ruth

  7. says

    You are absolutely right. I also had a hard time swallowing the cost for the paint. I bought the old white, a clear can of wax and two color samples over a month ago. I still to date have about an eighth of a can left and have painted a toy chest, an end table, a huge buffet, several dresser drawers, the legs and skirt of a dining room table and a chair! It really really goes a long way. I also water all my ascp down a little and it goes even further with great covereage. SO yes like you I’m a believer. I would be honored to have you link this up to my VIP party today =) http://designergarden.blogspot.com/2011/11/vip-party-36.html

  8. says

    I have really been wanting to try this paint, but the price has been prohibitive. I have yet to read anything negative about it. Everyone seems to love it. Perhaps one day I’ll bite the bullet.

  9. says

    What’s the difference between using one coat of primer and one coat of latex, or two coats of chalk paint? I like how chalk paint looks, but I’m still not sure why folks are touting it as ‘step saving’ and ‘no prep work’ when you’re using the same amount of labor as you would if your paint brush was brushing on primer (rather than chalk paint) as your first coat. Also, the sanding you are skipping before painting is not really skipped, but just moved ahead in time to when the piece is dry. So what I don’t understand is how it matters, time-wise and effort-wise, if the 2 layers you add are primer-paint or chalkpaint-chalkpaint, and if the sanding comes with the priming step or after the chalk paint step. It’s still 2 painted layers and sanding, no matter what’s on your brush.

    To me, the real difference with chalk paint is simply the paint finish itself. It’s a nice finish. And I think you’re paying for the finish. In some cases and with some colors I think it’s worth it. But it’s not magic, and it’s not in my experience time or effort saving.

    • Glenda Baird says

      I agree. I don’t see that chalk paint is time or effort saving. I understand that waxing is required with chalk paint. It is not with latex. So any way you look at it, there are at least two required steps with both types of paint. I have always used Valspar paint on my furniture and on the walls in my home. I love it. Spreads like butta, covers beautifully and is very forgiving. I’m not convinced yet. I have a lot of paint colors I am using so I might try the chalk paint powder in one of the paints I already have.

  10. says

    I certainly agree that chalk paint is not magic and I will never be someone who uses chalk paint for everything. But for my personal painting process it was faster. I typically use one coat of primer and two coats of latex paint so the chalk paint does save some time there. Also, when using latex paint on certain finishes, I sand the entire piece before painting. With chalk paint, the only sanding I had to do was some minor distressing at the end. I guess it depends on your painting process, but for me it was a real time saver.

  11. says

    Carrie!

    I was wondering if this table was for sale? My family and I are planning on dropping by your booth in Salem on Friday afternoon. This would go PERFECTLY in my living room! I’m dying over this finish (:

    Allison

  12. says

    Allison – How exciting that you are coming by my booth! This table will be for sale but I actually still have to finish waxing it so it is not there yet. If I have a chance I will work on it this week and try to drop it by but I can’t promise anything.

  13. says

    chalk paint won me over due to its easy nature. i love blending colors with the wax and sanding to make each piece unique.

    and how about that antibes green? i just posted my green goddess today, too!

    loving that table….good luck on the sale of it!

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