The Chalk Paint Story

Preparations are afoot for a big party to celebrate 25 years of Chalk Paint™ decorative paint this autumn. Since I first started to make my paint in 1990, I’ve gone from selling through one small shop in Oxfordshire to almost 1,500 independent shops around the world (including 49 in Canada!).

Annie Sloan mixing Burgundy Chalk Paint_photo by Penny Millar

As one of Home Trends’ newest design bloggers, I am looking forward to sharing ideas and projects with you and  I wanted to start by telling you a little bit more about my story and how I came to create my own paint range 25 years ago. I’m a fine artist and a painter by trade, and through the 1980s I wrote about decorative paint and taught painting techniques. I had been thinking about making my own paint for a long time and was always experimenting with ideas and paints. In the late 80s, I traveled to The Netherlands to teach a workshop and happened to mention to one of my students over dinner that I wanted to make my own paint. He said he knew of a factory in Belgium. I went straight there on my way home to England. It took a little while to get the formula right, but they were so generous with their time. Several months later, my paint was made!

I’d been using a wide range of traditional and modern paints for years, and while they had various benefits, they also had issues. None of them ticked all the boxes for me. When I developed my own paint, I had a whole list of things I wanted it to do. I’m notoriously impatient and I wanted to create a paint that you could use on furniture quickly, without having to prime first!

English Yellow_side table  EnglishYellow_OpenLid copy

I had three young boys under 7 at the time, so I had very little time to decorate. I wanted a fast turn around – paint in the morning, then wax and put back in position in the afternoon.

Paint used to be always in the hands of men who love to follow rules when it comes to decorating. Women, on the other hand, have a just-have-to-get-on-with-it attitude. My paint, Chalk Paint™, allows you to take all sorts of liberties. You can be immediate and spontaneous. Just let your gut show you the way to go!

Antibes Green_side table AntibesGreen_Drip1

Chalk Paint™ is so flexible; if you paint something one colour and decide that it’s not quite right after, you can simply paint straight over it or put a wash over it to lighten it a little. You can paint on more or less anything – old and new wood, metal, matte plastic, cement, bricks – indoors or outdoors. I’m always amazed at the things people find to paint!

I designed my range to follow an artist’s paintbox. There are 33 colours in the range and they can be mixed together to make many more. You can make them paler, darker, warmer or cooler – there are no limits!


The other thing that makes my paint special is the people who sell it. I am absolutely committed to supporting small independent shops. All my stockists have bricks and mortar stores and they are each unique! My stockists are trained as colour experts and have created beautiful environments where you can get hands on paint and try mixing colours yourself.

It’s a different approach to paint, perhaps, but it’s my approach.

Annie Sloan - signature logo tm

Written by Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan

One of the world’s most respected paint and colour experts, Annie Sloan brings decades of expertise – and plenty of style – to her hugely popular line of decorative paint, Chalk Paint™.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, Chalk Paint™ is a unique, eco-friendly, formula that sticks to just about any surface – inside and outside the home – without the need for priming or sanding. Inspired by 18th and 20th century décor and design, the range comprises over 30 decorative and historic colours, which combine well to provide an even larger colour palette. With a brand new line of stencils, fabrics, brushes, waxes to provide protection and durability to painted projects, and other finishing products, Annie’s inspirations are transforming more and more homes every day.

While growing the range, Annie also finds time to swap paintbrush for pen. Her 24 books on decorative painting, with a 25th due to come out later this year, have sold well over 2 million copies and are giving people the world over the skills and confidence to get creative.

A passionate supporter of small businesses, Annie only sells her products through independent shops. She encourages each of her tight-knit group of global Stockists to be individual and inspiring in their ventures and – like the lovers of her paints and products – to find their own Annie Sloan.

Annie trained as a fine artist and turned to decorative work after university in the mid -1970s while painting murals in houses as commissions. By 1987, Annie had written the phenomenally successful book ‘The Complete Book of Decorative Paint Techniques’ which is considered to be the industry bible on the subject. Unable to find the paints that she wished to work with, Annie used her knowledge of colour, paint, pigments and art history and invented Chalk Paint™ in 1990.

In 2000 Annie set up a shop in Oxford to showcase Chalk Paint™, run courses, and offer interior design services. More books followed and there are now nearly 1,500 Stockists around the world, with 43 Stockists in Canada and growing, and an ever-expanding portfolio of complementary products.

2 thoughts on “The Chalk Paint Story

  1. Tell me more
    open a stockist.
    got my own gallery ay home.
    Can i sell from there and give classes?
    What about trai inig.
    classes for teen

  2. Hello Albie, We’ll pass your question on to Annie. Thank you!

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