How to Paint and Age Furniture Without Chalk Paint

When you have been given a piece of hand-me-down furniture or found a great piece of sturdy well made furniture that has a modern finish on it that you would rather it looked aged. Learn how to paint an aged finish on it without the need of chalk paint.

Long before Annie Sloan Chalk Paint came on the decorating scene as well as DIY versions of it, I used to age furniture with any brand of latex paint I had on hand and some glazing liquid.

It was quite easy and I still think the method is a perfect option for anyone who doesn’t want the expense of buying Chalk Paint or the time to make their own DIY chalk paint.

Paint and Age Furniture without Chalk Paint

I painted the pale green pieces in my bedroom using the technique. All you need is latex paint mixed with glaze, a stiff bristle paint brush, and some sandpaper.

Bedroom BEFORE

Bedroom-Furniture before painting

My bedroom Circa 1993.   See the desk over in the left corner?


I painted and aged it and all of the dark wood pieces in the room 18 years ago without any chalk paint.

How to Paint and Age Furniture Without Using Chalk Paint


supplies needed:

  • Primer
  • Latex paint
  • Clear Glazing Liquid – sold at most paint and home improvement stores in the paint aisle or at the craft store. You do not need a lot for furniture.
  • Paint brush for applying paint
  • Stiff paint brush for removing paint
  • Rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Mixing container

1. Sand the surface with 60 grit sandpaper.

2. Prime with Kilz Original Primer and let it dry. (Have primer tinted to the color you want to expose underneath)

3. Mix satin finish paint and clear glazing mixture (75% paint, 25% glazing mix).   You can also add a few tablespoons of water to thin the mixture, if needed.  Brush it over the dry primer.

4. Wait about 5 minutes – then using a dry stiff bristle brush – brush it over the paint and glaze coat to reveal the primer.  You want to create a striated look.  Let dry.

5.  Use sandpaper to distress the edges to age the finish.  Clean off sanding grit with a tack cloth.


You can seal it with water based polyurethane if you want, but since it is an aged finish, I did not seal it.


Adding glaze to the paint takes some of the rubbery feeling away from the latex paint. The finish is smooth even without wax.  It has held up beautifully.


I do love painting with DIY chalk paint and wax, but this furniture aging technique is tried and true.  If you want easy and inexpensive, you may want to give it a try.

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  1. Hello Diane, first let me say how much in awe I am of your creative genius! You have made such beautiful restorations, created so many clever ways of turning junk into treasures, and have shown us how to make lovely crafts we can be proud of. Thank You for your blog which I always look forward to reading. I’ve always wanted to redo my dining room table & chairs as you’ve
    done in your “Paint & Age Furniture without using chalk paint”. So today I went to Home
    Depot to get my supplies , only thing is that the person there said they couldn’t mix the Zinsser
    Primer with a tint, so they sold me Behr paint & primer in the dark color walnut I choose & then for the lighter top color I choose was antique white, But they used Behr paint & primer to mix it. Will I have a hard time distressing the Antique White since it’s a paint & primer, instead of just latex paint? Thanks for your help, Marylyn

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marylyn –

      I don’t think you will have a problem distressing the paint and primer formula. Chalk paint is made using the stuff that primer is made out of, so it will be fine.. I do have a question for you though.

      Are you going to follow the directions for painting and distressing furniture without using chalk paint? If so, did you get Glazing Medium to mix with the Antique White paint/primer? You didn’t mention this. You will need it to make the Antique White top coat more transparent.

      1. Hello Diane, Thank You for your quick response. Yes I’m going to mix the glazing liquid with the antique white paint/ primer. I’m so glad to hear you think that it will still work even though it’s got primer in it. I was thinking that since it has primer in the mix, it might not come off as easily. Thanks again!

  2. Hi Diane,
    I wish to put a silvery white over a Navy blue, but just in the patterned areas of my hutch. How would I accomplish this?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Twila –

      Is there wax or poly over the navy blue paint?

      If it is wax you should remove the wax first with mineral spirits. Brush some into the area, let sit for a few seconds and then wipe off with a rag.

      Repeat if necessary to make sure all the wax is removed. Then you can simply paint over the area with the silver paint.

      If the Navy Blue has a polyurethane finish, simply sand the area gently to rough up the surface, clean off the sanding grit and then paint silver.

      1. Thank you so much.
        I going to try dry brushing the silver on….saw it on a video.
        Love your style.

    2. I want to try this method. What glazing liquid did you use?

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Cyndee – You can use any glazing liquid/medium. I like Valspar from Lowes or even the craft store brand glazing medium will be fine.

  3. Victoria Canavan says:

    I really like the look of this specific piece, would you mind sharing what color primer and paint you used? Thank you!

  4. I’ve never done a DIY project like this, but I think I’m ready to try one. Would you be able to give me an idea of what color you would add to the primer? I’m unsure about this part.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – What color do you want to paint the piece? Do you want to see a lighter color through the brushstrokes or a darker one? You can even use a tone on tone. Say light blue primer with navy, or spring green under emerald green. There is no right or wrong color combo.

      1. I was planning to use the color of the trim paint… SW Alabaster White and use a darker color underneath. Maybe a grey tone? Thanks for your help.

  5. Hi I was wondering if you could explain step 4 a little more. Do you use the brush over the whole piece? How is step 4 and 5 different? Thanks for any insight.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jessica –

      In Step 4, you are removing some of the just applied glaze with a dry brush to create a striated pattern in the glaze that will allow some of the primer underneath to show.

      In Step 5, you are using sandpaper to distress a few of the edges to the bare wood and parts of the piece that would normally see wear…like the area around knobs and pulls.

      Two different steps/ways used on a piece of furniture that will create a natural looking aged effect to the painted finish.

  6. Catherine Brasset says:

    Hello ,thank you for Your Beautiful Style and showing us ! I have a few questions if you could help me !
    Would we be able to paint/age ( paint /glazing mixture ) the same way again over a color if we did not like it , since it’s not protected by wax ,would it need a primer again ?
    Could primer by itself ( gesso ) be used to make homemade chalk paint ? (Have lots left ! ) For the 1st and next coats ?…maybe only as the 2nd coat ?
    I had seen recipes for homemade glazing liquid ,one oil and one water based ,have lost them ,would you have one ?
    Thank you so much for any help .

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Catherine – As long as there is no wax or oil over the finish, you can repaint as much as you like. I have not used Gesso to make chalk paint, but I know it can be used. I am not sure of the ratio to water and paint, but it will work. I do not have a recipe to make glazing liquid. I alway buy the water based kind at the paint, craft or home improvement store.

      1. Catherine Brasset says:

        Thank you for your kind reply ,it feels good to empty the head of so many uncertainties !
        In making chalk paint have you found out when adding the necessary ” chalk ” if it lightens the color of the paint a lot or not so much ?

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          If you are making navy blue, black or red chalk paint, the chalk ingredient may lighten the color. One way to lessen it from happening is to make sure the powder is mixed with water first so it dissolves well. Then mix into the paint and stir the mixture very well before painting. It may look lighter in the can, but will dry darker. If your color looks lighter, add a tablespoon or two more paint to get the color deepened again.

          1. Catherine Brasset says:

            Thank you Diane !
            Just got the “about right color ” -without the chalk- and running out of pigments …might have to go “the glazing medium way ” ! (Color is “a green/blue “) . Oh … glazing medium is transparent right ?
            Have tried to take pictures of my mixes ,cannot capture it ,( not catching the green tones) no matter where the focus ! So i guess all the colors of the furniture we see on the web are not the way they look in real …but even more Beautiful !!!

          2. Diane Henkler says:

            Hi Catherine – Yes, glazing liquid is transparent.

  7. Kristie Ball says:

    Thank you for all the time you take to share your years of experience and wealth of knowledge on all refinishing techniques without being biased to one certain method. I shared this post on my Facebook page Two Dogs Decor. May be an older post but honestly, it’s more relevant now than ever. Thanks again,
    Kristie Ball
    Two Dogs Decor :-)

  8. The before and after pictures look great. I have a piece of furniture in my home that I have been wanting to do this to but didn’t know how. This really helps, especially if I don’t have to use chalk paint.

  9. What is latex paint. I’m in australia

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Latex paint is a water-based paint. It can be cleaned up with soap and water.

  10. Sondra Abbott says:

    All I can say is THANK YOU! This method makes so much sense, looks beautiful (if that distressed look is what you’re going for) and seems like a great alternative to chalk paint. I think I’ll “PIN” this and try later!

  11. Susan Mathison says:

    I agree, Diane. It’s all about personal preference. ASCP has its place, but there are many artisans that have never even tried it that create beautiful “aged” pieces of furniture! It really is all in the technique. I have tried pretty much every product available, and I always go back to latex as my go-to. Adding the glaze gives it a nice finishing touch.

  12. Misty Van Staaveren (@dutchdoor) says:

    I’ve spent the entire weekend using real Annie Sloan chalk paint for the first time, and I’m not liking it at all! For the past couple years I’ve been doing an antiquing technique similar to yours and I think I’ll go back to that!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Misty – I painted furniture for years the way I explain in this post. What I wish I knew back then was how nice the soft wax makes the finish come to life. I do like painting with the DIY versions of chalk paint, but this way is tried and true and looks just as nice. I like to think of paint choice as a fine artist would – their favorite medium that gives them their unique technique and style – which is a good thing :)

  13. The original Kilz is oil base, you use latex paint. Mixing oil base and latex paint is OK?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Annetta – It is fine to use an oil-based primer with a latex paint over it. It is not OK to use latex paint over oil paint. It will rub right off. Primer is different. The original Kilz is the best especially if the piece is old or has a dark stain. It dries in 30 minutes. It will block all stains out. The water based formulas work, too but may take a few more coats to block stains from leaching through.

  14. amy jorgensen says:

    I have a whole bedroom set I want to do this finish on. It is the dark cannon ball style bed from the 80’s. Do I clean it first with anything? When you say to sand it with 60 grit…am I sanding it to get the finish off?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Amy – You don’t have to clean it with anything, but a damp rag with soap and water after you sand it. I always use a tack cloth to clean off the surface before painting, too to remove any small dust, grit, etc. You don’t have to sand to the bare wood, just enough to rough up the finish so the paint has something to adhere to. I always try to even – out the surface if there is old paint or varnish drips. with the sandpaper. You can never over sand.

  15. Thank you. I too am not a fan of the feel of chalk paint. Your projects are beautiful as always! Happy Monday!

  16. Ann Rivers says:

    Diane, you did it again! Perfect timing for a consignment piece that I’m painting! The client has a large piece she wants painted black with a little destress and a slight shine to the overall finish. I was hesitant that chalk paint would give me the look she wanted but I think this technique will be perfect! Thank you for giving us paint options!

  17. Susan Mathison says:

    Once again, you have given some valuable information! I am assuming that you meant 75% paint and 25% glazing liquid (not water!?!) I have used the glazing liquid over a freshly painted piece, but never tried mixing them together. My new project! Also, I used Kilz for years, but have switch to Glidden Gripper. It sticks to everything and leaves a great bonding surface!

  18. Thank you, thank you! I have Great results in distressing furniture with latex and glaze! As a matter of fact, I still use this technique frequently. I did use a clear polyurethane coat to finish off.

  19. Diane – Really appreciate your tutorial. I have a china cabinet I want to paint and really can’t afford chalk paint. Plus, I like the look of your technique better. Thank you for such a great blog, you always have the best ideas. Rhona

  20. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    This is great to know. I have bought a quart of Behr Premium Plus Faux Glaze. I was going to use it on my headboard I recently made. Funny how it helps if you know kind of what you want the finished result to be. I started with a Minwax stain in English Chestnut & hated it. It was left over from staining a brand new door and new front and back railings for one of Steve’s rental houses….. so I thought why not put it on and wipe it off just one time. “UGH”, never again. So, then I tried some American Cherry I bought from Wood You for my entertainment center and book case.. it looked the same to me, but was so much easier to use. I will never ever use Minwax again. It eats through your gloves it is so caustic. Anyway, I ended up painting it with a very light blue uh oh I got at HD for only $7.00 for the whole gallon. I mixed it with water, put on a coat or two, then used white ceiling paint mixed with water to streak that on a bit… so far I am very happy and have not sealed it yet, waiting to see a bit if I want more white dry brushed on it. lol I am halfway thinking I will use the glaze on the headboard….. ?

    Oh Diane, I so thought of you when I lucked out and bought a pack of 10 Papermate Write Bros pens for only a quarter at Walgreens. I liked them so much I went back for another pack in more colors. Now I have red, green, orange, purple, blue and black pens. I love all the colors.

    Hope you have a great weekend.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryl – They are my fave pens. Love them. I also love Le Pen markers. Have you ever used them?

      1. Sheryll & Critters. says:

        I believe I have used the Le Pen many years ago and loved the one I stumbled upon. As I remember they were more expensive and I have not found them in stores and no longer have a need to go to Kinko’s or a print shop like when I worked. I got a ten pack for a QUARTER a couple weeks back at Walgreens. I was so happy that I made a special trip back to get another ten pack in different colors. So only spent 50 cents plus a few pennies for the state tax. I am thrilled with them and all the gorgeous colors.

  21. great tutorial, my question is — is it 23% water or 23% glazing mixture?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathy – I wrote this post fast since I was getting ready for vacation. You can make the mix any percentage you want. The more glaze you add, the more transparent the glazing coat will be and it also lengthens the drying time – giving you more time to add the dry brush strokes or whatever effect you want to the finish. I like 75 % paint and 25% glaze. You can add a tablespoon or two of water to thin the mix if needed, too.

  22. I love your blog! You always share such useful information and ideas. I so appreciate your ability to create beauty without bankrupting the budget.

  23. I really enjoy following your blog. You are very talented. I don’t really know why alot of people like the distressed look. If I am going to take the time to paint or anything like that, I wouldn’t like to ruff it up to make it look old or distressed. Do you find there are many other people who feel as I do. Just wondering.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marsha – Choosing to distress a piece of furniture is all about personal preference. Some like it others don’t. I have never received a comment about it, but there are as many people who love the distressed finish as there are that don’t. I don’t like every piece to be distressed, but I do like using a mix of finishes, I like the interest it creates in a room. The chalk paint and wax adds a patina that you don’t see when a piece is just painted. Again it is just about preference.

      1. Caroline Beugelaar says:

        You can also use two different colors of latex and then sand. If you want a patina, you can use a watery acrylic paint (for artists) Burned Umber is a nice dark brown color, add a lot of water. Than add with a big brush, wait a little while and wipe of with a almost dry sponge or cloth. This is kind of tricky, if you wait to long it will be to dark it takes some practice.

        Caroline, the Netherlands

  24. Beth Garland says:

    Please explain the paint recipe/portions in Item 3. Is it 75% satin paint to 23% glaze or water? What about the other 2%? I must have a total of 100%…LOL! I actually like this technique better than the chalk finish, too! Your style and projects are so fun and your tutorials are so easy to follow. Thanks for all the inspiration.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beth – Tt was a typo. 75% paint to 25% glaze. This percentage is not set in stone – you can mix it anyway – experiment to see if you like it more transparent or need more working time (more glaze) If you just want a little bit of transparency – the 75 – 25 ratio works well.

  25. I’ve done furniture like this. I’ve also used satin paint for a smoother, less chalky finish. I’ve just sanded off some paint here and there where there would be normal wear. Much less work!

  26. Jay Harris 4 The Home Depot says:

    Quick, easy and budget conscious–I like it! I’ll pin this up on our Pinboard so our fans can check out your awesome method!

  27. Just to clarify for my pre-caffeinated brain… You use 75% of a satin finish paint mixed with 25% of a basic clear glaze. Any advise if it is a flat finish paint? I have some extra ‘test’ quarts laying around and there are some inherited furniture pieces in need of some love. Also, I have gallons of white primer here at the house. Any recommendations for tinting it myself on a smaller scale for individual projects? Thanks for this post, and for your DIY chalk paint post. I’m determined to get these quarts used up and these posts are getting me motivated to bust out the drop cloth and get it done.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Shanna – You can use any finish of paint. I happened to use the satin finish, but you can create the look using any finish of paint. As for your primer – you can buy tint at your paint store and experiment with creating the color you want. The tint is usually sold in tubes and cost very little. You can also mix the primer with a paint color that is already mixed. It would be like you were making your own Paint and Primer in One formula. I do this all the time. It works great, but makes it hard to tell readers what color I used since I created it by mixing it myself :)

  28. The chalk paint finish is not all that appealing to me. Your method is just as pretty and a whole lot less expensive.