How to Paint a Chair {using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint}

I needed dining chairs, and I really wanted this antique set that my grandparents had in their basement. I asked a bunch of times, and they always said no. Until one day when they magically decided I could have them. And I just love them so much! They will always be special to me, because they were special to them. And today, I want to show you how I refinished them, using Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan.

These chairs originally belonged to my great-great Aunt. I absolutely LOVE that they are a family heirloom, and I like to think that my sweet Aunt Norma would be proud of the way I refinished them.

Antique chairs are amazing! Look at the shape of this chair, and the detail. You just can’t find that kind of chair at Target, my friends… although let’s be honest, Target is awesome! But, these are one of a kind, truly vintage chairs, and I’m thrilled with how they turned out.

 I used Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. It is FANTASTIC, people! There are a lot of things I love about this paint. But one of the things I love is that you can’t just get this paint anywhere. You have to buy it from an Annie Sloan stockist, who has gone through training in order to be able to sell it. That means they know how to use it! I got my paint, locally at a shop called Drab 2 Fab paint in Pleasant Grove, Utah. And I was so thrilled that I could talk to the owner, Sherry, and she was able to teach me how to use this paint. By the way, if you live in Utah, go visit Sherry. Tell her I sent you and she’ll give you 15% off of Annie Sloan’s amazing brushes!

 So, here we go… I’m going to try to reach through the computer and teach you how to use this paint. But, really, I am no expert, like your local stockist is. So go to Annie Sloan’s website and find your local stockist and let them show you how to use this stuff… 

But until then, I’ll do my best to show you what I did.

Start by prepping your furniture. That means wipe off the dust from Grandma’s basement and putty any imperfections. And yes, that is all the prep work you have to do. 

 Seriously. This, my friends, is the number one reason I love Annie’s chalk paint. NO PREPPING!!!! You don’t have to sand or prime or anything. Just grab a brush (natural bristle brushes are the best), and go for it!

I learned a few tips along the way:

This paint dries fast, so just smear it on and leave it. Don’t keep going over and over the paint, or else it will get all clumpy. If you want to do more than one coat, let it dry first before applying your second coat.

The paint is super thick. It is designed to make your furniture look handpainted, not like it came straight from the factory. So it will show brush strokes. If it’s too thick, add a little water, and it won’t show your brush strokes as much.

 And the second reason I love this paint? NO FUMES!!! That’s right, I painted these chairs in my kitchen (in my pj’s), with my 3 little kids running around, and it was totally fine! AMAZING!

 After you paint, you can decide if you want to distress your furniture. I was honestly on the fence with this. I didn’t know if I wanted to scuff up my freshly painted chairs… but alas, I decided to do it, and it really added a lot of character to the chairs. I used a heavy grit sandpaper (100 grit) to take a bit of paint off here or there.

 You can skip this next step altogether if you’d like, but I wanted a smooth finish on my chairs, so I took a very fine sanding block and sanded my chairs lightly.

 Now is the fun part. Waxing. I’m using clear wax, but you can also get tinted wax, which will stick in the cracks and crevasses and make your piece look antique and really unique.

The reason we wax is to make the finish strong and durable. It also makes all of your scuffs and sanded parts really stick out and look very rich. Once you wax, you’ll loose that chalky feel to the paint, and you’ll get a nice, matte finish.

Take your brush and dip it into the wax. The wax reminds me of Crisco. It is soft and kind of creamy looking. You just need a little bit on the end of your brush. It goes a LONG way. Just dab and rub the wax over the entire thing. Annie Sloan says to really rub it into the paint; pretend it’s hand cream, she says. 

 Then using cheesecloth, rub the excess wax off. Wait another 24 hours for the wax to harden and you can really buff the chair up and give it a good shine. The wax shouldn’t feel tacky at all, so if it does keep on buffing.

 And that’s it. No sealer, no spraying, nothing. Quick and easy, and totally unique!

 I really loved this paint, and I was so glad I was able to find a stockist that was so knowledgeable and willing to help me out. Please make sure to visit Sherry’s Facebook page at Drab 2 Fab, and don’t forget to tell her I sent you.

That’s all for part one of the chair reveal. I’m going to try to do a 3 part series, so make sure to check back on Monday, and I’m going to show you how I recovered the seats of my chairs.

Oh, and also on Monday, I will be on Studio 5, my local news lifestyle show, sharing this tutorial. So tune in to KSL at 1 pm, or tune in online, Monday at 1 pm here.


  1. Sally says

    Absolutely love those chairs – that fleur de lys design is just wonderful and you’ve given them a new lease on life

  2. Angelica says

    Maybe a silly question but how do you buff the small crevices of the chair or the whole chair for that matter?
    The finished product looks great by the way!

  3. Shauna says

    i just LOVE this!! I found your tutorial while searching for tips on chair painting with Annie Sloan paint! This is perfect!
    Your chairs are beautiful, your aunt would be proud!

  4. says

    Your chairs turned out beautiful! Thanks for this information. I have a chair I’d like to refinish also. I like the fact that this paint doesn’t require prep work!! Your Grandma’s chairs really do have character, you will always be able to cherish those now.


Hey there! Leave me some comment love!