First, we need to talk about the word ‘CHALK‘ and the word ‘PAINT.’ CHALK, in this instance, is any kind of alkaline substance added to paint in order to break down the elasticity of the paint, but increase its ability to stick to surfaces. This can be accomplished by any number of substances, from calcium carbonate to plaster of paris, and so many other ingredients in between. When you use any of the million formulas available on the internet together, you can create your own CHALK + PAINT. I even host a class on this fun DIY process.
Now, here is where the confusion lies. Annie Sloan (a designer, painter, and VERY savvy business woman) created her own recipe for her line of these CHALK + PAINT paints many moons ago and recently trademarked the name “Chalk Paint”. IMHO, it’s like McDonalds suing anything with a “Mc” in front of it. The Irish would argue they had a claim to that prefix long before a burger joint, BUT did they trademark it? NOPE. Sad but true. But I digress…
Annie Sloan (AS) has a fabulous line of paints and waxes and idea books. I only bemoan her choice to trademark because now I have to come up with clever ‘insert-able’ words every time I want to describe an ancient product (yes, cave drawings were basically CHALK+ PAINT) where the regular household term would have sufficed. AS would probably argue that she made it a household term, but my personal experience is that I knew of CHALK+PAINT before I knew of her paints.
Now, I hold Renegade Chalk “Style” Paint parties and refer to my furniture as being painted in Chalk-ish Paint. It gets kinda silly if you ask me. When a new member of the Tanglewood team described one of our class as a “Chalk Paint class” without a clever insertion word, I didn’t catch it before I went to a local AS retailer to get some new wax. (I told you that I like her wax). The owner of the business is a B2B friend of mine (as in we don’t really hang out, but we have a friendly competition and good rapport and respect for each other). Well, she greeted me warmly, as always, but then, in hushed tones, mentioned my online transgression in the use of her trademarked term. There were no big burly guys standing behind her with bats or anything, just two ladies buying paint brushes (which if you squinted real hard could have been menacing, I guess), but I still felt like the hammer was coming down.
So, that’s the deal. Annie Sloan has her own line of “Chalk Paint,” but many other types of CHALK + PAINT lines exist. Now that CHALK+PAINT is becoming ever more popular, the really big players, like Home Depot, Lowe’s and even Target, are getting into the act. It will be kinda fun to see how many ways this simple paint formula will be described in order to get the most buyers of the product. Some names I might recommend include: “Paint a la Chalk,” “The Paint Formally known as…,” “Picture a piece of chalk and a blob of paint symbol,” or “The Paint that Must Not Be Named”…
For me, I will stick with using leftover paint mixed with calcium carbonate or plaster of paris and call it a day.
Come on over, and I’ll show you how.