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How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint

Follow these easy steps to get a beautiful, smooth finish with chalk paint. This is how to fix rough feeling and blotchy looking chalk paint!

How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint

Using chalk paint is my favorite way to create a beautiful new look on furniture and home decor.

It’s easy to apply, cures fast, and can be bought or mixed in any color. Here’s my tips for how to get a smooth finish with chalk paint.

Don’t worry, getting a beautiful, streak-free look with chalk paint is easy.

Painting furniture with chalk paint is hard to mess up. Almost anything that goes wrong can be fixed with a little research and/or a few more coats of paint.

I have the tips you need to save your chalk paint fail below. 🙂

Follow these easy steps to get a beautiful, smooth finish with chalk paint. This is how to fix rough feeling and blotchy looking chalk paint! How to get rid of brushstrokes and stop streaks on chalk paint.
Don’t forget to save this DIY on Pinterest.

Some links on this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. 

How-To Wet Sand Chalk Paint Video

Watch this video to see exactly how I use a damp, fine sanding block to get a smooth finish with chalk paint.

How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint - Easy DIY Fix for Rough Feeling Chalk Paint Furniture

Why does my Chalk Paint Look Streaky

Chalk paint can sometimes look blotchy or streaky when it dries. There are a few reasons why this might happen.

If your chalk paint is too dry, it is harder to apply smoothly. You can add a bit of water and stir it in to make the chalk paint easier to apply.

When I make my DIY Chalk Paint from Latex Paint, I always mix in enough water to get a smooth, easy application.

This might sound strange, but some chalk paint is designed to be a little dry to show brush strokes.

Having the strokes show is just a different style of chalk painting that some people love. I just prefer a smooth finish with chalk paint.

The first coat of chalk paint always looks a bit streaky and blotchy. If it seems to be applying evenly and isn’t too thick, apply a couple more coats to see if you get a more even, pretty finish.

Be sure to let each coat dry completely.

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You can also lightly sand chalk paint with a fine grit sandpaper or sanding block between coats to get that “like glass” smooth finish with chalk paint.

Use an damp, extra fine grit sanding sponge to get a smooth finish with chalk paint.

What You Need

How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint

Step One

Start by applying 2-4 coats of Chalk Paint to your furniture or home decor. Be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next.

Use a high quality nylon brush to get a smooth finish and reduce brush strokes. You want a thick even coat of color across the whole surface.

Step Two

Once your last coat of chalk paint has completely dried, you’re ready to wet sand to get that beautiful streak-free smooth finish with chalk paint. Use a damp Extra Fine Grit Sanding Block.

You want that sanding sponge to be damp but not dripping wet. That dampness helps to reduce the friction on that sponge and produce a lighter sand. Wet sand the entire painted surface.

Step Three

Use a light touch when you wet sand the paint. You’ll get a feel for it after a few minutes. But, you want to only press hard enough to get a smooth chalk paint finish.

You don’t want to accidentally sand the chalk paint off. If you do sand too deep anywhere, like corners. Just touch up with a little more chalk paint.

Step Four

Once you have the chalk paint finish looking and feeling as smooth as you’d like, you’re ready to clean it off. Use a damp, clean rag to wipe off all of the paint residue that’s left behind from wet sanding.

Step Five

When the paint residue is cleaned off, use the dry, clean rag to wipe your chalk painted furniture or home decor dry. Let it completely dry before applying a top coat.

Step Six

Now, you’re ready for a top coat. Some people like to use wax on chalk paint. It is nice sometimes, but I generally go for a water-based poly.

Lately, I’ve been loving the matte look of General Finishes Flat Out Flat top coat. It applies fast, nice and even too. Follow the directions on whatever top coat you pick to get the best result.

Step Seven

This last step is optional. Once you’ve applied the recommended number of coats and let it dry, you can use a brown paper bag to lightly sand the top coat for an even smoother feel.

Brown Paper Bags have a very high grit, somewhere around 10,000. Which means they are great for getting a buttery feeling finish and removing dust nibs without scratching that perfect sheen.

A Brown Paper Bag has the same grit as very high grit sandpaper. Said to be somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 grit. Rub a brown paper bag across your top coat for a slightly smoother feel and to remove dust nibs.
A Brown Paper Bag has the same grit as very high grit sandpaper. Said to be somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 grit. Rub a brown paper bag across your top coat for a slightly smoother feel and to remove dust nibs.

If any of these steps aren’t clear, you can see how I do all of these steps for a smooth finish with chalk paint in the video. 🙂

You can see on my DIY Long Wooden Table Runner Tray that the matte sheen looks smooth and even. This tray was even patched in a few spots with bondo. You can read about How to Fix Damaged Wood Furniture with Bondo here.
You can even use these steps to get a smooth finish with chalk paint with layered paint looks like this DIY Gray Chalk Paint Furniture Makeover.

Get The Beginner’s Guide to Painting Furniture


Grab the 19 page free printable version of my Beginner’s Guide to Painting Furniture that includes everything from this post, plus answers to 12 Common Questions about Painting Furniture. 


Looking for more of my Furniture Painting videos? You can see them here, on my YouTube channel. 🙂

How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint

Follow these easy steps to get a beautiful, smooth finish with chalk paint. This is how to fix rough feeling and blotchy looking chalk paint!

Follow these easy steps to get a beautiful, smooth finish with chalk paint. This is how to fix rough feeling and blotchy looking chalk paint!

Materials

Instructions

How to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint

  1. Start by applying 2-4 coats of Chalk Paint to your furniture or home decor. Be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next. Use a high quality nylon brush to get a smooth finish and reduce brush strokes. You want a thick even coat of color across the whole surface.
  2. Once your last coat of chalk paint has completely dried, you're ready to wet sand to get that beautiful streak-free smooth finish with chalk paint. Use a damp Extra Fine Grit Sanding Block. You want that sanding sponge to be damp but not dripping wet. That dampness helps to reduce the friction on that sponge and produce a lighter sand. Wet sand the entire painted surface.
  3. Use a light touch when you wet sand the paint. You'll get a feel for it after a few minutes. But, you want to only press hard enough to get a smooth chalk paint finish. You don't want to accidentally sand the chalk paint off. If you do sand too deep anywhere, like corners. Just touch up with a little more chalk paint.
  4. Once you have the chalk paint finish looking and feeling as smooth as you'd like, you're ready to clean it off. Use a damp, clean rag to wipe off all of the paint residue that's left behind from wet sanding.
  5. When the paint residue is cleaned off, use the dry, clean rag to wipe your chalk painted furniture or home decor dry. Let it completely dry before applying a top coat.
  6. Now, you're ready for a top coat. Some people like to use wax on chalk paint. It is nice sometimes, but I generally go for a water-based poly. Lately, I've been loving the matte look of General Finishes Flat Out Flat top coat. It applies fast, nice and even too. Follow the directions on whatever top coat you pick to get the best result.
  7. This last step is optional. Once you've applied the recommended number of coats and let it dry, you can use a brown paper bag to lightly sand the top coat for an even smoother feel. Brown Paper Bags have a very high grit, somewhere around 10,000. Which means they are great for getting a buttery feeling finish and removing dust nibs without scratching that perfect sheen.

Notes

If any of these steps aren't clear, you can see how I do all of these steps for a smooth finish with chalk paint in the video. 🙂

Why does my Chalk Paint Look Streaky

Chalk paint can sometimes look blotchy or streaky when it dries. There are a few reasons why this might happen. If your chalk paint is too dry, it is harder to apply smoothly. You can add a bit of water and stir it in to make the chalk paint easier to apply. When I make my DIY Chalk Paint from Latex Paint, I always mix in enough water to get a smooth, easy application.

This might sound strange, but some chalk paint is designed to be a little dry to show brush strokes. Having the strokes show is just a different style of chalk painting that some people love. I just prefer a smooth finish with chalk paint.

The first coat of chalk paint always looks a bit streaky and blotchy. If it seems to be applying evenly and isn't too thick, apply a couple more coats to see if you get a more even, pretty finish. Be sure to let each coat dry completely.

You can also lightly sand chalk paint with a fine grit sandpaper or sanding block between coats to get that "like glass" smooth finish with chalk paint.


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Feeling inspired? Now that you know how to get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint, you can do it too.

Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

Grandma's House DIY

Monday 14th of September 2020

I'll be featuring you this week across all of my social media - thanks so much for sharing with us at the To Grandma's house we go link party!

Stephanie

Monday 14th of September 2020

Thanks, Tarah!

Morgan

Thursday 10th of September 2020

This is so great to know! Thanks for the tips!

Stephanie

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Thanks, Morgan. So happy to share. :)

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Who would have thought that a damp sanding block would make such a difference! Great post. Thank you for sharing with Charming Homes and Gardens.

Stephanie

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Thanks, Kim! I love this trick. :)

Marilyn

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

******************************************************** Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn ********************************************************

Pam

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Such great tips! I'm a little intimidated by painting, so I really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing at the TFT party!

Stephanie

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Thanks, Pam! Don't be intimidated. You can almost always fix paint mistakes. :)

Comments are closed.
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