sealing chalk paint: more details

Let’s talk about latex paint for a minute. What is it? Pigments (the color part), binders (the stuff that holds it together), conditioners (keeps brush marks out), along with other ends and odds, and two more things. These two things are?

  • Something to help it stick or adhere to a surface
  • Something that gives it a sheen i.e. gloss, semi-gloss, flat.

Making your own chalk paint out of latex paint is adding something to improve the adhesion at the expense of losing the sheen in the latex paint. So, to get a “sheen” you need to add a top coat/sealer to your chalk paint. It is some more work but you end up with a tough painted surface. It is well worth the extra time and work.

latex- components with shine sheen coming to the top / chalk paint- no sheen / chalk paint- wax or poly on top in blue

A closer look at the difference between regular latex, chalk paint and chalk paint with wax or poly.


I use two sealers more than any others

  1. SC Johnson paste wax
  2. Minwax oil base Wipe-on Poly

The additives to make your own chalk paint out of any latex paint are rough irregular shapes. When the paint is dry this leave a microscopic rough surface. This surface will absorb beautifully. So you want it to absorb your choice of wax or oil, not dirty finger prints, spaghetti sauce, colored candle wax, etc. There are lots of waxes and oils you can use to seal your paint with, but I like the two above. You can buy them at Walmart, Home Depot or other hardware stores.




Minwax has a paste wax along with polys. I prefer SC Johnson paste wax because it has less odor less than Minwax’s polys or their paste waxes. SC Johnson wax is not in the paint section like the Minwax products but in the cleaning product section. It also was cheaper. The paste wax is versatile. You can tint it by just adding a small amount of craft paint and voilà colored wax. If over a few year your wax is looking dull just add another coat.

tint/color your own wax

2 tablespoons of wax

1 teaspoon of craft paint

in a disposable bowl

Mix very fast with a fork.


waxing and buffing

After you’ve sanded and/or distressed your project, wipe with a rag or a microfiber towel.

I always apply a clear wax first to the entire project, using a chip brush or a wax brush(from hobby lobby.) If you don’t use clear wax first and use color wax first, you can’t lift or rub off the color wax if it’s too strong or dark. Only get a wax brush ($$) if you’re going to be using it all the time. I used a chip brush for years and years. Plus if you can’t find your chip brush or want to toss it it’s ok. It was a cheap chip brush. {say that 6 times, cheap chip brush, cheap…}  😉

You’ll want to buff out the wax after 15-30 min. I use paint rags, not terry or t-shirt rags but paint rags that look like un-colored shop rags. (I also use them in the kitchen) These rags have texture so they scrub or polish things well. And of course they are cheap, so when they’re yucky, there is no guilt in tossing them. I do wash the ones I use for waxing  in a washing machine and then use them in my craft and painting supplies.

colored waxing

After you’ve done your first coat of clear wax, you can add a tinted or color wax.  You can play around with several layers of colors or the traditional white, brown or black. White, brown or black give an aged look when left in the cracks and crevices. Dark colors will darken and tone down the chalk paint. The more coats of wax you apply then buff the glossier it will get.




Why use wipe-on poly instead of wax? I feel better using it in moist environments like bathrooms and kitchens. It has worked great in my bathroom. Even on the wood trim around the mirror where I wipe off the condensation all the time. I clean my cabinets with gentle cleaners and have no problems. When using poly there is no buffing, but you have to use more coats.

It’s hard to get a high gloss using wipe-on poly. If you use a brush-on poly (a thicker coat) you could probably get a beautiful gloss. I have trouble with brush on polys. You need real good brushes ($$$$) and clean them (yuck) or toss them ($$$$), sanding in between coats ($), more drying time, etc. For me I’m not that crazy for the look vs time and money. (Plus something like a bug always lands in the final coat.)

Definitely wipe down your paint after you’ve sanded and distressed with a rag or a microfiber towel. Then use your poly. You can use a chip brush to get in cracks then wipe with a blue shop towel. I use a blue towels for the main area. For flat level areas you can pour a small amount out and move it around with the towel. You want to have it wet and uniform. It is very forgiving, no bumps or marks with thin coats.  Disposable blue shop paper towels can be found in the automotive departments. I always try to use disposable gloves. But sometimes I flake, so I use peanut butter to clean up my hands.

Poly usually dries in 2 hours, sometimes much less on chalk paint. Most of the time I do 2 to 3 coats.  You can wax after poly, YOU CAN’T POLY OVER WAX!  So if you want a glossy wax surface go for it even if you’ve use poly first.

yellowing of white paint

Oil based polys and paste wax will yellow WHITE PAINT. You only see it on very bright white. Use a water based poly. It reduces yellowing. I have also done a light coat of latex paint (with no chalk additive) as a  sealer. It does chip a little easier. But this can be the answer for clean bright color with out fancy sealers. You can buy fancy clear wax on-line that won’t yellow. ($$)

helpful things



  • screw driver to open cans
  • disposable gloves
  • disposable shop towels
  • chip brushes
  • shop rags
  • news paper or cardboard for  laying dirty brush and products on
  • trash bags for disposable items

oily rags need to be kept in a metal can…. really they can catch fire, it happen to a friend of ours. READ warnings and directions on the cans!

Painted with DIY chalk paint = drywall mud and white latex


Someone has chipped or damaged the finish… what now?

Hand sand the area repaint and reseal. No problem.

want to know more about chalk paint read the chalk paint craze

are you confused about chalk paint? read chalk painting: “how to” details 

share these tips on your favorite social media and help your friends

coming up: staining tips and a product review

warm your soul and do something nutty today!



6 thoughts on “sealing chalk paint: more details

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