Can You Use a Roller with Chalk Paint

Typically, DIY enthusiasts prefer to use chalk paint brushes to apply chalk paint. And while chalk paint brushes have their benefits, foam rollers are certainly more efficient. 

Fortunately, you can use a foam roller with chalk paint. Not only can they make painting more efficient, but they help to create a perfectly even finish. However, you will need to use a brush on the areas of your furniture that aren’t completely flat.

This post discusses how to use a roller and brush for chalk paint furniture projects.

How to use a foam roller with chalk paint

Applying chalk paint with a foam roller is nearly the same as with regular latex paint:

  1. Pour a bit of chalk paint into a paint tray
  2. Lightly roll the foam roller in the paint tray until the roller is covered in paint. Roll the rollers along the dry upper end of the paint try to get rid of any excess paint. You don’t want the roller to be dripping in paint when you apply the roller to the furniture.
  3. Lightly mist the foam roller with water a few times. Chalk paint is thick compared to regular latex paint so it can be arduous to spread without thinning it out a bit. 
  4. Roll the foam roller on a flat surface of the furniture. Use long even strokes in the same general direction to cover the surface with paint. You shouldn’t need to exert much pressure to spread the paint around.
  5. Reapply paint to the foam roller when needed. Once you see that the paint isn’t spreading anymore, it’s time to reapply. Be sure to mist your foam roller to spread the paint more easily. 

When to use a foam roller with chalk paint

In many ways, foam rollers are superior to brushes when it comes to applying chalk paint. However, you can only use a foam roller to apply chalk paint under certain circumstances.

For one, you can only use a foam roller on completely flat surfaces. Since foam rollers are completely flat themselves, they aren’t good for applying paint to rounded surfaces, or wood with grooves, or indents.

That being said, the following furniture surfaces are appropriate for a foam roller:

  • Dresser tops
  • Sides of a dresser
  • Drawer fronts
  • Wooden chair seats
  • Table tops
  • Desk tops
  • Square legs of desks, chairs, and tables

Any similarly flat surfaces like these would be great for a foam roller.

Related: Can you use Chalk Paint Straight Over Varnish

When to use a brush (instead of a foam roller) for chalk paint

Given how efficient foam rollers are, you might want to use them all the time.

However, there are certain surfaces where a brush would be a much better choice. Any surfaces that aren’t completely flat warrant a brush. The bristles of brushes are designed to conform to the shape of any surface you are painting. That being said, brushes are great for applying paint for the etchings, indents, and irregular or round surfaces that rollers just aren’t suited for.

You should use a brush on the following surfaces instead of a foam roller:

  • Rounded table, desk, or dresser legs
  • Any grooves or indents in furniture for artistic effect
  • Rounded wood drawer pulls
  • Rounded edges of table tops, dresser tops, or desk tops
  • Any ornamental etchings in wood

You should also use a brush in areas that are hard to reach, such as the inner sides of the dresser legs. Foam rollers are a bit too big and clunky for areas such as these.

Additionally, you should always use a brush in areas that require fine motor control and attention to detail. For instance, if you are doing a touch-up job and need to carefully apply a little bit of paint to specific areas, a brush is the way to go.

Related: How to Thin Chalk Paint

Benefits of using a foam roller for chalk paint

There are numerous benefits to using a foam roller with chalk paint such as:


  • Efficiency: You can be relatively more efficient with a roller than with a brush. As long as the roller is well coated with paint, with a single roll, you can easily cover two square feet of surface with paint. You would need at least a few brush strokes with a brush to cover the same surface area.
  • Smooth finish: Possibly the greatest benefit of foam rollers is they create an absolutely flawless finish (when used properly). Even if you are using the best quality self-leveling paint, and the best quality brush, chances are that you will still see brush strokes in your furniture. A roller ensures that the finish is perfectly smooth.
  • Coverage: With a foam roller, you can really get the most out of your paint. Foam rollers are great at spreading paint over the largest amount of area possible. The great thing about chalk paint is that by misting the paint with water, you can thin it out and spread it even more.

What kind of roller should you use with chalk paint?

There are a few types of rollers that are often used on furniture. However, for the smoothest finish, high-density foam rollers are recommended. For instance, these Nanja foam rollers (available here on Amazon) work well and are very affordable. 

High-density foam rollers leave a smooth, untextured finish, while flocked foam rollers can leave a stippled texture.

Depending on the size of the furniture you are painting, you may want to use a four-inch mini roller or a six-inch roller.

Small roam rollers are great for taking care of the edges of drawer faces and other small or narrow areas that you need to be careful with.

Foam rollers on the larger side are good for covering as much surface area as possible relatively quickly such as a dresser top.



What Surfaces Can You Use Chalk Paint On

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