I’m a big fan of chalk paint because it’s an easy way to paint furniture and other home decor pieces without dealing with the hassle of sanding and priming. This is especially important for those of us without a dedicated work space—throwing down a drop cloth and painting a table is a lot less messy than sanding, priming, and staining. I’m not a big fan of distressed pieces, but I do love the matte look chalk paint gives you.
After using my absolute favorite line, Americana Decor Chalky Finish, exclusively for a couple of years, I decided to try my hand at making my own chalk paint. Why? Well, I was mostly curious about what the product would look like! Here are a few other reasons:
- It’s a great way to use up old paint you might have sitting around.
- You will have a wider variety of colors to choose from.
- It’s cheap and easy!
(Remember to wear an appropriate mask while working with paints, stains, and finishes. Follow the directions and warnings from your particular brand.)
Here’s what I used to make homemade chalk paint:
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- Plaster of paris—usually sold in power form. I got mine at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft for under $3 (!!!) using a 60% off coupon! Call to see if they have it in stock first. The first store I tried didn’t have it, and the second store only had one left. You can also buy it here on Amazon with Prime shipping included.
- Flat latex paint—if you don’t have any, go to your local paint store, pick your favorite color, and get an 8 oz sample, which should be under $3. Remember that adding the white plaster of paris will mute the color just a bit.
- Water, measuring cups, paint stirrer, and bowl to mix in.
Plaster of paris powder before adding water.
Once I had my supplies, I used this website to cut down the measurements for a larger paint recipe I found. I ended up using the following measurements for my batch:
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp plaster of paris
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp cool water
- 1/2 cup paint
To make the paint, mix your plaster of paris and water into your bowl. Once the powder has dissolved completely, stir in your paint. And that’s it!
Top photos: Original color; Bottom photos: Paint mixed with plaster and water.
The measurements I used made enough to put two coats of paint on a stool with a good amount left over.
Stool with one coat–no primer or stain blocker applied.
Now for my thoughts…
I am pleasantly surprised with how well my piece turned out. The paint went on smoothly for the most part and dried evenly after two coats. However, it didn’t cover as well as some of the other chalk paints I’m used to using. For my homemade mixture, one coat definitely would not have been enough. But it’s a great way to use up old paint!
Here is the stool with two fully dried coats:
In this photo, I had just painted the varnish on the legs, but the top is just dried paint.
I also didn’t have a homemade sealer or wax to use, so I used the Americana Decor Varnish in Ultra Matte, which I love. Here’s are some photos of the varnish going on:
Some people also make homemade chalk paint using calcium carbonate, unsanded grout, and even baking soda. I haven’t tested any of those recipes and chose to use plaster of paris because of the low cost. You can also check out something like this, which is a pre-made mixture that you just add to paint.