Achieving a smooth blend of paint colors on any painting project, large or small, can be tricky. Today, I am going to share My Top 10 Tips for Blending Chalk Paint, so you have a few tricks up your sleeve, that paired with some practice, will have you painting smooth blends in no time.
1. The right brush makes a difference.
Having the right tools will make your job so much easier. I use the Good quality synthetic brushes for blending because they are soft and smooth. I can lay on a coat of paint and feather through it with a soft hand, just the brush tips, and the paint melds together. A dense brush, coarse natural bristles, or inexpensive brushes are going to yield far different results.
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2. Less Is More! Too much paint will make a soupy mess.
This is one of the most common errors I see in blending, too much paint! Your base coat is for coverage, so that the second coat can be for perfecting the finish. A good quality Paint gets such good coverage, that the finish can be fairly thin, and still achieve the look. Use a light amount of paint and a mist of water to keep the paint moving/workable rather than adding more paint
3. Keep a mister bottle at hand, a bit of water will keep your paint moving.
Water is your friend! Most chalk paints are water based and friendly to use with water as a tool. A mister bottle lays on a fine mist vs. a regular spray bottle that delivers heavier droplets. A mist where you didn’t intend, will dry quickly with little impact, but a heavy spray with drips will leave water marks that must be fixed, only complicating the technique.
If you catch any of my videos, you will see me with this Continuous Fine Mist Spray Bottle in my hand to help me achieve a more seamless paint color blend.
4. The more contrast in your colors, the harder they will be to blend.
The closer your colors are on the color wheel, the easier they will meld together. Start out with more similar tones and work your way up to heavier contrasting colors. Tonal colors i.e. 3 shades of gray, will be much easier than trying to blend black into white. I usually prefer 3 color blends because it gives me a medium, light, and dark tone to work with. The medium is my body color, the light is a highlight, and the dark is for shading.
Looking for a little color inspiration to perfectly blend your chalk mineral paint? I wrote a whole list of My Top 20 three Color Blends HERE!
A Blend of 3 Tonal Colors
5. Start small, with 2 or 3 color blending.
2 or 3 colors is far simpler to work together than 5-6 colors. Get your shading right first, and then you can add more colors as you gain comfort.
Start with 2-3 Colors
6. Not all paints are created equal.
This one is HUGE! I get messaged all the time from those struggling with blending, only to find, it’s a completely different paint brand. They are NOT all created equal. All paint brands have different formulations which means they will have different strengths and weaknesses.
I use A Good quality paint because it genuinely works well with my painting style. It reacts well to water vs. some that will separate or peel up the base layer under it. It has a long open time, with a bit of water I can keep the paint workable for the time I need. It is self leveling, so as I work the paint, if I leave it reasonably smooth, brush strokes dissipate. For a color blended paint finish, use a strong contender, whereas other may not turn the same results with the same techniques.
The Paint DOES Make a Difference!
7. A clean dry brush acts as your eraser.
I always use a A fast brush to lay my paint on, one for each color, then a clean dry brush as my “eraser”, usually the Oval Medium because it is nice and full. I think of the eraser as a small feather duster that just whisks away those transitions between colors. This only works with a very soft hand, and little paint referred to above. I wipe the brush on a rag to lay off paint as it picks up, keeping my eraser as clean and dry as possible.
8. Work on small areas at a time.
Focus on small areas, one drawer or door at a time vs. trying to work across your entire piece. Putting it into smaller sections and perfecting those before moving on, will keep the job manageable.
9. Brush horizontally and vertically.
I’m not trying to keep my colors separate in blending. The very idea of the finish is to make the colors meld together so it appears that the light is hitting it differently in spots. If you can see the differentiation in colors, then they are not yet blended.
I brush through my colors horizontally and vertically, usually a few times, until they are seamless. Let the colors flow into each other, essentially using your piece as a palette to create every shade in between. You can always add a teeny bit of your dark or light color at the tail end, to true up the highlight and lowlight.
10. Teach yourself a soft hand.
This is something I struggle with in classes. I can teach the brush movements, but not the pressure that goes behind them. If you tend to be a heavy handed painter, you will struggle with blending. There is a light touch behind that brush, along with very little paint, a bit of water, and soft bristles. They all come together to create these whispy, ethereal transitions from dark to light.
I hope my Top 10 Tips for Blending Chalk Paint will help you try out, or perfect, paint color blending on your next project! For more tips, below are a few of my most popular paint color blending videos, all in one place!