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Chalk Paint Piano Makeover

Ever wonder if you could use chalk paint to paint a piano? You totally can, it's easy and we'll show you how in this chalk paint piano makeover!

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Do you have an old piano that's in need of an update? If you have ever purchased an old wood piano or inherited one, you know that although they are functional, they can sure be an eye sore.

If you are having a hard time incorporating your piano into your decor, change the look of it! You don't have to throw your piano out- refinish your piano with chalk paint!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to products I love and use everyday so you can find them easily. This means that we receive a small commission for purchases that are made through these links. You may read our full disclosure for more info. 


Yes, you can use chalk paint to paint a piano! In fact, using chalk paint is one of the easiest ways to refinish a piano. With chalk paint there is no to very little sanding or priming before you paint.


There are some real advantages to using chalk paint on a piano vs painting your piano with latex paint.

1. Because chalk paint is a water based paint, it's really easy to clean up. If you accidentally get chalk paint in a place it's not supposed to be (like a piano key or pedal or hinge) simply rub the chalk paint off with a damp rag and viola- it's gone!

2. Chalk paint dries quickly so if you are itching to get to that second coat of chalk paint, you can!

3. It's great for creating an aged appearance. Most pianos are older so chalk paint fits this look and style!

4. When you use chalk paint there is an array of decorative options for your chalk paint piano makeover. You can mix colors and use colored waxes to create so many decorative paint finishes!

5. Painting a piano with chalk paint will give you a pretty matte finish.

6. Because chalk paint has a thicker consistency, it's less likely to drip than using regular latex paint which is runnier. 

7. Chalk paint can adhere to almost anything including metals, so if you choose to paint your hinges, metal detailing or hardware on your piano, it will stick!

8. There isn't a huge learning curve or a lot of prep work when you paint a piano with chalk paint.

9. Chalk paint will hide heavily grained wood like oak easily.

10. Chalk paint adheres to most surfaces without the need for priming and only a scuff sand in most instances.

11. If you like a distressed piano look, chalk paint distresses super easy! You can wet distress the chalk paint on your piano without even breaking out a piece of sandpaper with this easy wet distress painted furniture technique.

12. Chalk paint has low or NO VOC so the paint has very little smell to it and is safer for your home environment. 


What kind of chalk paint should I use on my piano?

When you are painting a piano you want to make sure to use a high quality chalk paint. 

Chalk painting a piano is NOT hard, but because the size of a piano is quite large, you'll save yourself so much time if you can chalk paint with as few as paint coats as possible.

A high quality chalk paint will contain higher pigmentation than a cheaper one and it will give you the best coverage per coat of paint for your chalk painted piano.

What Is The Best Chalk Paint For A Piano?

I highly recommend the following chalk style paint brands to paint a piano:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint


There are a few supplies you'll want to have on hand before you starting chalk painting your piano.

You should have:

drop cloth or old sheet
lint free rags (for applying wax)
shop towels (to wipe the excess wax off)

The painters tape will be used to mask off the piano keys and prevent the chalk paint from getting on them.

Place your drop cloth or old sheet on the floor and tuck under your piano to prevent chalk paint drips or spills from getting on your floor.

An angled Wooster paint brush is the BEST for painting pianos because it allows you to paint and cut in at an angle behind the piano keys.

You can tape drop cloth paper over your piano keys if you feel like you want to be extra safe before you begin painting.

Lint free rags and the shop towels will be used if you decide to use wax to seal your chalk paint piano.



- Pour some of your chalk paint into a separate container or small paint tray. I like to use an old plastic tupperware container that has a lid. Dip your paintbrush and paint your piano right form the container rather than the original chalk paint container.

Chalk paint tends to get thicker the more the air gets to it. Since painting a piano takes a little time, you are better off painting from a container so the original chalk paint doesn't get too thick and dry out.

If after awhile the paint in your plastic container starts to feel on the thick side, you can add a small amount of water to thin it out (small amount like a tsp at a time). You don't want your chalk paint too runny- especially when you are painting a piano!

- Don't load your paint brush with a ton of paint. If you load your paint brush with too much chalk paint, there's an increase risk for paint drips.

- On your first coat, make sure to paint a thin coat. Thin coats will give you a smoother finish on your chalk paint  piano makeover.


There are so many great ways and ideas to refinish and update a piano!

Idea #1: Add Some Detail

If you are looking to add some additional interest and detail to a plain looking piano, try adding these inexpensive decorative wood appliques with wood glue before painting your piano with chalk paint.

Simply add your wood glue to your appliques, place them on your piano and secure with painters tape. Allow the wood glue to dry before painting your piano.

Paint your first coat, let dry. Then go around with paintable caulk to fill in the gaps around the appliques. Be sure to run your finger over the DAP so it's smooth. Then, once dry apply your second coat of chalk paint.

Idea #2: Give Your Piano Hardware Some Style/Bling

Another great idea! If your piano's original knobs are lackluster, you can paint the original hardware or change it out and add some bling to your piano!

You can find some really great pulls like these to modernize or update the look of your piano.

Piano Hardware Ideas:

Idea #3: Chalk Paint Your Piano For A Contemporary or Modern Look

If your wanting more of a contemporary or modern look for your piano, don't distress the chalk paint with sandpaper. Go for full coverage. 

Once the chalk paint is dry, simply add and buff a coat of wax or a coat of water based Polycrylic in the sheen you want.

Idea #4: Update Your Piano With An Aged Farmhouse Feel

If you want more of a rustic farmhouse look for your piano, use a 100 grit sand block over the edges and detailed areas of your piano after the chalk paint has dried paint to make it look old and worn. 

You can also use a damp cloth and apply this wet distress painted furniture technique and forgo the sand block!


I have saved over 50 ideas on my Painted Piano Idea Board on Pinterest. Here are just a few chalk painted pianos that I've been inspired by!

I hope some ideas start swirling for you too!


Upright and grand pianos have more surface space. These bigger sized pianos will take a little bit more chalk paint than a smaller piano. 

Likewise, painting a piano with a white or lighter shade of chalk paint will take a little bit more chalk paint than if you were to choose a darker shade of chalk paint.

That being said, your chalk paint piano makeover shouldn't take more than a quart of paint. You should have a little bit of chalk paint left for touch ups or use your left overs for another small chalk paint project!


The most popular chalk paint colors for pianos are white, dark grey and black. These neutral chalk paint colors allow people to change out their decor in a space without having to re-paint their piano.

Some AMAZING piano transformations have been painted in bold chalk paint colors. This always draws the eye and turns pianos into a unique statement piece!

The most popular bold chalk paint pianos colors are: turquoise or cobalt blue, green, hot pink, mustard yellow and navy. 

CLICK HERE To Save This Pin For Later!



Black chalk painted pianos are popular! When you are painting a piano black, you want to make sure that you use a clear shellac instead of a white tinted primer or shellac. 

You don't want that white to show through the black chalk paint if you decide to distress it.

Black wax on top of black chalk paint looks amazing! It deepens the color and makes it really rich looking.

My favorite black chalk paint colors are:

You can see what painting a piano with black chalk paint looks like in this video here.

Second runner up is Dixie Belle Caviar.


If you have your heart set on painting your piano with white chalk paint, you can! There are just a few things you should know ahead of time. 

Here are a few tips that will help save you both time and money when picking a lighter shade of chalk paint.

White Chalk Paint Piano Tips

Here are a few important tips I learned along my chalk paint piano journey when painting my piano white.

Tip #1: White Chalk Paint Will Usually Take More Coats

Painting white chalk paint onto a dark wood piano will take more coats of paint than if you had chosen a darker chalk paint shade.

As a general rule selecting a lighter shade of chalk paint will typically take more coats than selecting a darker shade. That's ok! Just know that it will take at least 2 coats of white chalk paint and it could take 3, depending on the quality of chalk paint that you use.

Tip #2: Some Pianos Will Bleed Through Wood Tannins

Not all, but some pianos will bleed through their wood tannins and it's much more noticable when you use a white chalk paint. (P.S. Tannins show up using any kind of paint- latex or chalk paint so it's not the chalk paint, it's just the wood you are working with.)

But don't freak! If you know what to look out for and know how to stop it, you've got all the tools you need to prevent and fix this potential problem.

Pianos with shiny cherry finishes, or wood with orange undertones tend to bleed more.

If you are painting a piano from the 1930's and 1940's you'll definitely want to add this step to your chalk paint piano makeover before you start painting it with white chalk paint.

The tannins will look like yellow, brown or pinkish spots. They will usually show their ugly little head once the white chalk paint dries. However, sometimes the tannins don't show until you start sealing the chalk paint.

How can you fix the wood bleeding through paint? First, stop painting if you're notice paint bleed through. You need to seal in the tannin stain so it doesn't penetrate through the paint anymore. 

Using BOSS or a clear shellac like this is VERY effective in sealing in those tannins!


If your wood piano is in poor cosmetic condition, there may be a few things you'll want to fix before prepping your piano for chalk paint.

Sun damage crackling sanding block to even it out. It's not always necessary to sand when using chalk paint, which is why I like it. But, sometimes repair work requires sanding so that the finish looks smooth and even. If you do choose to sand it, do your best to protect the inside of the piano from the sawdust to preserve the integrity of the piano.


As a recap, don't forget these important tips! Save this chalk paint piano makeover on Pinterest so you can always refer to it! I have a Painted Piano Ideas board you might like.

You can also receive this freebie checklist to your inbox by submitting your email below. Enjoy!


No. As long as you don't paint the sound board, pianists and piano tuners have said painting the outside of a piano will not cause the sound of a piano to change.


This poor piano has been played many times. Just take a peek at the mismatched piano seat... This piano belonged to my grandmother who then passed it down to my mother. 

Many buns have sat here practicing and playing away. After a recent home remodel, my mother asked me to give it a facelift to match her decor. 

I had painted several furniture pieces in chalk paint before, but a piano would be a first.

Challenge accepted. :) Here's what I learned. Painting a piano with chalk paint wasn't overwhelming or hard or scary. It didn't take weeks to finish. This chalk paint piano makeover was finished in a weekend.

Using a good quality paint brush was key! It helped me keep my paint lines tight.

2020 UPDATE: How Is The Chalk Paint Piano Holding Up?

This piano was painted with chalk paint in 2013. After 7 years, the piano still looks amazing! 

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How To Paint A Piano With Chalk Paint®

Prep Your Piano For Paint

  • Wipe down the surface of your piano. Make sure it's free of dust, dirt and grime. If your piano has an oil residue from products like Pledge, you'll want to wash it with a solution of TSP before you begin. 
  • Tape around the foot pedals and keys (and anywhere else you don't to get painted).

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Choose Your Chalk Paint® Brand and Color

  • The finish on the piano bench didn't match the piano so deciding to paint both the piano and the piano bench was an easy choice! We wanted to lighten up the dark piano so we decided on Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan in Old White.

This piano received 3 coats of paint. If you happen to experience bleed through on your white painted furniture projects, I would suggest trying these easy solutions to help you with your tannin problem.

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Protect Your Chalk Paint® Finish

  • Since the piano doesn't get much traffic I opted to seal the chalk paint with AS Clear Wax. 

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The piano bench received a similar painted treatment and was given a new pad and some new fabric. The result? It kind of makes me want to break out in Beethoven.... or at least put in a little more time for piano practicing.

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Do you have a dark and ugly piano that could use a facelift? Get brave and paint it! Do you have a Pinterest account? Follow me here, I have a Painted Piano Ideas board that you might like!

Are you interested in more furniture tutorials just like this? Stop by our Furniture Tutorials and Resources Page where you'll find all sorts of refinishing furniture tips, tricks and before and afters.

Take care!

Carrie || Thirty Eighth Street

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