DIY – How To Make Chalk Paint

What Is Chalk Paint?

Chalk Paint, the product was created by Annie Sloan and is a formula paint designed to go on nearly anything you could ever desire to paint on the inside or outside with no prepping or sanding. Chalk paint covers easily, dries quickly and helps you achieve a beautiful product, and would be perfect for distressing with very little time and effort.

Chalk paint goes on smooth, dries very quickly and is easily sanded to distress your project for that well-worn look.  It is called chalk paint because it covers each piece with a soft, chalky finish, just perfect for creating an exceptional antique look.

The problem is the product it’s a little pricey at $34.95 and up/ quart.  However, the other wonderful thing about chalk paint is that it is also very easy and inexpensive to make yourself. DIY Chalk Paint.

How to Make Chalk Paint..   There are a number of different ways to DIY – make chalk paint, and everyone has their own preference for which one works best.  Our research found a variety of chalk paint recipes, all are inexpensive and easy to make. This article will provide some step by step instructions on how to make chalk paint using some different products.  One of the most popular chalk paint recipes uses Plaster of Paris. The directions for making chalk paints are about the same for each recipe. Here are a few TOP favorites to try!

First.  Practice painting a scrap board before tackling your first project. When layering different paint colors for a distressed finish, apply a heavier base coat than top coat. Work quickly, as chalk paint will dry fast, immediately remove any particles in the wet paint.

Next, dip a brush into the second color and dab most of the paint onto paper or a rag until the brush is almost dry. Lightly brush color to highlight the raised areas.  After the paint dries, lightly rub the top coat with sandpaper, a sanding sponge, steel wool or dish scrubber to enhance the distressed look.  Then, finish the piece with paste wax!  

Our first recipe is with Plaster of Paris ~ Let’s get started….

Plaster of Paris chalk Paint:

One (1) cup Latex Paint, one (1) and a half Tablespoons Cool Water, and two and one half (2 1/2) Tablespoons of Plaster of Paris.

  • First you mix the plaster and water together until you get a smooth consistency with no lumps.
  • Next pour the plaster and water mixture into the paint and stir well until all of the mixture is dissolved with no lumps; make sure the paint is as smooth as before.
  • The paint will appear at first no different than the basic latex paint you had before, but when the chalk paint dries on the furniture you will begin to see that faint, aged and chalky patina that you are looking for.Baking Soda_IMG_20150311_183605

Plaster of Paris is easy to find, box of Plaster of Paris cost about $5.00, takes little time to mix – under five minutes, and is easy to mix.  The consistency is great and applies like the brand name chalk paint, plus you have flexibility in the colors you create.  No priming and prep time is required, it’s recommended to apply three coats for complete coverage. Clean up is easy – just like latex paint.  The finished look is exactly like a brand name chalk paint. Smooth, chalky and fabulous!

Important Note:  You can always add more or less plaster to suit your taste as well.  This recipe is a conservative one.  If you want a more chalky finish then add some more plaster.  If you want less then add less.  Just experiment and have fun. (I found these Valspar color samples marked down for $1.00 – 7.5 FL Oz).

Baking Soda Chalk Paint:
One (1)cup Latex Paint, three (3) Tablespoons Cool Water, and one half(1/2) Cup Baking Soda – or – 2/3 cup paint and 1/3 cup Baking Soda, then mix well….. It’s perfect if you’re trying to achieve an old weathered, distressed “country” looking piece of furniture.  Baking Soda can be found just about anywhere and cost under $2.00. It will take two to three minutes to mix, will have a grainy look and feel even when mixed thoroughly. No priming or sanding to do and good coverage after two to three coats.  For a distressed look a little sanding will be required. The finished look is chalky, but not quite as smooth as brand name chalk paint.

Don’t forget this mixture will dry fast!  If you are working on a big project, where the paint will be exposed for a long period of time, think about pouring just what you need to paint with into cups to hold while you paint.  This will keep the rest of your paint from getting too thick.

If it does start getting thick you can add a little water to loosen it up but just add slowly until it smooth’s out a little to keep the consistency…..well……..consistent!

Now that you know how to make chalk paint you can easily use your new found skills to try other chalk paint recipes.  Here are two more for you to test.  There is no right or wrong recipe.  Each has its own differences and each may be preferable depending on your project.

Unsanded Grout Chalk Paint:

One Cup Latex Paint, One Tablespoon Cool Water, Two Tablespoons unsanded Grout – or try –

One (1) Cup Paint, two (2) Tbsp. unsanded Grout, and water to mix grout.   Mix the grout with water, when smooth, add the paintdries fast, finish is just as “chalky” as the store bought chalk paint.  Had an odor – so mix in area well vented or outdoors. Grout version turned out very thick. Grout is more expensive about $17.99 for a large 10 pound bag, however, this will last a long time. Grout is easy to find and make sure to purchase white unsanded, if you choose a color it may alter the color you are using. No priming or prep required and it had full coverage after 3 coats. The more water added, the thinner the coverage. Grout mixture will require sanding.  Not as effortless as with a brand name chalk paint, use a dampened cloth and rub.  The finished look is exactly like a brand name chalk paint. Smooth, chalky and lovely.

Calcium carbonate Chalk Paint:

Last, another receipt we found for chalk paint used calcium carbonate.  Did you know that Calcium Carbonate is CHALK?   It makes good sense to use Calcium Carbonate to make Chalk paint….   Calcium Car - NWF802_Xl

Here is what you will need. Mix Calcium Carbonate with two (2) parts paint, and one (1) part Calcium Carbonate.  The Calcium Carbonate mixes into the paint easily, had a perfect consistency, the coverage was amazing!  The paint dried in thirty minutes with a beautiful chalky finish.  The remaining paint can be stored to use again, however, you will need to stir the mixture vigorously before using.  It may be hard to find Calcium Carbonate, so you may want to order it on-line. This product is the least economical, but comparing it to brand name chalk paint, the cost is still less by far. If you do decide to look for this product locally, check with your local pharmacy!  The coverage looks great!  No priming or prep required and the coverage was fantastic. It dried faster than the Plaster of Paris (within 20 minutes) because no water was added.  Fabulous…exactly like brand name chalk paints.

For a distressed look, requires sanding.  Not as effortless as with a brand name chalk paint – will take some rubbing with dampened cloth.   The finished look is exactly like a brand name chalk paint. Smooth, chalky and beautiful!

Now you have it all, your choice to purchase brand name chalk paint – or – explore making Chalk Paint yourself with one of these fun recipes!

Have fun and DIY Chalk Paint….. pj

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