Chalk paint is an amazing medium to work with: upcycle your cabinets, paint your wall, do some art works – versatile and fun. Unlike traditional paint, chalk paint doesn’t often need a prep, but what it does need is the right brush for the job!
The best chalk paint brushes are ones that are designed for chalk paints or painting walls and furniture – flat, round, and oval brushes. These types of brushes have long bristles, which are stiff enough to apply the paint but soft enough to allow the chalk to show through evenly. Both natural and synthetic hair chalk paint brushes will work.
In this blog post, I’ll go over why chalk paint is different and how to choose the best chalk paint brushes for your project.
Table of content:
- What is chalk paint?
- How to choose chalk paint brushes
- Best chalk paint brushes (➡ Jump to this section to discover the best brush)
- How to avoid brush marks with chalk paint
- How to clean chalk paint brushes
- How to condition chalk paint brushes
- How to store chalk paint brushes
What is chalk paint?
Chalk paint is a water-based decorative paint similar to chalkboard chalk. It is made of chalk, pigment, water, and sometimes other additives. Chalk paint dries to a nice matte finish and has a very natural and unique chalky chic texture.
Chalk paint is versatile, it will work on canvas or even glass, fabric wood, metal, laminate, concrete, and it fits both interior and exterior projects.
Need to say, that the first chalk paint was created in 1990 (so recent, right?!) and still is produced by Annie Sloan.
Today, there are more chalk paint brands, but Annie Sloan’s paints and chalk paint brushes stay legendary and she remains a revolutionary creator.
Chalk paint is perfect for some furniture and decorative projects!
Let me sum up briefly all pros and cons (there are actually no real ones) for you:
Chalk paint PROS
- no dripping,
- unique natural texture,
- no sanding or priming needed, usually very little preparation,
- easy and quick to use: paint, wax and that’s it!
- saves you money on furniture upcycling: 1 L of chalk paint can cover up to 13 m2.
Chalk paint CONS
- some brands or DIY chalk paint can be not as smooth as acrylic and other paint – may stay bulky, but it is the nice touch for me.
- you can forget to shake it before use (but it’s unlikely)
- not weatherproof, fade in the sun and age without sealing (which all paints do)
Chalk paint can be applied with a special chalk paintbrush or a roller, many people prefer using brushes because they give more control when applying chalk paint.
CHALK PAINT BRUSHES
Choosing chalk paint is simple enough, but choosing the right chalk paint brushes for chalk paint is not as easy and there’s a lot of brands out there that claim to be the best chalk paintbrushes.
Chalk paint brushes are usually quite big and round, with pliable long bristles. They have an amazing load capacity – they can hold a lot of paint!
Can you use a regular brush with chalk paint?
Depends on what you call a regular brush…If you mean to use a regular brush that you use to paint acrylics, then the answer will be probably no. It’s best to use chalk paint brush bristles because they are stiffer and better suited to the task of using chalk paint, especially if you’re painting walls or furniture…
However, I think you can use large flat brushes with chalk paint too. Just make sure the bristles aren’t too stiff, as it will mean brush strokes, and the capacity and quality of the brush are great – the chalk paint brushes should have a big load capacity and stay durable yet pliable.
For chalk paint brushes, you want something with bristles that fall into a round or flat shape because it provides more control to paint and blend your chalk paints together seamlessly.
What is difference between a chalk paint brush and wax brush?
Chalk paint brushes are made for chalk paint and wax brushes are made for applying wax on a finished chalk painted area. Most chalk paint brushes are universal and can be used both for paint and for wax. However, I recommend using separate brushes to paint and wax (protect) your finished painting.
Also, if chalk paint brushes are mostly round, wax brushes are tapered tips that better penetrate in-between areas and corners. Sometimes chalk paintbrushes and wax brushes can also have different handles to make it easier to paint or apply wax.
Are foam brushes good for chalk paint?
Foam brushes have amazing load capacity and can hold a lot of paint while giving a nice even and smooth finish. So yes, you can absolutely use a foam brush or even a sprayer with chalk paint to get a strokes-free finish for your painting.
I would only suggest being careful with how much paint a foam brush can really hold – if it is your first time you can be surprised and easily overload it and apply a thicker layer (which is not great). Test it before using it on canvas or furniture and then apply 2 to 3 thin even layers on your project.
How to pick the right chalk paint brush?
If you’re ready to buy an affordable option to repaint your kitchen cabinets or create a large artwork, here are some factors to consider choosing chalk paint brushes:
1) Brush Shape
Several brushes can help you achieve any look and work well for almost every piece of furniture, or painting surface, or wall you would like to paint using chalk paint. These basic types include tapered, angled, flat, and round (chisel tip) bristles; each type having its own purpose and being suitable for different projects.
The most universal and overall best chalk paintbrush shape is round.
- Round chalk paint brushes are universal. Ideal for painting smaller detailed pieces like doors and cabinet hardware, or artworks, which you want to have a smooth finish without streaking. If you only will buy one brush for chalk paint, buy a round one. Oval brushes may also work.
- Tapered Bristle Chalk Paint Brushes have tapered tips which allow them to put on a lot of chalk coat in corners or between pieces of molding without making a mess around the edges. Same goes for waxing the painted piece.
- Flat chalk paint brush is perfect for covering large areas like walls, quickly and without strokes.
Chalk paint brushes can be made of different types of hair: synthetic and natural. The best chalk paint brushes will have bristles that do not flake off once they dry and should maintain their shape if stored correctly after washing (and drying).
The natural chalk paintbrush has excellent capacity and snap, but isn’t a good option for those who prefer vegan chalk painting, or have a tight budget; If you’re looking for natural hair – the most popular ones are boar hair bristles.
Synthetic chalk paintbrushes are created to give you all the benefits without harming animals – smooth application, good coverage, and solid shape. They are also great for larger projects like walls or furniture pieces.
The main issue with all chalk paint brushes will be shedding, no matter how much this brush costs, how many reviews it has, you will always find 1-3% of cases when it started falling apart after a few uses. It can happen to any chalk brush, unfortunately. Especially, if you’ll soak it for too long or maintain it somehow not properly.
Our budget is one of the most important factors. As much as we’d like to buy the top-selling brushes, sometimes we just can’t spend so much money on a project. Some chalk paint brushes can cost up to $35 like legendary Annie Sloan’s brushes, some are way more affordable and easier to buy.
A cheap brush for chalk paint from Amazon may seem very tempting, but believe me, it won’t last long and hold the bristles and the shape as you wish. Of course, there are some decent brushes online and I will definitely share them below.
Note, that a brush is a queen of the painting process, you have to get the right one if you want a smooth application.
🖌BEST BRUSHES FOR CHALK PAINT
Let me introduce you to my Top Picks for the best brushes for chalk paint upfront:
- Best chalk brushes are Modern Art Chalk paint brushes
- Cheapest chalk brushes Modern Art Chalk paint brushes (natural hair) and Bates Paint Brushes (synthetic)
- Best chalk paint brushes for furniture Annie Sloan chalk paint brushes.
- Best alternative to Annie Sloan chalk brushes Modern Art Chalk paint brushes, Infiniti Elementz chalk paint brushes.
I also grouped brushes by the hair – most of the chalk paint brushes on my list have natural bristles. The natural hair has a shedding issue, but it should be a few bristles while you’re preparing your brush. Both synthetic and natural chalk paint brushes need proper cleaning and storage to last longer.
Chalk paint Natural bristle brushes
Annie Sloan’s brushes for chalk paint are one of the leaders on the market, but unfortunately, they are officially only available for purchase offline in 50 countries.
They are available in 3 sizes: small (22cm x 4.5cm), medium (25cm x 5cm) and large (26.5cm x 6.5cm).
You can paint with a vintage feel in no time at all using Annie Sloan’s bristle Chalk Paintbrushes. The bristles are strong and flexible, allowing you to create textures that would be impossible without them! These versatile tools work well both with chalk paint or wax because they hold more than enough liquid for your needs.
They can be used to paint a textured finish that is perfect for creating old-fashioned styles with an artsy flair! These hairs come from pure bristle, meaning they will always have some natural split ends – which makes them even more expressive in your work than if you use another type of brush or roller often found at stores today which has been treated chemically so all its fibers look uniform throughout (not great when trying do crazy effects).
- professional brushes of highest quality
- universal: for furniture and craft projects
- pliable but durable bristles
- great capacity
- 3 sizes available
- classic round shape
- not available directly online or on Amazon
- expensive (one small brush via a reseller can cost around $30) and each brush is sold individually.
Where to buy:
2) Modern Art Chalk paint brushes (Set of 2) – THE BEST OVERALL
The absolute bestseller among all chalk paint brushes on Amazon is this set of 2 chalk and wax paint brushes by Modern Art. Right now the set is extremely affordable – around $12 for both brushes! It’s insanely cheaper than Annie Sloan brushes, yet, durable, popular, and compatible with all chalk paint, including Annie Sloan chalk paint.
The set includes a smaller round brush (1,4′) and a large one (2,5′) – both brushes can be used with chalk paint and wax A versatile set will come very handy!
- high quality soft natural bristles brushes,
- the set comes with 2 brushes,
- handmade brushes with birch handles,
- compatible with Annie Sloan products and other chalk paint brands,
- bestseller on Amazon – 5,000+ reviews.
- I’m not a big fan of this type of handle, I like a chubbier one, but it’s the matter of preferences.
- while not cleaned and maintained properly will start losing bristles.
INFINITI ELEMENTZ produces a wide range of brushes for chalk paint or wax and sells them individually and in sets. A starter chalk paint set of 2 brushes is a bestselling chalk brushes kit. Another great option is a set of 3 chalk brushes and wax brushes. You can always buy a single brush, but the set is way cheaper and a better decision if you need a separate brush for chalk paint and wax.
All brushes in the set come with 100% natural hair to assure excellent capacity and control. The set includes a round brush and a smaller wax brush.
I highly recommend visiting the Infiniti Elementz Amazon store – they have lots of choices and all brushes are rated very high!
“Just as nice as the Annie Sloan branded brushes at a much lower price!”A customer on Amazon wrote
- great natural bristles brushes,
- easy to hold and to clean,
- various sets and all kinds of chalk paint brushes shapes you may need.
- reputable brand, proudly producing brushes in the US.
- affordable, rated as great “value for money”.
- sometimes too much choice is frustrating for me! But it’s not really a negative thing, just my observation about the product line.
- test before using, some are prone to shed bristles.
Extra-large round oval brush both for chalk paint and wax. This brush is made of twice-boiled natural silk bristles. Doubled boiling is used for manufacturing high-quality flexible and strong bristles. This type of chalk paint brushes sits on the premium side, that’s why one Colorantic brush will cost you around $16-$20.
Colorantic makes some other chalk paint brushes for paint and wax, all deliver the same great quality and durability.
- natural silk bristles, double-boiled
- ergonomic design, very good in hand – no tireness!
- versatile product line.
- these brushes can work on many surfaces and with other paint too.
- smooth coating (better for 2nd or 3rd layer).
- more expensive and less popular.
- load capacity may be surprisingly big, so be careful.
- can loose bristles over time.
New Renaissance chalk paint brushes are compatible with all brands of chalk paint and wax. The bestselling brush is a large round chalk brush made of natural bristles. This is another affordable alternative to more expensive chalk paint brushes – one round brush is around $12.
- natural bristles
- easy to use, clean and dry (you can hang it)
- compatible with all chalk paint and wax brands.
- durable and popular choice for painting furniture.
- finishing may ne not as smooth as you expect, more for vintage projects.
- issues with holding shape and losing bristles.
- there is very few information from manufacturer itself, I don’t really like it, I like detailed product descriptions.
Maxman has 2 main sets: small-sized brushes and large-sized brushes. However, I’d call it not super large, it’s only 2.5″. The large brush set includes two 2,5″ brushes: one round and one oval chalk paint brush. Oval brush will be good for sides, narrow spaces, and corners. These brushes are also used with wax, so the set will cover your whole project. Cheap simple brushes with no wow quality.
- natural bristles
- 2 brushes in one set.
- compatible with all chalk paint brands.
- quite cheap set and also you get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- the quality is not bad, but not fantastic.
- can lose bristles during painting and leave them on the surface.
- not for large projects.
US Art Supply brand is producing all art supplies and here are their Multi-Use chalk paintbrushes. A bestseller is an oval chalk brush size 2-1/8″ with natural hair.
It is a good, stable brand. They are not competing with major leaders, but consistently manufacture decent quality, simple and cheaper alternatives.
- natural hair, tightly glued bristles.
- rust resistant ferrule and lightweight design.
- oval shape medium-sized.
- affordable choice.
- refund on case you’re not satisfied.
- oval shape is a pro and a con at once, as it is great for specific purposes but it is less universal, especially for larger projects.
- glue can dry out and the bristles will no longer be held in place.
- small brushes set may be too small for furniture projects.
- some customers don’t like the handle (too small and uncomfortable to hold).
One of the cheapest chalk paint brushes is this Bzczh brush – only around $9 and you’re ready to paint your chairs. Simple 2 in 1, chalk and wax brush with natural hog hair. Size is quite medium – 2 inches. If you need a simple brush that will perform for one project and you don’t have a lot of money to spend – go for this budget option.
The design looks very much like other brands.
- hog hair bristles.
- simple design and flexible brush.
- cheap chalk paint or wax brush.
- easy to clean, comfy to hold.
- 180-days warranty and money back guarantee.
- unpopular brand, we know next to nothing about.
- probably will last for one project only.
Boao sells some amazing sets of chalk & wax brushes for a very nice price! I picked for my review this set, cause it has actually a diversity of shapes for your project: a flat brush, a classic round chalk brush, and a tapered brush. Yet, the set is only $15! It doesn’t come up as some bestsellers, but I understand why – not all of us need 3 brushes.
- good looking versatile set of brushes for all kind of chalk paint. Some people even used it with acrylics.
- Natural boar bristles.
- Leather straps for hanging to dry and store.
- unpopular brand, shedding may be your issue.
- not sure about the flat brush – how comfortable it is to hold? I find it not comfortable.
Many of my colleagues and crafters actually love flat brushes more than round. For those, I got a cheap option – brushes or sets by Pob brush. They have flat chalk paint brushes size from 1″ to 4″ or a set of all sizes.
My pick is a flat brush size 3″ for most furniture and craft projects I’d do. I would easily use it (and I actually have a lot of large flat brushes) for my abstract painting.
- simple design, diverse sizes.
- elastic natural pig bristles.
- made in Europe.
- multipurpose and work with different mediums and surfaces.
- super cheap! $6 for size 3″.
- unpopular brand.
- for me it’s almost the fact – cheap brush will shedd. Mine did.
FolkArt is famous for its amazing acrylic and enamel paint and I have no doubt they could deliver good quality art supplies. They offer a small round chalk brush, a flat chalk brush, and a simple set of chalk paint brushes. All of them are in the same price range – around $14-$16 which is not bad.
They all have natural bristles that will work both with paint and wax.
However, chalk brushes are not the strongest side of the brand, rates on Amazon are quite low, all mentioning the same issues: shedding and not a great value for money ratio.
- trusted brand.
- natural bristles.
- good for smaller areas and crafts.
- reasonable price.
- sizes (1 1/8″) will not work for large projects.
12) Jolie chalk paint brushes
Jolie has a selection of chalk paint brushes on their website. Unfortunately, you can’t buy them on Amazon, but you can order them directly from the official store or find a retailer. By the way, I saw them on Walmart recently, so you can check it out.
The price range is alike Annie Sloan – signature large round chalk brush will cost around $35 + shipping. They also sell wax brushes and flat chalk brushes, as well as other essential art supplies like paint, containers, apron, and even sprayers.
- natural bristles and handcrafted brush
- made in Italy.
- comfortable to hold
- minimal loose bristles
- only available on their online store or through retailers.
Chalk paint Synthetic brushes
Synthetic brushes can be considered vegan chalk paint brushes too. Check that a brush contains no animal bi-products and was not tested on animals. Most brands don’t list this information at all, unfortunately.
Bates Paint Brushes are made of synthetic bristles and come in a set of 4 flat brushes of different sizes: 1,5″, 2″, 2,5″, and 3″. The smallest brush is angled for more convenience. Bristles were trimmed and are quite thick to hold more paint.
The most important thing about this brushes set, and what actually made them one of the bestsellers is the price. You get the whole set for less than $7.
- good synthetic bristles.
- various sizes and angled brush for corners and narrow areas.
- super cheap and rated for great value for money.
- some brushes may have defective ferrule that will fall off.
- shedding will occur over time.
BB Frösch specialty chalk brush has 2 options: you can order it in natural or synthetic bristles and it won’t affect the price. BB Frösch synthetic chalk paint brushes are soft, flexible, but durable. The wider ferrule design is supposed to not let bristles shed.
BB Frosch brushes are available in 3 main sizes: small, medium, and large and there is also a set of all three brushes. These chalk paint brushes look very great and the price will be the same as for other premium brands – around $35 for one brush.
- both natural and synthetic bristles available.
- densely-packed brush head and special wider ferrule.
- comfortable to hold and work with.
- suitable for paint and wax.
- easy to clean.
- quite expensive.
- only available online via official website. They do have it on Amazon too, I found out recently: here is the link.
Dixie Belle Synthetic Brushes have different sizes and come in flat, oval, round, and mini-angled shapes. Customers absolutely love these brushes, however, I have to say, they are not super cheap, the price varies from $20 to $40 per brush.
- work with paint, wax, and finishes.
- synthetic bristles have medium stiffness.
- customer favorite for painting furniture!
- quite expensive.
- only available online via official website.
How to avoid brush marks with chalk paint
Stiffer chalk brushes may leave strokes that are considered to give a vintage look and some crafters are looking to it. But, in general, we want a smooth and even coverage with no brush marks.
To avoid brush marks and strokes with chalk paint:
- Make sure you follow the instructions on the paint: most of them ask you to shake it well. If your paint is too thick, use a little bit of water while painting.
- Sand the surface if it is applicable to make sure it’s smooth and has no bumps or nods itself.
- You can use a roller or sprayer instead of a chalk brush to get a smooth paint application.
- Choose soft and pliable brushes that don’t lose bristles easily and hold the shape. Test a brush before you use it and try to read reviews and see actual photos of craft projects to furniture painted with this brush.
- Use appropriate shape: some areas are smaller and need more attention and a small-sized brush or angled-shaped brush, while larger areas are easy to cover with large round or flat brushes.
- Work with thin layers!
- If you noticed a few strokes or brush marks, sand it gently once the layer is dried and before applying the next paint coat.
So, finally, is it better to brush or roll chalk paint? There is no straightforward answer, yes, the roller will not leave brush marks, but a good brush with the right technique will do the job too.
How to clean brushes after using chalk paint
You should clean chalk paintbrushes after each use. You can clean the chalk paint brushes by soaking them in a cup of water with dish soap or using a special brush soap. Then, you can brush out your chalk paint with an old toothbrush and rinse it off in the sink and wipe it on a towel and allow the brush to dry.
Synthetic brushes are made from a blend of nylon. This is very important because this makes them easy to clean chalk paint off with water and special soap.
Hang to dry with the bristles pointing downwards to avoid rust and glue deterioration. Some brushes can fan out during drying and it is normal. If you don’t like it, just wrap a paper towel around the brush and hang it to dry.
- Colorantic Soap for chalk paint brushes – specifically designed for chalk brushes.
- Master’s Soap and Preserver – overall The best cleaner for any type of brushes to keep them clean and in good condition.
Never use any harsh detergent, solvents, or mineral spirits, it will shorten your brush life significantly and it will shed before or during your next use.
How to clean brushes after using chalk paint
- When you’re done painting, squeeze out of the brush as much excess paint as you can.
- Wash your brush gently with warm water and special soap until the water is clear and not colored anymore.
- Squeeze out the water, gently, using a paper towel. Try not to disturb and split bristles in all directions, use gentle swirling movements.
- Hang the chalk brush downwards to dry.
- To keep the shape, you can wrap it with a paper towel, but it is not mandatory.
How to condition chalk paint brushes
Conditioning helps a brush last longer and stay in shape. Basically, if you condition your chalk paint brushes they will almost look brand new! Conditioning a brush it’s like conditioning your own hair – keeps them healthy and soft.
When you use a special soap for brushes they normally contain a few preservatives too, that’s why it could be a better idea than just a soap.
How to condition chalk paint brushes
Remember that natural bristles can fall off. Before using a chalk brush run the fingers across the bristles. Tap the brush to make sure all shed hairs fall out.
- Gently wash your brush and remove any excess water.
- Place your chalk paint brush in a container with water and paintbrush conditioner (or fabric softener solution like Downy) to cover the bristles.
- Leave for 10 minutes. This can be done way before the bristles start to become worn, which is why it’s important to take care of your brushes!
- Rinse chalk paint brush with clean water until all of the conditioner is gone.
- Shake chalk paint brushes to remove excess water, dry gently with paper towel and hang upside down to dry.
How to store chalk paint brushes
We will want to store our chalk paint brushes out of the sunlight so that they do not fade and so that they do not become brittle.
One way to store them is to place them in a jar or other container that has holes drilled into the lid, then place the chalk paint brushes into the container with the bristles hanging out of the holes. This will allow air to circulate around them and keep your chalk paintbrush in good condition.
Another way is just to hang them – most of the brushes have a hole for a strap or they already come with a strap. It’s easier just to store them hanging.
Chalk brushes are amazing for home decor and large abstract acrylic painting (I use them exactly for this) and will serve you long enough if you won’t pick the cheapest one. The weak part is their bristles, which a poor quality brush may start losing after the first use.
Chalk Paint Brushes FAQ
What kind of paint brush is best for chalk paint?
Flat, round or oval chalk and wax brushes, both natural and synthetic are great for chalk paint. They have firm long bristles that allow even and smooth paint coverage. The best and most popular choice is Modern paintbrushes with natural bristles and nylon brushes as well.
Is it better to roll or brush on chalk paint?
You can use either a roller or a brush on chalk paint, but for large projects rolling on chalk paint will allow you to avoid brush strokes easier than with paint brushes.