How To Make and Paint With DIY Chalk Paint

by Diane Henkler on 08/27/2012

Hi everyone. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend– only one more week and the summer of 2012 will be history. I will remember it as the summer of my painting marathon.  When I moved the cars out of the garage and set up a hodgepodge of hand-me down furniture to paint for my daughter.  I completed it a few weeks ago, but still have a few of the items to show you.

I will be including this and all the other painting posts I have done on a  page I am creating called–


For this post I am going to show you how I painted over a very old painted surface with DIY chalk paint.

Here is the AFTER of a cute little corner cabinet that was my husband’s grandparents. It is in its new home – the foyer of my daughter’s apartment. Of all the pieces I painted, this is both my daughter’s and my favorite.  She loves it and that makes me one happy mom.

How to make and paint with chalk paint


Quite a cute little piece and I am sure there are many of you who would like it just the way it is.  It is a classic, but the red is not one of my daughter’s fav colors. It also needed a little love.

It was painted in a milk or an early version of chalk paint – it was highly pigmented and made a mess. Time to put a mask on so I would not breath in the dust. When I started to sand it with my little hand sanding block, it came off like powder.  It reminded me of powdered tempura paint that I used as a kid in school, but since it was old I figured it could contain lead so I only removed the shine a bit and left the red on.






Supplies Needed:

Paint – Glidden Zesty Lime – satin finish
Non-Sanded Grout
Mixing bucket – I use an old coffee can with a lid.
Paint stirring stick
Paint brush
Valspar Antiquing Glaze -Asphaltum 98278.
Soft Rags
Clear Paste Wax


1. Before you start to paint anything – remove the hardware, hinges, and knobs. Mark on the back of each where it goes and place them in a baggie.  This is so important to ensure that you get the hinges and screws back in the same place when you are finished painting. If you don’t, you could and probably will have a problem getting doors to close right.


2.  You do not normally need to prime or sand first with chalk paint.  This piece was old and the red pigment was unlike any old paint finish I have ever seen – impossible to remove, powdery and dying my gloved fingers red.  To be on the safe side, I used primer to ensure the red would not eventually bleed through the lime green color.  Since I was going to be painting the cabinet with a vivid color, I used Glidden Grippe primer in Grey.  It brings out the color better than a white primer.


3.  I sanded with a block sander to smooth out the previous painted surface.  I just wanted to sand off the shine a bit and smooth spots where there were paint drips from the previous paint job.

4. To get into the vertical joints on the bead board I used a 1-inch angled brush.


5. I rolled the rest on.  I used 2 coats of primer – letting each one dry in between coats.  I did paint the inside after I finished the outside, because it looked dingy next to the new color.


My daughter chose Glidden Zesty Lime # A0913 in a satin finish.


Of these 3 recipes I like the Calcium Carbonate Powder the best, then the Plaster of Paris. The non- sanded grout works well, but is the hardest mixture to get smooth.

DIY Chalk Paint recipes


Calcium Carbonate Powder DIY Chalk Paint Recipe


Since posting the stool and table I painted with chalk paint, I have gotten a few questions on why I would use this instead of regular paint?  The main reason – no sanding or priming needed – even when you are painting over a stained piece, but the reason I like it – it takes the rubber feel out of a latex painted piece.  It goes on smooth and glossy, but dries flat. It is the calcium in the powder that gives it the chalky finish.

There are many different DIY versions and everyone seems totally smitten with the one they used so I think no matter what you use – you are going to like the results.   I had white  grout in my basement so that is what I used to make my first batch.  It worked beautifully and sold me on using it again.    Some recipes I have seen call for hot water. I have always used room temperature and it has come out fine.  If you are still uncertain about using chalk paint- try it out on a small thrift store find to see if you like the finish it produces.

When you finish it off with wax, the finish just looks fabulous.   I did age this corner cabinet with antiquing glaze, but you do not have to age or distress chalk paint for it to look good.  A thin coat of buffed wax is all that is needed and will create a modern finish on a piece.

I mixed the paint with the Plaster of Paris and water.   I dumped the whole quart of paint into a coffee can and then mixed in 8 TBS of the Plaster of Paris and water to mix it up into a nice smooth consistency.  I had some of the mixture left over and used the coffee can lid to seal the coffee can in case I need to paint with it again.


6.  I rolled on 2 light coats of it – letting the first coat dry before adding the second.


7. After the second coat was dry, I wanted to age the finish a bit and used Valspar Antiquing Glaze in Asphaltum 98278.  I bought it at Lowes.  I simply wiped it on in a circular motion using a soft rag and then wiped it off.  I worked on a section at a time until I had the whole piece covered.

Glaze is nothing more than a way to add color over paint to create different effects. It comes in clear, white, or dark colors like this antiquing one. The clear versions allow you to mix any color paint or tint to it.  Glaze is very transparent so that you are still able to see the paint color underneath. It gives a paint finish depth.  The other reason it is so nice to use is that it dries slowly so you have time to work and wipe it off to create the look you want. 


I chose not to distress the edges with sandpaper to further age the piece as the original red paint would have shown. I didn’t want it to look like it was for Christmas.


9. The last step was to rub a very thin coat of clear paste wax over the entire piece with a soft cloth. I let it dry for about 30 minutes and then buffed it with another rag to bring out the shine.



10.  I painted the hinges and tops of the screws with the chalk paint.  To keep the paint light, I dabbed the paint on lightly, let it dry and then added one more coat.  I rubbed a little glaze over them as well and clear paste wax so they would blend in.

I replaced the copper cabinet door knob with a glass one.  This little corner cabinet came out better than I imagined.  My daughter is smitten with it now and is happy that she is using something that belonged to her great grandparents.

Chalk paint and glaze truly brings out the character in a piece of painted furniture.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe and Tutorial


I did a test comparing different chalk paint formulas. You can read that in my post  – Testing 1..2…3.. Versions of Chalk Paint





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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ Decor Adventures August 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Hi Diane,

Looks great! I have a question though. Is this how to make chalk paint or chalk board paint? Can you write on that with chalk? I mean before you put the wax and glaze on. I’ve seen the same recipe for both and wanted to clear it up!


2 Diane August 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Hi Jessica –

To answer your question I just tried writing on the seat bottom of the stool I painted in the Spring. I didn’t wax the underside. You can write on it :) I know Martha Stewart uses the same recipe and calls it chalkboard paint. So they may be one and the same. Some recipes use Plaster of Paris instead of grout. I don’t think it matters which you use. It does make the paint dry to a smooth flat finish. I know I am sold on the finish it produces. I may try the using Plaster of Paris just to see if there is any difference. I still haven’t used the real stuff – Annie Sloan. I have the jar of it from Haven. Have you used yours yet?


3 Diane August 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I also read somewhere that you can use Calcium Carbonate that is sold in health food stores. To make the paint chalky you need a powder form of Calcium -Carbonate or gypsum – which is what Plaster of Paris is. The more powder you add to the paint the more chalky the paint becomes.


4 Angela August 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I love that shade of green and the shape of the furniture! I use that same recipe for DIY chalk paint, but w/ flat instead of satin. I’ve never used glaze on any of my painting projects, but love the look it gave your piece. It will definitely be something I try in the future. Found your link on BNOTP. Have a great day!



5 Lindy@ItsyBitsyPaper August 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Beautiful!! I just love that cabinet (before and after). I posted this same recipe for Chalk Paint on my blog last year and believe it or not I still haven’t tried it yet. I have two pieces that are waiting to be painted with it but I can’t decide on a color. Your cabinet inspires me to get busy painting the pieces I have.


6 Betty August 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Love, love, love your cabinet and that glorious color. There is one thing … there are 25 days left of summer. Fall does not begin until September 21. woohoo – I hate snow. :)


7 Tammy August 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I love making chalk paint…colors are endless. I didn’t know about the glaze…nice to know. Thanks for sharing.
would love it if you would share it at Share it One more Time


8 Jean August 28, 2012 at 12:16 am

My daughter dislikes red, also. It’s one of my favorite colors. She does love that lime green, however. Great piece!


9 Diane | An Extraordinary Day August 28, 2012 at 1:55 am

I’ve pinned several recipes for making your own chalk paint. It looks like fun and with all your painting talk ;D I think I just might try my hand at it. Thanks for the encouragement.
Love that green paint!


10 Pam Clark August 28, 2012 at 5:26 am

This looks great and I love the color! I make my own chalkpaint too, using plaster of Paris and I also use Johnson’s paste wax. No way will I spend the $$ on Annie Sloan products! I’ve had wonderful success and really have fallen in love with painting furniture.


11 Sheryll & Critters. August 28, 2012 at 9:29 am

Oh Diane, I just love this piece and the color and how great the finished result is. I have learned so much from you.

(wondering which is less expensive…. Plaster of Paris, the grout or the calcium carbonate).

Thank you ever so much. You really are a treasure.


12 Debra August 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

WOW – looks great! Love the color and the great tutorial!


13 Marsha Stopa August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thanks for sharing the details of this project. You’ve explained several things about the process I was wondering about. It turned out fabulous, even though I am a fan of red. :-)

I have a couple questions about chalk paint, if you don’t mind. I have a couple sample jars of CeCe Caldwell’s chalk paint and aging wax, which I haven’t tried yet.

How does chalk paint hold up as a finish with wax on it? I read on another blog that said it will scuff, such as on chairs. What about for a tabletop with wet glasses etc?

That’s my only holdup on the growing number of thrift finds I’m collecting.

Many thanks again for sharing in such careful detail.


14 ann August 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Love the piece but am confused about why you would want satin paint. Why milk paint if you are going to polish it to a shine with wax? Wouldn’t if still have the same feel?


15 Diane August 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Hi Ann – I am going to address this in my next post. I used Chalk paint which is a bit different from Milk paint. The wax brings out the character in the piece – it is not necessary, but if you don’t use it the chalk paint alone as a finish on furniture is very flat. When you make your own chalk paint you can use just about any type of paint. The grout or Plaster of Paris will flatten the sheen. I had the paint already in satin and knew it would not matter it I used it or flat paint – they both deliver the same results after being mixed with grout or Plaster of Paris.


16 Darcy March 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I have been looking for this “answer” through many tutorials ……. thank you for letting us know it doesn’t matter what type of paint! I have ton’s of all kinds of paint just waiting to be used up!!
thanks again, your new fan
Darcy DeBlanc
as we say in Cajun Country “Laissez les bons temps rouler”
” Let the good time roll” :)


17 Lisa Thomas October 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Just tried the plaster of paris recipe with some “oops” enamel paint and I loved it!! Worked great on an old mahogany sheet music stand. I mixed my plaster with hot water first, stirring throughly and letting it sit for about 5 mins before mixing with paint. An earlier post mentioned that their project was a gritty mess after painting so I was a little concerned. There was a little roughness to the touch after painting that a very light fast sanding took care of and after waxing, it was silky smooth. I used Minwax sparingly applied with a soft paint brush. I finished it in one afternoon and after started looking for something else to paint!


18 Ricci December 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I was wondering if you put a layer of wax on before the glaze? I feel like the glaze is making my furniture awful dark and it is also rubbing off some of the paint when I try to wipe it to lighten it up. Thanks!


19 Diane Henkler December 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Hi Ricci – What kind of glaze are you using – Valspar? I have always put the glaze on before the wax and rub if off quickly and very well. I believe if you are using dark wax – it is an Annie Sloan product you should do it last, over a clear wax so that you can wipe it away easier. With glaze ( glaze is different from a dark wax) – if you add it on top of the wax – most of it will wipe off as it needs something to grip on to. It will stick to some areas and give you a more spotty look.

I think if your finish got too dark, you may have added too much glaze and it set in too quickly before you had a chance to wipe it away. The wax and glazing take the most time to get right. After you do a few pieces, you will get so much better at how much to use and how to wipe it, etc. I would try it on a sample or scrap piece of wood to test it out first – wax, then dark glaze, and then clear wax as the protective finish to see how you like it. You only need a very thin layer of wax. There are some who like to make a dark wax/glaze mixture. Adding the two products together with mineral spirits to create their finishes. It is all up to how you want the piece to look.


20 Nadia January 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi Diane. I’ve inherited two MDF cabinets from the former owner of our house. I think they’re laminated and topped with varnish. Can I use your chalk paint technique to update them? If yes, is it okay to paint over it without sanding off the varnish? I know that MDF furnitures are cheap but it feels such a waste to throw them away as they make good storage. But the “natural wood” colour is so ugly…


21 Diane Henkler January 10, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Hi Nadia – Yes – it should be fine. If the varnish is very old and is tacky in any areas – you may want to sand those areas smooth first. The first piece I painted with chalk paint was made of MDF. I loved the way it turned out.


22 Robert Besancon January 11, 2013 at 6:21 am

Hi Diane,
I like your blog and tried your recipe. I have also used powdered lime with much better results. In fact this is all I used until I came across CeCe Caldwells chalk & Clay paint. It was a little less expensive then the other brand of chalk paint. I became a retailer for CeCe so of course I will push the product but it has so many more positives then using latex. Most of all it is all natural with no voc’s. I could go on and on but would like to ask you to try it. Your honest opinion would be appreciated. Feel free to contact me through my website. Look forward to hearing from you.


23 Daphne Stewart January 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I’d love to try your product!


24 Diane Henkler January 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Hi again Daphne – I don’t have a product. I just made DIY versions of Chalk paint. If you would like to try the brand names – there are many distributor’s. sells Ce Ce Caldwell Chalk paint. For Annie Sloan Chalk Paint go to:


25 Robert Besancon January 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Hello Daphne,
After you see our website, if you have any questions about our CeCe Caldwell paint please feel free to ask. I will help you in away way possible.
Thank you,
Natalie & Rob


26 Marti January 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I love your comparison of the different chalk recipes, and I’m anxious to try one out. Which of the two recipes you posted do you think gives the smoothest finish? I’m not crazy about the pieces I’ve seen that have obvious brush strokes all directions. I like the ones that look as smooth as possible.


27 Diane Henkler January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Hi Marti – I am not a fan of the brush stroked look either. I like the paint to go on to create a smooth finish. Both the Plaster and the grout will produce a smooth look so it is more about what you have on hand or is easier for you to get. To get a less brush stroked look – make sure the chalk paint is a nice pancake batter consistency with no lumps in it. Use a an electric hand mixer to mix it well.

More importantly for a smooth look -Use a good smooth bristled brush – Purdy are the ones I use. Don’t use an old one with splayed out bristles or a cheap brush where the bristles separate when you apply the paint. A good brush costs a lot more, but you will have it for years and the finish it produces will never let you down.

On another note – something I just learned and have not posted about yet, but will be soon – is that you can also use lime in place of the grout or Plaster. The kind you would use in your garden and lawn. I was told by a CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint distributor that it won’t make the paint hard like the Plaster and grout sometimes do. I am going to test it out and post about it soon.


28 Darcy March 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hi, I wanted to know if we use lime is it the same ratio?
Thanks Darcy Deblanc


29 Diane Henkler March 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Hi Darcy – I have never used the Lime, as I cannot find it in the powdered form. I was told it would be the same ratio as the other DIY recipes. I would mix the Lime and water first, then into the paint. Just be careful with the Lime as I was told it can be toxic if you breath it in.


30 Jay August 19, 2013 at 12:30 am

Go to a feed store. They will probably have lime in powdered form. We use it around the goats, ducks, rabbits, chickens to prevent odors and repel flies.

31 Daphne Stewart January 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Does the tile grout give off fumes? I’ve used it to make the chalkboard paint recipe and the fumes were so toxic! I couldn’t figure out if I used the right product, because none of the blogs had posted pictures of their ingredients. Just wondering but this was all I could find in my local Lowes that said unwanted tile grout. The tub was white and blue. I’ve since thrown it out because it smelled so strongly and said I had to use gloves because it was corrosive.


32 Diane Henkler January 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Hi Daphne – You must have used the wrong stuff. Non-sanded grout is sold in bags in the tile aisle of the home improvement store. It has no smell at all. It is a powder. It comes in white, gray, or tan. I use the white. Did you use premixed in a tub?


33 Daphne Stewart January 19, 2013 at 1:00 am

It was also a powder. The label was the same as the bagged stuff, just a smaller quantity. I’ve tossed it, but I’ve asked many bloggers w tutorials this and no one answers, so I appreciate your reply! I’ll have to try plaster of Paris next time.


34 Stephanie February 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Hi Diane!

I have some left over sanded grout from a tile job in my kitchen… Do you think this would produce the same results?


35 Diane Henkler February 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Hi Stephanie – No – the sanded grout would be too gritty when mixed with the paint. If you don’t have non-sanded grout and you want to try making your own DIY chalk paint for $5.00 you can buy Calcium Carbonate Powder from a heath food store. You can use it in the same way as the non-sanded grout and is cheaper than buying a big bag of the non-sanded grout.


36 Anna February 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi Diane, thank you so much for your informative note. Yes, I meant unsanded grout. And yes, the piece was very shiny in spots. This chalk painting is new to me and I’m def. learning as I go. I didn’t realize that you had to sand shiny pieces prior to painting. From all I read the only problem is a bleed through on some types of paint. So I think from your insightful info I will now have to sand slightly. I just did a table today that was very shiny on top so I hope I don’t run into the same problem.

Also, it did thicken quite a bit and I just keep adding water. Do you think that will compromise the paint?

Really appreciate all your answers and hopefully this will help others that are DIY … making chalk paint.


37 Robert February 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

Hello Dianne,
I have been reading your blog on making chalk paint. I myself made chalk paint. I refused to pay a high price for these designer brands. I purchesed the ingredients after reading article after article on how to make chalk paint. After much trial and error and finally aggravation, I broke down and bought some. It wasn’t so bad. It went on beautifully, adhered really well and was ridicously easy to sand and distress. I was sold! would like to say one thing to everyone out there. Brand name chalk paint compared to a homemade one has it’s advantages. I am done with making paint and have resigned myself to the fact that brands like CECE Caldwell are so popular because they know what they are doing in making this paint.
Regards, Robert


38 kassie February 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Love your blog. I especially like the template…the note book style of the pages is extra pretty! I have done the ‘chalk paint’ look via mixing regular interior flat wall paint with gesso. I mostly do it as I am painting on a paper plate so I can do shading / highlighting as I go. Instead of wax, I use Benjamin Moore flat finish varnish. It protects, seals and won’t yellow with age. Plus, its easier to paint over later when I get bored with my color favorite du jour :)


39 Mary Beth February 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

I am a beginner using this paint. Just painted a wood panel wall surrounding my stone fireplace with acrylic wall paint. Now I want to give it a touch of an aged look. Can do this using chalk paint or is it reccommended that I use a different technique?
Thank you


40 Diane Henkler March 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Hi Mary Beth – Chalk paint is perfect for creating aged looks. It is more about how easily it distresses with sandpaper and absorbs the wax that makes it perfect for aging. To age your wall you would want to use clear wax first, then dark wax over it. Another option, since it is on your wall – you can go over your painted wall with a colored glaze. Valspar makes an antiquing stain/glaze that I use all the time. You would wipe it on – leave it on for a few minutes then wipe it off. It will darken the paint a bit giving the painted finish an aged look. You can also distress the wood before or after applying the wax or glaze with medium grit sandpaper.


41 Anna March 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

Hi Diane….another question for you that might help other readers as well. Once a piece of chalk paint is “cured” with the wax….can one safely sell outside in the hot sun….say at a Flea Market etc. I’ve been invited to attend to try and sell some of my pieces but I’m worried about the wax melting in the sun. Any advice on this? Thanks so much, Anna


42 Diane Henkler March 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

Hi Anna – That is a good question. I have not placed anything I have painted outside, so I cannot tell you from my own experience, but I know that Marion from Miss Mustard Seed blog, has written that the wax will melt out in the sun. It happened to her when she was selling her painted pieces at a flea market. I am not sure if you are under a canopy – it might not happen, but out in the full sun – it probably will.


43 Dan April 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I followed recently used your DIY chalk paint to refinish a sleigh bed- anything to avoid sanding! After two coats of paint and a good waxing, the bed looks great- but I have noticed that even though it looks great, and I sealed it with wax, the paint is easily scratching off- is there a fix for this? Would you recommend putting a coat of Polycrylic over the paint? Thanks for your help!



44 Diane Henkler April 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Hi Dan -
A coat of Polycrylic will help, but the paint should not be scratching off. One reason it may be is the paint may not have cured yet. It can take up to 3 weeks for the paint to cure and really be adhered. How long ago did you paint it?
Two other reasons why it could be coming off.
1. The surface was too glossy when you painted it. Even though chalk paint’s selling feature claims no sanding – I always run a sanding block with medium grit sandpaper over all surfaces before painting to rough them up a bit. It only takes a minute and helps with adhesion.
2. The other reason, there may not have been enough Plaster, Calcium Carbonate, or Grout added to the mixture to truly make it “Chalk Paint” that sticks to any surface shiny or not.

On the pieces I have done, I have had some bleed through of tannins, but no easy to scratch off problems. The only fix, would be to add a coat or two of Polycrylic. I would repaint the areas that have scratched off first and let them dry well. You can repaint over the wax. Once it is repainted, then add a thin coat of Polycrylic over the entire surface. Let it dry and then add one more thin coat. Let the piece sit unused for a few days so it can cure before being moved or touched.

I hope this helps – let me know how it comes out.


45 angie April 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

So can you use the premix plaster of paris? I just did and my paint is very thin…any ideas how I can save my project? or should I add more Plaster?


46 Diane Henkler April 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Hi Angie – I have only used the Plaster of Paris powder. Did the paint mix well into the premixed plaster? I am not sure you would get a good mix. You may jut need to add a few more coats. Add another coat, let it dry and then add another one. More thin coats are better than fewer thicker ones. Adding more plaster will not hurt – it will only help with adhesion and the chalk finish quality of the paint.

If that doesn’t work, your project is not doomed. Let it all dry, sand over it with a medium grit sandpaper on a sanding block. Clean it off with a tack cloth and then repaint. If you can, try to get the powder form of Plaster of Paris – sold in the paint section at Lowes and Home Depot. Your mixture Plaster, paint and tiny bit of water should be about the same thickness as when you stir a can of good quality latex paint.


47 Pat July 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

I have a dining room hutch and lazy susan which are solid hardrock maple. I want to paint both, but want to know if I need to use a paint stripper on it, or use chalk paint, or what? I’d rather not have to strip it as it’s so much work. (I’m almost 72 & do all my own remodeling and decorating projects.) What is the best way to paint these two pieces? My daughter gave me a beautiful dining table, in walnut, I believe, and these other two pcs. don’t match. Besides, I’d like to have more color in the dining room. I have a green paint on the walls…. between a sage & olive…. some orange in my large wall picture over the lazy susan. The long curtains match the paint, with a plain brown on the bottom about 20″ or so. I’m wanting to do the off white chair seats in a stripe, I think, taking in the green, orange, and brown. What color would you suggest for the corner hutch and lazy susan, and what kind of paint?


48 Diane Henkler July 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hi Pat – You do not have to strip the finish. You can go one of two ways. Using primer and a latex paint or using chalk paint. If you want to distress the pieces and make them look aged – use chalk paint. Then a paste wax or Minwax Polycrylic finish. You don’t have to distress/age chalk paint, but it does distress beautifully.

The other option is to use a primer – Kilz or Gripper and then paint. You can protect the finish with Minwax Polycrylic. It is non-yellowing and water based. I would still go over the surface lightly with a piece of sandpaper on a sanding block to rough up the surface on both pieces a bit no matter which paint you decide to use.


49 Pat July 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thanks so much for your reply on how to paint my hardrock maple hutch & lazy susan. I’d rather not prime first, and besides, love the look of chalk painted furniture. However, my next question is how to distress chalk paint…. simply by sanding off, or by using a wax, or both???? Can I glaze over chalk paint? I love the distressed look and definitely want that, but with good pieces of furniture, I want to be sure I’m doing it right.


50 Diane Henkler July 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Hi Pat – To distress, you sand the edges and parts of the piece that would get wear and tear. After that, you go over it with wax – either clear or dark wax depending on the look you are after. You can also use glaze after the chalk paint and then use clear wax over to protect it.


51 Pat July 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thanks again, Diane. I’ve had experience in distressing before as I did my kitchen cabinets that way, but I’ve never used chalk paint. However, it sounds easy to work with…. just wanted to be sure. I love your work, so I trust your judgment. Again, thanks for taking the time for me!


52 Renee July 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Hi Pat! I have a question for you… I recently made my own chalk paint using plaster of paris, water and an exterior semi-gloss paint that I had. I first mixed the powder and water together and mixed them into the paint. It was nice and smooth, I started painting the dresser that I am turning into a buffet for my dining room. I got one end done and then started on the other end, by the time I got to the top, my paint started getting a little gritty, but I was able to brush out the grit with each stroke. Got one coat done, let it dry and started on my next coat. Same thing, gritty, but it would brush out. The next day I lightly sanded to smooth it out and I decided that I did not want it distressed, but a few spots needed to be touched up. So, I got my paint out and try to touch them up, but it is really gritty now! And it would not brush smooth. I obviously can’t use this mixture anymore, but what happened? What did I do wrong? I added a little more water and kept stirring, but it didn’t seem to help. Any suggestions? My buffet looks fine, as I only touched up a few spots and I will be able to sand those spots fairly smooth. But, I have some more pieces I want to paint and don’t want the same problem. Thanks so much!


53 Diane Henkler August 6, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Hi Renee -
I think what might have happened to the paint mixture was created by the paint you used. Was it Valspar, Olympic, or a paint and primer in one mixture? These paints have additives that make the paint bind. I have found this out and have added it to the post. When choosing paints to use, ask if it has a primer or acrylic in it, before buying. If it does, pick another. I have had great success with Glidden Premium in the blue can and Sherwin Williams Cashmere line as well as Behr paint. I only use Valspar and acrylic craft paints on small projects. I make it up in small batches and then just toss it when it gets too thick.


54 Elsie Yates September 6, 2013 at 12:19 am

I am so happy I discovered this site! Great info! Thank you.
I have a couple of questions.
1) If I want 2 colors to show from underneath when distressing, would I just paint one layer with chalk paint the second, then directly over that with the final color? e.g. If the piece is white, and I want the final product to be turquoise with distressed white and dark brown showing: paint it dark brown, then the turquoise? Or should there be another step in there?
2) How does chalk paint work on bare wood?
Thank you so much.


55 Diane Henkler September 6, 2013 at 9:58 am

Hi Elsie – You can paint right over the bare wood with chalk paint. As far as getting a few colors to show. Just put the color you least want to see on first, then the next and then the most dominant color last.

I am doing a two color piece right now myself. So far I have the first color on. I will then add the top color. It will be the dominant one. When I sand – the first color layer will show up, plus the wood. Waxing before sanding will give the piece and overall smooth pro look. There are no extra steps.


56 Elsie Yates September 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Thank you for your reply.
To clarify, would that be a thin layer of wax over the whole piece before you do the distressing sanding? (Poor English, I know!) Then when you are finished with the distressing, do the final waxing, whether with clear or dark, or both waxes?


57 Diane Henkler September 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Hi Elsie – You can do the distressing before or after waxing. If you sand and then wax the final finish will be smoother. If you wax and then sand – the parts where you sanded will feel rough when you are finished. If using clear and dark wax, the important thing to remember is to first use the clear and put the dark on top so you can control where the dark wax settles. Distressing before or after is more about preference.


58 Elya November 19, 2013 at 1:27 am

Hi! Great tutorial! Quick question though- can you use any kind of latex paint? Or does it need to be just a satin finish?


59 Diane Henkler November 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hi Elya – you can use any finish – just don’t use “paint + primer in one formulas”. They will bind the paint and make it unusable.


60 Elya November 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Thank you soo much for your help! I’m doing my very first reupholster/painting project on some old dining room chairs we got for free! I have another question- I went looking for the calcium carbonate at our local health food store but the closest I found was a bone meal powder, which contains calcium carbonate, but also includes phosphorus and magnesium. Will that still work or will the extra ingredients affect the paint?


61 Diane Henkler November 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Hi Elya -

I am not sure if the other ingredients will affect the mixture as I have only used 100% Calcium Carbonate Powder made by the Now Brand. You can buy it on If you have time, you could buy a small bottle of the bone meal and try experimenting with it using a small amount of paint and see what happens. I have read that many have made chalk paint with baking soda and other ingredients with success. What I love about the CCpowder is that is mixes up to a super smooth mixture – no graininess.


62 Lisa shaw April 15, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I wanted to make a black end table, but every time I add the plaster of Paris my paint turns gray what can I do to keep the paint black?


63 Diane Henkler April 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Hi Lisa – It is hard to keep black – intense black when making your own chalk paint. It will lighten because of the white powder. It will dry a bit darker, but won’t be the deepest darkest black. I have tested both PoP and CCP – each lighten black a bit, but CCP was a little less. If you really want to keep the color the deepest darkest black it may be best to buy ready made black chalkboard paint. I have used the Lowes brand – inexpensive. It does take longer to cure, but I was happy with the finish it provided once it was fully cured.


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