How To Chalk Paint A Picture Frame

Lara Roberts from Roberts Vintage Frames shares all her tips and tricks on how to use chalk paint to paint a picture frame. Laura is also a member of our Home Decorating, Upcycling and DIY Facebook group. If you would like to share a project to be featured on this site, you can do so here.

How to chalk paint a picture frame


Materials used:

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  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey
  • French Linen and Old White
  • round head brushes
  • round head waxing brush
  • baby wipes
  • Annie Sloan’s clear wax
  • Annie Sloan’s dark wax
  • sponge
  • microfibre cloth


How to use chalk paint


First, remove the canvas from the frame (if there is one) and rest it on two scraps of wood on a table top. I always recommend painting at table height as it saves your back and gives you a better view of your project. Elevating it further on the wood stops your brush from accidentally hitting the table top/ floor and picking up bits.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Paint in your choice of colour. I went for a grey to compliment the mustard yellow wall it’s going to hang from. I’m using Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey applied with a round head brush. I recommend using a quality round head because you can really use them to stab at the detail to ensure full coverage.



If it takes you a while to do a coat don’t worry,a frame like this takes more time than you’d expect.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


This is after two coats of paint have dried.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


You can see here I have gone for a textured finish, simply achieved by dabbing rather than stroking with my brush. I find Paris Grey usually covers in one coat but because of the dabbing it took two.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Next, I dry brushed in French Linen. Dry brushing is when you lightly brush over the piece with very little paint on your brush. You dip your brush then vigorously brushed off most the paint on a piece of scrap.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Lightly brush over the whole frame which will really pick up on that texture and the detail of the frame.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


I also dry brushed in Old White to really make the detail stand out and create a more layered paint effect. Here’s where you should be so far.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Next you distress. Using baby wipes you rub any area that you would like to be gold. Unlike sand paper, baby wipes will only take off the paint and not disturb the gold. If you have dry brushed, be careful not to knock any areas you don’t want distressed because it will blend the effect.


I decided to only distress the boarder to highlight the lovely shape. You might want to distress a lot more, or not at all. The gold does stand out against the grey but the dark wax makes it all work nicely together.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Now you wax. I apply wax using a sponge rather than a rag. It’s much easier to work with. You only want a little on your sponge. Just rub the wax over the paint, pushing as you go.

Next comes the dark wax. Dark wax looks daunting but the more you use it the more you understand how it works. Using a waxing brush, apply dark wax to every inch of the frame. You’ll need to use quite vigorous brush motions again to get in the detail.

It will look like you’ve ruined all your hard work so far, but I promise you haven’t!

Clear wax removes dark wax. So you go back over the whole thing with clear wax, not really paying much attention to getting in the detail. That’s where you want the dark wax. So this will lift the dark wax back off leaving the shaded effect.


Here you can see the difference dark wax makes.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Expect to go through a lot of sponges to lift of the dark wax!

Finally, you buff with a microfibre cloth. You don’t get a lot of excess wax if you’ve applied with a sponge but buffing will give a nice shine.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


Here is the end result, a beautiful effect! You can shake things up a lot depending of the colour you choose, how much you distressed and whether you use dark wax. Crackle glaze also looks great on these picture frames.


How to chalk paint a picture frame


How to chalk paint a picture frame

How to chalk paint a picture frame


Thanks for taking the time to read this tutorial. I hope you found it useful!

Visit Lara Roberts Facebook page Roberts Vintage Frames to see more of her work and don’t forget to leave her a LIKE!



How to chalk paint a picture frame


Lara Roberts

Hi! My name is Lara Roberts and I hand paint furniture over at Roberts Vintage Frames, with a focus on ornate frames. I’m from North Wales but based in East Yorkshire now. I hope this tutorial is useful, feel free to ask questions if you have any!







Patricia from the Wood Spa shares 2 ways to make Homemade Chalk Paint. The first with calcium carbonate and the second with Plaster of Paris! Click here to view her full tutorial and watch her video tutorial on how to make homemade chalk paint



Filed under Readers' Projects, Tutorials, Upcycling

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  1. Cheryl

    Hi. I’m a little confused about the waxing part. Do I do a clear wax, then a dark wax and then the clear wax again? Or is it just dark wax and then clear wax?

    Beautiful frame.

  2. Diana

    What kind of sponge do you use? Regular kitchen sponge, car waxing sponge?

    1. Cheryl

      I didn’t see a response to your question so I’m wondering what you used. The car sponge or kitchen sponge?

  3. Bee

    Loved your detailed tutorial on the frame….Thsnk you!

    I also wanted to say Thank you, for sharing your paint recipes.

    I noticed you did not add the amount of water you use, or approximately how

    Could you please provide the amount of water used in both recipes.

    Thank you in advance

    1. Lara

      Hi Bee.
      Thanks! Happy to share. I did not water the paint down, this is straight out the tin. Thanks, Lara 🙂

  4. Selina Perez

    Absolutely gorgeous. What would u price this if selling?

  5. Do you let the paint dry fully each time or are you working with it damp to remove easier? Not clear on that.

    1. Yes the paint is allowed to full dry at each stage:)

  6. Terrie Legein

    Very informative post, Thank you! Question: why baby wipes? What do they contain that would remove paint? Any particular preferred brand? Thanks for your help.

  7. Jessica

    Hi, i have a question regarding the types of frames you prefer. Does chalk paint work best with wood, or can it also be used on plastic and metal frames?

    1. Hi Jessica! It can be used on any type of material which is the great think about it!

  8. I have a gold resin mirror and it is in desperate need of a new look and this look is just what I’m looking for. (did I use look enough) only thing is my walls are a cream color and if I painted this this light color wouldn’t it disappear? My son suggested a beach washed out look which I am considering.

  9. Lisa

    this looks great! My question is, if I like the look of only the paris grey, and want to stop there, would you suggest clear wax over that? Like a topcoat? Thanks!