Back to Basics: How to prep furniture for chalk paint

by | May 31, 2019

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I can inspire you all day long with fancy furniture finishes and out of this world feature furniture pieces…..but if I don’t properly explain to you how to prep your furniture for chalk paint…..I have failed.

So let’s clear up the questions I hear most:

  1. Do I need to clean my furniture and what works best?
  2. Do I need to prime before I use chalk paint and if so what should I use? There are so many products to choose from!
  3. Can I paint things other than furniture with chalk paint?

Prep for Chalk Paint: Clean with White Lightning

Question: Do I need to clean my furniture and what works best?

Answer: I now use White Lightning to clean ALL my painting projects! It is a proprietary blend of TSP and other cleaning cleaning elements that cut through anything and everything that needs to be removed prior to painting. It leaves a de-glossed and flat finish that sets up your project for success with adhesion. The small jar last FOREVER!!! You only need 2 tablespoons for a gallon of water….and I NEVER use that much. I just sprinkle a few crystals into a spray bottle of warm water and give the piece a good spray bath. I then wipe back with a cloth or paper towels (wearing gloves)…and then respray with pure water and wipe back again….and done! You will be shocked at the dirt and grime this stuff is able to cut through! For YEARS I used vinegar and warm water and felt great about it…..but this sold me after ONE use! You can use it to clean ANYTHING that you plan to paint!

Check out one of my most recent (and absolutely filthy pieces) Floral Ombre China Hutch and how white lightning helped clean it up!

Prep for Chalk Paint: Prime with BOSS (Clear vs. White)

Question: Do I need to prime before I use chalk paint and if so what should I use? There are so many products to choose from!

Answer: This is a multi faceted answer that I laid out into a table for you below:

How to prep furniture for chalk paint by Tracey's Fancy
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Prep for Chalk Paint: Slick Stick

Question: Can I paint things other than furniture with chalk paint?

Answer: Absolutely! You can virtually paint ANYTHING with Dixie Belle chalk paint successfully! It paints on fabric, leather, wood, stone, ceramic, plastic, glass, vinyl, formica…..and I’ve done them ALL! In the past it was not advised to use chalk type paints on slick surfaces as many were experiencing adhesion issues. Dixie Belle put months into solving this problem and created the perfect adhesion primer for slick surfaces! The answer for ultra slick surfaces is Slick Stick! It’s best used on glass, IKEA type furniture, formica and baked on high gloss furniture! One coat of slick stick gives you all the adhesion and grit you need to set up the perfect canvas for your painting creations! I painted this laminate foot stool with Slick Stick and it worked great!

Slick Stick is not an odor or color blocker. It will need to be followed with a coat of BOSS WHITE for those needs.


Watch and Learn More

Here is a video where I discuss prepping furniture for those of you that would like to see each process in action!


The products listed here are what I used to prep furniture for chalk paint projects!  Dixie Belle Paint company offers amazing products that will make all of your projects successful no matter what your skill level! Just click on any of the products shown below!  You can also find my favorite products and tools in my Amazon influencer list here.

WoodUbend Pairs:

See you next week!



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I've been painting furniture for 10+ years & this is my best method for cleaning and prepping furniture so you don't waste time or money making big mistakes with your diy project. This is my guide for how to clean furniture, when to prime furniture, use Slick Stick when painting glossy surfaces. How to Paint Furniture Furniture Painting Tips Tracey Bellion Painted Furniture | How to Prep Furniture Priming Furniture When to Prime Furniture Dixie Belle White Lightning   Best Furniture Primer
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