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. Janet says

    Hi Diane,

    Where do you buy the Fiddes and Sons Supreme wax polish? I see that you can buy it on Amazon but I was hoping to purchase it at a local store. Can’t wait to try your chalk paint recipe. You are really awesome for answering all of your reader’s questions!!!

    • says

      Hi Janet -

      I have not been able to find Fiddes and Sons wax locally. I have only bought it online. On Amazon, and the online sites of Websters Chalk Paint Powder and John Millen Hardware

  2. Jana says

    I have purchased a large dresser and two night tables that need a major makeover. I cannot pay the price for ASCP or the other places in the area that have created their own brands (I live at the beach and I think every Chic Shabby store as come up with their own brand but it is not that much less than ASCP).

    After reading NUMEROUS blogs this seems to be the best recipe – I am just a bit confused – I thought the whole appeal of chalk paint – other than the distressed look was there was no prep work, less coats needed, no sanding, etc. I keep reading and I see sanded after one coat, sanded after two coats, etc. I just can’t seem to figure out when I am suppose to sand or even if I am … I know this is probably the most ridiculous question, but I am not a very good DIY person and being so new I am just scared to pull the trigger so to speak.

    I have been told all my life if you don’t ask you will never know – can you actually give me a step by step 1, 2, 3 on how to actually do this or a GOOD tutorial? When buying paint how do I know the amount to get – I have never painted furniture only walls and just give them dimensions.

    Thank you – I have saved your blog and look forward to becoming a regular – who knows if this turns out ok I may even learn to blog myself – but I am pretty boring and not as witty as all of you pro bloggers:) Happy 4th.

    • says

      Hi Jana – It you haven’t already, start by reading these 3 posts: and this one:

      Read the comments and my answers and I think you will learn a lot.

      Chalk paint has many looks – some like it rustic and chippy so no prep is needed at all. It looks rough hewm and country or shabby chic. Others like a French look and use 2 colors and add dark wax over the paint to look old. I like my pieces more bright and finished looking and don’t want peeling paint or too much of a distressed look. All of these looks can be done with chalk paint – each one is done a little differently. That is the beauty in the paint – lots of possibilities.

      I always sand to get a smooth finish. For me the appeal of using chalk paint is that once the piece is dry, it does not have that latex rubber feel to the finish that you get when you paint furniture with latex alone. Everyone likes a different look, so I think that is why you have read and heard so many different ways things.

      The only way you will find what you like it to just start. For the corner cabinet I painted turquoise I used two colors, but only 1/2 quart of paint of each color. One quart of paint goes a long way on furniture.

      Annie Sloan states that it takes less time to paint when you use chalk paint since you do not have to use primer, but you do have to add soft wax or poly over it when it is dry to protect the finish. If you have a big piece this takes time to wipe the wax on and then buff it hard to a shine. You can also use water based poly.I prefer the look of the wax.

      I attended an Annie Sloan workshop and we learned it can never hurt to sand first. You don’t need to take the finish to the bare wood, but use a hand block sander to rough up the surface with 100 grit sandpaper. Apply light coats. When it is dry, if you see any paint ridges or dust or hair, that is the reason you sand between coats. Sometimes I do, but most of the time it is not needed in between coats.

      I would start to practice on scrap wood to come up with the look you are after. Once you figure it out, then paint your furniture.

  3. Kim says

    I am so excited I found this site! I have been wanting to try chalk paint, but its so expensive. There are so many suggestions on how to make my own, I didn’t know where to start, so thank you! I do have some questions though…I am wanting to accomplish fairly bright red bed frames for my boys. By adding powder is there a “dulling” effect to the color of the paint? I am planning on using Fiddes and Sons Clear Wax after, so I am not worried about the sheen, I am more worried about the color. Should I buy a darker shade then I want to accomplish? Also, do I need to do a light finish sanding prior to adding the wax if I am not distressing the frames? Thanks in advise!

    • says

      Hi Kim – When using bright or saturated colors with the Calcium Carbonate Powder, you may see a slight lightening of the color, but not a huge change. Since the finish is flat – the paint will look dull until you add the wax and that is when the deepness of the color returns. Buying a slightly more saturated shade than you want will not hurt if you are worried about the CCP changing the color. Mix the CCP into water first and stir it until smooth – break up any clumps, then add to the paint. This will lessen any color change. The only color that I saw change slightly after adding CCP or Plaster was black. It got a tinge of grey to it, but once I added the wax coat – all was good again.

  4. Toni B. says

    Hello Diane–I was so pleased when you responded to my query of July 5th and so encouraged. You suggested I use Glidden Premium Paint Satin without acrylic and primer and provided the recipe for the Chalk Paint. I have gathered all the ingredients, found several old pieces of furniture in good condition and was looking forward to my Chalk Painting. Since July 6th, I have traveled to several Home Depot stores including two in the next state (NH) and cannot locate the Glidden paint I need. I finally did some research and find that Glidden Prem Latex Paint (w/o primer & acrylic) has a blue label and the number of the paint is 6211. However, the HD store that said they had it in actuality did not. My level of frustration is rising as (1) I do not want to give up the idea of chalk painting; (2) I envision the pieces I found in an antique shop will look fabulous with chalk paint; and (3) I am so inspired by your work, creativity and the pieces you’ve chalk painted that now I find I will continue my quest. However, I look to you, once again, for direction because I think I’ve reached a wall. I have also called a number of speciality paint stores and have been told that everything has primer in it. How do I get around this? Thank you so much for reading this. I look forward to your response.
    Kind regards
    Toni B.

    • says

      Hi Toni – Yes the label is blue. Both the Home Depots I go to always have it, I assumed they all did. Many companies are all going to the Paint + Primer in one formulas, even Glidden. I assume they are selling down the stock and replacing with the Paint + Primer. No cause for giving up though.

      This is not the only paint you can use, it is just the one I have had excellent results with. You can use any latex paint that does not have a primer or acrylic mixed it when you use Plaster of Paris or the non- sanded grout recipes. Look for a brands basic paint line. I have used True Value Easy Care Satin Interior with the off white and gold label with great results also. The blue label Easy Care has primer in it. Just ask at the paint store for a brand that sells a paint without a primer in it. You want a basic latex paint. Contractor paint usually does not have a primer in it.

      Sometimes paints with primers do not cause a problem, I just know they may bind the paint. If you are using the Calcium Carbonate Powder recipe there is less chance of this happening. It mixes well with all the paints I have used. It happens more with the Plaster of Paris and the Non-Sanded grout.

      With a little more searching you will soon be transforming your pieces.

  5. Debbie says

    I’m new to this, I am going to paint my daughter’s dresser with black chalk paint. I got a 10 pound bag of the Calcium Carbonate Powder with Lime from Amazon for $15 with free shipping! My question is this, can I lay lace over that and spray on gold to get the lace look? I am assuming that paint will stick.

    I love the two tone cabinet! Beautiful and I can’t wait to try that.

    • says

      Hi Debbie – I think you are asking can you spray gold over the chalk paint using lace as a stencil. If that is correct, then yes. I would wait a day or two to make sure the chalk paint is fully dry before spray the gold over it. When making black chalk paint remember to mix the CCP into warm water first so it dissolves then mix into the black paint and mix really well. If you don’t you could end up with some white specs when you sand. Good deal on the CCP :-)

  6. Shanda says

    Hi Diane, I’m going to paint my kitchen cabinets – yikes! They are the original wood cabinets from the 70s. I’m in the process of cleaning them and I’m going to degloss them too.

    I want to do white on the uppers and dark grey on the lowers. I was thinking about doing chalk paint – because it will stick better and hopefully be more durable. I don’t want to distress them at all.

    I was thinking about using your combo recipe. What do you suggest?

    • says

      Hi Shanda -

      When painting cabinets I would use the combo recipe since it is super durable. Do you plan on using wax or poly over the chalk paint? It needs either wax or poly otherwise it just looks like flat paint. Wax looks great, but you do need to apply and buff which does take time, but brings out the patina. You could also use Minwax Polycrylic over it to seal and protect the paint. When mixing the CCP into the grey paint make sure you mix it well into water first so that is dissolves then mix into the grey paint. Using both colors will look fabulous!

      • Shanda says

        Yes, I was planning waxing it. It would be nice if that part didn’t take forever. I read another blog where she used deck sealer and liked the look of it but I’m scared to chance it.

        I’ve used Johnson’s before – do you think it would tint the white cabinets? Also, will mixing the combo recipe lighten the paint colors?

        Thanks for your help!!

        • says

          Johnson’s wont’t change the color of the paint. It is a clear wax. Minwax is orange and will change the color. If you want to splurge a bit, Clear Fiddes and Sons in my fave wax. It runs about $18. You can buy it on Amazon or from Websters Chalk Paint. It goes on easier than Johnson’s. If you mix the powder well into water first and then into the paint – you should not see color change. If you do see a darker color lighten a bit – once you wax – it will get dark again.

  7. says

    Hi Diane, Im just painting up some bookcases on which I will be storing fabric but I wonder if you have ever done bookcases and if so how did you finish the shelves? I don’t feel comfortable waxing with fabric sitting on them and I wonder if an acrylic sealer would be better. I will be painting the shelves as well. They are separate and can be moved.
    Many thanks Patricia

    • says

      Hi Patricia – I would use a water-based sealer or an acrylic. Two I like are Minwax Polycrylic and Zinseer Ultimate Polyurethane. I would let them dry and cure at least a 4-5 days before putting fabric on them.

  8. Heidi says

    Hi. I’m new to painting and wanted to try your chalk paint recipes! Thank you! I looked into this a couple of times but the cost was to much for me. I can’t wait to try your recipes! Anyway, my question is, can you use a stain instead of a glaze and then use the wax? Have you ever tried that? Just wondering what the difference between a glaze and a stain is? I would love to hear your feed back on that!

    • says

      Hi Heidi – You can use stain over chalk paint the same way you would use glaze. Glaze is a transparent medium that has color added to it. When you apply it to a painted surface it dries slowly giving you plenty of time to manipulate it to get the look you desire. Stain is transparent also, but has more pigment in it and it dries faster. If you use a stain over chalk paint, be ready with a rag to wipe it off in areas right away. If you don’t want a super dark look, but want a little in recessed areas, it is best to use one layer of clear wax over the dried paint first, then add the stain or dark glaze so you can move it around. Once it is dry, add another layer of wax to protect and buff to a subtle sheen.

  9. Rose McArdle says

    I made my first batches of chalk paint I used the 1 plaster of Paris and 2 the calcium carbonate methods but found both to be very gritty did I do something wrong mixing or painting or how would I correct without removing completely
    Also it seemed to lighten the colour a lot I need to paint bedroom furniture black for my niece is the something I can do to keep it to a deep black colour

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