Chalk paint is incredibly easy to use, has a super fast drying time, and comes in so many pretty colors. But, I have found that some brushes work better than others. Today, I'm sharing what I believe are the BEST chalk paint brushes for your project.
Top Picks for Natural Bristle Brushes
Other good natural brush options to consider: Annie Sloan brushes, Dixie Belle, and Amy Howard.
Top Picks for Synthetic Blend or Synthetic Brushes
Chalk Painted Furniture Examples
If you haven't used chalk paint before, you may be wondering how it actually looks on furniture makeovers before you go out to purchase a new brush and all of the other supplies needed to start your project.
I've completed countless chalk paint projects in our home. Here are a few of my favorite:
- Our kitchen table makeover where I used Amy Howard One Step Paint (chalk paint) in Linen on the base of the table as well as the chairs (minus the seat):
- Black chalk painted piano. My daughter and I seriously did this in an afternoon and it's beautiful:
- Painting outdated brown barstools with white chalk paint;
- A post FULL of before and after chalk painted furniture:
TIP: You can make your own chalk paint at home with this simple recipe.
I think it's important to clarify the type of brush I would suggest for chalk paint when attempting a furniture makeover.
Natural Bristle versus Synthetic, explained
If your project is to be completed with a chalk paint, I highly recommend a natural bristle brush.
Natural bristle brushes are made of animal hair, will hold onto the paint better and give a more even coat with less streaking than synthetic brushes when using chalk paint. They provide a more rustic look.
When using a natural bristle brush, the paint goes further with less need to add more paint to the brush.
This is especially important when using chalk paint as it is a consistency that dries REALLY quickly. In a matter of minutes, usually 20-30 minutes after the first coat is applied. It is typically safe to start your second coat 30 minutes after finishing the first.
The negatives with natural is they are often more expensive and shed bristles onto your project. With proper care, natural brushes can last for a very long time, making the cost justifiable.
As for the shedding bristles, as I mentioned earlier, chalk paint is quite forgiving. If you notice a bristle has shed in your paint after it has dried, simply sand the surface slightly and apply more paint as needed to that area.
With a good natural brush, the shedding typically is much less of an issue after the first 2-3 uses.
Synthetic brushes are man-made bristles, made of nylon and/or polyester. A synthetic bristle brush tends to be much less expensive than natural. In general, synthetic have a smoother finish than natural brushes, but in my opinion, that is not the case with chalk paint and other fast drying paints.
These brushes have slicker bristles, which in turn causes them to require a more frequent reload of your paint onto the brush. Because of this, synthetic brushes will likely cause more brush marks with chalk paint. But they are excellent for application of latex paint.
They also are a great option for those that want to avoid using a brush made from animal hair.
Synthetic Blend brushes
A blend is often a good compromise. Because the animal hair brushes (natural) are more expensive, this can be somewhat of a deterrent for some. First, let me say, it shouldn't be. These brushes can last for YEARS if properly cared for.
But, if the price tag is too hefty for the natural brush, the synthetic blend options above are great alternatives.
Avoid Chip Brushes
Chip brushes are really inexpensive, in other words "cheap" brushes you can often find for under $1 a piece. These low quality brushes will not leave you with the best outcome.
They have a lot of bristle shedding and leave brush marks. It's worth it to invest a little bit and have a quality brush you can use for years to come.
Use different brushes for chalk paint and wax
It's best to have a different brush for the chalk paint and wax. So if you are completing furniture painting diy projects, you will need one brush for chalk paint AND a wax paint brush.
I personally tend to not even use a wax brush as I like to apply wax with a lint-free cloth! Just my personal preference.
How do you get a smooth finish with chalk paint?
As mentioned, the brush you choose will certainly have an impact on how smooth your painted furniture will look. The best brush for chalk paint is one with nylon bristles, but you can certainly have a beautiful end result with a synthetic brush.
Sanding lightly before applying wax is helpful in getting rid of brush strokes. There is some controversy on whether sanding should be done before or after waxing. Personally I feel it is just a little easier to do before waxing, so that's good enough for me!
How do you clean brushes after using chalk paint?
Clean your brushes by rinsing them thoroughly in warm water. If needed, use a mild grease-cutting soap to help remove the chalk paint.
The same is true for cleaning a brush after using wax, except you will definitely need to use a grease-cutting soap.
Avoid any harsh chemicals when cleaning your brushes. If possible, allow your brushes to hang to dry after washing.
Finding the right brush for painting furniture can make all the difference to ensure good coverage, high-quality results, and that every nook and cranny gets the attention it needs.
Ultimately you must also consider the comfort when painting, potential strain on your wrists, comfortable grip, etc. These are all characteristics to keep in mind when selecting your perfect brush.
Grab a brush and happy painting!