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Can You Use Foam Brush with Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is fantastic because it doesn’t require any prep before you paint it on a surface. The downside of chalk paint is that it can be pretty difficult to get a smooth finish, and unless you’re going for that antique rustic look, it may be a problem. This is because the paint needs to be applied in such thin layers, it can often end up with different thicknesses across the surface. You also nee the right type of paintbrush.

So, can you use a foam brush with chalk paint? Achieving a smooth finish with chalk paint is not as easy as other paints. One way to ensure you have a smooth finish is to paint your first layer with a regular paint brush, then go over with the foam roller. This will offer a soft, smooth finish.

When painting with chalk paint, you need to be careful with your choice of paintbrush. The brush you use can make all the difference in how the finished product looks. There are several different paint brushes, so how can you choose the right one? In this article we go over which type of paintbrush you should use, and more! Let’s get to it.

What Kind of Brush Do You Use with Chalk Paint?

It can be overwhelming to stand in the paintbrush aisle staring at all of the options you have. For any paint project, including chalk paint, it is important to have the best brush for the job. This will allow you to get the best coverage and potentially reduce pesky brush strokes. 

One of my favorite brush sets to use with chalk paint is this Chalk & Wax Brush Set. It comes with 5 brushes, and a few different sizes. I used this set when I applied the wax and chalk paint, and the paint went on smoothly. They were also super easy to clean which was a plus!

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It might be easy to pick the cheapest brush you find, but this isn’t the best option for chalk paint. With a cheap brush, your chalk paint isn’t going to stick to the brush or surface very well. When you choose a high-quality brush, you will have much better results. 

There are two types of paintbrush bristles. First, there is synthetic bristles that are made from materials like nylon and polyester. These brushes will help provide a smooth, contemporary looking finish. Next, you have natural bristles that are made from animal hair like badger or hog. These brushes will often provide a vintage, textured finish.

When it comes to chalk paint, it is recommended to stick with natural bristle brushes for the best results. You can use a synthetic bristle brush if you prefer, but you will notice that the paint doesn’t stick to these bristles as easily. The chalk paint will quickly slide off the synthetic bristles, causing you to refill your brush often.

Re-filling your brush often can severely reduce the quality of your finished product. Synthetic bristles also have the tendency to be thick, which can result in patchiness, visible brushstrokes, and annoying drag marks. 

Natural bristles are soft and flexible, and this allows you to apply the chalk paint in an even, thin layer that is smooth. Also, natural brushes will minimize the number of visible brushstrokes and distribute the paint as evenly as possible.

Paintbrushes with natural bristles are specifically designed to pick up, hold, and properly distribute natural paints, like chalk paint, close to flawlessly. Both finish and coverage are going to be improved when you use a natural brush with chalk paint.

How Do You Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint?

The technique you use when painting with chalk paint will greatly influence what the finished product will look like. When you are trying to achieve a smooth finish, you will need to use the right technique. The best part about chalk paint is it requires such little effort to reach maximum coverage.

There are several steps you will need to follow in order to get the smoothest coverage possible. Although the chalk paint doesn’t require any prep to stick to a surface, the surface itself might need some prep. The first thing you will want to do is sand the surface to create a smooth canvas for the paint.

Before painting, you will want to add a tiny bit of water to the tin of your chalk paint. This will slightly thin the paint and give it an easier texture to apply to the surface. When exposed to air, chalk paint can have the tendency to thicken up. Make sure you leave the lid on when you aren’t using the paint to prevent this.

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It can also be beneficial to keep your paintbrush damp while you are painting. You can do this by spraying your brush with a misting bottle. If you feel at any point that your brush is getting dry, mist the brush again. A dry brush can cause streaks and brushstrokes to show through your paint.

You can also spritz the surface you are painting before you start. You will only want to spray a tiny bit of water, or you run the risk of runny paint. If you keep the surface just damp, you will be left with an almost gloss-like finish.

Try to keep your coats as thin as possible. You will not likely get full coverage with one coat, but that’s okay. You can get both more protection and more coverage by doing two thin coats instead of one thick coat. Adding two coats will also minimize the number of streaks and brushstrokes, creating a smoother finish.

How Do You Get Rid of Brush Strokes in Chalk Paint?

Brushstrokes are incredibly frustrating and can make you feel completely different than you’d hoped about your finished project. They can add unwanted texture and a streaky look to the surface. When there are visible brush strokes, the finish product can look messy and unfinished. 

Luckily, there are a few different things you can do to prevent brush strokes. First, make sure that you are using the right brush. It doesn’t have to be the best brush on the market, it just needs to be the right kind. For chalk paint, it is recommended to use a natural bristle brush like the one I recommend above.

Your brush technique also impacts whether brushstrokes are visible or not. You should avoid holding the brush with your whole hand. You won’t have as much control over your movements like this. It is highly recommended to hold your paintbrush the way you would hold a pencil.

When you apply the paint, it is best to hold the paintbrush at an angle instead of straight up and down. You should also very lightly apply the brush to the surface, avoid pressing too hard on the surface. Keeping your bristles wet will also help provide a smooth application and prevent brush strokes.

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If the surface you are painting is wood, you will need to paint in the same direction that the wood grain goes. Brushing against the grain will create a texture because the paint will react to the natural texture of the wood. 

If the surface is not wood, such as laminate or ceramic, do your best to paint each area in just one direction. If you paint horizontal on one piece, don’t paint vertically on another piece. Paint the whole surface horizontally or vertically, not both.

If you want to be sure you have a completely brushstroke free surface, you can use a foam roller brush to help you out. You can apply a coat of paint with a foam roller, then follow behind it with a flat paintbrush. Very lightly drag the brush across the surface you just rolled to even out any texture the roller created. 

You will need to do this quickly before the paint dries. This will help ensure that you smooth the paint while it is still wet, preventing any damage to the surface paint. It is not likely that your foam roller will leave texture, but there is always the potential of it happening. It is best to be prepared for anything!

Do I Need to Seal Chalk Paint?

When you paint an object with chalk paint, it doesn’t need to be sealed in order to be finished. Adding a sealant to chalk paint can impact how the paint color looks, usually making it appear darker. If this isn’t an issue for you, adding a sealant can add an extra layer of protection from paint scratches.

I recommend using FolkArt Chalk Paint Varnish, to seal your painted project. It’s designed for chalk paint, so it’ll still have that chalky finish.

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If you do decide to seal your chalk paint, there are multiple ways you can do so successfully. You can also can use wax. The wax will give a sheen that you won’t see from other sealants, and it will leave you with a smooth feeling. Wax will also protect the object from water and is very durable.

One of the most popular ways to seal chalk paint is with polycrylic. With this, there are multiple finish options that you can choose from. There is matte, flat, even shiny finishes. Polycrylic is very durable and applies quickly.

Final Thoughts

Creating a smooth finish for chalk paint can seem difficult, but with the right technique and products, it doesn’t have to be. One of the easiest ways to produce a smooth texture on your painted surface is to use a foam roller. You can quickly and easily apply a smooth coat of chalk paint.

The brush and painting technique also have an impact on how smooth your surface will be when you are finished painting. Avoid holding your paintbrush in your entire hand, hold the brush as you would a pencil, and angle the brush when you are applying the paint.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your chalk painted 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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