A new product has hit the interior paint market--chalk paint. There are a lot of questions surrounding what it is and how to use it, since it is nothing like traditional furniture or house paint. At the moment, because the product is rather new, you may not find that much information on the internet. Here is a little more than what you can usually uncover about chalk paint.
What Chalk Paint Is
Artists are probably familiar with the "painting" properties of pastels and chalk, but chalk paint is not this. Chalk paint is not chalk-based paint either, despite the name. It is actually a high-matte finish paint that produces a slightly chalky texture or appearance when dry. It is on the opposite end of the paint spectrum from high gloss.
How to Use It
Many people who have tried chalk paint have created original products like Annie Sloan painted furniture using chalk paint. You do not have to sand, buff or prep the surface of any piece of wooden furniture or the walls either. The paint goes on and dries very quickly without being streaky, unless you add water to it to make it look more like "whitewash" paint. One to two coats is sufficient, and then you can either use sandpaper to make it look worn or use dark wax sealant.
The dark wax sealant is applied over the top of the clear wax sealant to darken your walls or furniture and make them look very old or "antiqued." Like the clear wax sealant, it is applied by hand and rubbed into every pore of the wood surface or wall to which you are applying it. If you really want to darken a wall or furniture piece up, you can use a second or third coat of dark wax, waiting for the wax to sink in and dry between coats. You do not have to sand between coats of paint or wax, and it is often discouraged given that sanding will leave little areas of your walls or wood furniture unprotected.
If you do not want your pieces or walls to look "antiqued," you can use a clear wax sealant that is hand-rubbed into the wood or onto the walls. The clear wax seals the paint to the surface while providing a protective top coat that you can wash and clean with just a warm, wet rag. No soap or harsh chemicals are ever needed, and with some brands of chalk paint, it is also not recommended.