Chalk Paint Too Thick: Thinning Chalk Paint for Spraying

Chalk paint is all the rage.  It leaves an amazing finish on your DIY projects.  Before spraying it, you must know that chalk paint is actually too thick for spraying.  

Thinning chalk paint for spraying is required.  Chalk paint is amazing, you can rub it with wax, or age it, its a super diverse way of finishing your wood projects. 

So let me show you how to solve the problem when you chalk paint is too thick for your paint sprayer.  

chalk paint too thick
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Thinning Chalk Paint for Spraying

Chalk paint is too thick to spray directly out of the can.  Most paints are.  You even have to water down and thin latex paint for spraying.  That’s because the nozzle on your paint sprayer is made to combine air and paint and spray it out in a fan pattern.  Paint needs to be thin to spray through your nozzle or tip.  

If your chalk paint is too thick, it will either come out of your nozzle in clumps onto your projects or clog the nozzle all together.  This can result in ruining your paint sprayer.  Even Annie Slaon Chalk Paint needs to be thinned with water for it to be sprayed and to get those Pro results your working hard for.

How Much Water to Thin Chalk Paint?

Thinning chalk paint is just like thinning other types of latex paint.  The first step is to read the manufacturers instructions on the can.  They may have directions as to how much water to use to thin their chalk paint for the best results.  The worst situation is when a paint can’t be thinned, but that is so rare, you shouldn’t worry about it.

If there aren’t any thinning instructions here are our basic instructions for thinning paint with water until you get the best consistency with your paint for spraying.

How do You Thin Chalk Paint for a Spray Gun? 

Thinning Chalk paint for your sprayer guarantees your paint flows smoothly through your paint sprayer. 

Be sure to grab the following materials before thinning chalk paint: 

You’ll also want to have your preferred chalk paint available. Once you’re ready to get to work, you’ll want to follow the steps below.

Chalk Paint Too Thick: Here’s How to Thin it with Water

#1. Pour all of your chalk paint into the bucket that you intend to use for that day. 

#2. Add ½ cup of water to the paint for every gallon of paint that was placed in the bucket. 

#3. Mix the paint and water thoroughly with a clean stirring stick. 

#4. Check the consistency of your paint by running it through the funnel. 

If the thinned chalk paint is able to flow freely through the funnel, then you have the correct consistency.  

Sometimes, you will need to add more water.  If that’s the case, add 1/8 of a cup at a time and mix, until your chalk paint flows through your funnel freely.

Once you add some water to chalk paint, the consistency or color might change.  Also, it will take more coats to get the same amount of coverage that you would if you used a brush or roller.

Thinning chalk paint uses the same procedure as with other types of water based paints like latex, which we discuss in detail in this post.

If your looking for a viscosity cup, here is a link.  

How to Measure Chalk Paint Viscosity

Here are the steps to measure paint viscosity for a spray gun:

  • Prepare the paint: Stir the paint thoroughly to ensure it is well-mixed. If the paint is too thick, add some solvent or thinner according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Do not add too much solvent or thinner, as this can affect the quality and performance of the paint.
  • Pour the paint into the viscosity cup: Fill the viscosity cup with the paint, making sure it is completely full.
  • Measure the viscosity: Hold the viscosity cup level and allow the paint to flow out through the small hole. Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes for the paint to flow out of the cup. The viscosity is determined by the time it takes for the paint to flow out of the cup, which is measured in seconds.
  • Adjust the spray gun: Once you know the viscosity of the paint, you can adjust the spray gun accordingly. If the paint is too thick, you may need to increase the pressure or use a larger tip size. If the paint is too thin, you may need to decrease the pressure or use a smaller tip size.
  • Repeat the process: It is important to measure the viscosity of the paint periodically, especially if you are using a large quantity of paint or if the temperature or humidity changes. This will help ensure that the paint is always at the optimal viscosity for the spray gun.

Oops, My Chalk Paint is Too Thin Now!

Never fear.  If you over-thinned your chalk paint, go ahead and add back some paint, a 1/2 cup at a time and mix thoroughly, until it’s thickened back up, just enough for spraying.

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When you chalk paint is too thick, you will have to thin it if you plan on painting your project with a paint sprayer.  Just add a bit of water and stir to get it to the right consistency following our directions above.  Happy Painting!


Do I have to buy a special paint sprayer to spray chalk paint?

Chalk paint is latex based and thicker than regular latex paint so you probably need to thin it before spraying. Check out our post for the best latex paint sprayers to pick a spray gun for you.