Chalk Paint Vs Acrylic Paint |10 Differences To Know Before You Select One|

Are you struggling to choose between chalk paint and acrylic paint for your next creative project? 

This blog is a solution for you as I will help you examine the key differences and benefits of these two popular paint options. 

Whether you’re a professional artist or a DIY enthusiast, understanding the features of these two paints can help you make an informed decision to get optimal results.

We have collected information on chalk paint vs acrylic paint by intense inspection of their manufacturing process to their practical usage in various fields. 

Thanks to Rust-Oleum, DecoArt, FolkArt, and Liquitex for cooperating with our team of professional artists to examine the features of both these paints. 

Difference Between Acrylic Paint And Chalk Paint

Chalk paint and acrylic paint are two widespread types of paint used for various artistic and decorative purposes. 

They may have some similarities but are distinct in terms of various aspects.

In the below comparison between acrylic and chalk paint, I’ve mentioned various angles to differentiate them and help you decide better. 

  1. Composition

The very first thing when comparing two paints is their compositions.  

Chalk paint is a type of decorative paint that consists of water, pigments, calcium carbonate (chalk), and other supportive additives. It comes with a thick consistency and dries to get you a matte finish.

Acrylic paint is made of pigments, water, and an acrylic polymer that makes an emulsion. This paint comes in various consistencies, including heavy body, fluid, and craft paints.

  1. Application

Chalk paint is known for its ease of application. It adheres nicely to most surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, and even fabric, without the need for extensive surface preparation or priming. 

It has outstanding coverage and often requires only one or two coats. It is often used for furniture upcycling and shabby chic-style projects.

If you talk about acrylic paint, it can also be used on a vast range of surfaces like canvas, paper, wood, ceramics, and more. It can be applied with brushes, palette knives, or even airbrushes. 

Depending on the consistency, it may require some surface preparation, such as priming or gesso application, for promising results. It offers a variety of techniques and finishes, from opaque to transparent layers.

  1. Finish

The final finish or appearance is also crucial when we go for a specific type of paint. 

Chalk paint provides a matte, chalky finish when it dries. It has a soft, velvety appearance and can create a vintage or distressed appearance when sanded or waxed. It is often associated with a more rustic or aged aesthetic.

On the other hand, acrylic paint is available in different finishes ranging from matte to glossy and satin to semi-gloss and metallic. 

The final finish can be adjusted using specialized mediums or varnishes. Moreover, it provides a broader range of finishes, from smooth and shiny to textured and layered effects.

  1. Durability

How can the long-lasting or durability of paint be ignored when you are opting for one? Here is how these two paints are durable. 

Chalk paint is not as durable as some other paints, especially when used on high-traffic or outdoor surfaces. 

Although it sticks well, it can still be prone to chipping or scratching. To improve durability, a wax or polyurethane topcoat must be used. 

Acrylic paint has a well know durability. Once fully cured, it forms a flexible and water-resistant film. 

It has good adhesion and can withstand heat and regular handling. For added protection, an acrylic varnish can be applied as a final coat.

  1. Mixing and Layering

Chalk paint is favored for its ability to create an aged look. It can be easily sanded or buffed to reveal underlying layers or attain a weathered appearance. 

It is also often used in decorative painting techniques, such as color layering or dry brushing.

On the other hand, acrylic paint possesses a wider color range and can be easily mixed to produce custom hues. 

It has a fast drying time, allowing for quicker layering or glazing techniques, and is compatible with various additives, such as gels, mediums, or texture pastes. 

This expands its possibilities for various texture and paint effects.

  1. Drying Time

Another very significant characteristic to evaluate when comparing chalk and acrylic is their drying time.  

Chalk paint has a relatively quick drying time. It can easily dry to the touch within 30 minutes to an hour. However, it takes longer to fully cure and usually requires around 24 hours or more.

Acrylic paint has a faster drying time compared to chalk paint. It can dry to the touch within minutes to an hour. 

However, it depends on the thickness of the application and the type of formation or brand.

  1. Coverage

Chalk paints are developed with outstanding coverage and may require fewer coats to achieve an opaque look. It has a thick consistency that lets you get good coverage over different surfaces.

The coverage of acrylic paint can vary depending on the brand, pigment concentration, and opacity you want. 

Some acrylic paints provide good coverage in one or two coats, while others may require additional layers for full opacity, especially when using lighter or more transparent colors.

  1. Clean-up and Maintenance

Maintenance is a big factor when it comes to selecting between chalk and acrylic. At least I prefer low-maintenance paint.  

Cleaning up after using chalk paint is relatively easy. Brushes and tools can be cleaned with water, as chalk paint is water-based. 

For long-term maintenance, wax or other sealants may need to be reapplied periodically to protect the painted surface.

Acrylic paint is also water-based which makes it easy to clean up your brushes and tools by simply using water. 

However, if it is dried, it forms a permanent, water-resistant layer that can be cleaned with soap or other washing agents. 

Acrylic-painted surfaces generally require less maintenance compared to chalk-painted surfaces.

  1. Color Stability

Chalk paint tends to have stable and consistent colors. However, exposure to direct sunlight or UV rays over time may cause some fading or color alterations. 

But using a protective topcoat can help minimize color shifts.

Acrylic paint is known for its color stability. It retains its vibrancy and hue over time and is less prone to fading, even when exposed to sunlight. 

Acrylic pigments are formulated to resist UV damage to ensure long-lasting color quality.

  1. Price and Availability

Chalk paint is more expensive than acrylic paint, mainly due to its specialized formulation and marketing. 

It is available in specialty paint stores, online retailers, and some craft stores. However, there are also DIY recipes available for making homemade chalk paint.

Acrylic paint is widely available and comes in a range of price points, from student-grade to professional-grade paints. 

It can be found in art supply stores, craft stores, and online retailers, offering a vast selection of brands, colors, and sizes.

FAQs – Chalk Paint Vs Acrylic Paint

What are the disadvantages of chalk paint?

The disadvantages of chalk paint include limited color options, a more matte finish, and the need for an additional protective coating to prevent chipping or wearing off.

Why is chalk paint better than acrylic?

Chalk paint is better than acrylic paint for certain projects because it requires minimal surface preparation, adheres well to various surfaces, and offers a unique vintage or distressed look with its matte finish.

What can I use instead of chalk paint?

Instead of chalk paint, you can use alternatives like milk paint, mineral paint, or latex paint with added additives to achieve similar effects and finishes.

Is acrylic paint less expensive than chalk paint?

Yes, generally speaking, acrylic paint is less expensive than chalk paint. Chalk paint tends to be higher in cost due to its specialized formulation and popularity among DIY enthusiasts, while acrylic paint is more widely available and competitively priced.

Conclusion – Chalk Paint Vs Acrylic Paint

In comparing these two options, it’s essential to consider your specific project requirements and hoped aesthetics. 

If you’re looking to refurbish furniture or create a shabby dapper appearance, chalk paint offers an effortless application process and distinctive finish. 

However, if you’re focused on producing vibrant, detailed artwork or require a versatile medium for various surfaces, acrylic paint emerges as the clear winner.

Jose Scott

Leave a Comment