Painting without loops? Annie Sloan’s chalk colour tried out

Heyho, I finally did it! I bought the chalk color from Annie Sloan and tested it during the last weeks. The net is full of Annie Sloan fans. The chalk colours of Annie Sloan come with many promises, which sound much too nice to be true: e.g. painting without loops on all kinds of surfaces. Sounds tempting? I have tried the chalk color of Annie Sloan and summarize for you my (first) experiences.

Who’s Annie Sloan?
Surprise! Annie Sloan really exists! Annie Sloan is a studied artist with a focus on decorative painting. Long before chalk paint was sold, Annie Sloan wrote books on painting techniques and traditional paints. She was very successful and decided to develop her own artist’s paints on a mineral basis.

Meanwhile Annie Sloan’s chalk paint is sold all over the world. It is distributed exclusively by selected resellers. You will therefore not find Annie Sloan’s colours and products in the DIY store.

Chalk paint – what is it?
In short, traditional chalk paint is a coating consisting of water, colour pigments and slurry chalk. Chalk paint is very similar to lime paint and has a long tradition. This colour is not a new invention, but it is experiencing a renaissance.

Modern, commercially available chalk colours have different recipes and mixtures. Most products are no longer an environmentally friendly and very well-tolerated colour on a mineral basis. Rather, the coating result is in the foreground.

Mix chalk colours yourself, ingredients and what is chalk colour?
Chalk paint is very opaque and gets an ultra matt, slightly powdery surface when dried.
Chalk paint is very opaque and gives an ultra matt, slightly powdery surface when dried. The surface has open pores and is therefore very sensitive to liquids and dirt.

It can be sealed with wax or transparent varnish. Due to the open-pored surface it is possible to achieve beautiful effects with coloured wood waxes which are applied after drying.

Furniture in Shabby style is often painted with chalk paint.
Chalk paint is usually used to paint furniture in Shabby Chic style. In addition to furniture, all kinds of decorative objects or walls can be painted with chalk paint.

The promises of Annie Sloan
Annie Sloan’s chalk paint promises that there is no need to sand old coats, remove waxed/oiled surfaces or prime before applying chalk paint. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, unscrew the box and get started?

Anyone who has ever painted a few chairs or furniture will know that it is sometimes necessary to remove old paints. If it is decided not to remove old paints, they should at least be sanded and, if necessary, primed with a blocking paint. Sanding the furniture can be very time-consuming. The promise of “painting without sanding” is therefore very tempting for me. 🙂

Why is wood primed?
Sanding prepares the ground optimally
Sanding provides a better hold for the following lacquers. In my experience, painting over very smooth surfaces quickly becomes a game of patience: the applied paint does not adhere well and spreads unevenly.

After drying, the varnish also flakes off more quickly. Depending on the demands placed on the furniture, the surface will show defects after only a short time.

I have tried it – painting without sanding
This time I follow the instructions and start straight away. I gratefully let the annoying sanding and priming fall under the table. The furniture is simply cleaned with water and a little detergent and degreased.

My impressions – chalk colour by Annie Sloan
I use a brush to apply the paint. The consistency of the liquid paint is very similar to the chalk colours of Borma Wax and Rust Oleum used so far. The liquid resembles normal wood lacquers very much and is only a little more liquid.

Hue of the chalk colour by Annie Sloan
The shade surprises me. It is much darker than on the sample pictures of the online shop. As I will notice later, the colour changes considerably when it dries. The colour tone is now much lighter and corresponds to the expected colour.

Painting the color
The application of the chalk colour is rather laborious. As expected, the paint does not penetrate the smooth surface and has little hold. The first coat is not opaque. The substrate is still clearly visible.

But this is nothing new for me. The overpainting of smooth (e.g. foil coated) surfaces always requires two coats. I let the paint dry and start a second coat.

Painting laminated furniture? I did it!
Now comes the bitter surprise. The second coat also sticks badly. I smudge the already applied paint with the second coat. The dried paint comes off the smooth surface and is wiped back and forth on the surface during painting! There are well visible brush strokes and places where the surface continues to shine through, phew.

Painting without loops? Yes, my ass!
At the end I need four (!) coats to create a covering layer with Annie Sloan. This experience is really new for me and I wonder what the result would have been if I hadn’t painted a brown colour on a brown background… ?

Due to the several times applied color, it was unfortunately also not missing that in some places, the color appears thick and uneven.

Oops, there is some paint missing
But the coronation comes at the end.

I want to seal the porous surface of the chalk paint with wood wax. With some beeswax and a lint-free cotton cloth I rub over the furniture until the wax has spread.
Obviously, the durability of Annie Sloan’s chalk colour is not that far fetched. After the waxing there are some areas where the paint is completely rubbed off! Painting without loops? Yes, my ass!

Tips for sealing the chalk color
Therefore I recommend you to apply the wax with a brush. The brush makes it much easier to spread the wax. It can be applied to the surface without rubbing. The colour surface remains intact. After hardening of the wax you get a soft, silky smooth surface.

Shabby Chic with wood wax alone
When waxing the surface, one detail stands out: the wood wax creates special effects! Due to the open-pored structure of the paint, the wax is “absorbed” by the paint. It seems that the wax penetrates much deeper and changes the colour tone.

I test this effect with three different waxes based on beeswax. My dark brown is lightened, the surface colour is slightly uneven. The transparent wood wax alone creates a used look on the surface of the furniture! You can see this on the picture above. I could not observe this effect with any other chalk color so far.

Annie Sloan a “real” chalk colour
Let’s leave out the unspeakable promise of super durability and opacity of the paint on painted, unprepared surfaces, and look at the now dried chalk paint and the coating result itself.

It immediately catches my eye: this chalk colour has a very special quality.

Annie Sloan creates a unique surface that is very reminiscent of a pure lime paint. The paint leaves a wonderfully open-pored, rough surface and a very grainy look that I have never seen before.

The surface is supermatt after drying. One could also speak of dust-dry. This colour can be compared less with a wood varnish than with a thin, covering textured plaster.

The use of transparent and coloured wood wax creates a great Shabby look – even without sanding down the paint in places. Annie Sloan is for me a “real” artist’s paint with which great effects can be created.

The colors of Annie Sloan’s chalk color are beautiful and according to Mrs. Sloan all can be combined with each other. The colour is water-based, suitable for children’s toys and saliva-proof.


Annie Sloan stands out for me from the chalk colours I have used so far (or the chalk colour I made myself). The chalk colour leaves a structured, supermatt, dry and slightly rough surface. The texture of the colour allows great artistic effects. However, this is at the expense of durability and painting properties.

I absolutely cannot recommend painting furniture without prior treatment of the surface. Painting on a varnished surface without previous sanding did not give me a nice result. The durability of the paint also left a lot to be desired. I was even able to rub the paint off the surface with a cloth.

Therefore I will swing the sandpaper the next time rather again. Basically the chalk colours of Annie Sloan are very interesting because of the special coating effect and the great colours.

Commode painted with Annie Sloan


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