How To Make and Paint With DIY Chalk Paint

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






  1. says

    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

  2. says

    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 :)

  3. Mary Beth says

    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

    • says

      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.

  4. says

    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

    • says

      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.

  5. Dan says

    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!


    • says

      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.

  6. angie says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  7. says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  8. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  9. says

    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!

  10. Renee says

    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!

    • says

      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.

  11. Elsie Yates says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  12. Elsie Yates says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  13. Elya says

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

      • Elya says

        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?

        • says

          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.

  14. Lisa shaw says

    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?

    • says

      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.

  15. Melissa says

    Hi Diane,
    Help, please!! It seems as though you have tried every mixture of making chalk paint. I made my first, and second, batch using the POP with the 3 parts paint, 1 part POP, 1 part water. Disaster. The “paint” kept getting hard on the bottom and was clumpy. It took 5 coats to even somewhat cover a dark (glossy finish) table. I used warm/hot water to dissolve the POP and even whipped it with a blender before adding the paint. Any ideas what happened? This mixture seems to work just fine for others. I will say the paint was a lower end Valspar but I can’t imagine that would make THAT much difference! I can’t find the Calcium Carbonate locally, would have to order on-line. I have a dresser and two side tables I’m waiting to do but I don’t want to attempt with such poor results the first time around. I’m bummed! Thanks for any insight!

    • says

      Hi Melissa –

      I think it was the Valspar paint. Valspar paint is excellent paint on its own, but does not mix well with Plaster of Paris or Non-Sanded Grout. It has a primer in it. It does not say it on the label, but it does. Olympic paints does also. I was told by a Valspar rep that you can get the contractor paint. It does not have a primer in it. Acrylic craft paints may bind DIY chalk paint mixes also because they have acrylic added.

      I have used Glidden Premium paint in a satin finish with excellent results every time. You can buy it at Home Depot. I have used every recipe I can find to make chalk paint and I only use Calcium Carbonate Powder mixed with a T of Plaster of Paris now. It is the best mix. I always make it with Glidden Premium paint and one time with True Value paint.

      Another reader recently wrote to me and told me she found CCP at her local beer and wine making supply store. It may be worth seeing if such a store is in your area. I buy my CCP at the my local health food store.I buy a lot of it so I always have it when I need it. It costs about $6 for a 12 oz jar, less if it is on sale.

      If you really like the look of chalk paint – don’t give up. It takes some trial and error just like when you make any recipe, but the more you do it,the better yo u will get at making up the mixes.

  16. Melissa says

    Thank you Diane!
    I knew there would be some trial and error and I will adjust the paint brand accordingly! Who knew the paint could make such a difference, not me apparently! I have seen others note that they use paint w/ primer to make the chalk paint and that it worked fine too, Hmmm? CCP is easy enough to order on line so that is where I am headed. My husband about died when he saw the dresser, two side tables and an “antique” style round duncan phyfe style table in the back of the truck in the wait to be done!!! I really appreciate your reply. Thanks a million!

  17. Melissa says

    P.S. I looked back through more questions/answers and saw that someone had the same problem as me and you commented on the Valspar and Olympic paints….. you must be able to respond to us novices in your sleep! :)

  18. Joani says

    Hi Diane… Can I use acrylic-based varnishes over chalk paint? How about using acrylic paint over chalk paint for paint accents, stencils and other design techniques? Have you tried any oil-based products like Rub-n-Buff over chalk paint? Have you used ultra-fine glitter IN the varnish or “sprinkled” it over the varnish then sealed it with a final spray coat of varnish to hold the glitter? I do a lot of fantasy finishes and detail work. I’ve been concerned that combining the different types of formulas — oil, acrylic, latex, “chalk,” glitter/metal — would prevent or interfere with drying. Thank you.

  19. Caroline says

    Hi Diane,
    I painted my daughter’s mohogany bed. After 3 coats of white chalk paint, I still can see some bleeding. Should I prime on top and do another coat of chalk? What kind of primer?
    Please help!

    • says

      Hi Caroline – Darker woods do tend to bleed through sometimes. Since you are using white paint, I would use Kilz primer. I like the original formula, it is shellac based – but dries in 30 minutes. Kilz makes water based formulas also, you will need 2 coats if you use one of these. Once it is dry, then you can paint over it. Let it dry and then add distressing and your wax or poly finish.

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