Homemade Chalk Paint – Not Bad!!!

A few weeks ago I featured this amazing post from

in my Good Morning Sunshine series.

Sherry posted about her escapades with homemade chalk paint and she found success with only spending $4.00

$4.00
Do you  know how much that dang chalk paint costs? Like $89 a quart....well, no not really, but it is like almost $40 a quart and that is INSANITY! I hear everyone saying, "oh but it lasts forever," "you can water it down," "it is the most amazing paint product ever invented!" I get it, BUT, if there is a way to replicate it, I am surely going to give it a shot! I figured if it didn't work I would cave and spend the money on the legit stuff.
Sherry inspired me to get  serious, I was ready to give this homemade chalk paint a shot (especially since I'm so cheap).
 I read and reread Sherry's post and ran out to gather supplies and use her technique.
I found calcium carbonate -in the powder form- at Vitamin Cottage. It was with the other mineral supplements and you can find it in health food stores or on Amazon.

 

Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe

1 1/2 Cups of latex paint

1/2 Cup water

1/2 Cup Calcium Carbonate

I used an old spaghetti sauce jar and mixed REALLY well. It really isn't a precise measurement, just eyeball it and adjust to the consistency you need.
Now, it is completely against my nature to follow directions, prepare beforehand, or look before I leap. But, I really wanted this to work so I actually did some research before I started painting!
I read this tutorial at Perfectly Imperfect and watched Shaunna's videos-she is cute and funny and knowledgeable. Snagged some good tips there.

Then I ran down to Littleton, Colorado and met with the lovely ladies at The Little Black Chair. They sell all the Annie Sloan products and have a ridiculously amazing warehouse where they create perfectly beautiful stuff!

They also enlightened me on what to do when I got home.

I learned a few important things in my research:
1. You do not have to sand or prime-this chalk paint sticks to everything.
2. Use very thin coats of wax or it will never dry. Thin coats will dry in 24 hours.
3. Minwax is just an okay replacement wax product. You should  use Briwax (VERY stinky) or Annie Sloan's soft wax (not stinky). I figured I was saving on the paint, so I grabbed the Annie Sloan's wax ($24.95 a pop-supposed to last forever-yadda yadda yadda)
So here she is, my first chalk paint project ....
and isn't she a bute!
I took my beautiful blue paint and painted the first coat.
One bonus is this paint dries SUPER fast-love it!

Then I did a second coat, you can still see brush strokes-they disappeared later

 

Then I took my sandpaper and scuffed it up. Another bonus, this paint comes off so easy when distressing. However, it will come off so easy that you need to be careful you don't strip all the paint off in one fail swoop.

 

I worked in small sections and brushed on the clear wax making sure it really soaked into the paint.

 

and then the dark wax right on top of the clear, while they are still wet -really work it into the paint.

 

I used a cheesecloth to rub, remove some dark wax, smooth it out, etc.

 

I let it dry for 24 hours, then I went over the whole piece with a soft cloth and buffed it to a lovely shine and buttery soft finish. It really does feel so soft and nice. My cloth removed some excess wax, so I am glad I didn't skip this step. Not sure if I used too much, didn't work it into the paint good enough, didn't let it dry long enough, or if that is normal. I guess I will investigate further on my next piece.
Oh yeah, and of course I reupholstered that U-G-L-Y  (it ain't got no alibi-it's ugly) cushion.

 

And here we go with the finished piece!

It worked.

 

I like it.

 

I am going to do it again.

21st Century flowers are much nicer.

I went pretty heavy with the dark wax. You can go  lighter and get a much more subtle look.

Or you can use only the clear and just get a nice shiny finish with just abit of emphasis on the distressed areas.

 

The BEST BEST BEST part of this is that I can make a gazillion different colors for next to nothing!
But if you are afraid to make your own or need the wax, brushes, cheesecloth, head over to The Little Black Chair and order it from them!

sig 4

I would love for you to follow along! Subscribe via e-mail or rss feed in a reader.  I also post on Twitter and Facebook almost every day. And did I mention my Pinterest addiction....

 



Comments

  1. I was just looking at annie sloan's website, thinking her paint was the answer to my cabinet problems, but the price was so steep. This is awesome, can't wait to try it… possibly this weekend as hubby will be out of town… less complaining about me making a mess!
    Emily
    domesticdeadline.blogspot.com

  2. I tried a homemade chalk paint recipe that used unsanded grout. It didn't turn out so well. Got really, really thick after 15 or 20 minutes, and when I tried thinning it, it was real lumpy. Did you have any problems like that with this recipe? And where did you find this recipe originally?

  3. I tried a homemade chalk paint recipe that used unsanded grout added to the paint. It didn't turn out so well. Got really, really thick after about 15 or 20 minutes, like marshmallow creme. When I tried to thin it, it just got real lumpy. Finally gave up and used the paint as it was. Did you have any problems like that with your recipe? And where did these recipes originate?

    • Did you mix the unsanded group in water before adding to the paint? The water distributes the grout and thins the paint. I use plaster of paris in water in my workshop mixes and am happy with it. I use a dust mask when mixing.

      • I use calcium carbonate to make my chalk paint ( I use grout for chalkboard paint). I actually add the water to the paint first, then dump in the calcium carbonate.

        • Hi Kim, my question was for Nantucket Prairie, re: unsanded grout. But I’m glad to know I can mix it your way (water in paint first) with calcium carbonate. I will get some CC and try it for chalk paint. But sticking with P of P for the rest. Now going to see what Martha is up to…….

  4. I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information. anti viral

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information. anti viral

  6. I waited a while before commenting because I was curious to find out how well it has held up. Are you still in love with the chair? Is the finish holding up well? With 3 teenagers and a BIG dog I like to make sure that anything I paint will stand the test of time, so to speak. Thank you in advance for any information you can pass along!

  7. Debbie Adams says:

    OMG!!!! I have been using Annie Sloan for a while and you are right I fell like when i purchase it i need to not eat for about 2 weeks (grocery money gone..lol) I can not wait to give this a try!! Thank YOU!!!

  8. You really took good pictures and I can see the purpose/point for the dark wax….yes, I see the beauty of the process now and I love how it came out. The ”distressing” you did looks also perfect if there is such a thing. Thank you so much for making this process so clear! blessings, Lady

  9. I love the idea of being able to make it myself, because it costs over $50 a quart here in Canada. Oh, and then there is the $10 per can shipping.

    The only difference I could imagine right away is the Annie Sloan Paint has little to no odour, and being a person with severe environmental allergies I can’t use regular paint. The ASCP didn’t bother me at all, nor did the wax….which is somewhat of a miracle.

    So I would hesitate to make this myself, unless I could find some low VOC paint at a good price. But that doesn’t mean that other people wouldn’t be able to use it. Has anyone else tried it?

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    • Lowes here sells low VOC paint at a good price and i used it for my kids’ bedrooms. It covered well and I was very happy with it. i would imagine it would work just as well when making the chalk paint

      • Lowes sells chalkboard paint for less than 15 dollars a quart here in Ohio.

        • The chalkboard paint and chalk paint are a bit different. Chalk paint is for the weathered chippy finish on furniture or wood items and I don’t think it could be used for chalkboards, but I never tried!

          • I just finished a chalkboard with ASCP in graphite. It works just great. I’m thinking of using one of the colors for the next one. Doesn’t take much paint for a chalkboard and it’s fun to play with paint………

          • I love the colored chalkboard look! SO cute:)

  10. Did you buy AS clear and dark wax to use on this chair?
    I have found a cheaper clear wax to use instead of AS but do not know of a dark wax to use instead.
    Briwax is clear, right?
    Thanks for sharing! Lynette

  11. We love us some chalk paint, so excited to try this recipe out! We use the natural miniwax wax with all our pieces and it does great. Just wanted to pass that along!

  12. Neat! You said it sticks to anything. Do you think this would work on my unfortunate painted fiberboard kitchen cabinets (I could strangle the builder!). Would wax be enough after the paint job, or would you put a stronger sealer on it? I was hoping to paint them a less stark white and distress them a little, since I can’t afford to replace them. Also looking at concrete products to create “solid surface” countertops over my contracter white tile.

    • I am tellin you it will stick! Ha Ha. That Annie Sloan wax is supposed to hold up to anything, and I have see other’s use it on kitchen cabinets for sure. I would ask an Annie Sloan retailer their opinion to be totally sure:)

  13. Hi Kim,

    I’d love to share this on my blog http://www.my-french-dream.blogspot – would you mind?
    Full credit would be given to you and a link back to your page.

    Let me know what you think.

    Sacha

  14. Marcie Leier says:

    Did you do anything at all to prep the chair? Any sanding? Any de-glossing? Anything? I reeeaaaally want to try this!

  15. Hi there!
    I just bought some flat white paint and unsanded grout and am going to try that. But I will tell you that I use varathane floor poly, and it works great! I just couldn’t get into the wax. Couldn’t get streaks out, and was worried about durability. I did side by side samples and couldn’t tell the difference between the wax and poly. Just so ya know:)

  16. JaneEllen Jones says:

    Just reading all the comments I am learning all kinds of tips. Great info. I sure don’t have the green stuff to buy Annie Sloan so will try with other things that have been mentioned in the comments. Sure wish I still had a chair my husband and daughter snuck out of house and got rid of doggone it. I loved that chair and would have been great in our bedroom. Guess I’ll keep an eye out at our local thrift shop which is where I got above mentioned chair long time ago. You girls are so inspiring.

  17. Thanks for your post! I just painted and waxed a precious little table (I used the plaster of Paris recipe). I am nervous though…I used Johnsons wax…A: was that the right type of wax? B: do I have to buff it tomorrow? Or just leave as is? The table has turned out so cute that I am afraid to mess it up. Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • Oh, if the was went on ok I am sure it will be fine. I have heard of some people waiting 24 hours to buff and others buffing as soon as the wax is dry to the touch.

  18. Thereasa Gargano says:

    There are many brands of “Wax” Howard Premium Paste Wax, Liberon Black Bison Wax etc…they all work very well. Actually the Liberon is a much softer wax than AS as well as their clear wax.

  19. Hello! I am using Johnson’s paste wax clear. what can I also use in place of AS dark wax?

    thank you!

    HomemakerAng

  20. I have read that you can add a few drops of Old English Scratch cover in dark to the clear wax to get the dark wax effect.

  21. Vicki Childress says:

    Hi everyone! I have been so anxious to try chalk paint but am afraid of making a huge ugly mess. I have no familiarity with it except to say I love every pic I’ve seen on the internet of the end result. Could anyone (everyone) give me some feedback on the necessity of using clear wax after painting? Will the chalk paint finish not hold up without the clear wax? At what point do you wax it, right after the paint dries or days later? If the only reason clear wax is used is to achieve the shine, why not use an eggshell or semi gloss paint? Excuse my zillion questions and lack of experience but I really want to achieve this look and without ASCP’s hefty price. Thanks for your help!

    • Yes, you HAVE to use the wax or the chalk paint will chip right off. I have used poly-acrylic and the finish is no where as nice as with the wax. The wax is so soft and buttery feeling to the touch and visually it looks tons better too.

  22. Carol Thompson says:

    Thank you so much for your posting! I an about to give it a shot on the benches and table that are original to my 1920s house and have been painted over several times: chipping, filthy, total ugliness. I too hesitated to spend so much as Annie Sloan wants for her products. Looking for a cheaper version of the wax, I visited Miss Mustard Seed’s site:
    http://missmustardseed.com/2011/03/waxes-101/
    and learned about Fiddes & Sons wax: $16 for a 16fl oz. can, but $14 if you enter her supplier’s site from her page. They have many tints. Ms. Mustard Seed recommends the Ruggers Brown as the substituter for the dark Annie Sloan wax. Hope this helps someone. Working on my project this weekend!

  23. Oh so much fun. What do you think will happen if I paint over pickled oak cabinets ? I would wax then several times. Will they hold up. Is there more protection with multi layers of wax ?

    • I have definitely seen others use chalk paint for kitchen cabinets. I am not sure about extra coats of wax. I would google it though!

  24. FYI, I use Minwax all the time with ASCP. I have found that the hard waxes like Minwax last longer on surfaces that will take alot of wear, like table tops. I found I didn’t care for the AS clear wax and I’m not crazy about the dark either. I have used Briwax and it’s drawback is the odor and the fact it turns to liquid at 75 degrees. Minwax dries quickly and buffs to a very solid sheen with great durability. I refinished a table to use as my prep island in my kitchen. It literally is the main prep area for me. I finished the top with Minwax and it needed a new coat 3 months later. It gets wiped daily and can be a dumping ground, so it takes some abuse. I used CeCe Caldwells clear wax to recoat and that wax (which I found to be THE easiest to work with and NO odor out of ALL) did not last 3 weeks til I needed to recoat. Back to Minwax!
    Hard waxes are going to give you a more durable surface, IMHO. I use Minwax on table tops for sure. I have found Howard’s waxes to be good as well and prefer it for a dark wax. The downside for it is it dries differently and you can see excess easily if you left any.
    I just don’t see the AS waxes at the price that they are since I get great results with Minwax and Howard’s. I need to stock back up on waxes now, and I am thinking about getting Briwax again since I work in a workshop, so the odor won’t be as big of an issue. I thinks Briwax gives a harder finish that the other soft waxes, but it’s been so long since I used it, I will have to let you know about that!
    There is a gal on Etsy called the Old Front Porch that is making a “plaster Paint”, I just received 2 pints and will try them in the next couple of days.
    Maybe I will check out the Fiddes wax…

    • Thank you so much for your comments about Waxes. I’m looking into the ASCP and making my own chalk paint for my kitchen table. I’m thinking about using black and sanding off to real the dark wood stain under. I will need a protective finish on the top for sure! So I appreciate your input!

  25. I wonder about using any of these waxes on a surface used for food prep. Anyone know if they are safe to use?

    I have plain bare wooden cutting boards that have never been waxed but clean up easily and in a half century of cooking, I’ve never had anyone get sick from eating my food. If I used anything, it would be olive oil. Let it soak in and rub well.

  26. Do you think this would work to cover a large surface, like a dining room table? The top of mine has been trashed thanks to my lovely cats sliding across it.

  27. Will this work if you use a semi-gloss or gloss paint? If so you are all invited to a paint party! Lol
    Brilliant work
    Thank you!

    • You know, I have used all kinds of paint and never paid any attention to the finish-I was just set on using certain colors. I have a feeling it will still work!

  28. What stores sell powder calcium carbonate?

    • I got mine at Natural Grocers, Vitamin Cottage in Denver. Most health food stores sell it. Or you can order it on-line from Amazon.

  29. I have been making my own chalk board paint using plaster of paris (rough texture) or unsanded grout (smoother texture). I have not used the calcium carbonate because I think it has the smoothest texture and I have been working on textured paints. I finish with anything and everything stain, shellac, oil based varathanes, and water- based clear finishes. Waxes do not protect the surface enough for me.

  30. I found that the cheapest/fastest place to get calcium carbonate is Duda Diesel at http://www.dudadiesel.com/search.php?query=%22calcium+carbonate%22
    I’ve been using their product and really like it. They sell it in larger quantities with free shipping, too.

  31. Clear vs. dark wax: If you put dark wax right on the painted surface, often it just soaks up all the wax and you have to work 2ce as hard to spread it around. If you put on a coat of clear, first, it makes the dark wax a breeze. You use less wax and less energy.
    Briwax comes in many colors. It’s fantastic stuff. You can thin it, as well.
    I’ve used Minwax clear, Johnson’s Paste Wax clear, and topped it with Briwax Tudor Brown. I’m going to try some CeCe Caldwell and AS, just for comparison.
    I’ve been saving paint samples forever and now I know exactly what I’m going to do with them.
    [running off to buy calcium carbonate!]
    Thanks for your post!

    • You will love making your own paint-being able to completely customize your colors is awesome! I am going to have to try out some other wax too. The AS is great but so stinkin expensive. I ti si worth it to give the others a shot.

  32. Thank you so much for this blog!! I am about to redo a gorgeous dresser I just scored for $25! This is my first venture….so this blog was very helpful!! Question though….how much paint, in your opinion, will I need to cover a medium sized dresser? I’m clueless. I dont want to buy more than I need.

    • Oh, not much! If you buy a quart of latex paint and then mix up the chalk paint that will be more than enough. So glad you found your way here, thanks and I hope your first big project goes well!

  33. would chalk paint work on ugly cheap paneled walls? would the wax need to be applied? Just trying to get ideas to refresh an old 1970′s “den”

    • From what I have found, that chak paint works on everything. I am sure you will need to apply wax though. It totally seals and protects the finish.

    • I was wondering if you had anyone who actually finished a paneling project with Chalk Paint. I too have paneling thoughout my home. Dark walnut color. We considering using the Chalk Paint. Thanks.

      • I haven’t heard of that, but I feel like it would probably work well. The dark paneling would through where you distress the paint and would look amazing! I am not sure about durability, like if you have kids or dogs it might not wear great. But if you do try it I would LOVE to hear how it goes!

  34. jamie thomas-honley says:

    Kim Hey there I live in Colorado and have been looking for a place like the warehouse you mentioned above where you met the ladies at the “Little Black Chair” is this the name of the warehouse????? I would really like to visit that warehouse if you could tell me where it is..Thanks so much..btw the chair looks awsome I can’t wait to start painting with the Homemade chalk paint. Regards….Jamie in Denver

    • No, the warehouse had a few different businesses in it. But you could give a call over to the gals at Little Black Chair and see if they can help you.

  35. I tried this recipe when I found it featured in “This Old House” March 2013 issue. It is nice but very gritty & have to sand inbetween eack coat. I chose a small shelf as my first project just in case I had problems .
    I followed the recipe and bought the calcium carbonate 100% pure powder from a fertilizer/organic garden site (similar to the link above for dudadiesel.com.)
    I mixed the calcium carbonate & water in a seperate container & mixed vigorously with a stick blender, let it calm down with no air in it then added to the paint & mixed again with the stick blender making sure there were NO lumps.
    Painted my first coat, went to work, came home & had to lightly sand (which I didn’t mind) then do another coat & sand again. Any idea as to why it is gritty? Everything I have read about AS is that it is so silky smooth.
    QUESTIONS:
    1.) Do you find this with the calcium carbonate in the orange container from “NOW”?
    2.) Do you have to sand inbetween coats?
    3.) Does it always require at least 2 coats of paint?
    4.) How long can you wait before waxing? (with working, this is being done in stages) so it may be a few days before I get to the waxing.
    Thanks in advance & I’ll be watching for replies, LOL
    Ready to bust & purchase the Annie Sloan.

    • Hmmm, I do buy the Orange jar of Calcium carbonate (in my pic)and have never had that gritty finish you are getting. I mix the calcium into the paint and then add water till I get the consistency I like. I mix by hand, just a paint stirrer so maybe the blender whipped it up too much? Maybe a little more would help your paint? Did it look gritty as you were painting or only after it dried?

      I live in Denver where the air is super dry and my paint dries super fast. I can do a second coat within 20 minutes of finishing the first and I haven’t needed to sand in between coats, just a light sanding after the last coat. You can wax as soon as the paint is dry, but let the wax dry for 24 hours for a solid finish. I always need 2 coats, but I think with the A.S. you do not always need 2. The wax is really what gives it the super silky smooth finish, with just the paint it is very matte and chalky.

      I hope some of this helps, please let me know how it ends up!
      Kim

      • Long but worth the read…
        Kim, thanks for all your help& sorry to boggle your mind but after driving all day & thinking, hum…thinking & more thinking I remembered something about calcium & oyster shells. I couldn’t wait to get home and try a few things with the gritty chalk paint that I made.
        I questioned myself as to why I didn’t just purchase the real thing such as Annie Sloan or CeCe or whoever.
        I poured the paint through a small screened strainer & you should see the mini shell chips.
        The calcium carbonate I bought was titled Cali-Carb CaCO3.
        The health food store I shop at doesn’t sell Calcium Carbonate because they said it is chalk so I ordered it online.
        SO…HERE’S A LITTLE BIT OF ADVICE FOR THOSE BUYING CALCIUM CARBONATE FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES LIKE MYSELF.
        PURCHASE THE “ORANGE” BOTTLE OF CALCIUM CARBONATE AS PICTURED ON KIM’S SITE OR……You may be sanding each coat of paint (like I had to).
        My shelf finally turned out nice with “light sanding after each coat” to get all the grit off, however, it was a hassle that I had not intended to deal with after all the reviews of how great chalk paint was. I will attempt the waxing this weekend watching videos step-by-step!
        A huge lesson learned, next time I attempt to try any other recipe, I will just us a piece of flat wood first.
        Below is some research I did that may be of help to those wanting to know the why’s vs. why’s.
        Why does NaCl (SALT) dissolve in water but CaCO3 (CALCIUM CARBONATE) doesn’t?
        Calcium Carbonate (Oyster Shell)
        CALCIUM CARBONATE is an ionic salt of carbonic acid and the essential mineral, calcium.
        CaCO3 (Calcium carbonate), cannot dissolve in water even though it is polar. Carbonates are normally insoluble in water unless paired with an ammonium ion or anything in the group one of the periodic table (alkali metals). Since calcium does not fall under group one and it isn’t an ammonium ion, the molecule of CaCO3 will not dissolve in water.
        SODIUM CHLORIDE (Salt)
        Na – Sodium
        Cl – Chloride = NaCI
        SODIUM CHLORIDE (Salt) has the ability to dissolve in water because it’s a polar molecule (highly ionic). Water is polar (polar dissolves in polar) therefore NaCl can dissolve in H20.

        • Whoa, you sure did your research! I am sorry you had an issue with all that sanding! I guess I got lucky because the orange bottle was the first one I grabbed and now just always buy that! I sure will stick to it!

  36. I have only used plaster of Paris in my homemade chalk paint and it really only needs a VERY light sanding to become buttery smooth. I have yet to buy AS chalk paint due to cost but I have had beautiful results with the homemade recipe.

  37. Kim, you mentioned in the post above that you add water a little at a time until you reach the right consistency that you like. Do you actually use 1/2 cup water in the recipe at the top of the page (also the same as your featured article in “This Old House”)? Consistency equal to…?… A milkshake, tomatoe sause, Downy fabric softner, etc…Ha! Aren’t I creative when it comes to explaining consistencies :)
    Mine was actually quite thin but went on nice. It wasn’t thick like paint though. And then the GRIT…light sanding between the two coats (and possibly could have used three) but there were so many nooks & crannies & angles on what I thought was going to be an easy piece to start with. This is why I said from now on, I will use a trial piece of wood first for other recipes I want to try such as the plaster of paris & unsanded wall grout. I want to try them all and especially the grout since hubby has been in the tile business for 26 yrs & when he started out I was “The professional grouter” for 3 years. Glad those day’s are over!
    Renee, I even went out and purchased some plaster of paris at Lowes on my way home from work after all of my thinking but haven’t opened it yet. I am now curious as to how all of these products work and what works best for me. Matter of opinion I assume.
    I am somewhat OCD & like perfection which leads to all the research. I sure hope all of this helps others.
    I will keep Kim updated on everything & thank her soooo much for this website. Had it not been for subscribing to This Old House, I may have never found her. Kudos for the article & being featured in this great magazine!
    PS…again thinking, what can I do with 15 lbs of this stuff I bought???? I am going to put it through my flour sifter tomorrow & see if I come out with pure powder & NO oyster shell chips. Otherwise I will research more & find another use & it won’t be internal.

    • Jeeze, I cannot believe you have so much! Search around, there must be some cool projects you can do with it. The NOW brand is super fine, no chips or big pieces. Mine is probably the consistency of tomato sauce when I use about 1/2 cup water. Just depending on the paint I choose and the weather I sometimes add a little more:)

  38. Hi Katie,
    The clear wax makes the paint more rich and and super durable. The dark wax will do the same and add some color. Hope that helps!

  39. The Calcium Carbonate can be purchase at your local feed store, for like farm animals. Most carry it or can get it for you. I bought a 40# bag for 6.00…It is cheap and it works, same recipe as you have listed above. Just and FYI.

  40. Calcium carbonate (also called whiting) is available at ceramic supply shops. It’s very fine and pure. I got a lb. for $1.80 and they carried 5 lb. for $7.50.

  41. Would this be safe to do a crib like this? prob a dumb question lol but am wondering! A crib would be soo cute!!

  42. Hi, was wondering if you have to use latex paint. I am from new zealand and searched high and low for it, but can only find 100% acrylic paint. Would this work?

Speak Your Mind

*