Chalk paints have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, from small craft or upcycling projects to improve home decor.
As this beloved chalked paint moves outdoors, however, you might be wondering if the acrylic chalk paint is waterproof and can withstand water, especially when the chalk painted surface is outdoor furniture or large painting surfaces.
Fortunately, it is possible to use high-quality chalk paint waterproof on outdoor projects with the right techniques and supplies during painting process.
Learn how to make acrylic chalk paint suitable for outdoor paint use, ways to increase its water resistant object property, and the answers to common waterproofing chalk paint questions.
While original chalk paint is water resistant object, it’s important to note that they’re not waterproof, they only resist water.
This means it can withstand some contact with water, but will degrade, peel, or develop mold with constant exposure of chalk painted surface.
Nevertheless, you can still use original chalk paint on your outdoor furniture and projects—even fabric outdoor surfaces, like lounge chairs or cushions.
Buy from a paint industry that provide the paint with additives that prohibit mold growth, if possible, and consider finishing painting outdoor furniture with sealant after your acrylic chalk paint or spray chalk paint has dried after painting job.
How To Make Chalk Paint Waterproof (Options For Sealing)
Sealing Chalk Paint with Wax
To seal chalk paint waterproof or make chalk paint waterproof is more difficult than others like latex paint, but does provide a durable chalk paint finish without sacrificing the chalk paint's matte look. While seal chalk paint waterproof, you can increase the distressed look of waterproof chalk paint with a dark wax, if desired.
To apply a paint wax sealant, paint it on with a wax brush and wax coat it evenly. Take care not to apply it too thickly or overlap your brushstrokes, as an excess of paint wax will feel tacky after drying.
Another downside of wax sealant is that it will require buffing for a smooth and brushless finish appearance after it dries. Additionally, it takes 2 to 3 weeks to fully cure before you paint furniture. It’s ideal for pieces that won’t get much contact, so steer clear of it for tables, cabinets, and other everyday metal furniture.
Sealing Chalk Style Paint with an Aerosol Clear Coat
This sealant option is the quickest and easiest: simply spray chalk paint evenly and lightly like latex paints, allow it to dry, apply again, and you're done. Its main drawback is that it's expensive for large projects and won’t provide any additional aging effects.
Sealing Chalk Paint with a Matte Polycrylic
To apply a polycrylic sealant, brush it onto your fully dried chalk paint with a quality bristle brush. You don't have to use a second coat of chalk spray paint, but might want to if durability is a concern.
Polycrylic topcoats of chalk spray paint have the advantages of easy application, an opaque look that turns clear when chalk spray paint dries (making full coverage more straightforward), and a soft finish that complements chalk paint's finish.
On the list of cons, however, you'll notice some brands turn yellow over time, although this mostly refers to oil-based sealants.
Using Aging Glazes
Finally, you can partially seal your piece with an aging glaze for even more effect. To apply, paint the aging glaze onto any areas where you want more depth and detail, then wipe them away with a wet cloth or damp cloth. Vary your amounts and pressure to get a natural-looking finish.
The downside of aging glazes is that they don’t fully seal your piece; you’ll still want to apply a topcoat when the glaze has dried.
Why Use Chalk Paint? (Overview + Suitable Surfaces)
Contrary to popular misconceptions, waterproof chalk paint is not the same as chalkboard paint waterproof. Rather, the “chalk” in its name refers to its ultra-matte, chalky paint finish that perfectly suits shabby chic or antique pieces.
The water-based paint is incredibly user-friendly, requiring no thinning or straining prior to application. In fact, chalk paint doesn’t even have to be mixed before you chalkboard paint furniture.
Chalk Paint was invented by Annie Sloan, British artist in 1990, and her trademarked brand is one of the best-known waterproof paints on the market to this day. However, other brands have since developed similar formulas of their own.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of using chalk paint is the fact you don’t absolutely have to prime or lightly sand a piece before you start painting surface with fine grit sandpaper. Its unique formula leaves no drip marks, goes on thick, can be used in a sprayer, and can cover imperfect outdoor surfaces and old finishes with little to no preparation. It can transform painting furniture—indoors or out—as well as curios, lamps, fireplaces, and even floors.
What We Like
Things We Don’t Like
Requires minimal prep work
Can show brush strokes
Can be expensive
Thick; drips less, fewer coats
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Using Chalk Paints
Don't go crazy with color combos
This is often true of any chalkboard paint finish, but overloading a piece with color can turn your shabby-chic vision into something more suited for a kid’s room.
The opaque and matte finish of chalk paint and chalkboard paint only serves to underscore this effect, so use colors sparingly.
A good rule of thumb is to choose subtle contrasts. You can also leave some wooden elements, like a stained bar top or small decorative details, to ground your piece and give it that extra bit of sophistication.
While chalk paint outdoors requires sanding for that aged look crafters love, it is possible to overdo it with more paint. Consider which areas would weather first if you left the distressing up to time and nature. High-contact areas and edges, for example, are ideal places for light sanding. Doing this step correctly will add dimension rather than appearing forced.
Do use patterns and accents sparingly…if at all
Although a "pop piece" or two coats are acrylic coating certainly acceptable for most rooms, you're better off saving bright patterns or eye-catching contrast for things like pillows, art, or curious you can swap on a whim. Instead, try a subtler approach with minimal contrast, such as a few light flourishes or a monogram.
Don't use chalk paint when you should be staining
Obviously, this is subjective, but not every component of every project has to be covered with chalk paint. Ask yourself where the most contact will occur, such as the seat of a chair, and consider staining that area instead.
Lastly, don’t use dark colors as a replacement for actual staining. The color may be the same, but the effect won't: letting the wood's natural grain shine will result in a much more dynamic finished project, and play off the matte-finish of the chalk paint outdoors beautifully.
Chalk Paint Water Resistance FAQs
Are Rustoleum, Annie Sloan, & Behr chalk paints waterproof?
No, Rustoleum, Annie Sloan and Behr chalk paints offer varying amounts of weather- and water resistant, none is inherently 100% waterproof. You'll have to seal your finished project with a sealant to increase its durability for heavy outdoor paint exposure.
Does chalk paint come off with water or rain?
Yes, before chalk paint full dry time, it can be easily washed off with soap and water. After it's dried, it can be removed by scrubbing and sanding or paint thinner. Rain will not wash chalk paint away completely on its own, although unsealed chalk paint can fade and wear down.
Can you use a waterproof sealer with chalk paint?
Yes, you can apply a chalkboard paint waterproof sealer or lacquer sealer to your finished chalk paint piece. Note that some sealants are more waterproof than others, and a few—like wax—will require more frequent reapplication over time.
Regular chalk paints are a highly versatile option for upcycling and decorating cabinets, decor, and especially furniture—even if you plan on using that chalk spray paint outdoors. Although chalk paint is water-resistant, it isn't waterproof paint.
Sealing chalk paint with an appropriate sealant will protect your outdoor pieces from rain, wind, UV protection, and frequent use or contact without sacrificing chalk paint's unique matte finish.