My Thoughts and Tips on The Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I mentioned in the dresser makeover post that I don’t plan on doing a full tutorial or anything on using the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (and referenced and linked to several other bloggers that already have). But I did want to talk a little bit about my experience using the paint because I think this is something you all should know, so here it goes!

1. This paint will give you a hand-painted look: NOT a smooth factory shiny finish

This part is still taking me getting used to a little bit.  It is still pretty don’t get me wrong, but just know that this is a totally different finish than what you would be used to.  I knew this going in because that’s what this paint is all about, but I wasn’t sure how “hand-painted” it would actually end up being or looking. And this leads me to my next thought…

2. I still had brush strokes, even though everyone else says the brushstrokes go away when it dries?

I didn’t have that luck unfortunately.  I don’t know what I could have been doing wrong. I was using a good Purdy brush too.  The part on the dresser I am most unhappy with is the top of it.  Maybe there is a fine line between hand-painted vs. brush strokes?

I’m not sure, but the dresser on top definitely looks hand-painted.:) I haven’t seen anyone’s unedited photos up close of a piece of furniture they have painted using the ASCP, but I’d be curious to know what it looks like. Is it supposed to have those lines?  And as rough of a texture that picture might look like, it’s actually extremely smooth when you touch it, because…

3. I did use a sanding block in between coats

It does sand extremely well and the entire dresser is pretty much baby butt smooth.

But it still kind of baffles me because of the lines? And again, not sure if it’s supposed to be like that or not.

Here is a close-up of the front of the dresser drawers.

Those aren’t bad, and I’m thinking that’s what it’s supposed to be like. Hand-painted remember? :)

4. Next time around, I’d mix the paint with a little water to thin it out

I only thinned it out for the 2nd coat, but I’m thinking it may help the overall brush marks if I did that for all coats?  This paint is pretty thick and I think that had a little bit to do with my unevenness when I applied the 1st coat. So, just start out from the beginning by thinning out the paint with a little water. :)

5. I actually enjoyed the waxing part!

And if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t even know furniture wax existed (yes I need to get out more). I’ve only known about poly for the protective coats, so I was sure to do my research before I attempted it.  It was very easy and I just used an old paintbrush that had very stiff bristles, and brushed on 2 light coats of wax to the entire dresser. And don’t be afraid to put a little muscle into this part because you want the wax really in there. I especially focused on getting the wax really good on top of the dresser since that’s where a lot of wear and tear will occur. And around the drawers. *Note* Be sure and let the wax sit for 24-48 hours before you use a cloth and buff it. When you buff it is when you sort of get that slight sheen that you are probably most used to.

6. The paint does cover stains!

There has been this candle wax stain on top of the dresser for I don’t know how long…

And it covered it right up! I did 2 coats of paint on the entire dresser, but did 3 coats of paint on the top of dresser.

7. I wouldn’t use a roller with this paint

And I only say that because of the price ($34 a quart). When you use a foam roller a lot of paint just gets sucked up into the roller and it seems like it would be a little wasteful, especially for the price of this paint. A little does go a long way though, so the price isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things.

8. The paint does do what it says it does.

It adhered to this dresser that had a very shiny finish with no problems at all.  I was pretty impressed with that.  That, and there’s no prep work involved at all.  Double bonus. And it dries extremely fast!  Like, once you get the 1st coat on, it’s probably safe to start the 2nd coat right after.  Awesome.

9. Would I use it again?

Absolutely!  In fact, I had a spray paint mishap yesterday, made a big mess, then painted right over the mess with the chalk paint. Worked great! You can be very creative with this paint and I’d like to tap into that when I can. Again, I’m not a furniture refinisher, but painting it by hand wasn’t too excruciating.  I would actually like to learn to love it!

I do love how the dresser came out though.

So that’s about it. See why I needed to break this down into 2 posts? Haha.  Just wanted to share a little bit of my experience because it seemed to differ a little than others I’ve read.

And maybe I’ll even come up with a #10 thought or tip because having only 9 is bugging me.

If you have any questions or of course any tips leave them in the comments so we can all help each other. :)

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  1. Wow– I’m about to embark on my first ASCP use and this is great info. Thanks for sharing– even if you didn’t want to. :)
    xo Heidi

  2. So wish I had some ASCP! The closest distributor is 2.5 hours from me. I could order, I suppose, but adding a shipping fee on top of the $34 price tag? Just not ready to make that leap. :( By the way, the dresser looks fantastic! And I personally like the hand painted look – brushstrokes and all. :)

  3. Great post….Love to here everyone’s experiences….I did use a Whizzer roller brush and which helped with making the surface smooth….I love your dresser and all the storage!

  4. I painted my vintage desk in the Henrietta color (lilac) and after I waxed it, i was able to see some brush strokes. When I painted my french dresser with Provence (blue), I used a roller and I didn’t have any strokes, but I did use more paint.

    Yours look great! I’m definitely using it again:)

    You can see both of them on my other blog

  5. Thanks for the info! It looks great though despite the lines. I love how it covers stains so well!

  6. I haven’t used this paint yet, but I want to try it as soon as I find the right piece of furniture to use it on. That being said… I have been doing a lot of research on it so that I don’t screw it up when I do find it. The paint is a little pricey to be wasting. LOL

    This is just my opinion… so take it for what it’s worth.

    All of the pieces I’ve seen so far have a more distressed and chippy look than your dresser. They also seem to have combinations of the light and dark wax on them, so that they look aged.

    I think those two processes go a long way in covering up the brush marks that you’re seeing on your pristinely painted piece. Plus… a lot of people are dry brushing two and three colors on one piece. Combine that that with all the sanding, waxing etc…. and the brush marks are hidden pretty well. So… I don’t think you did anything wrong. I think it all boils down to how far you want to go with the painting process.

    Given all that…. I think your piece looks great. It looks just like a hand painted piece of furniture should look.

    • Thanks Karen, that makes perfect sense actually. I didn’t really want the distressed look on this particular piece, but maybe I can try out all of the other techniques on a different piece one day. It probably does work best with the more antiquey looks.

    • Thanks Karen, you said everything I was thinking

      Decorchick – I found this very helpful because I had been looking for some pieces that were painted but not distressed. I would like to paint a dresser but wanted a nice clean painted look, Maybe have to try a roller.

  7. Great information, Emily. I know a lot of people are enthusiastic about this paint, but at $34/gallon, I’ve yet to make the leap. Unless there is a self-leveling paint, I believe that you’re always going to see brush strokes of some kind when using a brush.

    I deliberately use a brush for my furniture because I think that hand-painted look gives it character that you don’t have with store bought. I think that when you are using wax and/or glaze, the brushstrokes give the wax/glaze someplace to settle to give that bit of definition to the furniture, but it’s definitely a personal preference.

    Knowing this, I make sure that all my brush strokes are even and going in the right direction so it doesn’t bug me. :-)

    Your dresser is beautiful and has a great finish to it!

  8. Emily-I just couldn’t justify paying for the chalk paint and someone told me about this website that gives you instructions on how to make your own! I did it this week on a table and I LOVE the results. I really like the handpainted look :) Plus I distressed it a bit and it turned out exactly how I was hoping!

  9. Thanks for the info! I have two side tables that I plan to paint with ASCP really soon! Your tips and honesty really helped! I agree with the other commenter that since you didn’t distress and use multiple layers of paint, that is probably why you can see your brush strokes. But, in a hand painted piece, I would expect that! It looks great!

  10. I just bought some ASCP today! I decided to paint a hutch that I don’t want to sand. In talking with the salesman, he said his wife uses steel wool to buff it down after painting and before the wax. I realize that this info is late for you (and I don’t even really know if it works down the strokes you’ve got), but I thought I’d throw out that info for anyone who reads your post and comments.

    At any rate, your ginormous (at least it looks huge) dresser is awesome and makes me excited about my painting endeavor! :)

  11. Lisa Bracale says:

    I have painted 5 pieces of furniture and by no means a pro but I will say the coffee table I did in Old White(before pure white was released) has brushstrokes on top. Now it was July and 90 temp out so I sanded and redid another 2 coats and still have some strokes. I sanded and waxed with clear and dark wax. I like it and it is chippy and great but I would have prefered no strokes. Now the Provence, Duck Egg Blue and Paris Grey pieces have no strokes. I started a day bed in Pure White and I really don’t see any strokes and it seems thiner. I agree with other poster I really think ASCP comes alive with distressing and waxing. Lisa

  12. Great tips! I havent tried the Pure white- Im wondering if that played into the brush stroke thing- b/c its white? dunno. But I think it turned out beautiful! and great idea about waiting 24-48 hrs to buff- I always buffed right away and never felt it made a difference.

  13. Coastal Femme says:

    I thought I was the only one and couldn’t figure out what I had done.
    I’m glad to hear someone else had the same situation with the ASCP Old White; I had brush strokes with mine too. I painted two coats on an end table and sanded in between coats and after and still had brush strokes. The waxing turned out very well though. I didn’t do any distressing or use the dark wax. I just waxed with clear, but as you said the piece still ended up with brush strokes. In regards to using steel wool, I read a paragragh that Annie Sloan had written on a stockist’s website and she discouraged using steel wool with chalkpaint.

  14. Hey Emily ~ I’ve used ASCP on many things – furniture, frames, signs. I’ve noticed that if I thin the paint a wee bit with water before using it, usethin coats, sand between coats and after the final coat, distress with my hand sander, and wax well all helps with brush strokes. Personally, I love furniture with brush strokes on it. It looks more vintage and “touched” by a human hand. :) Your dresser turned out beautifully! Great job!

    xoxo laurie

  15. Thanks for your helpful comments on ASCP. I was wondering what type of paint you would have used if not ASCP…water base or oil base. My daughter believes that oil-based paint eliminates brush strokes. i wonder…I must have a heavy hand because brush strokes is always an issue unless I get out the spray gun!

  16. My dear-
    you did a great job redoing the dresser! A few brush strokes is no big deal…lol
    I love the color.

    Thx for all the info.

  17. Thanks Emily for all the tips. I have to remember to call in the morning and place my order. I’m going to give the Pure White a try. I’m really excited. I think the dresser came out wonderful!

  18. Sooo, it makes you wonder…if money were no object and wastefulness was ok, what would it look like if you did use the paint roller (especially for the top)? Can’t have brush lines, right?

  19. It looks fabulous! Wonderful tip too! Have a delightful start of the week, Kellie xx

  20. I’m with you – I thought wax was something you use on a car. And wax is what has scared me about chalk paint. I’m going to try it one of these days!

  21. Thanks Em for sharing your advice! I’ve been watching what everyone’s been saying about the paint and I’m glad to get another opinion. It does sound like a great product, that I’m dying to try.

  22. Hi there

    Thank you for sharing this post on the Annie paint. Someone will be carrying it soon near me so I have been wanting to try it out. Have you ever made your own milk paint. Love you site…thanks so much, Sheryl

  23. super helpful, thanks!

  24. Did you experiment with different brushes? I did a client’s china closet, and while it didn’t have a factory finish, it didn’t have brush strokes either. I believe I just used some chip brushes and small rollers. I believe you can thin the paint by 10% with water.

    It looks great, if that’s any consolation!


  25. I definitely think there’s a bit of a learning curve involved! We often use ASCP for our furniture refinishing business and we mostly use it with the spray gun. The result is a smooth, even finish with (obviously!) no brush strokes. But…most people aren’t going to be using a paint sprayer! The next best thing we have found for avoiding those super obvious brush strokes is to water down the paint….and use a roller. Watering it down and using a brush with thin coats helps a lot, although I still end up having brush strokes. Maybe somebody else knows something we haven’t figured out!


    P.S. Your dresser looks great, paint lines and all! :)

  26. Love it! Please post this, and anything else you may have,in my link party at



  27. I’m so glad to see your photos and comments about the brush strokes. That has been my experience too, but I haven’t seen any real-life samples painted in ASCP, just photos. It’s a new concept for me, this old-world look and it’s growing on me, but I am glad to know that it’s not just me and the other user’s comments are helpful.

  28. I”m working on an armoire now in aubusson blue and I have brushstrokes. They show the most on the doors, which were painted last. I think I should have thinned the paint with water before starting because it is very hot here and even the little shop where I bought it was quite warm inside. I did thin it some for the second coat because it was getting thicker as I painted, but I think I should have thinned it earlier. I think that is why the door show brushstrokes more. I just didn’t know what consistency it was supposed to have.

  29. Love it!! I’m just painting my welsh dresser at the minute in Annie Sloan paint and i’m lucky enough to only live a few minutes away from the shop. I’ve found that if you want less brush strokes and not to lose tons of paint on a roller, paint it on with your brush and have a roller ready in the other hand, so as you go you can lightly roller over the brush marks, this reduces them alot without wastage!!!

  30. I love it because it is honest. So many times we don’t hear of the problems especially since I am new to painting this way. I am also getting ready to try it for the first time and will use one of those little paint rollers I use to paint the cabinets and hope it works. Thanks for such a honest blog.

  31. You can mix your own chalk paint with your own paint and plaster of Paris… Saves tons of money and solves the issue of distance to find ASCP. I would rather have more choices of colors anyways.

  32. Hi! I just painted a hutch using pure white ASCP. I heard the tip about thinning out the paint with water so I did that for the first coat and it looked really blotchy and strokey. I did the 2nd coat without thinning it but still see strokes. I added a THIRD coat today in some area and still looks imperfect. But that’s when I succumbed to the fact that this paint is meant for a shabby/rustic look not a smooth shiny perfect finish. I am hoping after I sand and wax that I like the final look.


  33. Thank you for sharing this! This post is definitely different than all the other ASCP posts and tutorials. I just used the paint for the first time and am super unhappy with it. I’m totally bummed because I really wanted to love it! This answered some questions I had though.

  34. Hi there,
    I use chalk paint all the time and have found that a roller brush gives a smoother coverage with no brush strokes. I work on smaller craft projects a lot. (I am patioelf on youtube) The tiny roller brush on something like a bottle or a birdhouse, not only gives the smoothest coverage, it seems to extend the paint.
    Hope that helps!

  35. I am so glad to see this post. I just chalk painted my dresser in white and was also questioning the brush strokes. I have chalk painted other furniture in other colors but the white seems to always show more brush strokes. I guess that’s just what it does. I loved your dresser. Also, I know everyone talks about Annie Sloan paint but there are other brands of chalk paint that work beautifully! I use American Decor. You can purchase it at craft stores like Michaels and Joanne, I’ve even seen it at home Depot. Martha Stewart also has a chalk paint line. They all come in 8oz. Containers for around $9.00. So its really not cheaper but you don’t have to buy so much at one time of the same color. And since a little goes a long way I’ve never needed more than one 8oz container for a piece of furniture. Hope this helps! Another tip, chip brushes instead of regular paint brushes.

  36. Jill challinor says:

    Don’t buy Annie Sloan paint. It’s a big expensive con. Goes on like treacle. Not as good as farrow and ball.

  37. Submitted on Oct 12, 2015 from Ayiba Tiemo.

  38. I am currently about to finish a hutch with 4 doors and 2 drawers using AS Paris Grey and Old White. I rolled it all except the drawers with a foam roller using the end of the roller to get in tight spots. I brushed the drawers last and now this is the only area with brush marks. I have sanded and it’s very smooth but the appearance of brush marks still show. I am going to roll it and see if they disappear.


  1. […] *Update* You can view the thought and tip post here. […]

  2. […] remember when I posted my experience and tips on using the Annie Sloan paint?  Let me just add another one here and say I think it’s really important to thin your paint […]

  3. […] Decor Chick  have a very good post on her thoughts and tips. […]