Chalk paint has become a popular choice for DIY home decor projects thanks to its matte finish and smooth, velvety texture. While chalk paint is traditionally applied by brush, spray chalk paint offers exciting possibilities for quick and easy makeovers. Spraying chalk paint allows for more versatile finishing techniques to give furniture, crafts, and home accents a trendy updated look.
Read on to fully prepare for your next chalk paint spraying project!
What is Chalk Paint?
Chalk paint refers to a matte decorative paint that goes on smoothly and dries into a velvety, chalky finish. It differs from regular paint in a few key ways:
- Chalk paint typically has higher pigmentation for excellent coverage.
- It applies smoothly without visable brush strokes.
- The matte finish lacks shine and provides a more muted, vintage look.
- Minimal prep is required since chalk paint adheres well to multiple surfaces.
These characteristics make chalk paint a popular choice among DIYers for giving dated furniture and home goods a fresh, trendy makeover. The soft matte finish also makes an ideal backdrop for adding distressing, glazing, or waxing effects.
Best Chalk Paint Brands for Spraying
Most major paint brands now offer a chalk or chalk-style paint formulated specifically for spraying. Here are some of the top options:
Magnolia Home Chalk Spray Paint
This ultra matte spray paint goes on smoothly for a velvety finish. It is available in a range of trendy colors and adheres well to multiple surfaces. Magnolia Home’s chalk spray paint provides excellent coverage that does not require primer or sanding for most projects.
Behr Premium Chalk Decorative Paint
Behr Premium Chalk Paint can be brushed or sprayed on for a smooth, porous decor. It dries quickly into a matte look and can be distressed or antiqued after drying. Behr chalk paint is low odor, resistant to chips and stains, and available in all Behr paint colors.
Krylon Chalky Finish Paint
Krylon’s ultra flat spray creates a smooth, porous surface with a matte look and feel. It requires minimal prep but can also be used as a topcoat over a primed or painted surface. Krylon Chalky Finish spray paint provides coverage in just one coat and is available in 30 colors.
Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint
This ultra matte paint can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed on to give furniture and more a velvety finish. The water-based formula contains minimal VOCs and provides excellent coverage with just one coat. Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint is available in a wide range of colors.
Preparing Surfaces for Chalk Spray Paint
While one of the perks of chalk paint is that it adheres to materials like wood, metal, glass, and more with minimal prep, taking a few key steps will ensure your paint job lasts. Here’s how to prepare surfaces for the best chalk paint spraying results:
Clean the Surface
Use a degreasing cleaner like TSP substitute to remove any dirt, grease, or grime so the paint adheres well. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
Sand Lightly to Scruff Up the Surface
For very slick surfaces like metal or glass, lightly scuff up the surface using fine sandpaper. This helps the paint grip.
Apply Primer If Desired for Maximum Adhesion
Priming is an optional extra step with chalk paint, but it can promote better adhesion and prevent bleed-through on some surfaces. Use a bonding primer for best results.
Always check the specific surface prep recommendations for the chalk paint brand you choose. Some may require additional steps for certain materials.
How to Apply Chalk Spray Paint
It’s time to grab your chalk spray paint and get spraying! Here are some key techniques for applying chalk spray paint successfully:
Shake the Can Vigorously Before Starting
Make sure to shake the spray paint can for at least one minute before spraying to mix the paint pigments thoroughly for consistent coverage.
Spray in a Sweeping Motion About 8-10 Inches from Surface
Holding the can 8-10 inches away, spray in a steady back-and-forth sweeping motion. Maintaining consistent distance helps prevent drips or blobs.
Apply Light, Even Coats
Chalk paint looks best when applied in multiple thin, even coats rather than one thick coat. Light coats help avoid drips and achieve a smooth finish.
Let Dry Completely Between Coats
It’s usually best to recoated chalk spray paint within 1 hour or after 24-48 hours of drying. Check your paint’s label for exact recoat windows.
Repeat these steps until you achieve your desired coverage. Two to three light coats is typical for chalk spray paint to cover fully.
Achieving Different Finishes and Effects
Chalk spray paint opens up many possibilities for finishes beyond basic white distressing. Here are some techniques to get creative:
Smooth vs Textured
Adjust your spraying technique to create ultra smooth or textured finishes. Get smooth results by maintaining consistent distance and overlap. For texture, spray irregularly.
Layer on patterns and designs using stencils and chalk spray paint. Consider contrasting colors for added dimension.
Metallic and Pearlized Effecrs
Spraying chalk paint over metallic, pearlized, or other special effect base coats creates unique dimensional results as the undertones shine through.
Clear Coat for Sheen
A clear acrylic spray adds a subtle sheen while protecting the chalk paint. Use a matte or satin clear coat to avoid excess shine.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with layers, textures, stencils, and more! Chalk spray paint is very forgiving to experiment with.
Protecting and Sealing Chalk Paint Finishes
Since chalk paint has a more absorbent, porous finish, a topcoat is recommended for added protection and durability. Here are some topcoat options:
Poly gives the most durable, scratch-resistant seal for high-traffic areas. Use a water-based satin or matte polyurethane spray for protection without shine.
Spray waxes provide a subtle sheen and protective finish. Look for a polymerized wax that offers more durability than traditional wax. Buffing is required.
Many clear topcoat sprays don’t require buffing for ease of application. These are ideal for quick projects.
Avoid a glossy topcoat, as it will take away from chalk paint’s signature matte appeal. And go light on thick topcoats like polyurethane that can cover up the paint’s velvety texture if applied too heavily.
Chalk Spray Paint Tips and Tricks
Follow these tips to get the most success and enjoyment out of your chalk spray painting projects:
Always Ventilate Your Workspace
Make sure to work in a well-ventilated area and take breaks between coats to minimize inhaling fumes.
Use Drop Cloths or Tape Off Your Work Area
Chalk spray paint has a fine mist that can travel. Cover any nearby surfaces you don’t want to paint.
Try Out Different Nozzle Sizes
Change up spray nozzle sizes to alter your paint coverage and technique. Wider nozzles work well for broad surface coverage.
Store Leftover Paint Upside Down to Maintain Spray Function
Storing partially used cans upside down helps keep the paint mixed and the nozzle clear for your next project.
With some preparation and smart spraying techniques, it’s simple to achieve amazing finishes with chalk spray paint. Have fun and get creative!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I always prime before spray chalk painting?
Priming is an optional step before spraying chalk paint. For most smooth, non-porous surfaces, chalk spray paint adheres well without primer. It’s most useful for very absorbent materials to prevent bleed-through.
How long does chalk spray paint take to dry?
Chalk spray paint typically dries within 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drying times vary slightly by brand. Be sure to allow each coat to dry fully before adding another.
Can you layer different colored chalk paints?
Yes, layering complementary or contrasting colors of chalk spray paint is a great way to create dimension. Mist the first color lightly, let dry, then spray the second color.
Does chalk paint work on plastic?
Chalk paint adheres well to many plastics, but smooth, shiny plastics may require light sanding so the paint can grip the surface better.
Outdoor durability will depend on the specific chalk paint formulation. Some contain UV blockers and are designed for outdoor use. Always topcoat exterior chalk paint projects.