What are the most challenging colors to paint and seal? Black and white! I’ve shared my tips for white in How to Paint White Furniture…now here are my recommendations for a smooth, streak-free black chalk paint finish! These techniques work great for many of your favorite dark colors, including Caviar, Midnight Sky and Coffee Bean.
- Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint: Caviar, Midnight Sky or Coffee Bean
- White Lightning Cleaner
- Synthetic Brush
- Continuous Mist Spray Bottle
- Howdy Do Hemp Oil
- Satin Clear Coat
- Applicator Pads
- Sanding Sponge
- Blue Gator Hide Sponge
Before You Pick Up the Brush
I’ve covered the prep steps in The Basics of Chalk Painting. But it’s worth repeating…always clean your piece prior to painting. I like White Lightning Cleaner. It’s a super affordable option because you’re paying for product and mixing with your own water! Just remember it’s a cleaner and de-glosser (not meant for everyday furniture cleaning!) and must be rinsed off with water.
I recommend using the best synthetic brush you can afford. Synthetic bristles do not absorb water (and chalk paint is water-based!) which allows for a smoother application. A light mist of water from a Continuous Spray Mist Bottle also give you a longer open time (when you can work your paint), without depositing droplets of water which cause water spots. The paint is self-leveling which means some of those brush strokes you see when your paint is wet will smooth out as it dries! In between coats I do a light sanding with a sanding sponge to knock off imperfections…and in my house dog hair! Recently I was using the last bit of Coffee Bean in my jar and it was clear I hadn’t stirred consistently. As I sanded between coats, small white dots were revealed. Note to self: always mix thoroughly! The solution: sand off and re-paint.
While Dixie Belle self-seals or “cures” in 30 days, I usually opt to apply a sealer to my painted pieces. Best Dang Wax, Easy Peasy Spray Wax, Howdy Do Hemp Oil and Satin Clear Coat are all viable options, but my favorites for dark paints are Hemp Oil and Satin Clear Coat, depending on the sheen I would like for the finished project.
Howdy Do Hemp Oil can be used on any porous surface like bare wood (it’s food safe for butcher blocks!) or chalk mineral paint. It dries to a matte finish and cures in 3 weeks becoming water-resistant. I’m often asked if it can be used over light colors as well. While I have not tried this, its properties would remain the same; however, colors could darken or yellow. I use a cheap chip brush to apply – since it’s oil I don’t want to use my good Dixie Belle brushes! The wood/paint will express any oil that cannot be absorbed, so you’ll want to wipe back in several hours, the next day and until no more oil sits on the surface. My recommendation – the low-lint terry cloth Applicator Pad. I once used an old T-shirt and embedded lint into my finish!
I thought I knew all the tips for streak, free finish with Satin Clear Coat
- Stir thoroughly (even if you usually shake your paint like I do!)
- Apply with a small pored sponge like the Blue Gator Hide Sponge
- Use long even strokes
- A second coat can even out the finish
- Adding paint can help eliminate brush/sponge strokes
But I was making a big mistake with that last tip…I figured the more paint the better! But too much paint and you’ll get “ghosting” – the finger prints that appear when you touch your finish. I’ve since learned that it only takes a small amount to tint your clear coat. For example, if I’m sealing Caviar I tint my topcoat to gray. But if you’re doing a blended paint finish or multiple colors, it’s best to use your clear coat without tinting. I tinted mine gray for the tables below and had to repaint because I muddied my colors!