How to Paint Furniture in One Afternoon

A sponsored post created in partnership with Ace Hardware & the brand of chalk paint I’ve been using for years anyway:  Amy Howard at Home® One Step Paint™

You know those TV shows where they count down the best inventions of all time?

Well, if I were in charge of that show, chalk paint would be in the top ten. I remember the dark, olden days before I knew such a thing as chalk paint existed. In those hard times, we didn’t have much choice but to use glossy enamel paint because it cured to a hard finish–sadly, that curing took a month.

Listen, I’m not talking about chalkBOARD paint, no, this is chalk paint–a one coat paint that requires no sanding or stripping– I’m pretty sure I’ve even painted right over dust and spiders. Chalk paint is a DIYer’s BFF.

And Amy Howard should win the award for the prettiest paint labels and branding.

I decided to repaint this hutch that I’ve had for years and years. I wanted him to be a warm, light pink but I wasn’t exactly sure the shade I was looking for. I use the top part of the hutch in another part of the barn where it sits on a big old table and I love where it is. The top and bottom half of the hutch have been divorced since we moved out here, so it was time for the bottom half to move on and go his own color with an afternoon makeover.

Chalk paint loves being mixed together to get the right color. Also, mixing paint colors is SO FUN! So I decided to grab a few colors and experiment until the color felt right.

I started with using mostly the colors Palmer Pink and Shaw Red with a little Linen. But the color was waaaay to strawberry and bright for what I wanted. So I kept adding in more Linen and Palmer Pink to lighten and even a little dash of Holy Moley (yellow) for warmth up to the perfect shade of light pink.

If you don’t want to mix your own colors and can’t find the color you love out of the 52 Amy Howard suggestions, just make sure you get the tintable base, and the Ace Hardware folks can mix it to any color you want.

You can see the darker color on the top of the hutch, then I added more Linen painted that on the drawer on the right then again, more Linen, painted that on the middle drawer, and it’s hard to tell in the photo, but the drawer on the left if even a lighter color.

I thought I had the color right until I painted the entire piece. Nope, still too strawberry and intense. It is One Step Paint, so if I would have loved this color, I could have been done in one coat!

No worries, I just added in more Linen colored paint to my batch and waited about an hour for everything to dry and quickly painted over the hutch again. Seriously, I do paint really fast like a possessed woman, but even a slow painter should be able to paint a piece like this in less than an hour. This paint goes on so easy.

The best thing about chalk paint is how forgiving it is. I could “practice” my colors all over the piece, and once it was dry I did one last coat in my final color and all traces of the first coat were gone.

Ta-Da! This might be the most productive and rewarding two hours I’ve had all week!

Never painted furniture before?

Here’s my best advice for painting with chalk paint:

  1. Be sure to have the paint people at Ace shake your paint in the machine, even if it’s premixed
  2. Give yourself an afternoon (seriously, don’t put it off because you think a paint project will take all weekend, this entire project took about 2 hours including time for the first coat to dry!) Chalk paint looks better when it’s imperfect, you aren’t painting the Sistine Chapel, most people paint too slow, that’s fine except when you let that hold you back from starting a project. Consider the choice to paint quicker but less perfect and have a finished piece instead of a piece you have to take a vacation to complete to perfection and therefore it’s never started. AMEN.
  3. Don’t start with a bookshelf as your first ever painted piece. Think about all the surfaces and corners and back of the shelf and the underside of every shelf. I’d rather paint two dressers than one bookshelf.
  4. If you are painting something with a main surface that gets used (pretty much everything) be sure to use wax to seal it. Amy Howard has her own line of waxes, I’ll probably end up adding clear wax to this piece in a few days–it won’t really change the color much, but it will protect it.
  5. If you’ve never painted furniture, practice on something small first. Don’t have something small? Take $5 to a thrift store and buy a practice piece.
  6. Don’t be afraid to mix colors together. It’s so fun!
  7. Don’t start painting on the top first, start on the back or the bottom of one of the sides, that way you can get your rhythm and brushstrokes going confidently on a “private” part of the piece.
  8. Use a brush, not a roller–chalk paint likes brushes.
  9. Don’t like the color? No problem! You don’t have to wait for the paint to cure for weeks, go ahead and paint another color on top once it’s dry!

Amy Howard at Home® One Step Paint™ paint is available at select neighborhood Ace Hardware Store.

PS. Now through March 20th, buy two get one free on all gallons of Royal®, Clark+Kensington®, Valspar® Aspire and Valspar® Optimus paint at The Paint Studio at Ace. (the white paint I used on the walls and ceiling of our house is: Clark + Kensington’s Designer White)









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  1. Can someone tell me how durable this paint it? I have a big (and rowdy) family and need to repaint my dining chairs, and would love for them to stay looking nice (fresh) for a few years. I’m trying to get away from shabby-chic. If not super-durable, how time-consuming is it to remove the wax & re-coat?

    • Yes, this is exactly my question too! I’m thinking of doing a distressed finish on the edges to help hide future imperfections.

    • In my experience, chalk paint is more durable than regular paint. BUT, also in my experience, table chairs are probably the one thing in our house that get the most wear–if you really want a chair that doesn’t show wear, I’d get something straight from the showroom. I know that’s not the answer you want.

      Here’s what you could do, find a practice chair, paint it, and use it for a month and see what you think?

      • I’m trying to bring my grandma’s table & chair set more into our style (it’s super functional & the wood chairs are actually comfy) and painting them white (leaving the tabletop dark brown) is my #1 option. I love the idea of a trial chair, thanks!! I will have to start hitting up our local Goodwill and see if I can come up with something – I have no idea why that didn’t occur to me…

      • Thank you so much for the reply!

    • If you want a really durable paint for dining room chairs, use either INSL-X Cabinet Coat or KM (Kelly Moore) Professional Water-Oil Hybrid Enamel – both are excellent for use on kitchen cabinets for their durability, so I am pretty certain they would be great on the legs, etc. of chairs. These paints are what professional painters use on cabinets. Do two coats of primer and then two coats of the enamel. They can both be tinted any color you like. We thought about chalk paint for the kitchen cabinets, but decided that they might need something a little bit more suited for everyday wear and tear. Good luck!

  2. I know, right?!? I want to MARRY chalk paint I love it so much!!! I recently used it on our master bathroom vanity mirror frames, a stool, a desk for our son’s bedroom and am currently plotting my next victims… ;-) Thanks so much for your post as I didn’t know about the tintable base available and this lovely brand.

  3. Sally Gee says:

    Can this be used on outdoor furniture, like adirondack chairs?

    • Hi, Sally! I read on the Amy Howard website that the paint will work on almost any surface, so I’m pretty sure it will work on Adirondack chairs.

      • Sally Gee says:

        I was wondering about the finish….does it need a wax or tough coat on top of the paint to be durable for outdoors?

  4. Love your custom color! I’ve used most chalk paints and milk paints and have my favorites, but am always up to try another one. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration!

  5. Love it!!

  6. Totally OFF topic……I want to KNOW where you got the Angel Wings from….I am dying for a pair….are they made….or store bought….any information would be greatly appreciated…
    Thank you in advance.

  7. So if the piece is from the 1960’s and it has a sheen does it need to be sanded first or will the chalk paint stick to it anyway?

  8. Hi Myquillyn!

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    If you win, it’s a great way to tour the country and share your expertise while increasing your readership. Find out more through the link:

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  9. Love this! I’ve seen this chalk paint at Ace but I didn’t know if it was any good or not, I ‘ll have to pick some up next time I’m there, thanks for this! LOVE the color too, it’s perfect :)

  10. Could one put a coat or two of satin-finish, water-based polyurethane over the chalk paint?
    Or is that a huge NO?

  11. Love the new color on the dresser and chalk paint! I’m horrible at painting but I can use this paint pretty well. :) And love those angel wings!!

  12. Painting the furniture is time taking task. Without practice it could be really difficult task as well. Therefore, first of all you should try to hire an expert, in case if you cannot afford him then you should follow these mention tips. Indeed, spray paints make it much easier.

  13. Whoa….had to scroll throught some weird stuff to make a comment! Love your hutch, the shade you created is lovely. I have tried various brands of chalk paint, some very good, some were like chalky, grainy mush. Never have tried the Amy Howard before, it looks like it applies beautifully and mixes ultra easy. I have a large 1953 dresser I’ve been wanting to repurpose, I’m going for the Amy Howard. Can I just tell you how thrilled I am of your choice of color. I love pink, not all shades of pink, but most. Don’t know if you”ve noticed, but “pink bashing” has become a past time on many blogs. We just painted our master in a blush shade with a drop of gray. (The hubs had been pouting since he lost the coin toss on the colr choice) Whhen we were finished with paint, bedding, floor, windows and accessories, he looked at me and said, “you were right”!!

  14. Thanks for the tips and tricks! I love painting and refurbishing furniture. t is a great way to save money and make your home decor feel like new. Although, no matter how much I do it I can never seem to get it just right.

  15. Ok, so I went out and got the paint. Read a bunch online about chalk painting furniture. Ended up changing my mind about the color (hint: Amy Howard’s cartouche green is sort of blue- green like a turquoise, and Lou Lou is more of a grey green. In case anyone was wondering). I’m so excited about my newfound ability to chalk paint furniture, so thank you for the post!

  16. This is great, That’s a great website, it really is what I was looking for, thank you for sharing!

  17. Absolutely love this peace.. The color are very well match for the furnitures.

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