As a New Year has just begun, I am going to put it out to the universe (now known as the World Wide Web) that I am going to blog more this coming year. I plan to bring back Mixology Monday and Social Saturday. I am not saying that you will see an installment of both each week! It will probably be more like once a month for each. I also hope to share more tips and tricks with you. Pretty much, we will be getting back to the basics. I thought I would start today with the first segment of a series about a hotly debated issue that surrounds furniture painting. PREP! In this issue, we will define what the prep Chalk + Clay Paint by CeCe Caldwell’s is, as well as what it is not.

The Basics

The Prep Edition – Part 1: What is  Chalk + Clay Paint Prep?



How much prep is needed before painting a piece of furniture? Is there such a thing as too much prep? Can you really just wipe the dust off and start painting? This subject really is debated – even what is considered prep is debated!  All of those questions will be answered in this post and upcoming ones.


         What is PREP?



Let me start my venture across this hot bed of coals with ‘what is prep’?

When I have had ‘the prep’ discussion with others it often comes down to where the person draws the lines between what is a repair, what is cleaning and what is prep.   For example, filling a deep scratch with wood puddy to me is a repair.

Deep scratches and heavy brush strokes from previous paint jobs will not be corrected by a coat of paint.

Deep scratches and heavy brush strokes from previous paint jobs will not be corrected by a coat of paint.


To me, if am working to returning a piece of furniture to useable condition that is a “repair”. Removing dirt, spider webs, grease, stickers and dust is cleaning. Once it has been repaired and cleaned, what I have to do to make it ready for the first layer of paint, that is “the prep”. To others, prep is anything you do to the piece of furniture, prior to putting a paintbrush loaded with paint on it. It is all in how one categorizes things.  I believe each different process deserves its own title.

The reason, I, as a paint manufacturer, break the process into segments, is not all pieces of furniture need repairs, prior to painting. Some may need no additional cleaning, aside from dust removal.  (Okay, I don’t run across many that don’t need a good scrub, but there are some out there.) Given the limited amount of space on a product label, most manufactures will use the label for what ALL customers should do.  For example, on our label, we state to stir the paint well and to decant it from the original container.  Those are the two most important instructions on our label and so many people fail to follow them!  There is no need for use to say, fill scratches and old screw holes with wood filler, as many users will not have scratches or wood holes to fill.


There are certain things that must be addressed, if needed, prior to that first coat of paint, because paint is not magic.


So, let me share with you what paint, alone, will not do properly.

  • Paint will not remove dirt, grime, or germs. It may cover them up, but it will not remove them. Failure to remove dirt and grime can cause your paint not to adhere well.
  • Paint will not fill scratches, dents and holes with a standard coat or two of coverage.
  • Paint will not cover up heavy brush stokes from a previous paint job.
  • Paint will not block the smell of cigarettes, smoke, or urine odors.
  • Paint will not cover and block grease, oils or candle wax.
  • Paint will not stop or eliminate mold or mildew.
  • Paint will not stop the previous finish (paint or stain) from flaking or  chipping if it is already doing so or is about to begin.
  • Paint will not repair wobbly bits.

You can call it cleaning, repairs or prep; all of the above must be addressed, before you paint, if you expect good results.


So, what do you need to do prior to painting a piece of used furniture with CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk + Clay Paints to ensure GOOD results? Make all needed repairs to the structure and surface of the piece. Make sure furniture is clean, free from dirt, grime, mold, mildew, grease, silicone and oils. Then paint!

But wait … there’s more! 

Well, that works most of the time. In the next edition of The Prep, I will share with you some reasons why and some times when you may want to do more that the standard repair and clean (THAT would be PREP in my dictionary!), prior to painting.