DIY & Decor

DIY & Decor
diy & decor

Furniture Tutorials

Furniture Tutorials
Furniture Tutorials


Favorite Makeovers

Layering Chalk Paint® On Furniture

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Layering Chalk Paint® is a fun and easy way to give your furniture pieces some added depth, dimension and interest. Using multiple paint colors on a piece can create the illusion of a really nice patina or trick others into believing that your piece of furniture is older than it really is. Painting layers using Chalk Paint® is simple and easy

With a little bit of practice, even a beginner can do it! There are lots of different ways to achieve a layered Chalk Paint® look. Today, I'm going to explain one of my favorite methods, called Dry Brushing.

Layering Chalk Paint® On Furniture Tutorial

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Meet Ms. Emory. This lovely full bed frame traveled all the way from Pennsylvania to Arizona. She had been well cared for and was taking up space in an unused guest bedroom. With a few scratches here and there Ms. Emory was a great candidate for Chalk Paint® layering!

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Chalk Paint® Dry Brushing Painting Supplies:

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- Chalk Style Paint (I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Provence & Aubusson Blue)
- Clear Plastic Wrap
-Lint Free Cloth or an old T-shirt

Step by Step Instructions To Layer Chalk Paint®

Step 1: Decide If You Want Your Furniture To Look Distressed

Decide if you want some of the original wood finish to peak through on your piece. I personally like to leave some of the underlying wood showing. I think it gives my furniture an added layer of color plus, revealing some of the wood gives a piece a natural distressed look without ever having to pick up a piece of sand paper

And I think it's less work!... Visit our detailed tutorial to Learn how to naturally distress your furniture with paint! :) We're going with "show the original wood" for this furniture makeover.




Step 2: Start With Your Darkest Chalk Paint® Color 

I like to start with the darker paint shade when I'm layering paint. Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint® is the darker shade so it's first in the line up. I lightly dip my paint brush into the chalk paint so that the bottom 1/2 inch of the brush is covered. 

My first layer of chalk paint goes on very light.  I brushed it all over the edges of the headboard working in small sections at a time. To get a variety of coverage, I place my newly wet paint brush in different places within the area that I'm working, then I brush out from the first few strokes. This helps you get variation in your piece. 

I work the Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint® into all of the crevices being careful to allow some of the wood to show in places. For this piece, I concentrate the shading along the edges and lines of the piece

Small amounts of Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint® were also painted onto the flat spaces of the headboard to give the darker blue a chance to peek through the Provence (coming next). My goal for this step isn't to have full coverage. Once I finished applying the highlighting color, I wrapped my paint brush in saran wrap to keep the brush moist. I'm going to need it in a bit. 

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Step 3: Apply Your Second Chalk Paint® Color Layer

I grab my second paint brush and gave the headboard a medium coat of Provence Chalk Paint® being careful not to rub my brush too heavy over the Aubusson Blue chalk paint because I want that color to show.

Can you see the contrasting colors in the below picture?

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Step 3 Example: How about in this next picture? Do you see the Aubusson Blue peeking through the corners? Now, we've got a few layers going on... You can see the Provence, the Aubusson Blue and the original wood.

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Step 4: Dry Brush Paint To Add Extra Highlights

Once I had the coverage I wanted with the Provence, I unwrap my original paint brush from the saran wrap and just barely dip it into the Aubusson Blue paint. Really, just barely enough to dampen the ends of the bristles. 

At this point in the project, I'm looking to add a few additional highlights to the piece. So, I'm not using a lot of pressure with my brush. I'm not putting gobs of chalk paint on my brush. My goal is for light, long sweeping motions across the headboard.

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Step 4 Example: If you look closely to the flat space on this footboard you can see the blue sweeping strokes. The lighter the strokes, the more blended your layering will look

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Layering Hint! When you're layering chalk paint on your next project, don't worry about being systematic. Layering paint is about making mistakes, having fun and playing around with paint. It's not supposed to be matchy-matchy. It doesn't have to be uniform. 

And if you get too much chalk paint on your brush, you can always wipe the excess off or go back over and dry brush another color on top of it.

Chalk Paint® is forgiving. ;)

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Step 5: Protect Your Furniture With A Top Coat

If it's a low traffic furniture piece like this headboard, I like to protect my pieces with wax. If you're working on a high traffic area like a nightstand where cups might land, my favorite top coats are General Finishes High Performance in FlatPolyvine Wax Finish, Polyvine Hard Wearing Varnish

If you're drawn to turquoise hues, you might enjoy our Turquoise Chalk Painted Media Console Project or our Turquoise Painted Bedroom CollectionWould you like to see more examples of layered painting? Check out our Hamilton Mirror project and our Kevin Mirrors to see more painted pieces and more projects using layering techniques

Follow our Thirty Eighth Street Pinterest Board to see more inspirational furniture makeovers or stop by our Furniture Tutorial Shop to get additional free furniture tutorials just like this one!

Have a great rest of the week!
Carrie || Thirty Eighth Street

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  1. I'm crazy over the color. The bed was nice before but now it says WOW! Well done :)
    Hugs -Jenny

    1. You made my day! Thanks, Jenny. I'm glad you liked it! :)

  2. So so pretty! Can't wait to check out more of your furniture makeovers!

  3. So beautiful!! I'm just learning to paint with chalk paint. Did you let the first coat dry before using the other colour and when did you put the clear wax on it?

    1. Hi Jackie! I think you'll really enjoy working with chalk paint! Yes, I let all of my layers dry before applying any new layers and the wax! Chalk paint dries quickly though, so you don't have to wait too long!

  4. Love the bed! I have chalk painted a couple of pieces of old mahogany furniture and have this recurring problem. The red color in the mahogany bleeds through. What can I do to
    prevent this?

    1. Bleed through from mahogany furniture is such a common problem! You can use a sealer to prevent the tannin or stain from penetrating through. I like to use a shellac or shellac based primer to fight the bleed through. Hope that helps!

  5. I am really exasperated. Just came across your blog and knew right away I was going to love it. Problem is i start reading but ain't see any pictures. Then I read the comments and it skips to a different project. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

    1. Hi Joette! I'm sorry you're having trouble navigating our blog. I was just on our Layering Chalk Paint article and could see all of the pictures just fine. Are you trying to view it on your computer or mobile device?