OK - so one of the best things about the wonderful DecoArt Chalky Finish paint is that it requires absolutely minimal preparation. Make sure your piece is clean and free of dust and cobwebs. If the piece you're going to paint has a dark stain or varnish on it, it's worthwhile testing a small area with paint to see if the stain is going to seep through. If it does, you'll want to treat the whole piece with Stain Blocker before applying paint. Make sure you let the Stain Blocker dry completely before applying the first coat of paint.
Apply the first coat
You don't need a fancy brush to apply this paint. A good quality painting brush will do the job. Pull the bristles of a brand new brush gently to release any loose ones - nothing more annoying than a stray bristle on your freshly painted furniture! Shake the paint tub vigorously before opening - pigment tends to settle at the top of the tub. Chalky Finish paint has a gel-like consistency in the tub - which is good news as it means it won't run or drip, and yet is smooth as silk to apply. Apply a generous first coat, and don't worry about brush marks or little gaps in the paint; the second coat will sort this out!
Apply the second coat
Chalky Finish paint dries really quickly (usually bone dry within half an hour of applying) but if you're feeling impatient, speed things up with a hairdryer. Now's the time to check for dried-on lumpy bits or the occasional drip if you've been a little too generous with the first coat. Gently sand imperfections away with some FINE sandpaper. Apply the second coat thinly. If you like, dip the very ends of the brush (the 'eyelashes'!) into a bowl of water occasionally as you paint. This allows the second coat to be applied quickly and easily. Now let the paint dry completely - time to put the kettle on!
Distressing and waxing
Once the second coat is completely dry (don't be tempted to try and sand a piece that's not totally try!) you can decide how you're going to finish off your little masterpiece. You can choose to leave it unwaxed, with a matte, chalky finish. Be aware that knocks and scrapes will be more obvious, and unwaxed furniture isn't recommended in areas that are prone to water splashes, which will mark the paintwork. You may decide to give the piece a 'shabby chic' distressed look by sanding areas of natural wear and tear. Finish off with a coat of Creme Wax or your choice of varnish. See our more detailed guide for tips on distressing and waxing techniques.