How to get a smooth finish with chalk paint

How to get a smooth finish with chalk paint – Tips and tricks for all

As more people get to use chalk paint in recent times, there seem to be more questions on how to get a smooth finish with chalk paint. Chalk paint is not a new paint type; it has been for a long time but seems to get more popular each passing day simply for its excellent matte finish and the rustic appearance to every surface painted.

One other good thing about chalk paint is how easy it is to use and clean up tools after use without spirits and chemical paint removers.

However, getting a smooth finish with chalk paint, despite how simple it is, seems challenging for most DIYers and even pro painters. This article will show you some step-by-step guide to make a smooth finish with chalk paint without leaving brush strokes.

Getting it right

How to get a smooth finish with chalk paint

Before I delve into the steps to achieving a smooth finish with chalk paint, there are some tools (brushes and rollers) you need to get right alongside some processes you need to understand so as not to get stranded midway into painting. Creating a smooth finish depends on these factors, and they include

  • Paint viscosity

It is better to paint with several thin coats than to dab on a thick coat at once. This may leave the surface messy and stressful as you work to thin out the thick coating.

  • Right tools

For a perfect brush stroke, you need a good quality brush (best if you have more than one) and an ideal roller. Your roller choice also determines how smooth the job will be.

  • Painting technique

There are two significant steps to achieving an excellent painting result; brushing and rolling. Sometimes it is best to use a brush in areas where the rollers can’t reach, like the corners or edge of the surface to be painted. When brushing, ensure you brush in long, unbroken strokes and avoid brushing a spot.

To roll, make sure the roller is well soaked in paint without dripping and ensure that you finish each long rolling stroke in the same direction. It is better to use a long stroke to cover the whole surface you are working on rather than breaking it into small parts.

Now to painting, here are some steps to getting a smooth finish with chalk paint:

How to get a smooth finish with chalk paint

How to get a smooth finish with chalk paint

Wipe surface clean

As with every other painting procedure, you need to ensure that your work surface is clean and that you get rid of grime, stains, and cobwebs from the upper part or corners of the surface. Even though chalk paint is easy to use on any surface, you wouldn’t want bubbles or bumps left on the surface because you didn’t clean up.

Use filler

For broken edges, cracked walls, or any other missing part of your work surface, you will first need to apply a wood filler to cover up and blend the part to be level with the other spots. Once you have used the filler, leave to dry and then sand until the filled spot is smooth. This also applies to scratched surfaces. 

Paint mix

Though chalk paint is easy to use, you need to mix correctly and eliminate lumps that may have formed if the paint has been kept for a long time. You may also need to add a splash or drops of water to the paint before stirring evenly. 

Keeping in mind the viscosity you need for the surface you are about to paint, add the correct quantity of water to achieve the perfect thickness, depending on how thick each coating layer will be.

Put on the paint

Here, since you are aiming for a smooth finish, your brush type matters a lot. You can apply the first coat in a back-and-forth manner, but ensure that the next layer of this first painting has to be involved in the same direction using even strokes. 

It is important to note that the paint begins to dry up as soon as you apply it on the surface, so you have to brush right. If you over brush, you may end up with brushstrokes. 

Also, make sure the brush is well soaked with paint but not over soaked, else you end up with paint drips and a messy work area. Remember, this stage may take about 2-4 coats of chalk paint.

Second coating

This second coating is done by working the paint in the opposite direction from the first. So if you applied the first coat from the right to the left direction, the second coat should be from the left to the right direction. 

Also, take note that the viscosity of the paint for the second coat should not be as thick as the first. You may need to add some water to the paint and mix well before you coat, then leave to dry.


Once the coated surface is dry, the next thing is to sand. You may wish to sand the surface in circles or in whatever direction you find convenient. Initially, as you begin to sand, the surface may look scratched, but continue with the sanding until the scratch marks clear off. 

It is necessary to wear a mask or protective clothes while sanding as this process is dusty. If there are other furniture or objects within the area, you may have to cover them up to prevent dusts from settling on them. You can clean up the dust only after the sanding process is complete.


Once you have correctly done the surface sanding, the next step is to wax the surface. There are many types of wax on sale, but the clear polish is preferable. If you chose a dark wax, you would also need to wipe off the leftover with clear wax. 

Using a wax brush or rag, apply the wax on the surface in circles or long lines convenient for you. Avoid applying too much polish at a time; this stage requires patience so that you can wax a spot at a time. Continue this step in sections until you can see the result.

Buff finish

This is usually done the next day or after a few hours when the wax has thoroughly dried. The buff finish is a toning process that lets you wipe the waxed surface clean and ensure no sticky spots are left on the surface. This will give the painted surface a smooth, shiny finish.


Oh, you thought you were done sanding? Well, if you expect a smooth finish, you’d have to sand again, but this time with a finer sanding sponge or sandpaper. Nothing too harsh as the surface is waxed already.

As you sand the surface, make sure you wipe off the dust as you move so that the spot can be smooth and shiny. If you leave the sanded spot without cleaning off the dust, it may blur the sheen of the job done, and you wouldn’t want this last task to mess up what you have achieved so far.

So, sand and wipe as you go in a circular motion until you have touched every part of the surface.


That’s it; you now have a guide on how to get a smooth finish with chalk paint. If you can follow the steps above, it is as simple as you can think of and simpler if you work with the right tools. Now you can go pro with chalk paints and leave people wondering if you used chalk paint.