Mud Paint vs Chalk Paint: The Key Differences

If you’ve been in the DIY furniture-flipping scene for a while now, you’d know that chalk paint is the paint of choice for many DIYers. It’s easy to work with, doesn’t require a ton of prep work, and the clean-up is easy too. And let’s not forget the chalky matte finish it has that gives the painted surface an aged look.

But have you heard of mud paint? Similar to chalk paint, it’s a water-based paint that doesn’t require much prep work. It has a lovely vintage finish too, but unlike chalk paint, it’s not chalky but rather smooth.

That’s not the only difference between the two though.

In this post, let’s discuss mud paint vs chalk paint.


Chalk paint and mud paint are both water-based paints commonly used for painting furniture.

Mud paint is water and clay-based, using natural earthen materials for its makeup. It has a smooth matte finish. On the other hand, chalk paint is made with base paint (typically latex paint) and a thickening agent such as calcium carbonate or plaster of Paris. It has a chalky matte finish.

mud paint vs chalk paint chart

What Is Mud Paint?

Mud paint is a water and clay-based paint specifically made for furniture, particularly wood furniture. Also, it’s made to be environmentally friendly. It doesn’t use any harsh chemicals in its creation. Rather, it uses natural earthen materials and natural pigments.

Mud paint is much thicker compared to other furniture paints. Because of this, a single coat might be enough to cover the furniture in some cases (though it certainly wouldn’t hurt to apply another coat for added durability). It also has excellent coverage.

When mud paint dries, it has a smooth matte finish which gives the painted furniture a vintage appearance. It distresses well with sandpaper too, which is great if you want to give your wood furniture an even more aged look.

Since it adheres so well to wood, you can sometimes get away without priming the surface when applying mud paint. However, mud paint doesn’t work well with non-porous surfaces. So if the wood furniture you’re working on has a slick, shiny, or smooth finish, you will have to apply a primer first.

Mud paint can be applied with a brush, roller, or paint spray, which makes it versatile paint. Although it was formulated as furniture paint, you can also use it on other things such as walls, miniature dolls, pots, etc.

Related: Chalk Paint Techniques and Tips for Furniture

What Is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint was invented by the paint company Annie Sloan in 1990, though many paint brands have come up with their own version since then. Although the composition of chalk paint varies from brand to brand, it’s typically made up of base paint (typically latex paint), a thickening agent (e.g. calcium carbonate, plaster of Paris), and water.

It’s a water-based paint that doesn’t require much prep work and can easily be cleaned up with soap and water. You can apply it with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer.

While chalk paint is typically used for furniture, it can be used on other surfaces such as walls or floors. When dry, it has a chalky matte finish that gives the painted surface a naturally worn look. Chalk paint also distresses easily, giving you a world of possibilities on how to personalize your painted piece.

The one thing that holds chalk paint back though is its durability. While it’s fine to leave your chalk paint bare, it won’t last as long as other furniture paints. You’d have to protect it with a top coat such as polycrylic or chalk paint wax. Doing so will significantly extend the life of your chalk paint.

Since chalk paint can adhere to both porous and non-porous surfaces, you can usually get away with not priming the surface you’ll be painting on. Still, make sure to clean and sand the surface to ensure proper adhesion.

Related: What is Mineral Paint? (+ Best Brands to Look for)

Mud Paint Vs Chalk Paint: Price

According to, Mud Paint costs $2.95 to $38.95 depending on the container size. It comes in 4oz, 8oz, 16oz, and 32oz (1 quart) cans. As for chalk paint, the prices vary depending on the brand. For example, a quart of Anne Sloan chalk paint will typically cost you around $42, though other chalk paint brands can go lower or higher than that. If you want the most budget option, you can create your own chalk paint with latex paint, water, and calcium carbonate.

It’s to be noted though the chalk paint costs more than just the paint itself if you want it to be durable. You’d have to add in the cost of a sealer or top coat. Mud paint has relatively better coverage and durability as it doesn’t always need to be sealed.

Other Key Differences

The most obvious difference between chalk paint and mud paint is their finish. While both have a matte finish which gives the painted surface or furniture a vintage appearance, chalk paint is chalky matte while mud paint is smooth matte.

Mud paint has a much thicker and creamier consistency than chalk paint. This is what allows it to have better coverage. It’s also more durable than chalk paint. However, it’s still recommended that you seal both chalk paint and mud paint with a protective topcoat for added protection.

Related: 5 Excellent Clay-Based Paint Brands

Mud Paint and Chalk Paint Brands

Mud paint currently only has one commercial brand available, which is aptly named MudPaint (visit It comes in 39+ colors, which you can mix to create more. You can directly purchase MudPaint from their website.

The original chalk paint is available at Annie Sloan (visit Aside from chalk paint, they also offer other products such as chalk paint wax and chalk paint brush. Their website is also a treasure trove of tips and tricks that you can apply when applying chalk paint.

Dixie Belle is another great chalk paint brand. It has zero VOCs and contains no harsh chemicals or additives. You can purchase Dixie Belle products directly from their website. They also have a nifty tool that lets you search local retailers near your location.

If you want the most budget-friendly commercial chalk paint option, you can go with Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint. It’s sold widely throughout the United States, which makes it very accessible. It’s a good option for those who want to dabble in the world of chalk paint but can’t afford the price tag of other chalk paint brands.



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