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Can You Paint a Canvas With Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint offers a unique matte finish, making it very popular for DIY furniture. However, more and more artists are using chalk paint in their art projects, so you might wonder what else you can use it on.

Can you paint a canvas with chalk paint? You can use chalk paint on your canvas. After all, chalk paint is simply a water-based paint with minerals that give it a matte finish. You can use it on various surfaces, even without priming them first.

You should keep reading if you want to use chalk paints on a canvas. I made sure to include the most important details, so you can focus on creating your art. Here’s what you need to know!

Can You Use Chalk Paint on a Canvas?

You can chalk paint on a canvas to get a unique effect. It works well for covering the entire canvas as a background, or you can use it only on certain canvas sections. You can even paint with a combination of oil, chalk, and acrylic paints on your canvas.

Although, if you use different types of paint, you’ll want to make sure you layer them correctly. You can use oils over acrylics, but not the other way around. For the chalk paints, you can put them on top of either oil or acrylic paints, but you may need to lightly sand oils to give them more texture. That way, the chalk paints can stick.

In short, you can use chalk paints on a canvas and get great results. Some artists use it in the place of gesso since the minerals in the chalk paint give it a great texture to paint over with oils or acrylics.

Can You Chalk Paint Over Acrylic on a Canvas?

Acrylic chalk paints work just as well on canvas materials. You can also paint over your chalk paint with acrylics, so there are many ways to use these pigments at home.

My favorite brand for Chalk paint is Rust-Oleum. It offers great coverage and the chalky results looks great!

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In my experience, I find it’s best to work in layers to get the best results. You can use a sponge or broad, square brush to apply the acrylic chalk paint all over the canvas, keeping the layer thin. Give the first coat some time to dry, then apply another layer.

From there, you need to give the canvas more drying time; then, you can paint over the chalk paint as you wish. This process provides a unique, matte effect and is perfect for many art projects.

Do You Need To Prime a Canvas for Chalk Paint?

You don’t need to prime before working with chalk paint unless you’re painting over oil paints. Since oil paint is very thick and smooth, you’ll want to buff the surface with sandpaper. Doing so makes it easier for the chalk paint to stick to that canvas.

However, it can easily stick to raw canvas without a primer in place. You may still want to add a primer layer of gesso to the canvas if you’re using other paints and chalk paint to protect it better.

Abstract Painting

Chalk paint consists of a pigment and minerals that give it texture, making it work well as a primer. In fact, chalk paint originally was a type of gesso coating so you can get the most out of it this way. Many artists who’ve grown bored of plain white gesso turn to pigmented chalk paint today.

You don’t need to prime a canvas before adding chalk paint. You can use chalk paint as your primer instead!

How To Paint Canvas With Chalk Paint

If you want to use chalk paint as a gesso, you’ll first need to have a broad brush. From there, simply dip the brush in the chalk paint, then coat the canvas in long strokes. Let each layer dry, then add another, ending at about two or three layers of paint.

You also want to alternate between vertical and horizontal strokes. Doing so gives the canvas more coverage and ensures you get an even coating of chalk paint over the canvas. If you don’t, you may not get good protection on your canvas when applying oil paints over the chalk paint primer.

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If you want to paint with chalk paint, you don’t need to do anything different from working with other pigments. You can apply the paint to the canvas using smaller brushes and blend as you want. It feels slightly different than working with acrylics, but you’ll get used to it. You’ll also want to use water to rinse off your brushes, not a paint thinner.

You may want to prime the canvas before using other types of paints on it as well. While the chalk paint shouldn’t cause harm to the raw canvas, oil paints will. However, you can skip the primer if you’ve used the chalk paint as a gesso.

If you plan on using a roller brush, in my other article I go over the best rollers to use with chalk paint.

Do You Need To Seal Chalk Paint?

You should seal your painting when you’ve finished making it. While chalk paint is durable, you want to give it another layer of protection to ensure it lasts many years. Not including a top coat could leave your work vulnerable to moisture and natural wear and tear.

I recommend that you use Jolie Finishing Wax to seal chalk paints. It dries very quickly and works best with these types of paints. However, you can also use a varnish, or Chalk Paint Lacquer, to seal your work. Varnishes like this are best when you want added water and UV resistance.

Overall, it’s generally a good idea to seal your paintings, even if you technically don’t need to. You’re sure to appreciate how the seal protects your hard work.

Final Thoughts

So, you can paint your canvas with chalk paint and get great, long-lasting results. Chalk paint uses a gesso-like formula, making it adhere well to raw canvas. You can use chalk paint as a primer or paint using it like acrylic paint.

In conclusion, there are many ways to use chalk paint on your canvas! I hope that you give it a try— it’s simple and a lot of fun. You’re sure to develop new, creative ways to include chalk paint in your own works.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your chalk paint project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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