I get so many questions about homemade chalk paint. I decided I’d finally write a post. Since this is the only recipe I’ve ever actually written for chalk paint, I can title it as I did.
There are some amazing chalk paint products available for purchase. I started the Furniture Renewal adventure with a name brand paint. It costs approximately $40/quart. Now, hold on a minute-don’t get so excited. That quart will cover a lot of area. I painted 2 coats on a 6 drawer chest, a 7 drawer lingerie chest, and a 9 drawer dresser with less than one quart–2 coats! So it really lasts. It’s incredibly smooth too.
But, I’m, ahem, ‘frugal’ and started delving into making my own. I’ve used chalk, grout, plaster-of-Paris, and even a little bag of white stuff purchased at a boutique as an additive. I have figured out how to make it almost as smooth as commercial products, and it covers just as much area. I’ve learned a lot, so here is a summary of what I’ve learned including a recipe.
- paint (acrylic or latex)
- plaster of Paris (it’s my favorite for cost and consistency)
- a jar of water (to keep on hand for thinning as you paint)
- plastic bowl (I use inexpensive ‘throw-away’ containers)
- paint brush
- iTunes (painting is more fun when you can sing along)
It’s so simple! Pour paint into the plastic bowl. I’d say about 2 cups is the max you should mix at a time. Adding about 1/2 tbsp at a time, whisk in approximately 4 tbsp of plaster of Paris. By adding it slowly, you will assure a smooth paint mixture. Clumps are bad. Duh.
After mixing that: you can begin painting. That’s it.
As far as finishing the furniture…well thats a whole other ball of wax (technically it’s a can of wax). I’ll write about that later.
No sanding, no stripping necessary! This stuff will adhere to almost any surface. Peruse my portfolio and check out some of the things I’ve painted. I recommend wiping down whatever you are painting with a damp cloth first to remove cobwebs and ick. If you are painting fabric, wet it down first.
Things I’ve learned:
- Mix only a little bit of paint at a time (see instructions above). You can’t pour paint and plaster of Paris in a mason jar then shake vigorously to mix. It’ll look a bit like flubber. Especially if it’s green paint. Not that I’ve tried.
- When your husband is fixing the disposal that you may or may not have broken, and you have to ‘help’, you can’t leave your paint mixture setting and expect to come back in a couple hours because you had to clean up water, fix dinner, do dishes, and may or may not have forgotten you were in the middle of a painting project. If you *do* have to step away from painting, place a wet towel over your paint bowl and you can come right back to it. Even overnight.
- As you paint, the mixture will get thicker. CALM DOWN. Add a little water to the bowl and whisk it around. You may add a little plaster of Paris too. Then a little paint. Then a little water. This isn’t chemistry. Or rocket science. Or an exact science. It’s art. You are an artist. The water and plaster of Paris won’t change the tint/hue/intensity of the color. The more you paint, the more comfortable you’ll be with the consistency. So just get in there and DO IT!
- Keep a wet-ish cloth on hand in case you accidentally make a tiny-little-spill-that-no-one-will-ever-notice-and-is-not-even-really-a-big-deal-anyway. You can wipe it right up and save yourself a headache later.
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive brushes. Even if the vendors tell you they are ‘fine’ or ‘Italian’. I use mid-grade bristle brushes. The brushes I use shed a few bristles. So do the ‘fine Italian’ $40 brushes.
- Clean up is SO easy. Because acrylic and latex paints are water-based, they clean up with water. Duh.
- Usually the paint will peel right off the bottom of the plastic bowl. It’s incredible. Like one of those peely face masks. Ahhh. Good as new. If not, the bowl is inexpensive plastic (see above) and you can throw it away.
- The brushes rinse out with water too. I use the little spray nozzle and squeeze them till the water is clear and the bristles are close to their original color. I then lay them on the side of the sink until my son (with his OCD tendencies) comes along and puts them in the studio. Don’t store your brushes bristles-up to dry. The water seeps into the handle and ruins them.
- When you buy paint, check the mis-tints first. You’ll save a FORTUNE. (You’re welcome. You may donate that money to my mortgage. Comment below for details.) I can buy a GALLON for >$5. Have them shake it and open it before you take it home. They will be annoyed. Chat them up and thank them profusely so they are annoyed with themselves for being mad because you obviously have such a winning personality.
- When buying mis-tints, make sure you don’t get excited about the perfect blue-grey color and giggle with glee at your amazing find and get home and find out you bought OIL BASED PAINT. There are 100 reasons this is bad. It’s messy. It’s smelly. It won’t mix right. It will never come out of anything you spill it on, ever. It stinks. I don’t even know why they make it. The odor is so bad. The smell will permeate your entire house, even if you paint in the garage. No open flames in the entire neighborhood…for a week, minimum. Seriously, birds will fall out of the sky. Not that I’ve made this mistake. Buy latex.
- One coat or two? Hmm. This is up to you. You are creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! On my laundry room cabinets, I painted one coat. On the bathroom vanity, I painted two coats. Same color on both. Same cabinet stain underneath. Two totally different looks!
Got more questions about this process? Got some tips you’ve learned? I’d love to hear from you! Also, I’d LOVE to see something YOU paint using this recipe.