Furniture Makeover: Mixing Up DIY Chalk Paint Recipes & Colors

I have been up to a little experimenting again…with DIY chalk paint.


I have written about many pieces of furniture I have painted using one of three DIY chalk paint recipes – non-sanded grout, Plaster of Paris, and Calcium Carbonate Powder.  Many of you have asked me what is the most durable recipe?

Last week, I combined two of my favorite recipes – Plaster of Paris and Calcium Carbonate Powder in one mix to use on the corner cabinet in my dining room to see if by mixing the two, the finish would be even better – more durable than when either ingredient was used alone.

I liked it –A LOT!   It dried to a very durable finish right away  – no wood tannins bled through and the mixture was super smooth.   I will use the recipe again.

* I have gotten many questions about the book page lined white hutch in the above photo. I posted about it, here.

cabinet before


The cabinet is a hand-me-down. Back in the early 90’s I had an artist paint the trompe l’oeil on the doors. It was in my blue and white kitchen back then and looked quite charming. Fast forward 23 years – time for a makeover.

cabinet during

To create the DIY chalk paint:


I mixed 2 tablespoons of Calcium Carbonate Powder and 2 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris into 2 Tablespoons of water and mixed well. I then added it to 2 cups of latex paint in a satin finish and mixed until smooth.    It created a very smooth consistency.  Not lumpy or grainy at all.


I made two batches of it because I also wanted to try layering two colors of chalk paint to try to achieve more depth and interest to the finish.


When I was at the Haven Blog Conference in Atlanta this summer I took a class on how to paint with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  One of you – Hi Serena! sat at my table and I loved the colors of chalk paint that she used on her sample board –  I knew it was the look I wanted for my cabinet.

The colors were made by mixing two Annie Sloan colors together to create a brand new color.   Then the colors were layered on top of each other letting the first layer dry, then applying the second color on top.  Once that was dry, it was distressed to expose the under layer of paint, and then waxed.

To paint the cabinet I used Behr Southern Blue S-G-590 in a satin finish as my first coat.  I used Glidden Pacific Coast A1265  for the second or top layer.

I also loved the Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax we used in the class.  I have not purchased it yet as it is a bit too pricey for my budget, but it works beautifully.  For now, I will stick with Fiddes and Sons and Johnson’s.

cabinet after


I used 160 grit sandpaper to distress the finish and expose the dark indigo blue color underneath.


I waxed it with Johnsons and buffed it with a soft and well washed t-shirt to bring up a soft shine.


I like the subtle look of the blue under the turquoise.


I added new drawer pulls, too.  The pulls on the top left in the above photo are the original.  This Chippendale style of pull is on many of the hand-me-down pieces I inherited. I have spray painted them, added numbered beads to them, and paper napkins to give them an update.

I am tired of Chippendale style pulls and wanted something new – a different shape, so I went shopping online at D.Lawless Hardware and picked out 3 different styles of pulls to try-on to find one that would be just right.

The bin pulls were too big and sat too high on the drawer.  I did not want to have to drill new holes, fill and sand the old ones, so they didn’t make the cut. The glass pulls were invisible.


I went with the antique finish pulls – they were the right color, dainty, but large enough for the size and proportion of the cabinet and drawer.

Since I love the other two pull styles, I am sure you will be seeing them on future projects.


The Johnson Brothers gold rimmed china inside the cabinet is also a hand-me-down from my husband’s grandparents.  Who knows, it may feel right at home since many  years ago it was probably displayed just like I have it in the cabinet.


The cabinet is not huge and gets a little lost next to the big hutch,  so I placed a large white platter that I got at Costco on the top to create some balance. It is propped up on a box and a large plate stand.


It has lots of texture and detail. It comes down to serve the turkey at Thanksgiving and beef tenderloin at Christmas.


We use this room only twice a year and only in the evening for candlelight holiday dinners.   The wall color – Ben Moore – Shelburne Buff looks quite cozy in the candlelight.

As with many things on hold in my life as we wait to find out if we are moving or not, it is going to stay, but I am itching to paint it again now that I have changed the colors of the furniture in the room.


A few of you noticed in my posts last week that the corner cabinet seemed to have changed while I was showing you my dining room table makeover.

I made the white DIY chalk paint for the base of the table using the same recipe I used for the cabinet with Johnsons paste buffed over for protection. The top is a driftwood stained finish.

If you are new here,  and would like to know more about making your own DIY versions of chalk paint, you can find out how to make it in these two posts – Testing DIY Chalk Paint and DIY Chalk Paint Review.



  1. Anette Greene says

    I’m going to try your recipe on an old basset furniture chest for my granddaughter. Going after a “western” look. I have read all the your comments and tips but never saw any reference on how to prep the piece for painting with the chalk recipe. Does the piece need to be “stripped with products” and sanded before applying your recipe? Looking forward to getting started! Thanks.

  2. Kathi says

    Thanks, Diane, for all the info on chalk painting. I have read all your blogs on this subject several times and I am going to try this latest recipe using the calcium carbonate and plaster of paris. Unfortunately, I could not find the calcium carbonate locally, but have it on order at my local health food store. Now, I just have to wait for it to come in to begin the project. I do have a question. I will be painting an old dresser which has a mirror with a very intricately carved frame. I am concerned about being able to rough it up adequately to receive the paint and then waxing and buffing it with all the crooks and crevices. What suggestions do you have for this. Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Kathi –

      The best thing to do to rough up the intricate areas to paint with chalk paint is to cut a small section of sandpaper and roll it so one end has a rolled point on it. Use this point to get into the carved areas. You don’t have to get every inch, just a little will help with adhesion. Clean it well. Gather a few small brushes that artists use. You can buy these at the crafts store or Walmart. These will get the paint into the carved areas. I apply wax to these areas using the smaller brushes too. When buffing, twirl one corner of your buffing cloth into a point to remove the wax in the hard to reach areas. Then rub over the entire surface. If you see any un-buffed wax still in the crevices – use the small paint brush to remove it and then go over with your cloth.

  3. says

    Hi Diane!!
    I follow you since you started with the PoP version of chalk paint, and so did I. Now I think it’s about time to try this recipe as you say it’s the most durable you’ve tried. I have some doubts as I have to paint a whole dinning room
    1. Do you know if it’s possible to use it with a paint gun? If not, what do you use? All your furniture has a perfect finish…
    2. Would you protect the table top only with wax or poly? The same for chairs
    I am ordering online today the calcium carbonate and as soon as I receive it I will start to paint
    Thanks for sharing all this information!

    • says

      Hi Pili –

      You can use the Calcium Carbonate Powder with a spray gun, but the PoP may clog it. I use a an angled Purdy paint brush and rounded foam roller to paint to get a smooth finish. I also sand over the entire surface with “fine” 220 sandpaper if needed to smooth a paint ridge or drip.

      I think wax is so much easier to care for and it looks better over the paint. If you get a ring of water or a stain, you can simply rub over it with fine sandpaper and then add a layer of wax and buff. If you need to repaint a spot, you can simply brush the paint over the spot and wax it – it will all blend right it. With poly, you would need to put poly over the whole piece if you get a spot. It does not blend in like wax does.

      Waxing painted pieces does take some elbow grease to buff to a protective shine, but it makes the finish look fabulous.

  4. Angela says

    Hi Diane,

    Your website is my come to site when I have a question about chalk paint!

    My question today is: How long did you wait before you sanded your china cabinet to get the distressed look? I have my cabinet all painted and don’t want to mess it up by trying to distress it too soon.

    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Angela –

      I wait about 2 days before distressing and waxing. There is no set formula, I would just make sure the paint is fully dry. 48 hours in dry not humid conditions is a good amount of time to wait.

  5. says

    Hi Diane!
    Great information and beautiful blog. Thank you so much for sharing all of this!
    I’ve found some different information on the topic, but not a straight forward answer… Can I substitute acrylic craft paint for latex paint when mixing chalk paint? If so, would you recommend it?
    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Sam – I have found that you can use acrylic paint with the Calcium Carbonate Powder (CCP) recipe with no problems, but it may bind the paint if you use Plaster of Paris or Non-sanded grout. I use CCP exclusively now. It mixes well with all paints – even paints with primers in them.

  6. Nancy says

    I didn’t see this question, but there were so many to look through….where do you buy calcium carbonate?

  7. Michelle says

    Do you think you can use this over existing paint? My desk is in need of desperate renovation, but was painted high gloss black.

    • says

      Hi Michelle – Yes you can paint over existing glossy paint or poly.I have done it for years. It is what chalk paint is best at doing, but you can paint over any surface successfully with latex and a gripping or stain blocking primer. I have a page on my blog where I show the products I use to paint over just about anything. You can find it here:

      You will find more information about painting furniture in general by reading the posts in my Furniture Makeover Gallery:

      No matter what kind of paint you decide to use. The key to success is sanding the surface first to rough it up. It does not need to be sanded to the bare wood, just a 5-10 min going over. If using regular latex, use a gripping primer. If you are going to use chalk paint, just sand to rough up the surface and then paint.

  8. Mary says

    hello, I live in the UK, and I am not sure what you mean by Latex paint!!!!, Could you please explain which paint it is best for me to use, I have bought the calcium carbonate from Amazon but just don’t know which paint to buy to mix it with, I am wanting to paint a pr of 1970 teak wardrobes, they are just plain, nothing fancy, but they scream 1970, lolol, can you help me please???

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