Can You Use A Roller With Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is often applied with a paintbrush, after all, most people use it to achieve that rustic, slightly shabby vintage look, which doesn’t require a perfect finish.

However, a lot of people wonder whether they can use a roller to apply chalk paint.

The answer is yes, you can.

The benefit of using a roller to apply chalk paint is that you can achieve a smoother, more mattified finish, and eliminate those brush strokes.

Here’s how to apply chalk paint with a roller:

  1. One of the benefits of chalk paint is that you rarely need to undertake much prep before painting, however, you should still ensure that the surface you’re painting is clean, and if necessary, sand it with medium-grit sandpaper to ensure you’ll be painting on a smooth, even surface.
  2. Once your prep is out the way, grab your paint, paint tray, a velour roller with a low or short nap, a flat brush, a clean rag, and a 220 grit sanding sponge.
  3. Pour a small amount of paint into your tray and begin using the flat brush to apply the paint, focusing on those hard-to-reach areas that the roller may not reach. Annie Sloan’s flat brush has been specially designed to lay the paint down in a thin, smooth layer.
  4. Once you’ve tackled the tricky areas with a brush, you can then start rolling. For chalk paint, a velour roller with a short/low nap is ideal as it leaves very little texture. Ensure you offload your paint so that you don’t apply too much, then roll a thin coat of paint onto your piece.
  5. You can rollover any brushstrokes that were created with the flat brush to change the texture.
  6. Now allow the paint to dry completely, which will take around 30-45 minutes. Once dry, you can lightly sand the surface using a fine-grit or 220 grit sandpaper or a sanding block to remove any blemishes and achieve a soft, smooth finish. Wipe away any dust and residue with a clean rag.
  7. After sanding, it’s time for your second coat, which can be applied in the same fashion as the first. Focus on areas that may still be a little transparent.
  8. Once dry, you can sand the piece again very lightly with the fine-grit sandpaper. If you plan on “distressing” the piece, you won’t need to focus too much on sanding at this point.

Is it better to brush or roll chalk paint?

There’s nothing stopping you from using a roller to apply chalk paint. A roller achieves a smoother application and a soft, matte finish.

Pros of using a roller

  • Achieve a super smooth finish
  • It’s more efficient
  • No brush strokes

Cons of using a roller

  • Rollers naturally use more paint

Using a brush

Using a paintbrush – specifically, a flat one that’s designed for chalk paint – will allow a more precise application which is better for smaller pieces, and will also allow you to retain the rustic characteristics of chalk paint. Some people love their chalk paint to look slightly messy and roughly applied, while others prefer a smoother and more modern look.

Pros of using a brush

  • More precise application
  • Less paint wastage
  • Recommended for chalk paint

Cons of using a brush

  • Brushstrokes may show up

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Other ways to get a smooth finish with chalk paint

Using a roller is one way to get a smooth finish with chalk paint, but it’s not the only way.

  • You can sand the surface of your piece of furniture with medium-grit paper to smooth out any prominent textures before you paint.
  • Some DIYers also recommend adding a little water to your tin of Chalk Paint, as this will make it thinner and easier to apply. You can experiment with different ratios, but this isn’t an essential step.
  • When applying your paint, use a flat brush and work in the same direction as the grain.
  • Once your paint has dried, you can sand it again using fine sandpaper – 600-grit or higher.
  • You can seal your paint using a specially designed chalk paint wax with a lint-free cloth or brush, ensuring that you work the wax into the paint in a circular motion, removing any excess as you go.
  • Another optional step for a super smooth finish is to leave the wax to harden overnight before buffing it with a clean cloth the next day for a polished finish.

Final Say

Chalk paint is all about experimenting and having fun as you give old pieces of furniture a new lease of life.

Whether you choose to use a paintbrush, roller, or a combination of both, there are plenty of different ways to achieve a super smooth finish. Try out different methods and see what works best for you.

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