What is the trick on how to seal chalk paint after use?

While it is important to learn how to chalk paint, one other important step to have a good chalk paint finish is to know how to seal chalk paint. There are many reasons why it is a good idea to seal chalk-painted objects, and these reasons may be personal or based on preference.

A general understanding is that when you seal a chalk-painted piece, it is to avoid stains or scratches on the painted surface. Also, using a seal or topcoat on chalk-painted pieces will reduce or totally remove the chalky feel or look uncoated chalk paint gives, as well as prevent damage or rough tops on the painted furniture.

There are different ways to seal chalk paint, the most common one being to cover with wax. Other methods include using spray finishes or a polycyclic finish. These topcoats may vary in price and quality, but they all play the same role-seal chalk paint.

The major seal options you may find for chalk paint are clear spray coats, paint-on polyacrylics, and wax; these ones provide a non-glossy finish. There are, however, some other seal types that give a glossy or shiny finish.

In some cases, you may decide not to seal your chalk-painted piece, and this is when you require buffing. Buffing is done on a chalk-painted piece you have decided to leave unsealed. Buffing also gives a smooth finish to your work but will not protect the surface from damage or stain.

Sealing your chalk-painted furniture gives it the kind of finish you imagined. Rust-oleum Matte clear is a polyacrylic seal that gives your furniture a waxy and poly feel. It lies between what a wax seal would provide and what result you’d get from a polyacrylic seal. This type of seal is applied on a surface using a paintbrush.

How to seal chalk paint

how to seal chalk paint

  • Get your topcoat or seal

This depends on what your choice of topcoat will be. For any painter who has tried wax seal for a long time, now is the time to experiment with the other different types of the seal so you can pick a favorite. I once enjoyed using wax until I came across the poly seal, which is my go-to seal till this moment.

Test for compatibility between the paint and the top coat you intend to use.

You can find out if the topcoat you have chosen is compatible with the chalk paint used by reading the information on both cans and testing your topcoat sample on a trash piece that has chalk paint on it. This is to avoid a messy situation halfway into the project.

It will be so disappointing, especially after the work you have done to get to that point. You may not need this test if you are using paint and topcoat from the same manufacturer and compatible with each other.

  • Sealing

Most painters started out with wax seals for chalk paint; that’s the most popular choice you will see or hear from every professional painter. However, with a few trials or learning, you can then begin to try other seal types. Each of these topcoats has its method of use, which is why you may not likely use the wax seal the same way you’d use a poly seal.

To seal with wax, you must ensure that the paint is properly dry. Then using a wax brush, begin to apply the wax on the piece starting from the corner to the edge. Applying wax on a chalk-painted piece can be a little tricky as you may not know when much is too much or too little.

When you apply too much on the surface, it becomes sticky even after you have left it to cure. The best thing is to ensure that you use a little at a time, which may be time-consuming, but the result is worth the patience.

For a more polished look, you let the wax dry and then buff the surface. A waxed piece needs to be left to cure for about 2-3 weeks.

Sealing with spay or top aerosol coat, on the other hand, seems so easy and fast. While it is not ideal for every chalk-painted piece, it works best for furniture with lots of nooks and corners. To use an aerosol coat on a CP, you need a well-ventilated room or work outdoor.

You may need lots of cans of spray to achieve a perfect seal finish on the piece you work on. Also, when using a spray coat, you need to ensure that you use a light coat for each layer of coat. This is to prevent dripping coat or rough finish.

Sealing with polycrylic is the favorite of most painters. Like wax, it requires you to brush on the surface after the initial paint is dry. Make sure you dip the brush in the coat to get enough on the brush and apply it neatly on the surface.

Make sure to avoid over-brushing a spot, and it will give a rough or layered look when it dries. While one stroke is enough to do the job, two layers may sound perfect as well. Apply in long brushstrokes as you follow the same pattern from one edge to another to ensure a good and smooth finish.

The finish has the soft feel a wax seal gives. The poly seal is milky at first sight, which may make you doubt its quality, but once you begin to use it, it gives the transparency of a seal with a shiny finish.

  • Curing

Regardless of the method or type of seal you apply on your piece, you are required to leave the piece to cure or dry for some days or weeks (usually 2-3 weeks) to get a smooth, non-sticky finish.

I know you may be excited to show off your new project, but using it immediately after a seal is applied may lead to cracks or sticky prints (fingerprints or paper prints). I learned this from my first trial at waxing my bookshelf, when I placed a book on the newly waxed piece.

The book got stuck, and as much as I tried to remove it, there were paper bits left on the piece, which I couldn’t remove without leaving a scratch or dent on the spot.


While I have shown you how to seal chalk paint using different methods, each method gives a different result that takes a different length of time to complete. Whatever your choice, don’t forget to tune into the creative side of you and paint with style.