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How to Repaint Chalkware

Updated February 21, 2017

Chalkware typically refers to the small statues and figures that were popular in homes during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chalkware is similar in appearance and texture to plaster. Because they are relatively heavy for their size, it was not uncommon for chalkware items to become chipped or otherwise damaged. Since chalkware pieces are often considered collectable, they may need touching up or repainting to maintain their value.

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  1. Wipe the chalkware piece gently with the soft cloth to remove surface oil and dirt. Avoid rubbing too hard, as the original paint of the chalkware piece can be easily worn away.

  2. Brush any detailed areas, cracks and crevices of the piece with a soft paintbrush to remove dirt residue. Use the paintbrush to remove chipped or peeling paint from the piece.

  3. Mix the paint colours together on a disposable plate until the proper colour has been created. Brush a small amount of the mixed paint onto a clean section of the paper plate.

  4. Allow the paint sample dry, and examine the colour result. If it appears different than the paint you are trying to match, remix the paint and repeat this process until the proper colour has been created.

  5. Lightly paint the areas that need repair using the paint you have mixed. Tap the paint onto the piece rather than brushing it. Paint only a light layer over the damaged areas.

  6. Allow the painted areas to dry, and observe the results. If more opacity is desired, repeat step five once more.

  7. Tip

    Do not worry over dirt that may remain in the deep areas of the piece, as this will not detract from the value of the chalkware and will not harm the paint. If desired, the entire surface of the chalkware piece can be repainted using this method. To give the piece an appearance similar to its original painted surface, paint several light coats of paint rather than one heavy coat.


    Do not attempt to clean your chalkware piece with water, as exposure to water can cause the piece to disintegrate.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Soft paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint in the appropriate colour
  • Disposable plate

About the Author

Melissa Busse is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, including natural health and beauty, budget balancing and parenting. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Maryville University in St. Louis.

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