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Best Furniture Makeovers

Layering Chalk Paint® On Furniture

Layering Chalk Paint® is a fun and easy way to give your furniture pieces some added depth, dimension and interest. Using these simple layering paint techniques, you'll learn how to layer two colors of chalk paint together to create visual interest and depth to your furniture piece. Layering paint with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® colors is really simple and easy to do

With a little bit of practice, even a beginner can do it! There are a lot of different ways to achieve a layered Chalk Paint® look

Today, I'm going to explain one of my favorite methods, called Dry Brushing. With this method, I'll be two color distressing with chalk paint and explain how to layer chalk paint colors. 
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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to products I love and use every day. This means that I receive a small commission for purchases that are made through these links. Please read our full disclosure for more info.

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 just a few minor scratches here and there, Ms. Emory was a great candidate for layering Chalk Paint®!

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If you want a similar look, here are the following supplies that I used for this painted bedroom furniture makeover. 

Chalk Style Paint I used Provence & Aubusson Blue, two of Annie Sloan chalk paint colors. Mix them together and they make my favorite turquoise chalk paint!

Clear Plastic Wrap- This protects your paintbrush from drying out in between paint coats. 

Lint Free Cloth or an old T-shirt


Layering two colors of chalk paint is a great way to practice blending chalk paint if you are just starting out. 

Of course you can always layer more than just two chalk paint paint colors, but if you're just starting to learn how to layer Annie Sloan chalk paint- start by picking two furniture paint colors to work with.

Then, add more chalk paint colors as you feel comfortable!

Here is an in depth tutorial on how to layer paint. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comment section!


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

First decide if you want some of the original wood finish to peak through underneath your chalk paint layers. I personally like to leave some of the underlying wood showing. 

It will give your furniture an added layer plus, revealing some of the wood gives a piece a naturally distressed look without ever having to pick up a piece of sandpaper

And I think it's less work!... Once you've finished reading this tutorial, 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 my darkest chalk paint color shade when I'm layering paint. Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint® is the darkest shade I'm working with so it's first in the lineup. 

I lightly dip my paintbrush 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 brush 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 paintbrush in different places within the area that I'm working, then I brush out from the first few strokes. This helps you get color 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 bed makeover, I concentrate the darkest 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 1st step is NOT to have full coverage. Once I finish applying my darkest color, I wrapped my paintbrush in saran wrap to keep the brush moist because I'll come back to this paint brush in a bit. 

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Step 3: Apply Your Second Chalk Paint® Color Layer

I grab a second paintbrush 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 have the coverage I want with the Provence (lighter color), I unwrap my original paintbrush from the saran wrap and just barely dip it into the Aubusson Blue paint (darkest color).

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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There's one last step to this layering chalk paint tutorial! Plus, I have a great chalk paint layering tip You're almost finished! 

While you are scrolling here's a few more pictures up close so you can see all the chalk paint layers in this headboard.

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Step 5: Protect Your Furniture With A Top Coat

You'll need to seal the chalk paint on your furniture. If it's a low traffic furniture piece like this headboard, I like to protect my pieces with wax. 

If you have a piece of furniture that will be in a high traffic area like a nightstand where cups be set or say a console table, my favorite top coats to use are:

Gator Hide by Dixie Belle Paint

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I have some great advice for you!

Tip #1: When you are layering chalk paint on your next painted furniture project, don't worry about being systematic.

Layering chalk 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. So pressure is off!

Tip #2: If you get too much chalk paint on your brush, you can always wipe the excess off. If you put too much chalk paint onto your furniture you can fix that by dry brushing another color on top of it.

Chalk Paint® is forgiving. ;)

Tip #3: Mixing the two chalk paint colors together will give you a third complimentary chalk paint color if you want to use an extra paint color in your layering process. 


You can use as many chalk paint colors as you want. You can also choose how much of each paint layer you want to show through. 

You have all the control!

Keep in mind that the more paint colors you use, the busier your painted furniture piece will look. You really can create a work of art in your furniture with multiple colors but... if not executed properly it can look a little bit like a circus. ;) 

I recommend trying your hand at layering 4+ different chalk paint colors together after you've had a little practice under your belt.  

Remember, when you use lots of different chalk paint colors, it will always look ugly before it starts looking good! 


When you are painting furniture with chalk paint it is recommended that you wait 24 hours between coats of paint. 

If you don't want your two chalk paint colors to mix into a third paint color, I recommend that you wait until your first coat is dry before applying your next layered color. 

When you are dry brushing your chalk paint layers like I did for this furniture makeover, you won't have a lot of paint on your paint brush so when you apply the paint onto your furniture in feathery like strokes, you'll find your paint will dry fairly quickly.

In fact, typically your paint layer will be dry by the time you are ready to go onto your second layer. Humidity and weather conditions will have an effect on how quickly your chalk paint will dry. 


What happens if you don't seal chalk paint? 

Chalk paint does need to be sealed. Chalk paint is porous and has a flat matte finish. Therefore, if not protected, the dried chalk paint will be susceptible to scratches, oils, water marks from normal wear and tear if not properly protected. 

pictures of chalk paint sealers


There are a variety of sealers that you can use to seal chalk paint. Each sealer has its own pros and cons. When you select a sealer, you will want to take into account its durability, the look and sheen you want as well as the the amount of time it takes to apply and maintain that protection.

Here are the most common sealers to use on chalk paint and my recommendations for which ones are the best!

1. Wax

Why do you wax chalk paint? Some might say that Chalk Paint Wax is the perfect companion for chalk paint. 


  • Wax deepens the paint color slightly.
  • It allows you to control the sheen.
  • Makes your furniture look buttery smooth.
  • Enhances texture of your chalk paint.
  • Waxes come in a variety of colors.
  • You can create beautiful decorative finishes.
  • You can create custom wax colors by mixing a little bit of paint into with your wax.
  • Resists water.
  • Wax usually won't yellow over time.
  • It typically doesn't pull the tannins from the wood.


  • It's not a permanent sealer. You'll need to continue to reapply the wax sealer every 3 months- year depending on if it's in a high traffic area.
  • Sealing with wax is perfect for low traffic pieces such as picture frames, lamps, mirrors, armoires, etc. Items that don't get touched very much. I wouldn't want to use a wax to seal chalk paint on the tops of tables, nightstands, etc. These are places where cups are placed and things get set on often. 
  • Wax can also be a little tricky to apply. It's not incredibly difficult, it just takes practice and some arm muscles!

My Favorite Waxes:

Best Dang Wax from Dixie Belle Paint Co. offers wax in clear, brown, black, grunge grey and white.

Jolie Finishing Wax comes in clear, black, brown and white. It sells on Amazon and you can click here to see their current prices. 

Best Brush To Wax Chalk Paint: This brush is AWESOME and affordable! It's designed to be easy on the hands and is one of the most comfortable wax brushes to wax chalk paint with. 

2. Water Based Polyacrylic 

Sealing your chalk paint with a water based polyacrylic is a popular choice! Here's why we love using this option.


  • Very durable!
  • Quick application time.
  • You have a few different sheens to choose from (flat, semi-gloss, gloss).
  • Easily be painted over.


  • Can leave brush strokes.
  • Sometimes the polyacrylic will pull the wood tannins through. 
  • Water based polyacrylic won't yellow like their oil based cousin, but it can still yellow over time. 
  • For high traffic pieces, you will need to apply a few coats. 

My Favorite Polyacrylic Sealers:

General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat. A hardy sealer that will stand the test of time. Perfect for sealing all chalk paint colors (except white chalk paint). 

Gator Hide by Dixie Belle Paint. This sealer is water repellent and super tough. Perfect for high traffic areas such as cabinets, counter tops, tabletops and outdoor furniture. 

Favorite Way To Apply Polyacrylic Sealer: This Gator Hide sponge leaves virtually no brush strokes! Slightly dampened this sponge and wring out all moisture before applying your polyacrylic onto your furniture. 


You can wax chalk paint as soon as the paint is dry. After you allow the paint to dry, use a chalk paint wax brush or a lint free cloth to apply the chalk paint wax. 


There are a few different techniques for layering chalk paint. Dry brushing, color blending, and layering texture will all use different tools. 

Dry Brushing

When you dry brush you are adding chalk paint in feathery light strokes. So, you want to have a paint brush that has a little stiffer bristles. Chip brushes work great for this! 

You'll also want some paper towels for dabbing the excess paint off your paint brush. It's called dry brushing for a reason! Your paint brush should be almost dry. 

Color Blending

Color blending is a great way to add dimension to flat surfaces on your furniture. This furniture painting technique will give you a smooth blended look. 

You'll want one paint brush for each paint color, plus an extra brush to blend the colors together. The key to this technique is to keep your paint colors wet while you blend. Therefore, you'll also want to have a spray bottle handy. 

This brush is another great budget friendly option. 


I like a few different chalk style paints specifically for their ability to blend and layer. These are five of my favorite paints for layering paint on furniture. 

5. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®


Would you like to see more examples of layered painting? You'll find LOTS more blending and layering paint techniques HERE!

Check out our Hamilton Mirror project and our Kevin Mirrors for more painted furniture tutorials and more projects using paint layering techniques

If you found this chalk paint blending techniques helpful, save it for later so you'll always be able to access it! You can PIN it here! 

Have a great rest of the week, friends!
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?

  6. Replies
    1. It depends. If I run my hand over the surface and I can feel a little grit, I'll give a light sanding with very fine sand paper. If it feels pretty smooth, then I don't. I like to add a tiny bit of water to my paint on the very last coat which helps prevent the gritty feeling most of the time!

  7. How are you? I was looking for a tutorial on layering furniture and came across your blog. I'm a first time painter and am prepping to do my daughter's bedroom. I'm working with a real blue and a purple paint over white furniture. I've heard that white furniture can be the hardest to cover. How do I do a lathering paint job without leaving any of the white color exposed and do you think it will still look as good the darker wood furniture if some of the original color is left exposed? Thank you

    1. Hi! Great question! If it were me and I didn't want any of the original white paint to show through, I would either give it a light sanding first or I would cover the white paint entirely with your desired base color. After the white was covered, I would start your layering process. Does that help?