Can You Use Chalk Paint On Fabric: Do’s Or Don’ts

Can You Use Chalk Paint On Fabric

Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by Wahid

Chalk Paint” is remarkably versatile. It is an amazing paint to work with this Matte Finish Paint. If you’re dyeing fabric or repainting cushions, you can update worn or dated fabrics easily with chalk paint.

Thus, here’s the big question: “Can you use chalk paint on fabric or not?” Obviously yes, chalk paint is suitable for painting fabric, including wood, metal, glass, and concrete. To give your home new life without breaking the bank, consider painting the upholstery. A chalk paint project needs chalk paint, sealing agent, and fabric medium, respectively. Old upholstery can be refreshed quickly with stenciling & spray painting. You can use chalk paint on fabric from  Rustoleum, or Annie Sloane make your own.

By reading this article, you’ll discover why chalk paint is perfect for fabric. Finally, tips are provided on how to keep the fabric softened and sealed.

Chalk Paint: What Is It?

What Is Chalk Paint
  • Chalk paint is a water-based, thick paint that has a matte finish & gives wood a chalky and vintage appearance. In addition to the original Annie Sloan chalk paint, today, various types of chalk paint are available, or you can even create your own (DIY). Also, water-based paint makes cleanup easy.
  • Making chalk paint yourself or buying it contains a few basic ingredients. Chalk paints contain a mixture of water, colored acrylic agents, and powdered substances, such as calcium carbonate or plaster of Paris. There are a lot of popular brands like Annie Sloan & Rustoleum, but there are also generic versions. 
  • Large upholstery pieces may benefit from Rustoleum’s spray paints. The paint can be applied to many other surfaces, including old paint, & it’s thick enough to lay down smoothly and look pretty nice. Because of its chalky, thick consistency, it is excellent for painting fabrics.
  • Nowadays you can also purchase multiple colors of “chalkboard paint”, which isn’t the same as chalk paint. However, that type of paint won’t work on fabric, since chalkboard paint is specifically designed for hard surfaces.
  • The chalk paint surface is matte rather than hard and bright like a chalkboard. In terms of appearance and feel, it’s closer to chalk compared to a chalkboard.

Can Chalk Paint Be Used On Fabric?

Can Chalk Paint Be Used On Fabric
  • Several ways can be used to apply chalk paint to fabric. You can apply it thickly, using stencils to make patterns, or applying color washes to dye your garment. Fabric items like pillows or upholstered furniture offer an affordable, easy method to bring color into your home. 
  • Over the past 10 years or more, this upcycling technique has gained popularity. Chalk paint offers several benefits for fabric, including easy application, low cost, and easy sealing. Plus, it emits no bad odors and is generally much safer as compared to other paints.
  • Obviously, this colorful, fun style of painting has a tradeoff. You may find that the chalk paint painted fabric looks lovely, but you will not find it soft like the original fabric.
  • Chalk paint can also be easily cleaned because of its water-based nature. However, once it has been sealed or bonded to fabric, removing or changing it will be difficult. It is not necessary to repaint it, unless you wish to change the color.
  • Lastly, consider comparing and contrasting chalk-painted fabric to fabric painted with acrylic or fabric paint. There are lots of paint types that look good on fabric surfaces, but each has a different finish & vibrancy.

A Guide To Making Chalk Paint For Fabric (DIY)

Making Chalk Paint For Fabric

Make your own chalk paint for fabric for cheapest and most personalized chalk fabric art. Basic acrylic paint can be modified to achieve this. Plus, you can choose from thousands of colors with this method. All you need is to visit Home Depot or Lowes, select a paint card, & let the associate mix your acrylic paint.

  • To create the desired shade of acrylic paint, calcium carbonate and water will also be needed. Some health stores and online stores sell calcium carbonate.
  • Using a disposable plastic measurement cup, which you can purchase at a dollar store. Measurements will help you add water to the right amount easily.
  • However, you can adjust the ingredient ratio to achieve a smoother or longer-lasting finish. Generally, use 1 cup of paint, 1/3 cup of water, and 1/3 cup of calcium carbonate, or a 3:1:1 ratio.
  • To create small projects with acrylic paint, use a 2 ounce bottle, 1 tablespoon of water, and 2 teaspoons of calcium carbonate.
  • Mix well.

Remember, the paint will probably also necessary to be thinned after creating your paint by diluting it with water or a fabric medium. It is applied before it is woven into the fabric.

Before Get Started To Paint, Consider These Key Points

  • Fabric must be thoroughly wet before chalk paint is applied. A wet fabric allows the paint to penetrate deeply rather than just on top, improving the paint’s adhesion.
  • By mixing paint with water, you can also make it thinner. It must have the consistency of milk. 
  • In the absence of wetting the fabric or diluting the paint, the color will simply crackle away. This will make the fabric feel like a stiff surface. 
  • Since chalk paint can be quickly painted over or sanded off, it is a fun product to use. Paint and water should be mixed according to the fabric. According to my experience, I would recommend a thinner film.
  • Testing your mix should be done in a separate container. Make sure to note the mix ratio. 
  • If you accidentally added excessive water and there is no color left, leave it overnight with the lid open. Hence, adding water will fix the problem if the lid was not closed.

A Quick Guide About Using Chalk Paint On Fabrics

Guide About Using Chalk Paint On Fabrics
  1. Make sure the fabric is thoroughly wet by using a spray bottle. 
  2. Make a test mix and see if the paint is absorbed through the fabric. If paint drips uncontrollably, it’s too runny. Moreover, thickening doesn’t penetrate the fabric and significantly evens out its texture.
  3. Let the materials dry overnight after painting one thin layer throughout. Chalk paint is being used to paint fabric. When it had been painted twice, the effect wasn’t so good, so I just kept applying thin layers. This will be such an incredible reward that you will hardly believe it!
  4. The 2nd layer should be painted crisscross. In this stage, I sprayed the fabric with water and painted it with the same milky paint mixture. Overnight, let the paint dry.
  5. You may paint again, or even multiple times, if you wish. After this point, I stopped wetting the fabric and painted step by step from left to right to make the color more even. Let it dry again overnight.
  6. Wax your work to seal it. You must do this if you intend to clean the fabric with wet cloth. I tried using a paintbrush to apply the wax, but it wasn’t working well on the fabric, hence I rubbed it in with an old sock instead. The layer should be thin. If you’d like your piece to be more shiny, just rub the wax for a while to polish it.

How To Seal Chalk Paint On Fabric?

How To Seal Chalk Paint On Fabric

If you want to seal or apply chalk paint to fabric, you can use heat or clear wax. If you want a durable painting finish, wax is probably the best choice.

  • In order to seal fabric on furniture, you use a sealing wax that comes in a liquid form you can apply color with spray can or a brush. Many brands sell wax, like Annie Sloan & Rustoleum.
  • You should follow the wax application instructions found on your paint can. Follow the instructions to cure the wax for the appropriate time.
  • Heat setting the paint can be accomplished by simply leaving it in sunlight directly all day. There is less protection with this method than with waxing. 
  • However, some scuffing and gentle use should be safe for the heat-set paint.
  • A pressing clothing can also be used to apply strong heat to the paint. If the paint comes off the pressing cloth, test on a hidden part of the cloth first.

How Long Does Chalk Paint Dry On Fabric?

How Long Does Chalk Paint Dry On Fabric
  • In most cases, chalk paint dries within 15 minutes; however, it needs “12 to 48” hours to fully dry before sanding & adding another coat. 
  • Despite its permanency, any chalk paint lasts much longer on fabric when it is sealed with wax.
  • After dyeing your fabric with this color wash, it won’t remain colorfast, so only gently wash it with cold water afterward.
  • Generally, by brushing or spraying chalk paint onto the fabric, the paint will absorb into the material. 
  • If you don’t spill hot water on it or let it get wet unprotected in the rain.

How To Soften Chalk Painted Fabric?

How To Soften Chalk Painted Fabric
  • The paint can be softened in a variety of ways, such as sanding after every coat & applying the paint thinly and lightly. Despite this, the paint will remain visible on the fabric’s surface. When chalk paint is applied to velour fabric, the fabric will feel chalky and matte.
  • Sand chalk paint with 100 grit or 220 grit sandpaper once each coat has dried. When you paint with a brush, the bristles tend to raise lines of more dense paint. Using spray paint results in lumps & blobs even after carefully sweeping the can.
  • In addition to removing these imperfections, sanding also makes the fabric paint more even. Using less paint makes the surface softer so you can feel the fibers more easily.
  • For a silky chalk paint finish on fabric, water down the paint or mix it with fabric medium. After you’ve got a nice, light chalk paint, lightly apply a few coats.
  • Using these techniques together, it is possible to paint a couch or chair that stays soft over time.

Can I Use Chalk Paint On Furniture?

Can I Use Chalk Paint On Furniture
  • Yes! Once you have used chalk paint on furniture, you will appreciate how easy it’s to use. 
  • Getting started on your furniture requires very little preparation. Similarly, chalk paint can be used on upholstered furniture, saving you a great deal of time and effort.
  • Furniture such as dining chairs, armchairs, and other furniture can be upholstered and can be a time-consuming and costly process. 
  • If you don’t want to re-upholster furniture, chalk paint is an excellent alternative.

Chalk Paint Be Used On Outdoor Cushions?

Chalk Paint Be Used On Outdoor Cushions
  • Yes, outdoor cushions can be painted with chalk paint. However, you should use outdoor chalk paint along with a multi-purpose waterproof sealant. 
  • When used outdoors, fabrics may mildew easily, fade in the sunlight, or become waterlogged.
  • Outdoor chalk paint is available from most major paint brands. It is also sometimes called exterior chalk paint or garden chalk paint. Home improvement stores, craft stores, and Amazon sell this kind of paint.
  • Rather than dealing with these issues, use outdoor chalk color that contains mildewing-preventive additives. 
  • For protection against mildew, mold, and rot, seal your furniture with a UV-resistant and waterproof finish instead of a typical indoor wax finish.

Best Chalk Paint For Fabric & Upholstery

Best Chalk Paint For Fabric & Upholstery

The best chalk paint brand for fabric & upholstery will differ from upcycler to upcycler. However, Annie Sloan, Folk Art, Rustoleum, and Krylon are among the most popular brands.

There are some brands that offer more color options than others; thus, choose one based on the color you prefer. The Annie Sloan brand offers a wide variety of colors, as do many other brands, including Kilz.

In addition, you may want to purchase paint according to its cost. Accordingly, Krylon or Rustoleum will probably provide the best value. Most quarter gallon prices are less than $10. A liter can of Annie Sloan paint typically costs $37.

Advantage & Disadvantage Of Chalk Paint


There are several advantages to chalk paint, including:

  • Before using chalk paint, you do not need to take any major preparations. Actually, chalk paints can be used immediately after purchase.
  • There is a long lasting quality to chalk paint.
  • The chalk paint can be used on almost any surface.
  • Learning specific application techniques is not necessary.


Chalk paint has these advantages:

  • In terms of costs, chalk paint, wax, and paint brushes are expensive.
  • Chalk paint requires a wax seal to be sealed.

Ultimately, while chalk paint may seem a bit expensive, it will be a lot cheaper than shipping furniture to a repair center. When you use chalk paint, you don’t have to have any expertise in application techniques, making repairing old furniture a breeze. 


01. Can you use chalk paint as fabric paint?

Answer: Yes, you can use chalk paint as fabric paint. Chalk paint is the perfect way to add patterns, stripes and small areas of color. Chalk paint is essentially a fabric dye. Water is used in this process to dilute the paint.

02. Can you use chalk paint without waxing?

Answer: Wax is not necessary for all projects. Each rule has its exceptions, of course. Unless your paintwork will be subject to regular wear and tear, wax will not be necessary.

03. How many coats of chalk paint?

Answer: 1 to 2 coats of chalk paint are usually sufficient for most purposes. Almost any surface can be painted with chalk paint, without any sanding or priming needed.

04. How do you soften chalk paint on fabric?

Answer: Once the paint has completely dried & is covered as desired, sandpaper 220-grit can be used and rubbed lightly over the painted surface. Fabric will be softened to perfection with this method.

05. What is the best finish for chalk paint?

Answer: For chalk paint projects, polyurethane is an excellent coating choice. Due to its ease of use and incredibly durable cover, it is extremely popular. A polyurethane that is oil-based is an excellent choice for furniture, outdoor projects, and carpets.

06. Do you brush on chalk paint?

Answer: Natural bristle brushes are recommended (also called “pure bristle”) rather than the more typical synthetic brushes used for painting Chalk Paint. Even an inexpensive set of brushes can make a difference.

Summing Up

You’ve now learned can you use chalk paint on fabric or not, so it’s time to get started. It’s a great “quick fix” if you like a chair, or think it could be useful, without spending too much on reupholstery. The paint adheres quickly, thus it’s an easy project. Generally, stripes and patterns can also be added to plain fabrics with little investment.

Be cautious while contemplating painting a favorite chair. Experimenting and testing are essential, even if perfect coverage can’t be guaranteed, especially when dealing with dark or bright fabrics.