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:

Note:  When making chalk paint with Plaster of Paris you cannot use a paint with a primer in it. Most paint company’s have it written on the label  Paint + Primer In One.  Some brands do not have this. Valspar does not have it on the label, but it does have a primer in it.  If you mix PoPlaster it will turn to a cement-like mixture.

For my cabinet, I used Glidden Premium paint.  It does not have a primer in it, nor does Easy Care paint that I buy at True Value Hardware.

If you want to use Valspar then make the chalk paint with Calcium Carbonate Powder only. You can find the recipe, here:


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. says

    Hi, You did a great job.. Thank you for sharing your experiments.
    I decided to try all the recipes you gave and i did all of them…. I used behr +primer paint, para without primer.
    PARA paint I used first (all the recipes), I put as much powder as recipes required…. it didn’t do a trick. I put twice , third as much powders – still, it doesn’t work like chalk paint. it distresses hard, it doesn’t give good coverage especially on darker surfaces… Behr paint though is with primer and i added just a bit grout…. and it gives good coverage, doesnt distressed too easy,,, but I mean for at least it covers good, BUT it did it the same way even before i added grout……
    What is wrong with me, why i cant make home made chalk paint?? please help…. what is the secret.

    • says

      Hi Lana –
      I don’t know if there is a secret. I look at the way I look at all recipes. Think of the baker who bakes the best bread and when you try, it is a failure. It takes some time and experimenting to get the recipe just right in your conditions. Your town’s water may have something in it that mine doesn’t or vice versa. You may have a different batch or brand of CCP or PoP. It can all play into how well your mix will turn out.

      I do not use the grout recipe anymore. I like the Calcium Carbonate Powder recipe the best. I use the NOW brand. You can buy it on Amazon. It mixes up nice and smooth and the extra can be stored for months and be reused. I like adding a bit of PoP to it if I need a super durable finish, say on a tabletop. When you add PoP to any mix, it does make it harder to distress, the more PoP, the harder to distress.

      I have had great success with Glidden premium paint in a satin finish. It comes in a blue can. I think they only sell it in quarts now. Every mix I make with this comes out nice and smooth, cures in a few days, and distresses easily. I also have had excellent results with Easy Care paint in a satin finish. I buy it at True Value Hardware.

      It sounds like you may be adding too much powder. One more tablespoon in a mix will not matter much, but anymore than that you may end up with too thick of a mixture.

      I have read about using chalk line chalk to make chalk paint. I ordered it online, but have not made up a mix with it yet. You may want to try it. If you want a custom color and don’t want to play around too much. Webster’s Chalk Paint Powder works well and is not too expensive. I used it once and was very happy with the results. I used Glidden paint with it. They have a website. I buy the Fiddes and Sons wax I like to use from them.

  2. Valerie says

    Just found you via Pinterest. I love what you have done with this cabinet! I am a complete newbie in furniture painting and apologize if you have already posted the answer to my question dozens of times…do I need to sand my furniture before trying this technique? I’d like to apply it to dark brown bedroom furniture. I’m not sure what color I’d like yet. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Valerie – I always lightly sand over every piece of furniture I paint to give it some “tooth”. A quick 5-10 minute going over with 100 grit sandpaper is all it will need. It will help with adhesion for the long run of your painted finish.

  3. Diane says

    I followed your recipe to a T. 4 Tablespoons Calcium Carbonate, 4 Tablespoons Plaster of Paris, 4 Tablespoons water, mixed it together, then added it to the Quart of Valspar Paint (I doubled the recipe). What I got was a mixture that resembled cement. It was very think and grainy. What did I do wrong? Because I did EXACTLY what the recipe said to do……..

    • says

      Hi Diane –

      I am 99% sure the problem is the Valspar paint. It has a primer in it that causes the mix to get dry and like cement when you use Plaster of Paris.

      If you used just CCP, it would not happen. It does not say anything about a primer on the label, but it does have it as do many brands of paint nowadays. I used to always use Glidden Premium to make my mixes and they have changed their formula. If using PoP, try Easy Care paint. It is one that I find at True Value Hardware or use only the CCP recipe to make the mix. CCP will mix with any paint.

      On my chalk paint page, I have written about not using Valspar paint, if you have not seen those posts, you wouldn’t know this. Sorry, I try to make sure all the chalk paint post have this info. I will make sure to add it to this post, too.

  4. Diane says

    In comment above, I meant to say “thick and grainy”. I added more paint, it still looks grainy. When I measured out the dry ingredients, I didn’t pack them down into the Tablespoon, I just lightly spooned them in and leveled off with a knife, as you would do when measuring baking soda……I don’t see how I could have end up with too much C C and P of P. Any suggestions for me and others who want to try this recipe in the future would be appreciated. Should the recipe have said teaspoons instead of Tablespoons?

  5. says

    I’m starting my first chalk paint project. I realized after painting two coats that my paint was one that included primer in it. I didn’t have the binding our cement like mixture issues. Do you think I’ll have any other issues with durability? Not sure what to do next. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Melissa – If you didn’t have any problems with the mix turning to sludge then you are good to go. In fact, your paint will be super durable once it is cured. If your dried painted finish has any grit in it or looks rough, simply go over the area with med-fine sandpaper to smooth, not to distress. It will look beautiful. After the paint is dry, then all you need to do is seal it either with water-based poly or wax. I like the look of wax better, but it does take more time to apply and buff, then simply brushing on and letting dry.

  6. Naina says

    Hi Diane! First of all, I want to say a big thanks for sharing your recipes and projects. I came upon your blog by chance and it’s been extremely useful. Tried upcycling for the first time this weekend with your CC + PoP recipe and it’s worked really well. I have a silly question though, and I thought it best to check with you just to be sure. I have some leftover paint mix which has become a little thick . It’s kept in an airtight container, no grainy bits, just thicker since mixing it. Probably due to the paint type that I’ve got in the mix. So, I was wondering if adding water to thin it out a little to use it is a good idea? Or is there another way please? It’s a fair amount of paint, so I don’t want to throw it . Thanks for your help. And please keep posting amazing stuff as you do :) xx

    • says

      Hi Naina – I have had a few mixes that became thick after storing. When I used it for other projects, I used a stiffer brush to apply the paint and when it was dry, I sanded the finish with medium grit sandpaper not to distress, but to smooth the painted finish.

      You can add a little bit of water to the mix, but not too much. Add a teaspoon at a time and stir until the mix it smooth again. You just don’t want to add too much water and dilute the mix and the adhesion quality of the paint.

  7. Darlene says

    I’ve used this recipe for my last half dozen projects and it’s FANTASTIC! I doubt I’ll ever buy chalk paint again…starting another tomorrow😀


    • says

      Hi Darlene – I love when I hear success stories. I love painting with the DIY chalk paint and don’t think I will ever paint furniture again without using it. With so many brands changing their latex formulas, I would love to know what brand of paint you use when mixing it to make chalk paint? I have always used Glidden, Easy Care, and Behr.

  8. Victoria says

    Thanks for the recipe…can’t wait to show you the before and after.
    I notice you didn’t tape the glass in the cabinet..does the paint clean up that easlly?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *