Furniture Rehab · Painted Projects

Homemade Chalk Paint

This post contains affiliate links to help you find the products you may need for this project.


Earlier this year I fell victim to the chalk paint craze, but I didn’t like the high prices for small jars of chalk paint or the limited color choices.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have a bunch of different colors of the store-bought stuff (I like FolkArt), but I wanted another option for when I have to paint larger pieces of furniture.

The thing I like best about chalk paint is that you can virtually paint any surface, without much prep work and it looks fantastic after just two coats of paint and a good waxing. I’ve found that this homemade chalk paint recipe, that I will be sharing with you today, covers even the worst surfaces completely and without flaking or pealing off.

If you google “How to make chalk paint”, you will find four basic recipes using either non-sanded grout, baking soda, plaster of paris and calcium carbonate.  I chose the plaster of paris recipe, as the ingredients are readily available and inexpensive. Here’s how I made mine:


  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons Plaster of Paris
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons Room Temperature Water
  • 1 Cup Flat Latex Paint


I love Valspar paint as it is low odor and applies easily.  Some blogs on the web said not to use paint that included primer, but I had no trouble using this brand of paint with the plaster pictured above.

In a small disposable bowl, mix 2-1/2 tablespoons of plaster with 1-1/2 tablespoons of water that is either room temperature, or cold out of the tap.  I found room temperature water mixed easily without prematurely setting the plaster.  I made the mistake of using hot water once and when it was mixed with the paint it immediately created a clumpy mess that had to be thrown away.


This small spatula was perfect to make sure the plaster and water were mixed thoroughly.  Once the plaster is mixed, add it to a 2 cup container that is filled with 1 cup of flat latex paint. Thoroughly mix the paint with the spatula to make sure all the plaster is mixed with the paint. If it’s not mixed properly, you will end up with a hard layer of plaster on the bottom of your container of paint.

I use round plastic containers with screw on lids made by Ziploc to mix and store my homemade chalk paint (affiliate link below). You could also use mason jars. The shorter wide mount pint jars are perfect for this purpose (affiliate link below).

Once the paint is mixed, you can paint your furniture piece as you normally would.  I do lightly sand any shiny surfaces, or surfaces that may have flaky and pealing paint using a 120 – 220 sanding sponge, but other than that, no heavy prep work is required.  Once the surface is sanded, then wipe down thoroughly with a rag soaked in soapy water to remove and lingering grease and sandpaper residue.  Wipe down one more time with a clean cloth and allow to dry before painting.

I’ve only used this homemade recipe on wooden surfaces so far, but I want to try painting an old metal tea cart in the near future.

Chalk paint usually requires two coats to cover completely.  After the paint has dried for a few hours you can then brush on a light coating of soft wax.  Once the wax has dried, you can buff it to get a nice sheen to the finish and then add an antiquing wax, if desired.

The picture below shows what a chair looks like after the chalk paint has dried and then again after it has been waxed and antiqued.  You can check out the complete post on this chair project here. I repainted these chairs and a table to coordinate with a vintage McDougall Hoosier style cabinet.


Bonus Tip:

If you want to sand off some of the paint before you wax the piece, I would suggest rubbing a little Vaseline on the edges where you will want to remove the paint.  The Vaseline will prevent the paint from adhering to the furniture, so it will be a lot easier to wipe the paint right off.  If you don’t use the Vaseline and want to distress the piece an electric sander would probably be needed.

Below are some of the products that can be used for this project.



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