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Furniture Makeover: Using Two Chalk Paint Recipes For a Lasting Paint Finish

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What is the best recipe to make chalk paint?

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.

How to Make the Most Durable Chalk Paint

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 Plaster of Plaster 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 your paint has a primer in it, use this chalk paint recipe that doesn’t have Plaster of Paris in it:  Chalk Paint Recipes

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe


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.  I loved the colors of chalk paint that one attendee 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 learn more and find out how to make it in these posts:

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  1. It looks stunning Diane! I make my own with a recipe that is 1 part water to 1 part plaster mixed and add two parts paint- I am super curious about your recipe now – have never tried the CC before and the smaller proportions. Pinning! Thanks for sharing it:)

    1. Thanks Krista – I have made many different mixes and used different proportions on different pieces. I have found that you can add more powder than the recipes call for as long as you can keep stirring the mix and it mixes up to a smooth consistency. More powder in the mix means chalkier finish and better adhesion.

  2. I love the color. You surely breathed new life into that piece! I have saved your DIY recipes, and even got the calcium carbonate powder a couple weeks ago. I’ve never tried the grout, but I have painted a few pieces w/the plaster-of-paris recipe–it worked okay–but it felt gritty, I kept finding clumps in my paint no matter how many times I whisked it, & it required sanding between EVERY coat to get the gritty feel off. So I was all excited about trying the calcium carbonate, and now I wonder if I should try your newest creation:) So you really didn’t have any of the clumps or grit from the plaster-of-paris when mixing it w/the calcium carbonate? And just wondering why you decided to try this new mixture–did you find the finished produce from the calcium carbonate recipe to be less durable than desired? I am letting you go before me to perfect this baby, then I’m going to copy what you do:)

    1. Hi MK –
      I love the Calcium Carbonate Powder all by itself, it is very durable, but does take some time to cure to maximum durability. Out of curiosity I wanted to see how a finish would turn out if I mixed two DIY chalk paint recipes together. I get many reader questions asking what is the best recipe for painting high use pieces, like kitchen tables and outdoor furniture. This would be the mix I would tell them to use. It seemed to cure overnight.

      There was no grit at all in the mix. Calcium Carbonate Powder always creates a smooth mix with no graininess, that is why it is my favorite ingredient to use. Depending on the brand of Plaster of Paris – it could have grain or not. I use DAP Plaster of Paris – it is very smooth.

      No matter what recipe you use Calcium Carbonate Powder all by itself or mixed with Plaster of Paris – you are going to like the finish. both are excellent. I don’t use the non-sanded grout anymore.

  3. Love your paint job on the corner cabinet. Thanks for the chalk paint recipe. I have a dresser that I got at an auction lots of years ago that I’m itching to paint and I believe I will use this recipe. I may even try the 2 different color technique like you did on the cabinet. Love your blog Diane. You always give me inspiration! Vikki in VA

  4. Hi Diane-
    I love the transformation! Nice simple how do also! I like the idea of the darker blue underneath to give dimension. Now- I know this is probably going to sound like I just landed on the planet, but can you please, please, please simply explain to me what all the big deal is about “chalk paint”? The home decor sector is in soooo deep now, I can’t seem to find a simple answer as to what makes chalk paint the greatest thing since sliced bread? Any insight you can give would be appreciated by me, and maybe one other person who just crawled out from under a rock too! And let’s not even get started on what milk paint is…Thanks in advance!

    1. The current trend towards chalk paint and milk paints may have come about due to the fact that they do not
      require a lot of surface prep–also they can have a crusty(sometimes), worn antique appearance.
      I really like the finishes you are doing, Diane, with less expensive materials.