While scanning social media for a piece of furniture, I ran across this gem that would soon be a beautiful blue coffee table—cherry-stained, rattan, and intricate. Should I buy a new navy blue coffee table or a used one for $30? That’s a no-brainer. I immediately knew this would be an excellent piece to paint for a beautiful furniture makeover and show you how to chalk paint a coffee table.
We are nearing the completion of a massive renovation project in our home. While working on our son’s baseball-themed bedroom, we ran across a fantastic shade of blue—Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy will be the color of the focal wall in his bedroom. My wheels started to turn. I love this gorgeous navy shade and this rattan coffee table. What if I paired them together? I already had the Hale Navy paint sitting in the garage, so I decided this would be a perfect match. This paint color will give this old piece of furniture a more modern look. I can’t wait to see this one.
This time I decided to switch this up a bit, though. I LOVE chalk paint. It is so easy to use—almost no way to mess it up. I did say almost!! I wanted a smooth finish on this table since it has more intricate details. So I turned my paint sprayer into a chalk paint sprayer. Chalk painting a coffee table with a paint sprayer speeds up the project and gives a better finish.
materials needed to Chalk Paint the Coffee Table:
1. Cleaning solution (water-vinegar mixture of TSP cleaner)
2. Screwdriver or drill
4. Chalk paint
6. Foam paint roller
7. Paint sprayer
8. Matte Polyurethane
As you can see, this coffee table is quite detailed. While I love the look of stripped furniture in its natural state, this piece would take more time to strip the stain than I was willing to invest. It also was very traditional, and I was looking for a more modern painted coffee table. With the rattan, chalk painting the coffee table would highlight the texture and bring out the natural hues on top.
Prepare your piece to refinish before chalk painting.
Even though chalk paint usually does not require sanding the surface to prep it, I like to take that extra step to ensure a great bond between the chalk paint and the furniture. I used 150 sandpaper to give a quick scuff sand to the whole piece before proceeding. I used a microfiber rag to wipe the piece free of dust before cleaning.
There are store-bought products, such as TSP, but a homemade cleaning solution of water, vinegar, and blue dawn dish soap work well if you don’t have that available. I use a 1-to-1 ratio of water and vinegar with just a couple of drops of soap. Make sure to get all the exposed surfaces of the entire table clean. Paint will not stick to dirt, grime, or grease, so preparing your piece first by cleaning it is crucial.
Since this was a rattan coffee table, I had to see how I would paint around the rattan. Taping this would be a pain. I looked under and found that I could remove the rattan insert with a few screws, which created a blank canvas to paint the crest of the coffee table. I removed the glass top and started to work (more about this later). This allowed me to paint the entire piece without having to tape anything! That’s always a great thing!
Ready! Let’s Chalk paint this coffee table blue!
The beauty of chalk paint on furniture makeover projects is that furniture pieces like this coffee table can be transformed quickly. There is very little prep work required. No primer on this one!
Chalk painting this coffee table was a straightforward job once I removed the rattan. Before painting, I used a tarp under the furniture to keep my driveway free of overspray. My driveway has a few paint shades from previous projects. Oops. Thankfully, those were all lighter colors that blend, but I knew Hale Navy paint would stick out like a sore thumb on the driveway.
Chalk Painting the coffee table blue
I decided to spray this piece to avoid brush strokes and give it a professional finish.
If using homemade chalk paint, now is the time to mix it up; otherwise, thin the chalk paint appropriately and add the store-bought chalk paint to the tank of the paint spray gun.
With my paint sprayer, I have to thin the paint out more than if I was rolling or using a paint brush. I found that 1/4 cup of water is sufficient to get the right consistency.
When painting with a chalk paint sprayer, use long sweeps from side to side. This technique will ensure good coverage, and an even coat is applied. Avoid over-spraying the same area as it could result in paint that does not dry evenly and leaves an orange peel-looking finish. It’s better for your coats to have a little paint than too much paint. I gave this rattan coffee table 3 coats of Hale Navy paint in an eggshell finish.
After my first coat of paint, I used 200 grit sandpaper for a light sanding. Again, I sanded after the second coat of paint as well.
Tip: There are many different chalk paint brands that you can purchase. I’ve used homemade chalk paint on various projects such as this one. I’ve included the recipe for my own chalk paint below in this post.
How to seal the Blue Chalk Paint Coffee Table
The final finish needs to be as smooth as possible, so I decided to run polyurethane, as the top coat, through the paint sprayer. I allowed a couple of hours for the coffee table to dry. Once the blue chalk paint was dry, I sprayed four coats of polyurethane on the navy blue coffee table to seal it.
What finish of Poly Do You Use?
I prefer a matte poly on most chalk paint furniture makeovers I’ve completed. It gives a nice sealed finish to chalk-painted pieces of furniture, especially.
Note: The poly was still drying in this picture. There was a wet spot on the table closest to where I was standing. Once dry, it’s time for the glass. Welp, that would be a nice way to finish this table, but we ran into an issue. Well, actually, one of my daughters did the running…right into the glass leaning against the wall. BAM, there goes the coffee table glass.
The piece still looks amazing. We just rolled without the glass. It looked good as is, and I didn’t want to add any extra cost to this project.
Can you use chalk paint in a sprayer?
I can’t answer for every paint sprayer brand, but most (HVLP) high volume, low-pressure sprayers should handle chalk paint. The chalk paint may not need to be thinned before painting, depending on the sprayer’s brand, price point, and features. I thin the chalk paint a bit for my paint sprayer before adding it to the tank to ensure the chalk paint sprays evenly without clumps or drips for a nice smooth finish.
How do I make Homemade chalk paint?
The recipe I’ve always used for DIY chalk paint is 1 cup of paint, 1/3 cup of water, and 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris. This mixture provides a nice consistency for the chalk paint and gives excellent coverage.
If you want more information on chalk paint options that can be purchased, check out chalk paint best brands.
Is it better to use a paint sprayer or brush for furniture?
All depends! Before going out and buying a paint sprayer, I’d ask myself how often I’d use it. I had previously purchased a cheap sprayer that was not useful at all. If you are going to use a paint sprayer, look for a high-volume, low-pressure sprayer. Sometimes, it is quicker and easier for small projects to break out the brush or roller than set up and clean the paint sprayer. A paint sprayer will give you a smoother and more professional finish, but a brush or roller can also do the job.
Can I use chalk paint on a coffee table?
YES! Chalk paint is so easy, and it is very durable. It’s almost impossible to mess up your chalk paint project. Make sure to seal it since coffee tables usually get a lot of use from decorations to people using them as a foot prop. Make sure to protect its surface!
Do you have to sand before using chalk paint?
NO! It isn’t necessary. You can apply chalk paint directly over a clean surface in most cases. This feature makes chalk paint so easy and appealing to most DIYers. If you prefer to sand first, a quick scratch sand on the surface is sufficient.
Don’t be afraid of refinishing furniture. DIY furniture makeovers are a highly cost-effective way of updating any room. Pick a piece of furniture that can transform your space. Pinterest is a great place to discover project ideas if you aren’t sure where to start.
More Refinish Furniture with Paint Tutorials:
I would love to see what projects you take on!!