Chalk Full of Paint Ideas

Chalk paint is a fun way to dress up almost anything with a little bit of charm and character by giving it an antique or distressed look. The appealing look about it is the very flat, lack of sheen on it. As odd and bland as that sounds, it makes bold colors look amazing and it means that you can put a fresh coat of paint on something without getting the cheesy look of a shiny new paint job. It’s a very simple and elegant look and allows some room for creativity to add detail where you want to draw attention.

There are name brands of chalk paint sold in craft and home improvement stores, but being the budget-friendly girl that I am, I’m always looking for the cheapest way to do things so this post includes a simple (and cheap) homemade recipe and some instructions. For those of you who would rather just buy the paint and follow the instructions, I’ve also included a few helpful links for some quality chalk paints and supplies.

The homemade chalk paint recipe is simple. I just buy the cheapest brand of paint in the color I want since I’m about to dump ingredients in it anyway. Don’t forget that the home improvement stores will color match any brand for you so you can choose any color from any paint brand and ask them to match it and make it with the cheapest paint brand they have in flat. Keep in mind you will be dumping plaster and water into your paint so I would not recommend spending a lot, but hey, that’s just me. This particular color is called “cottage white”. It’s my favorite white to chalk paint in for furniture. 

Chalk Paint Recipe

•8 oz paint
•2 tbsp. dry plaster paris
•2 tbsp. water

This is a very small portion and is actually the exact amount of paint in one of the $3 sample jars at Home Depot so if it is a small project I buy one of those and if it is larger I buy a whole can of paint and I just multiply out portions for my project. When you mix these ingredients together it should feel thinner than normal paint consistency, and of course, it will also feel grainy.

Before you paint

One of my favorite parts about chalk painting is that you don’t have to do a lot of prep work. You don’t have to sand down the wood or take off any other finish. You do need to check for any sticky labels, or substances to be removed. Goof Off is a great remover for that sort of thing. I remove any hardware and usually paint them in a contrasting metallic or black color. Last, I spray the whole piece with a primer. The primer serves three purposes.

  1. It gives the chalk paint an even, balanced surface to adhere to
  2. It ensures a balanced undertone beneath the paint
  3. It gives you a base color to draw out when you distress the piece. This feature is really fun when you use a contrasting primer color like red underneath a chalk paint color like white and then distress it enough that a lot of the red comes through.

Once your piece has an even coat of dry  primer, you are ready to paint! Paint using a brush, covering the whole piece in thin strokes. By the time you cover it all it will be time to go around the whole thing again. You will have to resist the temptation to paint with thicker coverage and just keep painting on the thin almost dry strokes around the whole thing. They will dry quickly and as you add more layers it will take on a full, rich tone. When it is completely dry you will want to paint on a wax sealer, or if you prefer a shortcut you can use a satin clear coat spray to protect it and seal the paint in when you are finished. This way you can wipe it down and dust it without disturbing the finish.

If you are not so much into the idea of making your own chalk paint there are a variety of chalk paint brands on the market varying in prices. Whether or not you choose to make your paint, you will need a few basic supplies to get you started on your first chalk paint project. Linked below are a few suggestions. Feel free to comment below if you’d like to share a favorite brand, technique, suggestion or brush type. There are so many ways to do this and I love hearing what other people do.


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