How to Paint Anything: Yes, You Can!

by Diane Henkler

Can I paint _____?      How To Paint_____?      How do I paint ____?

These are the  most frequently asked questions I receive in my inbox daily.    My answer is  - Yes! Anything can be painted.  With technology and paint formula improvements that have been introduced in the past decade – painting just about anything so that it has a lasting finish is possible.

Here is a guide that will explain the steps on how to paint the most common surfaces and some not so common questions that readers have asked me about.  I also included the products that I use and that can be easily found at your local hardware, paint, or home improvement store.   You can also paint anything using DIY chalk paint. Click here to learn more about making and painting with DIY chalk paint.


How to Paint Anything

The most important thing to know about painting anything – it is not just about the paint!

The most successful paint finishes are those were the surface was prepped correctly, manufacturers directions followed, and the paint applied under the right temperature and conditions.  The only way paint should be applied is in light coats. It is better to have more light coats then fewer thicker ones.  This has to do with the chemistry of paint, thin coats wear much slower than thick coats, because they dry harder.

Before you paint anything. Keep these three things in mind: 

1. Prep correctly and take the time to sand. No need to sand it to the bare wood with an electric sander. A 5 – 10 minute going over with medium grit sandpaper on a sanding block will do the trick. It can never hurt and will only help with adhesion.  Sanding briefly over the surface before will save you hours of frustration later when you find the paint has not adhered.   Sanding in between coats with a fine grit paper and cleaning the surface off with a tack cloth before applying the next coat will ensure a smooth finish.  

2. Only apply paint and primers in thin coats and let each one dry before applying the next coat.

3. Be gentle with your painted piece the first few weeks.  Paint takes time to cure.  Curing brings the paint to its maximum hardness and durability. Depending on the weather, temps, and thickness of the coats – it could take up to 3 weeks.    

Following these steps will ensure beautiful painted surfaces that will last a life time.


How to Paint Wood Furniture that has Paint, Stain, or Polyurethane on It.

Rough the surface with 60-100 grit sandpaper on a sanding block.  Clean off with a tack cloth.  Go over piece with a damp rag or if it is very dirty, clean with dish soap and  or TSP,  rinse well. Let dry and go over with a tack cloth again. Roll or brush on two light coats of a bonding or stain blocking primer. (Stain blocking for bare, dark, or old wood.  Gripping primer for glossy surfaces.) Let each coat dry before applying the next.   Then roll or brush on two coats of latex paint. Thin coats. Let each coat dry before applying the next.  If the piece is going to see some action or for table tops – protect the finish with non- yellowing polyurethane – 1 – 2 light coats.   I painted the dresser in my guest room following these steps.

Products I Use:  Glidden Gripper Primer for bonding over slick or shiny surfaces. Kilz Original or Kilx Maxx for bare wood or when wood knots are present. Any brand of latex paint in the sheen you desire. To protect – Minwax Polycrylic. It comes in 3 sheens

Products Needed to paint wood furniture


How to Paint Laminate Furniture and Cabinets

Sand with 180-grit or fine sandpaper.  Sand it gently to rough up the surface, but don’t gouge it.  Clean the surface with a cotton rag, water, and mild detergent such as dish soap.  Let dry.  Apply a  bonding primer suitable for laminate surfaces to increase paint’s adhesion. Let dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. It may take up to a week to cure.  Let it cure before rolling or spraying paint on -you will be rewarded with a lasting finish for your patience.  Apply light coats of paint, let each one dry before applying the next. To ensure a very smooth finish – sand in between coats with very fine grit sandpaper and clean the grit off with a tack cloth. Protect it with a coat or two of non-yellowing water based polyurethane.

How to Paint Laminate Furniture

How to Paint Cardboard Backdrops in Inexpensive Furniture 

If your furniture has cardboard or even foam boards as backdrops you can paint them,  but you need to make sure they are secure or else they will curl up when paint is applied.  It is best to make sure all the staples/nails are being held holding in place and then paint. If you removed the backing board to paint - you need to tape it down flat with low tack painter’s tape so it does not curl.  Use a paint and primer in one formula or one coat of primer and one coat of paint.  Don’t remove the tape until it is dry.  Either a brush or roller will work.

Products to use to paint foam core and cardboard in furntiure

How to Paint Upholstered Furniture Fabric

Mix 2 parts acrylic paint with 2 parts fabric medium with 1 part water. Mix well.  Fill a spray bottle with water and saturate the upholstery, this will make painting easier.  Use a stiff paint brush to paint the paint mixture on the fabric.   You will need at least 3 coats for good coverage.  Let each coat dry before applying the next.  You can buy fabric medium at the crafts store.

How to paint upholstered furniture fabric and products to use


How to Paint Fabric

Tape preshrunk fabric to plastic covered cardboard. Place cardboard inside a pillow cover so paint doesn’t soak through. Use fabric paint or an acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. Apply the paint in several thin coats to work it into the fibers with a stiff paint brush.  Heat-set if required according to paint manufacturer instructions.  Your piece can be laundered with mild detergent after 10-14 days.

How to paint fabric


How to Paint Drywall

Remove dust from walls and wash over them with a rag dampened with a  TSP and water mix. Scrap off loose paint and fill any holes with surfacing compound. For new drywall, apply wallboard sealer. For existing drywall, use a stain-blocking primer to help hide water stains. Apply two coats of latex paint, let dry between coats.

How to paint drywall


How to Paint Fake Wood Paneling

Paneling usually has a sheen that needs to be scuffed to prepare it for paint. Use a pole sander with 80 grit sandpaper followed by a good cleaning with TSP or detergent, rinse well. When dry, roll on two light coats of bonding primer – let the first coat dry before applying the second.  Then roll on your paint.  2 light coats should give good coverage.  Use a good quality 1 -2  inch wide angled brush to paint the vertical grooves in the paneling.

How to paint paneling


 How to Paint Brick and Brick Fireplaces

Scrub bricks with a stiff brush, water, and mild detergent, and then rinse well. For tough grime, use muriatic acid and rinse with 2 tablespoons baking soda per gallon of water.  Apply masonry sealer and then use a long nap roller to apply paint.  Use a good quality 1 -2 inch angled brush to get paint into the grout lines and crevices. If you have newly installed brick, wait 30 days before painting it.

Before I added AirStone to my fireplace, I painted the bricks white.

How to paint Brick

How to Paint Ceramics and Ceramic Tile

Ceramic is not porous and to paint it right so that it lasts for a long time you  need to use a paint  that has epoxy in it or primer/paint that are specially formulated for tile.     When working with these paints – you must make sure to get adequate ventilation in the room and wear a mask as the chemicals have a very strong smell.  You need to sand the surface with 120 – 150 grit sandpaper. Clean with water, let dry. Sand again. Clean.  Taking the time to prep the surface is what will make the paint adhere for a long time without scratching off.    Apply two coats of  primer with a high density foam roller, then two light coats of paint.   Allow paint to dry for several days or cure according to the manufacturer’s directions.

How to paint tile

How to Paint Concrete

Scrub with TSP, then bleach and water solution.  Degrease oily spots using a concrete degreaser, and repair cracks with concrete filler. Etch the surface with a 10 percent solution of muriatic acid and water. Apply a  concrete sealer and two to three coats of paint designed for concrete surfaces.

How to paint concrete

How to Paint Metal

Clean the surface with a stiff wire brush, or steel wool to remove flaking paint or rust.  Run fine to medium grit sandpaper over the surface to rough it up just a bit.  Rinse well with  a damp rag and let dry. Prime with metal primer and let dry. If metal is rusted, use  spray paint with rust inhibitors. Let dry. Apply several thin coats of paint. Let each coat dry before applying the next coat.

I like to use spray paint on pieces that have rounded metal parts. See the bed frame I painted for my daughter.  If using spray paint, hold the can 1—12 inches from the surface as you spray. Shake the can during the application to keep the color mixed. Spray lightly to avoid paint runs.  Let each coat dry for about 30 minutes or until it is dry to the touch before applying the next coat.

How to paint metal


How To Paint Outdoor Light Fixture

It is best to paint exterior fixtures when they are not in direct sunlight, if you are not removing the fixture, wait until a cloudy day or paint when the fixture is in the shade.   Scour the surface with steel wool and detergent to clean off rust and peeling paint. Rinse and let dry. Use a stiff paint brush to apply an exterior oil-based metallic paint. Apply light coats and work fast. Let each coat dry before applying the next coat.  See how I transformed my outdoor light fixtures with a hammered paint finish.

How to paint an exterior metal light fixture

How to Paint Glass

Start with a clean, dry surface. If you use a pattern, tape it to the outside of clear glass. With an artist’s brush, apply a thin layer of glass paint.  For a more opaque finish, apply an additional coat after the first is dry. Paint slowly to avoid bubbles.  If you want the look of frosted glass or mirrored glass use a specialty paint made to achieve the look.  I used Looking Glass Mirror paint on the back of my fireplace screen.

How to paint glass


How To Paint China

Wash item well with detergent and let dry.  Use craft paints made for ceramic and china painting or paint pens. Use a foam brush to apply.  Paint pens are super easy to use when you want to only paint on parts of a piece or paint a design.  Let each coat dry before adding the next coat.  Do not use before the piece until it has time to cure and  follow paint manufacturers directions that may include sealing it with a clear non- yellowing sealer or baking it in the oven to set the finish.

How to paint china

How to Paint Plastic

Sand the surfaced lightly to increase adhesion. Wash with TSP and then rinse well with water.  Be careful not to touch the clean surface, leaving oil behind. Apply spray primer and then spray paint, both designed for plastic.  Apply multiple thin coats according to the manufactures direction and let dry between coats.  I painted my desk chair from basic office black to bright and cheery white using this method.

How to paint plastic

How to Paint a Wood Floor

Scour the surface with 150-grit sandpaper, then wash the floor with TSP to remove dirt and dust.
Allow floor to completely dry – it may take a few hours to a day.  When the floor is dry, apply oil based primer and let it dry overnight.  Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper.  Wipe the floor clean with mineral spirits using a tack cloth.  Apply the first, thin coat of paint with a natural-bristle brush ( this will create a smoother finish as nap from a roller can create a stippled finish).  Allow paint to dry 24 hours.  Apply two more thin coats, allowing 24 hours in between coats.

After the final coat of paint, only walk on the surface with socks on. If you want the finish to last – don’t put the furniture back on right away.  Oil based paint dries overnight, but takes 28 days to cure to maximum hardness.  If you must put the furniture back in, do not drag it in, pick it up and carefully place back down.

How to paint a wood floor


How to Paint a Vinyl Floor

You can paint vinyl, but it may not last forever, that is why I put this last.  Sand the vinyl with 220-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface and dull the shine.  Wipe it clean with a liquid deglosser. This will improve bonding.  Let it dry. Prime the floor with a gripping primer. Let dry. Roll or brush on one or two coats of porch and floor enamel, let each coat dry overnight before applying the next.





{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paige September 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hi, I want to brighten up my new apartment with paint, but have no idea how to get started! I would love to hear your experiences with painting! What was your process of deciding on a color? Did you try lots of samples or just match something in the room? Where do you buy paint? How long do you think it will take an inexperienced painter like me to do each room? Thank you for your help!


2 Susan September 25, 2012 at 8:52 am

I really enjoyed finding your website I too am a do it yourself paint sew garden etc. I am redoing a large secretary for my daughter who has contemporary taste and grappling with going white or off white loved loved your white desk redo thanks so much for sharing!


3 prarthana October 4, 2012 at 10:37 am

i really liked everything u made… actually i wanted 2 decorate my room in artistic way.. i want 2 make it as vintage room bt i dnt knw excatly how 2 start… so pls help me if u can… :D


4 Amy W. October 6, 2012 at 1:28 am

Oh my gosh……I’ve been on your site for over an hour. You are amazing! I’m sitting in my kitchen thinking about how badly I would LOVE to paint my “oak” cabinets! Have you always been so brave? I’m so scared to start! You have inspired me tonight…..


5 susan October 30, 2012 at 11:34 pm

OK, here’s a “How to paint anything” challenge. Bathroom floor tiles.


6 Diane Henkler October 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Hi Susan – You can successfully paint bathroom floor tiles using oil based primer and paint or epoxy paint. You need to thoroughly clean and if they are glossy – sand them. There are a few companies that sell kits especially made for floor tiles. I think Rust-oleum makes one. Do a Google search for Bathroom Floor Tile paint. I think they are kind of pricey, but cheaper then replacing tiles.


7 LaDonna July 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Thank you for a wonderful, informative post!


8 Mary July 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Diane, I love your site and pin my favorites like this one and give you credit, of course. Have you ever tried to remove popcorn from the ceiling? I have read tutorials on this, but I love how you take a complex task and make it sound so easy that it makes me want to drop everything and try it. I would love your take on this task.


9 Diane Henkler July 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Hi Mary – I have never removed a popcorn ceiling. I don’t even like painting ceilings. Removing the texture looks like a hard messy job. Sorry that I don’t have any advice for you. Best of luck with it.


10 Sheryll & Critters. July 25, 2013 at 6:25 am

Thank you Diane for all the great information. You are my ‘go to’ for anything I want to try to do.

I thought I would add my experience with a recently tried ‘weathering new pine wood’ thingy. Do NOT use steel wool and vinegar, cause it turns Pine wood ORANGE…….. it was horrible.

Also, the Dollar Tree has a 12 pack of sand paper for ONE dollar(and there are graduated grits)! As opposed to my home store that I paid $5 for a 4 pack of all one course grit. I have been sanding my life away lately, so I have gone through a lot and I definitely needed more than just ONE grit… I don’t have $20 for just sand paper!!!! Ya know?

I hope to get to try painting fabric in the near future, so this information is so very valuable to me. Thank you again.


11 Donna July 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hi Diane,
Thank you for this great tutorial. I want to paint the ceramic tile upper accent pieces in my guest shower. They are dark forest green. Does the post on painting ceramic tile include shower tile where it will get wet and possibly be scrubbed on occasion?


12 Diane Henkler July 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hi Donna – You can paint tiles in a shower, but it many not last forever. The fact that they are high accent tiles and won’t get as much water on them, is a plus. The prep is crucial. Make sure to scour the tiles with medium grit sandpaper. Follow the directions on the box. Try not to use the shower for a few days to a week to let the paint really dry. When it is cured, it can be cleaned, I would just be careful not to scrub it too hard.


13 Donna July 26, 2013 at 1:31 am

Thank you Diane. After my guests leave, I will tackle that!


14 Helen August 1, 2013 at 5:53 am

Dear Diane,

I have looked at your work and I have to say it looks magnificent!

On that basis, I painted a dark wood chest of drawers with waterbased paint. It went off so quickly I found it very difficult. So I added an agent that slowed the drying time down.

The huge problem I have is that the drawers do not close. I have only painted the edges as you have suggested. If I rub down, the dark wood will show when the drawers are closed.

What would you do?




15 Diane Henkler August 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Hi Helen – Have you tried rubbing candle wax all over the sides of the drawers? If that doesn’t work, I would probably sand the edges to the bare wood until the drawers close perfectly, then sand them down even more so that when you add a few light coats of paint, they still close. If this won’t help, let me know or send me a photo.


16 Rhonda August 4, 2013 at 3:42 am

Thanks Diane! I will reread this post many times as I tackle my painting projects.


17 Martyna August 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm

First of all – this is an awesome resource for someone starting up with refinishing and painting furniture. I really appreciated your posts.

I have a question about painting a laminate piece – a chest similar to Ikea MALM – particle board wrapped in melamine. Is Gripper really a necessity? I planned on roughing up the surface, priming, and painting with home made chalk paint. Then – buffing with wax, and maybe covering the top with glass, just to make sure toddlers roughing up the alarm clock don’t rip the layers of paint off. Should I really go with Gripper, or is Killz enough on a nightstand/chest?


18 Diane Henkler August 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Hi Martyna -

Gripper is a primer. It is better for using on Laminate then Kilz is. Kilz is better for dark and old pieces of wood furniture that have tannins that will bleed through and change the color of your paint. Laminate is smooth and has no tannins. Gripper is made especially for smooth slick surfaces. To make sure your painted finish lasts a long time. I would sand the laminate to rough it up. Clean off the grit and apply one coat of Gripper, let dry. Sand lightly with fine sandpaper just to level any primer ridges or drips. Then use chalk paint and wax. It may take up to 30 days for the paint to cure, so if you do a scratch test the day after you paint and paint comes off, don’t think you failed. Give it time to cure.


19 Martyna August 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thank you for your reply. I just checked my paint shelf, and it’s actually Zinsser 1-2-3, which is supposed to be a slick surface primer, too, but I was no impressed by it’s performance over wood paneling. I was advised I did not need the sanding part, and now, months after, I can scratch the paint off with my fingernail. I’ll try Gripper, and maybe scrape a panel, or two, to check, if it gives any better results.

As my panels are probably 1/3 of the room’s height (under the chair rail), would waxing them improve the durability of the finish? I read latex will buff a bit with wax, and that chalk paint is a no-no for walls, but I see new scuff and scratch marks weekly, as my two kids push furniture around, ride tiny bikes, and so on.


20 Cathleen November 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Is laminate the same thing as veneer on a wood table?


21 Diane Henkler November 20, 2013 at 9:59 am

Hi Cathleen – Not exactly – Laminate is a man made product – a composite of wood and plastic and other stuff. It comes in matte and shiny and all colors and even can look like wood. I call it plastic wood. Veneer however is made of wood – very thin sheets that are adhered to the surface of cheaper wood to make it look like it is a higher quality. You can usually tell if something has veneer on if it peels up or you see a hole in the surface that looks layered around the edges. Laminate would just wear away smooth.


22 August August 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Hi Diane,

I made some storage bins for our nursery. They are made out of basic cardboard and held together with duct tape (classy, huh?). We do not have the budget for fabric since I’m due any day now, and I was hoping to paint them.

I saw that you said to use the primer and paint, but I’m wondering if spray paint is possible, and if so, what kind? The boxes are already assembled, so should I take them back apart, spray them, and then reassemble?

Please save me. We have less than a week and I’d really hate to blow $100 for our “perfect” bins.



23 Diane Henkler August 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Hi August – How about wrapping them with colorful gift wrap. I did that to cardboard file boxes. You can see how I did it in this post:

Spray paint would work OK, but it may not adhere on the duct tape. There is no need to have to take them apart to spray. Much easier to spray as they are. Any brand of spray paint will work fine.

Congrats on the upcoming addition to your family.


24 Niki August 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

Hi Diane,
We have a wonderful landlord that doesn’t mind our upgrading & spiffing up. The master bath was our latest project. Charcoal grey & silver were the color choices along with a fabulous damask wallpaper accent on one wall. Sadly, the old bathroom counter top is a marbly-brown (like melted rocky road ice cream) & now stands out like a sore thumb. Could you offer some advice regarding old bathroom laminate counter tops? At least, I believe it’s a laminate. Is this surface paintable & if so….How?
Oh! Also, thanks for your chalk paint information. I made all the necessary purchases & will be attacking our curio cabinet this weekend!


25 Diane Henkler August 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Laminate is paintable, but even if its done the right way – you may have a problem with it getting wet everyday. I think I would use the Rustoleum Countertop Transformations paint. I am not sure of the colors it comes in but check them out you might find one you like. It is made to stand up to water and abuse, unlike regular paint which if applied even with a good bonding primer would start to peel in a short time. The paint is sold at home improvement stores. You could also look into using paint that is made to paint over tile. It is called Homex Tub and Tile paint.I have never used it, but have heard from others that it really smells while you apply it, but once it is dry – the smell goes away and the paint works well. There is also a new product from Rustoleumn that you brush over a surface to repel water. I forget what it is called, but is brand new. You could paint the lamintate – sand, well – gripping primer, and then paint and then used this product. The sanding and gripping primer are the most important steps to make sure you get good adhesion. If you sand the surface extremely well, chalk paint might hold up longer than regular paint and the protective wax coat would repel the water.


26 danii September 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Hi I wanted to paint pandas on a rice cooker either on a already painted.metal on or plastic. What paints do I buy for painting a bunch pandas on it and for it to not chip off


27 danii September 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hey still waiting


28 Jackie Sorich October 20, 2013 at 11:20 am

Ok, this is BRILLIANT too. Great job!


29 Patricia Flournoy October 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I am having white oak countertops put on a vanity. They will have an undermount sink. if I want to give them a faux marble finish what process should I use to protect them from future water damage?


30 Diane Henkler October 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hi Patricia –
I used Fiddes and Sons paste wax to protect the faux marble that I painted on the top of a sideboard and it looks great. It would look good and protect at the same time. I would use a few coats. Wax then buff, then repeat to build up the layers. The downside -you will have to add more wax over time as it wears.

You could also use Minwax Polycylic. It is a non-yellowing water based poly. It comes in both satin and gloss finishes. 2 – 3 coats light coats (let each one dry before applying the next) would give you a nice layer of protection. Either way, you will still need to make sure water that gets on it is wiped up right away.


31 nancy December 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Hi Diane,I would like to know if you could help me out with painting on top of wallpaper I cant remove it as the underneath is really in bad shape,I removed it in my bathroom and it cost me more than I care to share I had to get a professional in, now 3yrs later I’m in the same boat again. I would appreciate any help or suggestions u could help me with.


32 Diane Henkler December 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

Hi Nancy -

I will have to add how to do this to the post. You can paint over your wallpaper as long as it is adhered well. If it is, make sure all the seams are glued down. If the seams are raised you can sand them a bit before painting. Clean the walls with TSP or detergent and water. Rinse and let dry. So that the paper does not raise as you paint – use oil-based primer. Latex is water based and water can wrinkle paper. I would use Kilz Original. It dries in 30 minutes. If you apply two coats, letting the first dry before you apply the second you should create a good seal and be able to use a latex paint over it. It used to be that you always used all oil-based products over wallpaper, but as long as the paper is sealed well with the Kilz, it should be fine. If you don’t mind painting with oil-based paint – then it is best to use that.


33 Helen January 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

Dear Diane – I would love to know how to do art on ceramic tiles that will stand up to heat. Is there a type of paint and sealer I could use? I love to do art projects and think that using tiles could be a form of art for the kitchen, but if I set something hot on them, I don’t want them to become scratched. What about epoxying them? Would that work? And what type of paint will adhere to ceramic tiles without sanding them? I would like them to remain shiny. – Helen


34 Diane Henkler January 30, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Hi Helen – The only product that I know of is the tile paint I wrote about in the post. Rustoleum and Homax each make one as well as a few other companies. They make specialty paint made just for tiles. It is epoxy paint. Look in the paint aisle at your local home improvement store to find it.


35 Roz February 1, 2014 at 10:57 am

Just discovered your site–LOVE it! I’d like to paint some white-washed wicker furniture to look more like pecan or natural. Any suggestions?


36 Jamie February 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

Thanks so much for taking the time to create this amazing guide. It’s so informative, I’m going to print & laminate it to keep with my painting supplies!


37 Anne February 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

Can terrazzo floors be painted? Our 1930s cottage has badly damaged terrazzo flooring and the cost to remove would be prohibitive. We do not want to make any major decisions about what to cover it with so I would like to paint it for the time being. Can it be done, and if so, what should we do?


38 Diane Henkler February 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Hi Anne -

You can paint it, but it will require a few steps. Floors in general are the hardest to paint since everything has to be removed from the room and you have to get down on your hands and knees to do most of the work. I just started repainting a wood floor in my mudroom and it is hard to keep everyone out while I paint and allow the paint to dry. I would try painting the floor in one small room first and see how it adheres and holds up – then proceed to another room.

The prep work is crucial and is where you need to put the most effort. Is the terrazzo sealed or waxed? You would need to strip this first or sand it off. Once the finish is removed and it is bare floor, sand it well to rough up the surface. There are stone etching products and garage floor paints made for painting over stone, but they are for exteriors, not for indoors since the fumes would be toxic.

I would try making DIY chalk paint with Plaster of Paris and Calcium Carbonate powder. This makes into a very hard and durable paint finish. If I were painting a stone or tile floor, this is what I would use.

Once the floor is sanded and roughed up, roll or brush on one very light coat of gripping primer (Glidden and Benjamin Moore both make one)-let it dry, then apply one more very light coat. Let dry. Then apply one to two coats of paint, but again – light coats only and let each coat dry at least for 8-12 hours, before applying the next. This will help with adhesion. Once the paint is dry, you can seal it with a non-yellowing polyurethane. I like water based poly. Zinsser Ultimate Polyurethane is a good one for floors. I used it on my wood staircase steps – over 2 years ago and it has held up wonderfully.

The key to making the project a success is the making sure the surface is free of a wax top layer and sanded well so the paint has something to adhere to. In high traffic areas, you may want to place a throw rug or runner down to help protect the finish even more.

You can find the DIY Chalk Paint recipe in this post:


39 Nan February 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

I appreciate your website so much. I was hoping to find an instance of applying some sort of plaster finish over a wooden coffee table top to mimic stone. Have you done this?


40 Diane Henkler February 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

Hi Nan – I have not done it, but it could probably be done with one of the stone making forms they use to make concrete walkways. I think Quickcrete or one of the big cement companies makes the plastic 16 – 18″ square forms. Ed and I used a brick pattern for a base under our deck to store outdoor items when we first moved into our house. Home Depot and Lowes sell them. It may not work on a tabletop, but could give you an idea of how to do something similar with plaster to look like stone. I would also look in the crafts store in the tile aisle. There are many cool new products that mimic the look of stone.


41 krista March 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Hi, Love your site,very in depth…I was wondering if I could chalk paint my stainless steel fridge,I can`t take the finger print marks any longer.


42 Diane Henkler March 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Hi Krista – Chalk paint would work well on metal. It can be painted on any surface, even glass.


43 Luz Andrade March 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I love your website!
What about painting my marble batrhoom countertop?


44 Diane Henkler March 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Hi Luz-

It can be painted… anything can if you prep correctly and use the right products. There are a few Tub and Tile types of paint products out on the market that will do the trick. All paint stores carry them -Homex, Tub and Tile, Rustoleum for countertops are a few that I know of. They smell awful so be prepared to ventilate well when painting. You could also rough up the surface well with a medium grit sandpaper, clean it well and let dry, then roll on a thin coat of oil-based primer like Kilz Original or Zinseer 123. Let it dry well and then roll or brush on another light coat. Let it dry. Then use a high quality paint made for high water areas like Advance by Benjamin Moore in a high gloss or semi-gloss. It does not need any poly over it. It is highly durable alone.


45 Valerie March 30, 2014 at 7:52 am

How do I paint over concrete sealer (walls are painted with it) and how do I paint over concrete sealer that has been previously painted (on the floors)? Thanks! Love your blog!


46 Diane Henkler March 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

Hi Valerie -

It can be painted over successfully with an epoxy paint, but that is pretty toxic and the smell overpowering especially if you have a large area to paint over. I know that paint companies come up with many new innovative products every year that I am sure would do the job for you in a less toxic way. Most floor and porch paints on the market now may do the job. I think no matter what type of paint you use, you will have to sand and/or prime the surface so the paint really sticks.

I would go to a brand name paint store in your area like a Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore. They will know exactly what products to use and how to do it since they specialize in all things paint. Home Improvement stores may sell a non-epoxy product for painting over sealed concrete too, but I find not all the workers in the paint department are as knowledgeable as the people that work at stand alone brand paint stores are.


47 Cindy April 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

My daughter wants to use a wood bench as her guest book for her wedding. Can you tell me what type of paint pens I should use and a sealant that will not smear the paint pens. I have read that many people did not use the right products together and ended up with a smeared mess on what should have been a wonderful memory piece. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


48 Carol April 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

I am using chalk paint for the first time on a wood bookcase. I used your ‘favorite’ chalk recipe (plaster of paris and calcium carbonate). Paint goes on nice and smooth, but thickens rapidily as I paint. Do I just keep adding water to maintain the consistency?


49 Diane Henkler April 15, 2014 at 11:32 am

Hi Carol – The CCP/POP mixture should not get thick to the point you can’t paint with it. What brand and type of paint are you using?


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