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Chalkworthy FAQ

What Is Chalkworthy™?

Chalkworthy™ is specialized furniture and home décor paint, that dries in a beautiful soft, chalky/matte finish. Its rich, thick formula adheres to almost any indoor or outdoor surface. There is little to no prep work required, as in most cases, there is no need to sand or prime before painting. For most projects, 2 coats will provide full coverage. Gorgeous results have never been so fun and simple!

Another great aspect to Chalkworthy™ is that it is a kind paint. It is water-based, with minimal odor and contains extremely low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

I don’t want my piece to be distressed or antiqued. Will Chalkworthy™ work for me?

Absolutely! Chalkworthy™ accommodates any design aesthetic. Just paint and finish to your preference. Your color choices and application techniques will influence the design style of your project.

On What Surfaces Can I Use Chalkworthy™?

Chalkworthy™ adheres to almost any indoor or outdoor surface (i.e. wood, paint, stone, brick, concrete, metal, terra-cotta, low pile fabric, etc).

Due to its versatility, you can:

    • Transform furniture, walls, décor and fabric with ease
    • Resurface concrete, wood, and porous stone flooring
    • Refresh outdoor furniture
    • Revitalize upholstery

Whether our paint helps you to rescue vintage finds, re-love old cupboards, or make a fun pattern over drab fabric, you will surround yourself with special pieces that are a unique reflection of you!

**Note: Do not seal with the Soft Waxes on outdoor surfaces.**

What Prep Is Required?

For most projects, the only prep work involved is a simple cleaning and dusting of the surface. However, there may be rare occasions where you do need to sand first. For example, you may need to sand your piece to remove chipping paint, rust or any other surface imperfections, or when the surface is slick/glossy (this includes melamines and laminates). You may also choose to use a liquid deglosser in combination with sanding on very slick surfaces.

For pieces that require a deeper cleaning prior to painting, like old furniture or cabinets, we recommend using odorless Mineral Spirits. After wiping down your piece with Mineral Spirits, be sure to allow them to completely evaporate prior to painting.

For unfinished or untreated wood, be sure to apply clear shellac to any open grains and wood knots. Applying 2 coats of shellac will block any tannins from bleeding through your Chalkworthy™ painted surface.

How Do I Care For My Finish?

Use a soft cloth dampened with water and mild soap to remove any marks or stains on your finish. Do NOT use any liquid furniture polishes or cleaners with harsh chemicals.

Projects finished with Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint and Soft Wax are very durable against everyday wear and tear, but remember to treat your pieces with consideration. Avoid excessive/trapped water and protect your finish from extreme temperatures or humidity. Please allow your new finish to harden and cure before placing items onto the surface that may scratch or mar the finish.

Water-based paints (like Chalkworthy™) typically take approximately 3 weeks to fully harden and cure. So, although your project will be dry to the touch within hours, it is important to remember the finish is still sensitive during this cure time. The Soft Wax is also hardening and curing during this time. Variations in temperature, humidity and application thickness may affect the drying and curing time.

What Type Of Brush Should I Use?

Chalkworthy’s™ Paint and Wax bristle brushes are perfect for applying both the Antiquing Paint and Soft Wax. Our brushes allow you to paint with a beautiful depth and texture, are simple to use, and hold a lot of paint.

If you choose to use a different paintbrush to apply the antiquing paint, we recommend using a brush with long, flexible, natural bristles. If the bristles are too short or hard, the paint can look scratchy and will not flow well. Consequently, if you choose a brush that is too flimsy, it can be difficult to spread the paint.

How to avoid brushstrokes:

We love the authentic look and depth that bristle brushes create. However, if you would like to create a super smooth finish, you can use a flat brush or sponge roller to apply the paint.  Additionally, you may wish to sand the surface prior to waxing with fine grit sandpaper. 

**Note: You can get a smoother finish by diluting your paint with a little bit of water.**

**If you are a professional or experienced painter, you may also apply Chalkworthy™ with a HVLP paint sprayer, but be sure to dilute the paint with water to get the accurate viscosity.**

How do I clean my brushes?

Clean your paint brushes with water immediately after use. Clean your wax brushes with warm water and grease cutting soap. Be sure to clean while the wax is still fresh on the brush. If your wax has been left to dry on the bristles and has hardened, soak the bristles in odorless mineral spirits to dissolve the wax (approx. 5 minutes). Then, wash the brush thoroughly. Be sure to allow the mineral spirits to evaporate before throwing out the container.

Why Is Soft Wax Important?

Our Soft Wax has been specially formulated to enhance and add water protection for Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint projects. Impressively, Chalkworthy™ paint and wax products may be mixed together to create a tinted wax. Just mix to a paste and then apply or highlight to your preference.

How Do I Apply Waxes?

How do you apply the Clear Soft Wax?

Use a wax brush or soft cloth and apply Clear Wax in a loose circular motion over your antiquing paint and then in the direction of any wood grain or brush strokes. A wax brush will leave the smoothest/even finish. Do not apply too much wax, as this will cause the surface to feel “tacky.”

**Tip: Dab your wax brush on the lid of the can to remove excess wax. A little bit of wax goes a long way – it’s like lotion for your furniture.**

If there is still excess wax, wipe it off with a lint free rag or old undershirt. Do not scrub or work in a small concentrated area as this may cause the paint to rub off. You want to remove the wax gently, evenly, and in the same direction as your painted brush strokes or wood grain. Allow to dry at least 1 hour. If you desire a higher sheen, buff with a clean soft cloth, brush, or use #0000 steel wool. If the wax seems difficult to buff, allow more dry time. If sheen is uneven, go over lightly with straight, even strokes using #0000 steel wool.

**Do not seal outdoor surfaces with wax. The outdoor heat/temperature variations may reactivate the wax and make the surface tacky.**

How do you apply the Black or Burnt Umber Soft Wax?

For a darker, fully covered, distressed look, you may choose to apply your Black or Burnt Umber Wax directly over your Chalkworthy™ as the dark tint will absorb into your antiquing paint application.

For a subtler distressed look, or if you only want the Black or Burnt Umber Wax to accentuate some cracks, detailing, or crevices but not heavily soak into the entire surface, you will want to first apply the Chalkworthy™ Clear Soft Wax. By first applying the Clear Soft Wax, you add protection and help prevent the stain in the dark wax from directly penetrating the Chalkworthy™ antiquing paint. This allows you to feather or blend more strategically and is the more typical choice.

Apply the Black or Burnt Umber Wax just like the Clear Wax application described above. But be sure to work your dark wax into any brush textures, furniture detailing, molding or recessed areas to create a pronounced, aged look. You can also add dark wax to isolated areas using a smaller artist brush.

My wax is tacky and will not dry, WHY?

Tacky wax that doesn’t seem to dry is a sure sign you have too much wax. One of the most common errors is applying too much wax and not wiping off the excess. Be sure you are simply wiping the excess and not actually buffing your piece during this step. Very thin and uniform coats are best.

If you have a tacky piece, first take a clean cloth or rag and lightly rub on one area of your piece for 20 seconds. Feel and see if any of the tackiness has disappeared. Sometimes the tackiness can be removed with this type of thorough rubbing method. However, if the tackiness is still there, you may apply a fresh coat of Clear Wax and this time be sure to remove the excess. When you apply a fresh coat of wax, it activates the top layer of the previous tacky application. Another option of removing the tackiness, is to use a little mineral spirits to clean off the wax build up.

How Do I Apply Chalkworthy™?

Vintage Look

Apply 1-2 coats of Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint depending on your project or until you reach full coverage. Once dry, apply Chalkworthy™ Clear Soft Wax with a brush or lint-free cloth, working the wax into the paint and removing any excess as you go. If you would like to further distress your worn look, lightly use fine or medium grit sandpaper on the edges, corners, and molding until under layers or surfaces are apparent.

Still want to take your distressing further? Try our Chalkworthy™ Black or Burnt Umber Soft Waxes. Or you can mix our White Linen paint with our Clear Soft Wax to a paste. This will create a light, dusty wax tint that contrasts nicely over darkly painted surfaces. Work these tinted waxes into any brush textures, furniture detailing, molding, or recessed areas creating a pronounced, aged look. If you want this to be subtle, then apply while your first Clear Wax layer is still wet or only apply in particular areas of high detail.

Smooth And Modern

Smooth or remove any prominent textures with medium-grit sandpaper. Lightly water down your Chalkworthy™ Antiquing paint. Then, in long even strokes, apply paint in the same direction as the grain until you reach full coverage. This will give you a smooth finish. Apply 2 diluted coats for full coverage.

**Optional: Once dry, use a fine #600 grit sandpaper or higher to smooth or buff the surface. Lastly, apply Chalkworthy™ Clear Soft Wax with a brush or lint-free cloth, working the wax into the paint and removing any excess as you go. The wax should be applied in long, even strokes. Sealing with the Soft Wax will help protect all your creative reinventions!**

Multi-tone Distressing

Choose two of our colors that you feel will contrast nicely. Apply 1-2 coats of a base color, such as Cast Iron. Once the base color is dry, apply the second color to your coverage preference. For example, you may apply the second color, such as White Linen, more densely, only showing hints of the under color. Or, you may expressively brush on light accents of the second color.

Once dry, apply Chalkworthy™ Clear Soft Wax with a brush or lint-free cloth, working the wax into the paint and removing any excess as you go. If you would like to further your distressed worn look, lightly use fine or medium grit sandpaper on the edges, corners, and molding until under layers or surfaces are apparent. Still want to take your distressing further? Try our Chalkworthy™ Black or Burnt Umber Soft Waxes. You may even mix our white Linen paint with our Clear Soft Wax to create a light dusty wax tint that contrast nicely over darkly painted surfaces. Work these tinted waxes into any brush textures, furniture detailing, molding, or recessed areas creating a pronounced aged look! If you want this to be subtle then apply while your first Clear Wax layer is still “wet” or only apply in particular areas of high detail.

The Chippy Look

To create the "years of use" look, apply 1-2 coats of antiquing paint. Wait until each coat is dry to the touch before moving on to the next step. Apply more coats of nicely contrasting colors over your base color if you want a “multi-tone” chippy look. Apply petroleum jelly over areas you would like for paint to resist or “chip.” Then, apply your final thick coat of paint directly over the entire surface, including the petroleum jelly. While the paint is wet, apply heat over the entire area with a hair dryer to help create the look of distressed cracks. The areas above the petroleum jelly will crack more visibly. Chip off the paint to your style preference using any tool available (i.e. putty knife).

Still want to take your distressing further? Try our Chalkworthy™ Black or Burnt Umber Soft Waxes. Or, you may mix our White Linen paint with our Clear Soft Wax to a paste; this will create a light, dusty wax tint that contrasts nicely over darkly painted surfaces. Work these tinted waxes into any brush textures, furniture detailing, molding, or recessed areas creating a pronounced aged look!

If you want this to be subtle then apply while your first Clear Wax layer is still wet or only apply in particular areas of high detail. Lastly, apply Chalkworthy™ Clear Soft Wax with a brush or lint-free cloth, working the wax into the paint and removing any excess as you go.

Can I Use Chalkworthy™ On Upholstery?

Yes. Pick a non-shedding, low pile fabric or upholstery to paint. Use a spray bottle to dampen fabric until fabric is damp but not dripping wet. Pour about 20% water directly into your paint, mix well and apply in thin coats. The thicker the fabric, multiple thinner layers may need to be applied. Allow your thin coats to dry to the touch between each layer. Use #300 grit or finer sand paper if any fabric fuzzies or small paint clumps need smoothing. Re-apply more thin paint coats if needed or until surface is fully coated.

**Important: This is NOT a dye, so the paint will alter your final result, causing your fabric to feel slightly firmer but still functional and flexible. It will have the feeling similar to vinyl.**

Test on a small hidden area of your upholstery or fabric if you are curious of the final outcome. If you choose to smooth your surface down with sand paper, be sure to wipe any sanding debris and dust off before applying your wax sealer. Lastly, apply Chalkworthy™ Clear Soft Wax with a brush or lint-free cloth, working the wax into the paint and removing any excess as you go.

Can I Use Chalkworthy™ For Outdoor Furniture?

Yes. Apply Chalkworthy™ to your outside decor, i.e. metal, concrete, terra-cotta, or matte plastic. Best results if kept dry, otherwise paints will distress naturally. Do NOT add wax to outdoor surfaces.

Can I Use Chalkworthy™ On Cabinets?

Yes. Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint applies beautifully over most wood cabinetry. Be sure to thoroughly clean, especially in areas that receive a lot of use (like the utensil drawer). We recommend sanding to provide the strongest adhesion, especially since kitchen and bathroom cabinets are often high-traffic areas. Wipe away all sanding dust and apply at least 2 coats of Chalkworthy™. Then apply 2-3 coats of Soft Wax for protection and durability. Allow each wax coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next as this will create the strongest bond. Clean your finish with soft cloth dampened with water and mild soap. Refresh your wax seal with a light application as needed.

For melamine or laminate cabinets: De-gloss the glossy/slick surface with a fine grit sandpaper and/or liquid deglosser. Wipe away all dust particles. Apply a thin first coat of paint and allow to dry 48 hours to promote optimal bonding. Then, paint 1-2 more coats of Chalkworthy™. Once dry, apply 2-3 coats of Soft Wax for protection and durability. Allow each wax coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next.

Can I Use Chalkworthy™ As A Chalkboard Finish?

Yes. Every Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint color can be used to create a Chalkboard finish, but for a traditional blackboard look, apply Cast Iron. Paint 3 - 4 coats and let each coat dry in between the next. Do NOT wax. Once all coats are applied, let the paint cure for at least 24 hours before writing with chalk. We suggest first rounding the tip of a new piece of chalk prior to writing on your chalkboard so the corner is not too sharp. Do not use chalk markers as they may become permanent to the surface. Traditional chalk pieces perform best.

For clean up: Use a wet/damp cloth. Please note, the first time you clean your Chalkworthy™ chalkboard finish, you may see a small amount of residual color.

Can I Use Chalkworthy™ On Floors?

Yes. Chalkworthy™ can be used to refresh wood, concrete, ceramic tile, or porous flooring. Paint solid or apply as a wash. Get creative by applying a multi-toned rustic affect or paint in patterns!

Use a brush to paint the edges of the floor and apply paint with a sponge roller or brush. Apply a thin first coat and allow to dry. We recommend allowing 24 hours of dry time to encourage optimal adhesion. Then, follow up with another coat of paint if desired. Once the flooring is painted and dried, finish with a water-based, high-traffic sealer.

If you are painting over wood with knots, you may need to first apply 2 coats of shellac. The tannins in wood with knots or stains may bleed through the paint if not treated first with Shellac. If you already applied your first coat of Chalkworthy™ and then notice a stain bleeding through, not to worry! Simply apply the Shellac at this point, let dry, and then repaint with Chalkworthy™.

When cleaning Chalkworthy™ painted floors, do not use excessive water or harsh cleaners like bleach.

Chalkworthy™ is not recommended for areas of high water use (such as a bathroom floor).

Can I Mix Chalkworthy™ Colors?

Yes. Get creative and make your own custom shade! Any of our Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paints can be mixed with each other to create a new hue. Try adding White Linen to create a lighter, paler tint of any color or Cast Iron to create a darker shade. Mix our paints to your preference!

Can I Repair Blemishes?

Yes. If you notice a blemish in your wax finish, not to worry! Simply use a bit of Clear Soft Wax on a soft cloth to rub out the mark.

Can I Refine the Finish?

Yes. You can make your piece as smooth as glass by buffing with steel wool.

After you have applied your clear wax, removed the excess wax from your entire piece, and the surface has totally dried, buff with one steel wool grade #000 pad. Gently wipe your piece in the same direction as the grain of your brush strokes. Buff for a few light swipes and then feel the surface to gauge how smooth it is. Buff to your desired preference. If you buff too vigorously or for too many passes, you may begin to remove paint. One steel wool pad will easily buff an entire dresser.

Can I Paint Over Chalkworthy™?

Yes. Absolutely! One of the many benefits of Chalkworthy™ is how easy it is to refine and customize.

If NO wax has been applied over your Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint, simply repaint with another Chalkworthy™ color or any other paint product of your choosing.

If wax has been applied and it has cured (applied at least 3 weeks prior), then you may paint directly over the cured wax with any Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint color.

If the wax is fresh, you will need to remove the wax using minerals spirits. Moisten a lint-free cloth or rag with mineral spirits and wipe your piece in the direction of your paintbrush strokes. Do not aggressively scrub or focus on one spot. Replace your rag if it becomes saturated. After wax removal, the surface should feel matte like it did before the wax was applied. Once the wax removal is complete, you may repaint with another Chalkworthy™ Antiquing Paint color or any other paint product of your choosing.