Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DIY Chalk Paint

I've been in an experimental mood. (Somewhere my Mother is shuttering; thinking about all of the toilet bowl  experiments I did as a child!) My experimental mood does not come from wanting to see what happens when you mix bleach with ammonia.  No, it's coming from the DIYer inside that says "I can make that!" As you may know, I've been playing  with chalk paint a lot lately. I like chalk paint because it's so darn easy to use. Ordinary paint requires so much prep! Sanding and priming and sanding and painting and sealing! Ahhhhh! Too much work!

Chalk paint adheres to most any surface without sanding or priming and then it distresses so nicely, making furniture look like its worn in and loved. Isn't that sweet? Well, Chalk paint is great, but paying for it can mean rearranging the month budget to afford it. At about $40 a quart, it's not easy justifying that to the hubby!

There are ways; magical ways around paying $40 for a quart of paint. No, it doesn't involve coupons or theft. You make it yourself!

It's easier that you'd think to whip up a batch of home-made brew. I'm going to tell you a way I did it that cost me ZERO dollars! ZERO!

First things first. Go to your garage or your scary basement and find your left-over cans of paint. Find the colors you love that are in the same color family. Remember the color wheel folks; opposites on the color wheel make poop brown! Mix your colors together to the desired results and remember this is not an exact science, so don't stress!

(Scary Basement)

 After you've mixed the color you like, take it to your laboratory for further mixing. To achieve the chalkiness of chalk paint, you need a chalk-like medium. Here, you have two options that work well: Baking soda and Plaster of Paris. I'm going to use the later because I have it and quite frankly I like it better.  Baking soda has more of a gritty consistency than the Plaster of Paris and in the final step requires a lot more sanding than I'm willing to do.
I had a bag of Plaster of Paris leftover from one of those stepping stone kits the kids got for Christmas.  The hole bag was equal to 2 cups; that was the perfect amount to mix with the half gallon of paint I threw together. Again, I didn't stress so much about the ratio of paint to powder. I feel as long as it's still dripping from the stir and not all clumped up like bread dough, then were batting .300!
Mix the powder with the paint but understand that there will be little clumps in the paint and that no amount of mixing will change that. Believe me, I got out the immersion blender and mix for several minutes and still had little clumps!

I store my paint in glass jars. This works for all kinds of left-over paint. I've read that it will keep up to five years if stored in a jar rather than a can!
Application of this paint is just like with Annie Sloan or CC Caldwell; just start painting.
Let dry and paint again. When it's completely dry run a fine grit sand paper over the surface very lightly to remove the little pieces of undissolved Plaster if Paris. Then distress and wax and you're done!!


  1. Ya know that "I can do that myself" attitude came from me. Excellent mixing Dr. Watson. I knew all those secret experiments in the bathroom when you were young would pay off. Just sayin...

  2. What did you wax the furniture with?

    1. I use Minwax clear furniture wax. I've never tried the product that CC Caldwell or Annie Sloan make. Someday I'll give it a try, but I find the cheap old Minwax stuff works well enough!

  3. I like to use unsanded grout instead of plaster of paris, hint to get the lumps out... mix the grout with some water first, let it sit for a few minutes and mix again. Then add your paint. I think this helps to let all of the glue like characteristics of the grout come out, and makes for a very durable finish. And, of course, finish with the Minwax wax (I'm too cheap for AS too).

  4. Why do you put wax on it? If i were to make this and paint it on the inside of my armoire door, my craft area, do you think i should still wax it? i want to be able to write little ideas and notes with chalk on it.

  5. I have been wanting to use chalk paint but couldnt afford Annie Sloan. Thak You So Much.

  6. Does it need to be a certain kind of paint...meaning eggshell, flat, semi gloss, etc..?

  7. ...and more you prime before painting & if so, with what?

  8. You do not have to prime or sand with chalk paint or DIY chalk paint.

  9. Awesome tip on the jars. I don't have any mason jars, but I wonder if emptied pasta sauce jars might suffice for a shorter period of time. I can only imagine that they'd do better than the tupperware I have been using, and ruining my DIY paint with... anywho... I just wanted to share that I use a similar recipe, however I mix my plaster of pair with an equal part of hot water. This yields a pancake batter like texture of plaster of Paris that mixes with the paint quite easily. No clumps, happy creativity. M

  10. Does this method work with all types of left over paint? eg; gloss/emulsion etc..thank you

  11. Perhaps if you used a flour sifter for the plaster or whatever powder you add, it would also remove the clumps before you begin?

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