Chalk Paint Mirror

May 24, 2011

Yep.  I gone and done it.  Two weeks ago, I clicked the ‘Buy It Now’ button and ordered some of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint.   I had read such rave reviews, I just couldn’t take it anymore, I had to try it for myself.  So I did. 

Two days ago, my shipment arrived.

chalk paint


If the French distressed look is what you’re going for . .  this paint will do the trick.

This is ‘Paris Grey’.  It’s quite lovely. 

foyer mirror corner


I mentioned awhile back I had a thrift store mirror sitting in my garage.  I loved its shape, especially the arched cathedral top.  Since I planned to have it sit in the foyer, I didn’t want it to be dark wood because the dresser below is already a dark stain.  I saw the mirror above it in a complementary distressed paint treatment. 

Like this:

distressed corners

I paid $16 for this mirror, so it was the perfect candidate for the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint experiment. 

My review, thus far:

What I love:  This paint is very easy to use, it’s water based, has no odor, and has a nice consistency for flat paint.  I was able to cover my mirror’s frame in just one coat.  This paint goes on very quickly, I painted this mirror in ten minutes, which is a heck of a lot quicker than my traditional method (primer + latex paint).  The chalk paint cleans up with water and a little goes a long way.  According to the company, there is no primer required and the paint will stick to varnished furniture or melamine surfaces. 

There is little open time since this paint dries very fast.  I noticed that with a brush, there were visible strokes when wet due to the quick drying time, but when the paint dried they virtually disappeared.  The paint dries very quickly (in about 20 minutes), and has a chalky finish.  Once it’s dry, you can easily distress with a sanding wedge, the paint comes off in tiny dust particles.  

easy distressing


What concerns me:  This paint is very expensive: one quart cost me $39 from my closest California retailer House of Anne.  ($51 total with shipping, ouch.)  That is one pricey quart of paint.  Not gallon.  Quart.  Also, what is it about this paint that allows one to skip the primer step?  What is the special additive?  I couldn’t find the answer on the Annie Sloan website or anywhere on the internet, so I wrote to them. 

I’m always concerned about durability, you can read Annie’s answers to my inquiries in our Q&A.  I’m still curious about the formula, and want to know what exactly distinguishes this paint from all the other water based paints which allows one to skip the primer step.  Annie is keeping her ingredients a secret.

Also, this paint is available in only 24 colors, which you can mix to create your own colors, but at $30+ a quart, that adds up quick. 

chalk paint colors


To finish off my mirror, I gave it one coat of clear paste wax (Johnson’s) which slightly deepened the color.  I did not purchase the waxes from House of Anne, they are an additional $25 for each wax (clear or dark).  However, the chalk paint + Johnson’s paste wax combo looks really great up on the wood mirror, and I can say I will certainly use this paint again (after all, I have most of my quart left!)  There’s a dresser revamp I have in mind, and this ‘Paris Gray’ will be perfect for it.  I do want to see how it performs over a long flat surface that gets a lot of wear and tear. 

My first impression is a good one thus far.  This ‘Paris Grey’ chalk paint looks aged when dry and distresses exceptionally well.

paris gray chalk paint


Bottom line:  If you can stomach the cost of one quart, then I encourage you to try if for yourself.  I can’t vouch for its durability over time, but I’m loving the result so far.  If you love a flat finish and a European distressed patina, then this paint will give you the look you’re going for.  

I can’t deny my $16 thrift store mirror looks fabulous in our entry.

paris grey chalk paint top of mirror


cg foyer mirror


What say you?  Have you tried Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint?

What do you think of this brand ? 




142 Responses to “Chalk Paint Mirror”

  1. Marianne says:

    The mirror came out great…I’ve been using Annie Sloan’s Chalk paint for a couple of months now and love it. It is pricey but when you consider that you are painting something you picked up at a thrift shop or yard sale it is still cheap compared to buying new. It’s very easy to work with, forgiving, and cleans up so easy and is eco-friendly. A quart also goes a long way…and the colors are just so vibrant. You can also buy the small samples of paint which are a lot cheaper. You can paint an entire dresser + with the size of a sample.
    Happy Painting,
    Marianne :)

  2. Kacey says:

    Lovely mirror, Kate! Love the Paris Grey. Awesome, well-thought out review.

    After trying some of our own projects at home, we’re starting to use this paint in our furniture refinishing business. The benefits (low-VOC, easy to work with, fast drying, no need to prime, lovely finish, easy to distress) seem to outweigh the cost for us. I’m very hopeful, because I’d love to be able to use a product that’s effective AND safer for the environment!


  3. Your mirror is simply beautiful, Kate! Very well done!

    I talked with a stockist about this paint a few months ago and thought it was a great solution for putting together that look. Obviously, you have to have the right type of decor for this to work in, but I think it’s great for that distressed French style.

    Other than the cost (by the time you buy the paint AND wax – ouch!), I was struck by the “feel” of the stockist’s samples. Perhaps they weren’t properly sealed although they were waxed, but they felt “chalky” to me. When I touched them, I wanted to wipe my hands on my jeans. It wasn’t the smooth finish I’m used to getting on my painted furniture pieces. Does that make sense? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that with yours properly sealed.

  4. MotherGoose says:

    Wouldn’t milk paint work the same way, or does that give a different look? I’ve added water to regular old latex paint to use as a “wash” (on walls) and on furniture (dresser) for a distressed look, and after 10+ years the dresser still looks great.

  5. I just got done doing a bench with the same paint .. I ordered 4 quarts in differnt colors, my stockists price was a bit lower and so was my shipping. I did this bench with it

    I suspect that the secret to this paint is lime ( the mineral) and it’s magic in adhesion is similar to that of milk paint. There is no gloss when this paint dries and you can increase the open (workable) time of this paint by adding water. I personally like the smooth cool finish and then waxing it makes it glow. I also bought the colored wax and had some clear on hand.

    I find after doing 3 projects with it that the paint is near endless in the can.. loves and fishes paint! so while it’s only a quart I am getting tons of coverage and uses from one can so I think the $$ evens out with the exception of that shipping issue (pooh!)

    Next week I am using a new order of the paint in the green for the kitchen in my studio… a bit nervous but totally excited to try it on SUCH a big project.

    Can’t wait to see if you do more with it!


  6. Bobbi says:

    Love the frame Kate, beautiful finish! I have just recently used the Annie Sloan paint. And yes, it was very very expensive, and I am a very thrifty crafter. I finished a very large cabinet, I wanted it to look like an old Armoire. I loved the look of it. I bought a quart of the paint, and both clear and dark wax. I gave the cabinet two coats of paint, and on the doors 3 coats. I still have at least 1/2 of the quart left. I used the clear wax, then the dark wax, and then followed up with the clear wax again. I ran out of clear wax, and had to finish up with a clear paste wax from Lowe’s. I will probably go that way again, as the cost of wax at Lowe’s was 1/3 the price of the Annie Sloan. I found that using a brush for the paint left brush marks, I think I needed to thin the paint more than I did. Anyway, I love the project, I will use it again, but will finish up this quart first. You can see my project here.

  7. Kelly says:

    Wax question: So did you just wipe on the wax? Did you buff or sand afterward or just wipe it on good and leave it?

  8. Debbie says:

    In my opinion, when you consider the price of striping, priming, and the time it takes to finish a piece of furniture, the cost isn’t that bad. The paint goes a long way and leaves a beautiful finish. I’m sold on chalk paint. I have to stop myself from painting everything!

  9. kristin says:

    Thanks for the great review! I still have not made that purchase because of the ouch price tag. Might wait a few months to see how it is withstanding on everyday items that have been painted by others. Not having to sand and prime sounds like a dream!
    Have a great weekend!

  10. Vicki V says:

    Well, I had sent Marion at MMS this email about chalk paint and its origins because I was curious as to why it was so costly and did a little research. Maybe it will be of interest to you, too:

    “I’m no artist but I couldn’t help thinking that the paint you were describing sounded a lot like gesso. Here is a link that seems to confirm that I am at least partially correct.

    I have often admired furniture pieces at antique markets that have a very matte finish and thought how they resemble gesso. One thing I thought you might appreciate in the above link is the recipe for chalk paint because the version you posted is uber-expensive. But then again, I’m not sure how readily available and/or expensive “rabbit-skin glue” is!”

  11. Annalea says:

    I’ve seen a couple of blog posts saying that chalk paint is just latex paint with non-sanded grout added. (You know, like the DIY chalkboard paint recipes.) I think there’s more grout in it than for the chalkboard paint, but I haven’t tried it myself yet. You can bet I’m going to soon, when I paint a bookcase I just got for free. Maybe the paint is one of those paint & primer in one deals, since it sticks so well.

    Anyway, just some food for thought . . .

  12. Mary S says:


  13. Mary S says:

    Beautiful! I love it!

  14. Teri says:

    I’m wondering how painting with this compared to the tinted chalkboard paint you wrote about in March? Chalkboard paint is very durable and will stick to just about anything, is cheaper and you can get the exact color you want….but I’m curious if it performs as well as AS paints do. I’ve often heard of people using it for furniture and whether it’s called chalk paint or chalkboard paint I’m thinking it’s the same thing.

    I purchased a quart of Old White and was very pleased with the coverage. I also purchased a quart of Louis Blue (at the suggestion of the stockist because she was out of Duck Egg Blue). I didn’t care for the Louis Blue and doubt I’ll use it so I did feel that was a waste of quite a lot of money. Every time I look at the can I see wasted dollar signs :( For my taste its just too little boy blue. Live and learn. I have 2 dressers and a chair to finish so I’ll be ordering more of the Old White and hopefully this time the Duck Egg will be in stock. It’s just too easy to not use it. No smell, no prep (other than cleaning) and I can even paint it in the room it’s in, so no hauling outside to spray.

  15. kim says:

    Try the milk paint girls!! I have used it for years with GREAT results. It is usually available at your local hardware stores for 14.95 a quart. It has that same chalky feeling and I have never had to sand or prime my furniture. I will be trying the Annie Sloan paint because her colors are fabulous and her paint can is super cute.

  16. I am the northern CA stockist for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I would be happy to answer any questions anybody has about this wonderful product. To answer a couple here – it isn’t latex paint with something added. There is no plastic in the paint. It is very porous and works wonderful with the wax! YOu can even paint right over the wax if you change your mind! It seriously sticks to everything and even though a quart pot is $38.95, it spreads 140 – 150 square feet with no priming or sanding or stripping….not a bad deal. Teri – so sorry you did not like the Louis Blue. You can change up that tint a bit if you use a bit of the dark wax. It will tone it down. I would be willing to give you a pot of Duck Egg Blue at a discount so you could paint over it. Contact me! FYI – we have workshops, parties and I will soon have a mini stockist up near Sonoma so it can be purchased more locally! Follow my blog and keep up with the Chalk Paint family additions! And Centsational Girl – I am your nearest stockist!!

  17. First, the mirror is fabulous! I plan on doing my own initricate mirror in the next week or two (stay tuned). Second, I just had to say that Vicki Shoemaker’s offer was bar none – the exemplary in customer service (I’d love to deal with her if I lived on the west coast), how nice of her to offer her expertise and a discount on a future purchase.

  18. deanna says:

    hi kate, thanks for the review on the chalk paint. your mirror turned out fab! there are pros and cons to this product, just like any other paint-nothing is perfect. here’s what i liked, goes on smooth sands easily, if i did get brush strokes on my piece i just sanded them right out! what i didn’t like, i painted a dining room table and waxed it with johnson’s paste wax, when we ate at that table later after i had painted it (probably a week later!) it was left w/ greasy stains from the shredded cheese we had w/ dinner. i had to repaint the whole table top w/ latex to get rid of the grease stains. i tried sanding it and repainting it w/ chalk paint first, but that didn’t work. i also tried it on an end table in my liv. rm. and i am very pleased w/ how it is holding up. but, i was very disappointed about the dining table, the product says it can be used on kitchen cabs, so i would think it would be fine for a dining tabl. also, i had a desk w/ that fake paper wood w/ a glossy finish and after painting it w/ chalk paint i could just run my fingernail over it and scrape it right off! so then i tried sanding the desk and repainting w/ the chalk paint, still it scraped right off w/ my nail! and yes, that was AFTER waxing! that being said, there are many things to love about this paint. i did use it on a dresser for a client and it turned out beautiful! hopefully she won’t eat cheese off of it! ;) anyway, just wanted to know if anyone else has had any of these problems or has any tips for me! thanks!

  19. Katie says:

    Hey Kate–just a quick question. The ‘Paris Grey’ looks more white than grey, and certainly more white than the sample on Annie Sloan’s website. Is that the case? I am looking for the soft white color as shown in your blog post….just wanting to make sure that the ‘Paris Grey’ isn’t too dark for me.

    Thanks much!

  20. I’ve been looking into the Annie Sloan paint lately, and I have a question I have been unable to find an answer for. The paint is touted as low-VOC which I love, but I cannot find the VOC level in the Annie Sloan paste wax. When I looked at the wax containers at the box stores, they ran very high on the VOC level, so I am assuming that her wax is similar.

    It says on her website that the wax is very low odor, but that does not necessarily equate into low VOCs. It is a little telling to me also, that the VOC level is not mentioned on the website description either (it is on the paint description). But perhaps I am mistaken–which I hope I am–because I would love to try this out.

    If anyone has a can, is the VOC content listed on it? [email protected]
    Thanks so much for your help with this!

  21. Samantha says:

    I was given a solid oak table yesterday. The chairs are hideous and the table is dated, but I wanted it specifically because it’s begging for AS Chalk Paint. Now I am scared to take the plunge! One of my favorite boutiques carries it, but don’t know much about it at all.

  22. Ellen says:

    I have the same concerns with the Chalk Paint…price!!! You might want to try Briwax for the wax after painting. You can get it in colors & is wonderful I use it on any antiques I buy. It’s a lot cheaper than the wax A S carries. You can check online for prices & closest shipping. If near a Restoration Hardware , they used to carry it & I’ve found it in a few antique malls. I primarily use the daark brown

  23. Sue says:

    Hi there! I’ve been using the ASCP for about a month, and I’m pretty happy with it. If you have a really shiny piece, though, you’ll want to sand it to get rid of the shine.
    I have had some problems with the wax, but didactic sample board comparing minwax paste and varathane water based floor paint. I really don’t see a difference. I think I’ll continue with the varathane as it offers more protection. You can get it in a satin finish, so it will look very similar to the buffed wax. A gallon of this stuff is about $35, but will last a long time- AND it won’t yellow over time.

  24. debbie danny says:

    The mirror turned out beautiful. Would you say that the paris white has a hint of blue in it?

  25. Donna says:

    Your mirror looks great but I have to agree with you the cost is very high. I ve been using this paint for over six months, and have tried a few colors, I can purchase throug Spokane Artworks and have it shipped to Canada where I live. If I buy it in Canada the cost is 49.95 a quart plus shipping which runs me close to 80.00 when I am done. I do sell my work and find more and more customers are asking for that paint so I can recoup my costs. I do feel that if does get very pricy for everyone. The time and ease in which you can work with this paint is great but for the long term wear and tear waxing it is a must or it will show water marks and spills.

  26. In response to the comment above about the chalk paint scraping off with your fingernail, even after waxing…did you let it cure for a few days before trying to scrape it? I’ve chalk painted metal a few times, and, when I do, after waxing and buffing, I just let it sit for a week. No problems. Hope that helps.

  27. Calcium Carbonate is the “base” of ASCP. I have mixed it with regular latex paint to create my own chalk paint. Works like a charm! The nice thing about mixing it with regular latex paint is that you aren’t limited to color. Let me know if you would like more info!!!

  28. Cheryl Greenwald says:

    I use the Ben Moore paint with the primer right in it – and with excellent results. Tons of colors and a lot cheaper, but it is not chalk paint… Guess it depends on what you want to do.
    I love the mirror!

  29. Debbie says:

    I have been using Annie Sloan paint for some time and absolutley love it!!! I have used the Old White for the Shabby Chic look and Paris Grey with the Old White as accents to create that “Paris Look” or a French Provincial twist. I look for maple furniture from the ’60’s that is readily available on craigslist in my area. I then paing and resell the pieces. This paint is a dream to work with!!! I recommend 2 coats, you can add water when doing the second coat to stretch it out. I use a terry cloth covered sponge for the wax application. I mix the wax with Mineral spirits in a bowl (1:1) and then wipe on, works GREAT. I haven’t tried other waxes but have heard they don’t work as well. I even used this paint and wax to redo my ugly oak kitchen cabinets with first the clear wax then a bit of the dark wax for that ‘antiqued’ look. I have a whole new kitchen without sanding or a big mess.
    I have also had great success with Behr Premium paint that has the primer built in. Not as expensive as Annie Sloan and works well when you don’t want a ‘distressed’ look.

  30. Cynthia says:

    I have used this paint on several projects and love it. The first thing I used it on was a heavily carved Broyhill end table stained in a dark mahoghany. I painted it Duck Egg Blue and Old White. I painted the intricate trim with an artist’s brush for more precision. I used clear wax and the dark wax. It looks absolutely gorgeous. I then did a similar treatment for a vanity with matching bench, I just lightened up the Duck Egg Blue with some white. It also looks great. I did an ornate metal lamp that I paid $2.48 in Old White and the clear and dark wax. Again, it looks fabulous. I had a coffee table that I got at a thrift store for $6.48, it is not heavily carved, I did it in Old White and did the wax treatments over it. I like the legs but the top doesn’t look quite right, I used the dark wax full strength over the clear, whereas before, I had mixed the clear and dark for the second coat. I am going to paint over the top of it with French Linen, and then do the wax treatment, I bet that will look better. And for $6.48, so what if it doesn’t? At this rate, I may end up painting everything in my house in chalk paint!

  31. ShabbyDee says:

    I love AS Chalk Paint. It goes on oh so smooth and sands like a breeze. I HATE the wax. Maybe I’m just not used to using a paste wax. It seems like a real workout putting it on rubbing it off buffing it out…phew. Today I mixed Howard’s Feed and Wax with a bit of AS dark wax. It was sooo much easier to put on. I’ll see how it buffs out in the morning. Has anyone used other waxes that are less expensive and softer but not as soft as Howard’s?

  32. Barbara says:

    Great maiden voyage, in the land of chalk paint. The paint does feel “chalky”, hence the name. That’s why you really need to wax after sanding lightly, the dry finish. As another said, $35 for a can that will refinish several pieces of inexpensive furniture and bring them up to date, is a small price to pay…especially when very little prep work is needed! Pricing does vary, between $35-40. Check to see if you have a local source and can save on shipping.
    It’s even fun!
    Cheers, Barbara, a budding furniture refinisher at The Treasured Home

  33. Martha says:

    Try using Ce Ce Caldwell paint next time. If you live on the East Coast near South Carolina you can
    get it for under $30 per quart. West Coast $37 a quart. It is made of chalk and clay base and has
    beautiful colors.

  34. Melissa says:

    I may be a little late adding my $.02 on this thread, but here goes…I LOVE the ASCP, but it is pricey and colors are slightly limited…You can mix Plaster of Paris (4 lbs for $6 at Craft & Home Improvement Stores) with any color $3 paint sample and a little bit of warm water and it comes out fantastic and VERY NEAR the ASCP. You MUST MUST mix the Plaster of Paris with water BEFORE adding it to paint to get out the grit…kind of like whisking flour/water before adding it to gravy…1:3 ratio (plaster:paint) works for me, and add enough water to make your plaster similar to (food reference again) a thin pancake batter texture… It dries, distresses, and goes on great – and chances are very high you already have a zillion paint samples lying around.

    Sidenote: I searched high and low for an ASCP retailer near me, finally found one while travelling out of town and bought oodles…wasn’t until I came home and started using it that I looked for an alternative with more color variety…

    And that’s my two cents…Hope it’s worth somethin to someone.


  35. stacey says:

    I would love to try this paint, but it seems like this paint may be more for “looks” than durability. I want tops of dressers and vanities to be hold up and be resistant to everyday normal wear and tear. As the women posted above…..her dining room table didn’t work out so great. Anyone have testimonials as to durability? Thanks!

  36. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Stacey, I’ve used Chalk Paint a lot on various pieces around my home and for friends, and I think it’s durable, but I’ve never used it on a kitchen table or cabinets so I can’t speak to its durability on those high use surfaces, others might be a better resource for that. Wish I could offer better advice!

  37. Sandie says:

    I am going to mix the plaster of Paris with paint to try and get the same effect. Do I need to sand or prime the furniture if it has a varnish on it? Can it be used on that fake wood furniture? Do you use flat paint when mixing? Should I use a matte shellac over it or just rub with Johnson paste wax? Sorry for so many questions but I want to get it right. Thanks for your help. Sandie

  38. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Sandie, I haven’t tested the Plaster of Paris recipe for Chalk Paint, so until I do I still recommend primer – a good adhesion primer will work on previoulsy painted surfaces. The protective finish will determine your sheen, so you’re free to use flat, but I do love a paste wax finish and Johnson’s works nicely.

  39. Bjorn says:

    I love Annie Sloan’s chalk paint! I actually made a pretty functional chalkboard right on my wall in my dorm last semester. I’m definitely going to do another chalkboard next semester (though this time on a thin sheet of birch plywood or some laminate so I can use it multiple time and for a smoother finish).

    Kate, I love what you did with the mirror. Good move using Johnson’s wax in place of the Annie Sloan one.

  40. Jackie says:

    Dear Kate,
    I had to go back to this article and re-read it. My beautiful soon to be 9 y.o. wants her bedroom redone and I have a great desk I bought for her, classic lines, real wood that I want to paint over but like you said, Annie Sloan is just way too pricey for me. But thank you for the review on it. Someday.


  41. Angie Newsom says:

    First, I LOVE THE MIRROR!!!! You did a awesome job. I have never used ASCP, I usually make my own. Much cheaper that way, and it goes on beautifully and distresses great.

    Happy Chalk Painting,

  42. Michelle b says:

    I am a huge fan of Annie Sloan chalk paint. I have done several older pieces in my home, as practice for a larger project….my kitchen cabinets. Although the paint is expensive, I was able to do my entire kitchen with ONE quart of paint, and TWO quarts of clear wax (and I still have some left over). For $115 approximately, my kitchen looks amazing!

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