OGDEN — Surrounded by colorful jars labeled with names like Lime Riki and Wolf Grey, Mina Lancaster explained that even though it’s called chalk paint, it’s not the kind of paint you can write on with chalk.
“When you distress it, it powders up and I think that’s why people give it that characteristic of chalk,” she said. “It’s not chalkboard paint. There’s not chalk in it. That’s a different product, but we can help you with that too!”
Lancaster and her business partner Michelle David own and operate 2 Chicks & A Toolbelt, where the specialize in chalk paint. The paint, which dries quickly and can be used to give things an aged appearance, can be used on almost any surface and is therefore ideal for upcycling furniture.
“We love watching people succeed and we have a lot of professional painters who use our paint and a lot of DIY-ers who use our paint,” David said. “Whether you’re selling it or it’s your first time, we treat you the same.”
Lancaster and David met in 2010 when the two moved to the same Kaysville neighborhood. In 2015, they started upcycling and selling furniture out of Michelle’s garage but found the chalk paint they used always lacking.
“We would mix colors because we didn’t like the color choices we had,” David said.
The two took 26 pieces of upcycled furniture to a show in 2016 and sold nearly all of them in the first three hours.
“That entire weekend we had hundreds of people asking us if we sold paint because they just loved the color,” David said. “At first we were like, ’No we don’t sell paint’ ... and by the end of the show we were like ‘OK, we will have paint!’”
After that, the women developed and now sell chalk paint in 45 colors along with two top coats and custom brushes. The paint is available for purchase online and from retailers in several states, but they also opened a store on Riverdale Road in the fall of 2018.
Lancaster said only a handful of brands dominated the chalk paint industry for a long time. That meant there weren’t a lot of fresh new colors on the market until recently. Some companies published color-mixing guides, but Davis said at more than $35 per quart, having to buy multiple colors just to make one can add up quickly. In comparison, a gallon of Quick Cover paint for interior walls costs about $10 at Walmart.
While chalk paint can be costly — 2 Chicks & A Toolbelt sell theirs for $29.99 per quart — it can be used on essentially any surface: glass, metal, resin, cement, fabric, plastic, wood or brick, to name a few. There also isn’t any priming or sanding required and it can be finished with a glossy top coat if it’s naturally matte finish isn’t desired. Lancaster said they’ve even had customers use the paint on a couch.
“It’s pretty foolproof,” Lancaster said.
Lancaster got her start in the DIY world when she and her husband bought their first home and began renovating.
“We bought a house the TV show ‘That ’70s Show’ could have been filmed in,” she said.
Davis simply painted a china hutch red. Once the neighbors saw what she had done, they started asking her to help them with their own home improvement projects.
“We moved around and when you’re military you don’t have a lot of money, so you just make do with what you have,” she said.
Since then, Davis has continued to help other people learn how to give their old furniture new life. The duo now host classes for those interested in chalk paint, refurbishing furniture or small home renovations in general. They also make YouTube videos detailing how to use the paint and will do home consultations.
“There are just a ton of techniques you can cultivate to create a completely different look,” Lancaster said.
Heather Andersen of MRC Restore and Craft met the “chalky chicks” in 2017 and has used their paint since.
“I was amazed — absolutely amazed — by how easy it was to use, how well it self leveled on the furniture and needed very little sanding after it had been painted,” she said.
Andersen upcycles furniture to pay for her children’s activities, like science camp and archery lessons, but said it’s also a source of stress relief. Her favorite shade is Old Lace, an off-white cream color.
“I feel like they’re my friends now because if I have a question I can bounce it off them and they’ll take the time,” she said.
Davis said their business keeps growing because of the quality of their paint and customer service.
“Just because somebody works at the paint counter of a big box store doesn’t mean they’re a paint expert,” she said. “We are.”