Sunday, June 23, 2013

CeCe Caldwell and Annie Sloan: How do they compare?

This is unsolicited opinion based on my personal use of 2 quarts of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and 1 quart of CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint. I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions or reviews. I have never been contacted by either company. The opinions are  my own.

After a day of stripping, I was ready to put some paint on a few tthings! I decided to open my recent purchase of CeCe Caldwell chalk + clay paint. 

There's a new shop just a few blocks from my house - Milk and Honey Style. They carry CCC paint, and a brand of milk paint as well. (I will probably try that next.)

I'd already decided to buy some paint, and then they had a 20 percent-off deal, which took about ten bucks off my purchase price. 

Looking at the label, CeCe's paint is chalk AND clay. It also says, "PAINT MADE EASY."

Hmmm. Sounds promising, so here are my first two test subjects:

1 - a cute little wall shelf I found at the same garage sale where I scored a herd of deer antlers.  I like the gray, but I need it to be white. 

2 - another dusty shelf I found months ago at a thrift store. I finally figured out where I want to use it, and it's going white. I'm not sure, but it might be sprayed black. A closer inspection while dusting and wiping out a few spider eggs  (yuck) looked a tad uneven like un-primed oil spray paint on plywood might look. 


Before I even started painting, there were a couple of things CCC paint had going for it; availability was a biggie. Since Milk and Honey Style is just a few blocks away, I didn't have to buy gas or drive the half hour to the closest ASCP stockist available to me. Hi-five, CeCe!


CeCe's paint is a tad cheaper - maybe 5 bucks from my sources. That's a deal breaker, if everything else is equal. The stockist offered a special 20 percent discount, which I've never heard of with ASCP. Cece wins.

Prep Work

Since both my test subjects have been previously painted with who knows what, they'll be great tests for the claim that it will stick to anything, just like the Annie Sloan paint. 

Both pieces simply got a wipe down with a damp rag. I'll call that one a tie.

Ease of Application

Both paints are very thick, and dilute with water. LOVE that. I used the paint full-strength for my first paint projects, applying it with a sponge roller. I had a cheap brush, which was a tad coarse, and it left heavy brush strokes in the CCC paint. I switched to the sponge roller, and it worked great!
Ease of application is pretty equal between the two paints.


I painted one coat of paint on both pieces. I could tell right away they needed a full second coat. CCC required 2 full coats, and will need another touch-up coat to cover the black piece. ASCP might also require 2 coats over black. 

The photo above is one coat on the gray shelf (back side.)
Below is two coats - a touch up is definitely needed, if not a third coat.

Drying Time

Drying time seems to be shorter for ASCP, though not by a lot. When painting with ASCP, often, a second touch-up coat is ready to be applied once the first coat is done. 

I'm writing this while waiting for a first coat or CeCe's paint to dry. I suspect it's comparable to a lot of latex paints. Annie wins this one.

Ease of Distressing

I was a bit shocked when the sales person said, "You paint, let it dry, then you can distress with a wet rag." While that is less labor intensive than sanding, I wonder about the durability of the CeCe paint. Even with a coat of soft wax, will my shelves fare well in a bathroom?

24 hours after the first coat, I tried the wet rag - well a wet athletic sock orphan. Judge for yourself, then read my opinions:

I didn't mind the look of the tube sock distressing along the edges of the shelves, but when I made a few swipes down the flat planes of the front boards, too much paint came off. I'll definitely be touching that up when I do the third coat.
Yes - the paint comes off with a wet rag. Is that a good thing? In my opinion, no. I also think I have much more control with a piece of sandpaper than a wet rag. Annie wins by a mile on this one.


I have not sealed all my ASCP things, and they're wearing very well. I'd read the paint is fully cured after about a month. I have noticed no extra wear - even on my un-sealed pieces. I think the CCC paint will require a wax or sealer - especially on pieces that will see any amount of wear - chairs, dressers, tables. It might not be required on picture frames or other things that don't get as much wear. Though it will take some time to know for sure, Annie most likely will win this one. I'll let you know in a month or so.

In order to give CeCe the benefit of the doubt, I'll wax the pieces after a third coat, and photograph them. 

I'll let you know how durable it is compared to the ASCP pieces I have painted, which to date are wearing very well.

Web Site and user information

Annie Sloan has TONS of information about how to use the paint in a variety of applications, as well as photos of paint treatments, videos, etc. She speaks to the durability of her paints as well as trouble shooting applying it to unusual surfaces. 

CeCe Caldwell's web site offers mainly info about the "green" aspects of the paint. While non-toxic paint is a good thing, again, it's a matter of priorities. Annie's paint is low VOC as well.

Both sites have access to retailers. In my opinion, Annie's web site is MUCH better.


In my humble opinion today, I think ASCP might be worth a 30 minute drive and $5 bucks extra, since durability is a big factor for me. 

I realize this is not exactly an "apples and apples" comparison, since they're similar paints, but not exactly the same. But it's not apples and oranges either.

CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint vs. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Color Selection
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint - 36
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - 30
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Prep Work
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Ease of Application
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Drying Time
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Ease of Distressing
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Final Analysis = Tie
CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay Paint
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
It all depends which qualities you find more important.
Technically, CCC Paint wins for having 6 more colors than ASCP.
However, the palettes are very similar,
and neither has a full range of bright colors.

    Shelf on left is CeCe Caldwell Vintage White, Chair on right is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old White.

I'll keep painting, finish my entire quart of CeCe Caldwell paint and report back on how many items  I was able to paint with it. (But I probably WILL NOT paint the chest of drawers I was planning to paint with it.) I'll stick to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for that.

Regardless how the paint wears, I'm probably not going to buy another quart of it. I'm an Annie Sloan fan.

To read about my experience with ASCP - go HERE.

Word for the Day:
You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

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farmhouse-story said...

we have both, but, i've only used as, and from your test, i think i'll stick to as:) thanks so much and have a great week!

Sumaya at Evocative Vintage said...

Hi Revi, I made a new bloggie friend in you. Thanks again for following me. Following you back. So happy you made the comparison between ASCP and CeCe and shared it with us. ASCP will be available in South Africa from 1 July and I seriously can't wait to get my hands on it!


Liz @ Quirky Vistas said...

Well, thanks for doing the work for us. That was very interesting. I have never bought either. I always make my own (because I'm cheap and don't want to have to drive somewhere to find some.) I find that the chalk paint I make can also be sanded with a wet rag and I do that for some things, especially when I don't want to go outside. Way less messy. I bet your Annie Sloan paint can also be wet distressed just the same. I'm also finding that I usually need the two coats and touch up on dark pieces. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Your comparison is very interesting to me. I have recently used ASCP and tried Valspar Super Flat as a substitute. I've not used CCC at all but wondered about it. So far, I really like ASCP and the way it handles every surface with no prep. But the price! I bought a few basics and racked up $119. The Valspar is similar, but it's harder to get the dark wax blended. BTW, I love your Word of the Day. :-)
His blessings,
Kim @ Curtain Queen

Clara said...

Thanks Revi. My daughter got me a quart of Annie Sloan for Christmas that I have been saving. I can't wait to paint something on my next day off. I was a little worried.
I have a vintage ironing board, I think I'm going to go for it!
I'll take pictures. Thank you for the inspiration.
Clara from Redeemed Junk and Stuff

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

What an informative post! I had wondered about the comparison but have not used CCC yet. I'll be interested in seeing your follow up!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

This was really helpful as I'm considering painting some pieces that I have for my sleeping porch.

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

Ok. I'm a paint retailer in California and found you on SSS. I stock a new chalk style paint, Old Town Paints and Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint. Nice to be here!

I love product comparisons, especially when it comes to paint! So, let me give my 2 cents worth!

ALL chalk style paints will wet distress. Even Annie Sloan. You can't do it after waxed, but before is fine.

I use a small piece of terry cloth when wet distressing, backed by a finger, to work in small areas. I really like working with 100% cotton when distressing or buffing. You have to wet or dry distress very carefully, or too much paint can come off.

All chalk paints are designed to have a top coat of wax, or a polyacrylic (sealant) of some kind. Otherwise, they are subject to water stains and have a chalky feel to them. I love the feel of a waxed piece of furniture, but polyacrylic is perfect for outdoor pieces.

Price is a big deal. There are some great chalk style paints being made right now, throughout the U.S., for under $30 a quart, with great results.

Happy Painting,

Wild Oak Designs said...

I love the unsolicited opinions! That is the kind we need to see.....Around here, I can't find CCC, and I can find ASCP. So, it is nice to hear your opinion!
Thank you

Connie in Hartwood said...

I tried CCC paint a few months ago, because I have a retailer close by and the colors are really great. Like you, distressing took off WAY too much paint for my liking ... I had virtually no control over it, as the paint practically dissolved and wiped off the cabinet door I had painted the day before. Disgusted with the results, and not willing to risk a new product that I no longer had faith in, it only took a moderate scrubbing with a kitchen scrubber to take ALL of the CCC paint off of that cabinet door! I mixed up a similar custom color with ASCP (which I have used on many pieces over the last two years). I say, don't waste your money on CCC. (no affiliation with either company here. Just a very seasoned refinisher/do-it-yourselfer.)

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Great info Revi. I have only tried ASCP and homemade. I wanted to try CECE but the only place that I know carries it around here was closed. So I used AS again. It is right down the road from me and very convenient. I still wonder if the wax protects that much. Guess time will tell. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Anonymous said...

Our local Annie Sloan Chalk paint stockist is the person who Instructed me 1st on damp cloth distressing. That is the only way she does it. They all come off the same with a damp cloth once dry.

Anonymous said...

Great comparison--but to be fair I think you should check out the ASCP MSDS sheet--very toxic toxic...

chris from midwest cottge and finds said...

I love wet distressing! It is one of my favorite techniques..the tip is to use a small piece of cloth and do not have it too is a post of some of the pieces I have wet distressed--keep trying--it is my new obsession!!

Jayme said...

I have use both. I will go back to Annie Sloan. The Cece Caldwell's in my opinion does not have the coverage and chips very easily. It sometimes need touch ups before you can even wax. Tried used the spray bottle technique with water to make it smooth. It didn't work with Cece Caldwell's. Not happy at all. It may not be a bad paint, but I don't care for it at all. Annie Sloan is so much easier to work with. It took so much Cece Caldwell paint to paint a very small nightstand, about half a quart of one color and about half a quart of the contrast color. You won't save money because of this.

Unknown said...

I have used both paints and would like to point out that these paints cannot be used like latex. They are an entirely different animal. Be sure to go to a dealer who will give you a brief demo (they should for free) of the product before you use it or you will not get the benefits of the paint. You cannot simply paint a piece of furniture with it using your knowledge of how to paint with latex. You often need special brushes and the sealers are very important. The sealers are part of the paint process with these chalk paints. Be sure to check out a local dealer and get the help you need so you can truly enjoy this type of paint.

Anonymous said...

After comparing the Material Safety Data Sheets, I would much prefer using CeCe Caldwell Chalk & Clay Paints. They are non flammable. And, as many pointed out, the paint is unlike latex and must be applied with the proper brushes and sealed to get quality results.