How to Paint Over Milk Paint

For this post I am going to show you how I painted over a very old milk painted surface with chalk paint that I made in just the color I wanted.

How to make and paint with chalk paint

Here is the AFTER of a cute little corner cabinet. Painted with Glidden Zesty Lime.


Here is the BEFORE.

It is quite a cute little piece and I am sure there are many of you who would like it just the way it is.  It is a classic, but the red is not one of my decorating colors. It also needed a little love.

When I started to sand it with my little hand sanding block, it came off like powder. It was painted in a milk or an early version of milk or casein paint – it was highly pigmented and made a mess when sanded. Red dust was everywhere.

Time to put a mask on so I would not breath in the dust.

It reminded me of powdered tempura paint that I used as a kid in school, but since it was old I figured it could contain something that I should not be breathing, so I only removed the shine a bit and left the red on.

How to Paint Over Milk Paint on Furniture


supplies needed: 

  • Paint –  Glidden Zesty Lime # A0913 in a satin finish.
  • Non-Sanded Grout
  • Water
  • Mixing bucket – I use an old coffee can with a lid.
  • Paint stirring stick
  • Paint brush
  • Valspar Antiquing Glaze -Asphaltum 98278.
  • Soft Rags
  • Clear Paste Wax

1. Before you start to paint anything – remove the hardware, hinges, and knobs. Mark on the back of each where it goes and place them in a baggie.  This is so important to ensure that you get the hinges and screws back in the same place when you are finished painting. If you don’t, you could and probably will have a problem getting doors to close right.


2.  You do not normally need to prime or sand first with chalk paint, but this piece was old and the red pigment was unlike any old paint finish I have ever seen – impossible to remove, powdery and dying my gloved fingers red.

To be on the safe side, I used primer to ensure the red would not eventually bleed through the lime green color.

Since I was going to be painting the cabinet with a vivid color, I used Glidden Grippe primer in Grey.  It brings out the color better than a white primer.


3.  I sanded with a hand-block sander to smooth out the previous painted surface.  I just wanted to sand off the shine a bit and smooth spots where there were paint drips from the previous paint job.

4. To get into the vertical joints on the bead board I used a stiff 1-inch angled brush.


5. I rolled the rest of the paint on.  I used 2 coats of primer – letting each one dry in between coats.  I did paint the inside after I finished the outside, because it looked dingy next to the new color.


6.  I rolled on 2 light coats of it – letting the first coat dry before adding the second.


7. Add a Glaze Finish  – After the second coat was dry, I wanted to age the finish a bit and used Valspar Antiquing Glaze in Asphaltum 98278.  I bought it at Lowes.

What is paint glaze? 

Glaze is nothing more than a way to add color over paint to create different effects. It comes in clear, white, or dark colors like this antiquing one. The clear versions allow you to mix any color paint or tint to it.  Glaze is very transparent so that you are still able to see the paint color underneath. It gives a paint finish depth.  The other reason it is so nice to use is that it dries slowly so you have time to work and wipe it off to create the look you want. 

I simply wiped it on in a circular motion using a soft rag and then wiped it off.  I worked on a section at a time until I had the whole piece covered.


I chose not to distress the edges with sandpaper to further age the piece as the original red paint would have shown.


9. The last step was to rub a very thin coat of clear paste wax over the entire piece with a soft cloth. I let it dry for about 30 minutes and then buffed it with another rag to bring out the shine.


10.  I painted the hinges and tops of the screws with the chalk paint.  To keep the paint light, I dabbed the paint on lightly, let it dry and then added one more coat.  I rubbed a little glaze over them as well and clear paste wax so they would blend in.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe and Tutorial

I replaced the copper cabinet door knob with a glass one.

This little corner cabinet came out better than I imagined.  My daughter is smitten with it now and is happy that she is using something that belonged to her great grandparents.

Chalk paint and glaze truly brings out the character in a piece of painted furniture.

I did a test comparing different chalk paint formulas. You can read that in my post  – Testing 1..2…3.. Versions of Chalk Paint

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  1. Pam Churcn says:

    Diane: Your piece is beautiful. I have a question regarding adding water to Plaster of Paris. What consistency should this be before adding to my paint?

    Thank you

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pam – When mixing Plaster of Paris with paint and water. First dissolve the water into the Plaster of Paris to get the texture of pourable pancake batter. Once well-mixed with no lumps, then add your paint and mix well.

      Some paint brands may bind and get thick right away with the Plaster, so do a test first. If it does get thick, you can still paint with it, but after awhile it will be unusable. If this happens to you, as I mentioned, you can still paint with it. Let it dry and then sand to smooth out any rough patches of paint. After this the finish will be bullet-proof. :-)

      I am only telling you this as it could happen. I always use Calcium Carbonate Powder now as it mixes well with all paint brands and formulas.

  2. Agi Belan says:

    Diane, have you used your favorite chalk paint recipe to paint leather? If so, do you have a posting or a link to that makeover you can send me? I would like to attemp to pain two ikea leather chairs with your calcium c. Recipe and could use some info specific to leather, for example, sand or not sand the leather. Thanks.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Agi –

      I have not used chalk paint on leather, but I am sure it would work just fine. Have you tried it yet? I would sand the surface lightly and then use the chalk paint over them. Once that dries, you can add some wax and buff it very well to seal the paint and create a subtle sheen.

  3. I just bought a dreservation that I’d like to paint. First project ever and I’ve never used chalk paint. The dresser has a high gloss finish. Do I need to sand first to get the gloss off? Thanks.

  4. Hi Diane,
    I’ve painted a black buffet In Rich Navy from Glidden in satin using the plaster of paris method. The first coat was streaky and rough, so after it dried, I sanded it smooth and applied another coat and then sanded it smooth again. After sanding, the whole piece was a faded looking blue. I should also mention that after sanding I wiped down the buffet with a damp cloth. Once wet the paint regained some of its dark color, but not as dark as I had wished. I think I’m confused about the different steps. Do I wait to sand until after I apply the wax? Do I use a dry cloth to wipe off the sandings after painting? Can you please advise and break down the order of painting, sanding wiping and waxing. I’m looking for a finish like your modern bedroom chest in pale blue. After two coats of paint, it still looks streaky. Thank you for your help!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Valerie –

      Rich Navy is one of my fave Glidden colors. I just painted a table using it. I didn’t make chalk paint using it for the table though since it is a project for the Glidden paint site, My Colortopia.

      The reason your paint color looks a bit faded could be the Plaster of Paris. It can lighten dark colors. Once you put wax over it, it will darken.

      As far as the steps: You can sand before of after waxing. It depends on the look you want. I always sand before waxing because I like the finish on my pieces to look and feel smooth and shiny. If you sand after waxing, your piece will have rough areas where you waxed. It gives the piece a more aged rustic finish.

      I paint first, let dry, sand, clean, and then wax. I use a damp cloth when cleaning off the sanding debris. I rinse it out and go over it a second time to make sure I removed all the grit. Wait until it is dry before adding the wax.

      As far as the streakiness. It could be that the paint needs to be mixed more thoroughly. Add a tablespoon more water to the mix and stir it very well.

      After using many recipes to make chalk paint, I have found I like Calcium Carbonate Powder the best. When using it, the mix and finish always are smooth and glossy. Plaster tends to dry out the paint and that is what could also be happening and causing the streaks.

  5. Hi Diane I am attempting my first chalk paint project. How long do I need to wait between painting and waxing? I have put two coats of paint on the cabinet. I am about to distress it and need to know if I can wax it yet.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Tracy – You can wax after the paint is throughly dry. I always wait 24 hours after I paint a piece before waxing.

  6. Thanks so much for this post, I have been researching painting furniture and came across it and I love all of your projects.

    I’m curious, I have this little cabinet:
    It is in perfect condition, but the white isn’t my style anymore and I want to do a vintage chalk paint look. Would I need to use a primer before since it isn’t “real” wood? If so, what kind would you recommend? Thank so much!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jennifer – You do not need to prime, but you do need to go over the entire painted surface with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface a bit to give the surface some “tooth” so the paint has something to adhere to. I use a hand sanding block to to this step. Clean off the sanding grit and then paint.

      Since the previous under color will be white, if you plan to distress the cabinet after the chalk paint is on with sandpaper, know that the white is going to show up in these distressed areas. If you don’t want that to happen. Figure out in advance where you are going to distress the edges after chalk painting. Sand these areas to the bare wood. Then when you distress the areas you only see wood.

      I used chalk paint on this non-wood table:

  7. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I have another question, I am ready to distress the chairs. I have ready lots of blogs but I was wondering how you distress furniture? Do you just us scrubs or do you also use sand paper?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sarah – To distress you use sandpaper to go over areas on your piece that would normally see wear. The edges, buy knobs etc. I use 100 grit at first and then go to about 220 so the distressed surface feels smooth. I then wax and buff over everything. If you want a more rustic look, you can wax first and then sand to distress. This leaves the sanded areas a little rough. Each way is acceptable – it justs comes down to your personal taste.

  8. I am completing my first pieces of furniture with chalk paint I made myself but I do not know how to wax it. You use a plastic wax, is that the name of it?, what is the brand?, how easy is it to use?, where can i buy it & is it pricey? I am trying to complete my table & chair set for under $300 including the table & chairs.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sarah – I like Johnsons Paste Wax. It comes in a yellow can and is sold in the cleaning aisle of most supermarkets and at Lowes and True Value Hardware stores. It is $8 a can. You simply apply a thin coat with a lint free rag – I use cut up old T-shirts. Let is dry for about 10 -15 minutes and then using a clean section of your cut up Tshirt – lint free is important. Rub and buff the wax hard to bring up the shine. The rag should move freely across the surface after buffing. You can repeat with another layer of wax and buff until you get the sheen you want. It does take some elbow grease to bring up the shine. I also like Fiddes and Sons wax in clear. It is sold on Amazon for about $20. One can of either wax goes a long way. You only need a thin layer for each coat.

  9. Hi Diane,
    I painted my daughter’s mohogany bed. After 3 coats of white chalk paint, I still can see some bleeding. Should I prime on top and do another coat of chalk? What kind of primer?
    Please help!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Caroline – Darker woods do tend to bleed through sometimes. Since you are using white paint, I would use Kilz primer. I like the original formula, it is shellac based – but dries in 30 minutes. Kilz makes water based formulas also, you will need 2 coats if you use one of these. Once it is dry, then you can paint over it. Let it dry and then add distressing and your wax or poly finish.

  10. Hi Diane… Can I use acrylic-based varnishes over chalk paint? How about using acrylic paint over chalk paint for paint accents, stencils and other design techniques? Have you tried any oil-based products like Rub-n-Buff over chalk paint? Have you used ultra-fine glitter IN the varnish or “sprinkled” it over the varnish then sealed it with a final spray coat of varnish to hold the glitter? I do a lot of fantasy finishes and detail work. I’ve been concerned that combining the different types of formulas — oil, acrylic, latex, “chalk,” glitter/metal — would prevent or interfere with drying. Thank you.

  11. P.S. I looked back through more questions/answers and saw that someone had the same problem as me and you commented on the Valspar and Olympic paints….. you must be able to respond to us novices in your sleep! :)

  12. Thank you Diane!
    I knew there would be some trial and error and I will adjust the paint brand accordingly! Who knew the paint could make such a difference, not me apparently! I have seen others note that they use paint w/ primer to make the chalk paint and that it worked fine too, Hmmm? CCP is easy enough to order on line so that is where I am headed. My husband about died when he saw the dresser, two side tables and an “antique” style round duncan phyfe style table in the back of the truck in the wait to be done!!! I really appreciate your reply. Thanks a million!

  13. Hi Diane,
    Help, please!! It seems as though you have tried every mixture of making chalk paint. I made my first, and second, batch using the POP with the 3 parts paint, 1 part POP, 1 part water. Disaster. The “paint” kept getting hard on the bottom and was clumpy. It took 5 coats to even somewhat cover a dark (glossy finish) table. I used warm/hot water to dissolve the POP and even whipped it with a blender before adding the paint. Any ideas what happened? This mixture seems to work just fine for others. I will say the paint was a lower end Valspar but I can’t imagine that would make THAT much difference! I can’t find the Calcium Carbonate locally, would have to order on-line. I have a dresser and two side tables I’m waiting to do but I don’t want to attempt with such poor results the first time around. I’m bummed! Thanks for any insight!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Melissa –

      I think it was the Valspar paint. Valspar paint is excellent paint on its own, but does not mix well with Plaster of Paris or Non-Sanded Grout. It has a primer in it. It does not say it on the label, but it does. Olympic paints does also. I was told by a Valspar rep that you can get the contractor paint. It does not have a primer in it. Acrylic craft paints may bind DIY chalk paint mixes also because they have acrylic added.

      I have used Glidden Premium paint in a satin finish with excellent results every time. You can buy it at Home Depot. I have used every recipe I can find to make chalk paint and I only use Calcium Carbonate Powder mixed with a T of Plaster of Paris now. It is the best mix. I always make it with Glidden Premium paint and one time with True Value paint.

      Another reader recently wrote to me and told me she found CCP at her local beer and wine making supply store. It may be worth seeing if such a store is in your area. I buy my CCP at the my local health food store.I buy a lot of it so I always have it when I need it. It costs about $6 for a 12 oz jar, less if it is on sale.

      If you really like the look of chalk paint – don’t give up. It takes some trial and error just like when you make any recipe, but the more you do it,the better yo u will get at making up the mixes.

  14. Lisa shaw says:

    I wanted to make a black end table, but every time I add the plaster of Paris my paint turns gray what can I do to keep the paint black?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lisa – It is hard to keep black – intense black when making your own chalk paint. It will lighten because of the white powder. It will dry a bit darker, but won’t be the deepest darkest black. I have tested both PoP and CCP – each lighten black a bit, but CCP was a little less. If you really want to keep the color the deepest darkest black it may be best to buy ready made black chalkboard paint. I have used the Lowes brand – inexpensive. It does take longer to cure, but I was happy with the finish it provided once it was fully cured.

  15. Hi! Great tutorial! Quick question though- can you use any kind of latex paint? Or does it need to be just a satin finish?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elya – you can use any finish – just don’t use “paint + primer in one formulas”. They will bind the paint and make it unusable.

      1. Thank you soo much for your help! I’m doing my very first reupholster/painting project on some old dining room chairs we got for free! I have another question- I went looking for the calcium carbonate at our local health food store but the closest I found was a bone meal powder, which contains calcium carbonate, but also includes phosphorus and magnesium. Will that still work or will the extra ingredients affect the paint?

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Elya –

          I am not sure if the other ingredients will affect the mixture as I have only used 100% Calcium Carbonate Powder made by the Now Brand. You can buy it on If you have time, you could buy a small bottle of the bone meal and try experimenting with it using a small amount of paint and see what happens. I have read that many have made chalk paint with baking soda and other ingredients with success. What I love about the CCpowder is that is mixes up to a super smooth mixture – no graininess.

  16. Elsie Yates says:

    Thank you for your reply.
    To clarify, would that be a thin layer of wax over the whole piece before you do the distressing sanding? (Poor English, I know!) Then when you are finished with the distressing, do the final waxing, whether with clear or dark, or both waxes?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elsie – You can do the distressing before or after waxing. If you sand and then wax the final finish will be smoother. If you wax and then sand – the parts where you sanded will feel rough when you are finished. If using clear and dark wax, the important thing to remember is to first use the clear and put the dark on top so you can control where the dark wax settles. Distressing before or after is more about preference.

  17. Elsie Yates says:

    I am so happy I discovered this site! Great info! Thank you.
    I have a couple of questions.
    1) If I want 2 colors to show from underneath when distressing, would I just paint one layer with chalk paint the second, then directly over that with the final color? e.g. If the piece is white, and I want the final product to be turquoise with distressed white and dark brown showing: paint it dark brown, then the turquoise? Or should there be another step in there?
    2) How does chalk paint work on bare wood?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elsie – You can paint right over the bare wood with chalk paint. As far as getting a few colors to show. Just put the color you least want to see on first, then the next and then the most dominant color last.

      I am doing a two color piece right now myself. So far I have the first color on. I will then add the top color. It will be the dominant one. When I sand – the first color layer will show up, plus the wood. Waxing before sanding will give the piece and overall smooth pro look. There are no extra steps.

  18. Hi Pat! I have a question for you… I recently made my own chalk paint using plaster of paris, water and an exterior semi-gloss paint that I had. I first mixed the powder and water together and mixed them into the paint. It was nice and smooth, I started painting the dresser that I am turning into a buffet for my dining room. I got one end done and then started on the other end, by the time I got to the top, my paint started getting a little gritty, but I was able to brush out the grit with each stroke. Got one coat done, let it dry and started on my next coat. Same thing, gritty, but it would brush out. The next day I lightly sanded to smooth it out and I decided that I did not want it distressed, but a few spots needed to be touched up. So, I got my paint out and try to touch them up, but it is really gritty now! And it would not brush smooth. I obviously can’t use this mixture anymore, but what happened? What did I do wrong? I added a little more water and kept stirring, but it didn’t seem to help. Any suggestions? My buffet looks fine, as I only touched up a few spots and I will be able to sand those spots fairly smooth. But, I have some more pieces I want to paint and don’t want the same problem. Thanks so much!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Renee –
      I think what might have happened to the paint mixture was created by the paint you used. Was it Valspar, Olympic, or a paint and primer in one mixture? These paints have additives that make the paint bind. I have found this out and have added it to the post. When choosing paints to use, ask if it has a primer or acrylic in it, before buying. If it does, pick another. I have had great success with Glidden Premium in the blue can and Sherwin Williams Cashmere line as well as Behr paint. I only use Valspar and acrylic craft paints on small projects. I make it up in small batches and then just toss it when it gets too thick.

  19. Thanks again, Diane. I’ve had experience in distressing before as I did my kitchen cabinets that way, but I’ve never used chalk paint. However, it sounds easy to work with…. just wanted to be sure. I love your work, so I trust your judgment. Again, thanks for taking the time for me!

  20. Thanks so much for your reply on how to paint my hardrock maple hutch & lazy susan. I’d rather not prime first, and besides, love the look of chalk painted furniture. However, my next question is how to distress chalk paint…. simply by sanding off, or by using a wax, or both???? Can I glaze over chalk paint? I love the distressed look and definitely want that, but with good pieces of furniture, I want to be sure I’m doing it right.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pat – To distress, you sand the edges and parts of the piece that would get wear and tear. After that, you go over it with wax – either clear or dark wax depending on the look you are after. You can also use glaze after the chalk paint and then use clear wax over to protect it.

  21. I have a dining room hutch and lazy susan which are solid hardrock maple. I want to paint both, but want to know if I need to use a paint stripper on it, or use chalk paint, or what? I’d rather not have to strip it as it’s so much work. (I’m almost 72 & do all my own remodeling and decorating projects.) What is the best way to paint these two pieces? My daughter gave me a beautiful dining table, in walnut, I believe, and these other two pcs. don’t match. Besides, I’d like to have more color in the dining room. I have a green paint on the walls…. between a sage & olive…. some orange in my large wall picture over the lazy susan. The long curtains match the paint, with a plain brown on the bottom about 20″ or so. I’m wanting to do the off white chair seats in a stripe, I think, taking in the green, orange, and brown. What color would you suggest for the corner hutch and lazy susan, and what kind of paint?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pat – You do not have to strip the finish. You can go one of two ways. Using primer and a latex paint or using chalk paint. If you want to distress the pieces and make them look aged – use chalk paint. Then a paste wax or Minwax Polycrylic finish. You don’t have to distress/age chalk paint, but it does distress beautifully.

      The other option is to use a primer – Kilz or Gripper and then paint. You can protect the finish with Minwax Polycrylic. It is non-yellowing and water based. I would still go over the surface lightly with a piece of sandpaper on a sanding block to rough up the surface on both pieces a bit no matter which paint you decide to use.

  22. So can you use the premix plaster of paris? I just did and my paint is very thin…any ideas how I can save my project? or should I add more Plaster?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Angie – I have only used the Plaster of Paris powder. Did the paint mix well into the premixed plaster? I am not sure you would get a good mix. You may jut need to add a few more coats. Add another coat, let it dry and then add another one. More thin coats are better than fewer thicker ones. Adding more plaster will not hurt – it will only help with adhesion and the chalk finish quality of the paint.

      If that doesn’t work, your project is not doomed. Let it all dry, sand over it with a medium grit sandpaper on a sanding block. Clean it off with a tack cloth and then repaint. If you can, try to get the powder form of Plaster of Paris – sold in the paint section at Lowes and Home Depot. Your mixture Plaster, paint and tiny bit of water should be about the same thickness as when you stir a can of good quality latex paint.

  23. Diane,
    I followed recently used your DIY chalk paint to refinish a sleigh bed- anything to avoid sanding! After two coats of paint and a good waxing, the bed looks great- but I have noticed that even though it looks great, and I sealed it with wax, the paint is easily scratching off- is there a fix for this? Would you recommend putting a coat of Polycrylic over the paint? Thanks for your help!


    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dan –
      A coat of Polycrylic will help, but the paint should not be scratching off. One reason it may be is the paint may not have cured yet. It can take up to 3 weeks for the paint to cure and really be adhered. How long ago did you paint it?
      Two other reasons why it could be coming off.
      1. The surface was too glossy when you painted it. Even though chalk paint’s selling feature claims no sanding – I always run a sanding block with medium grit sandpaper over all surfaces before painting to rough them up a bit. It only takes a minute and helps with adhesion.
      2. The other reason, there may not have been enough Plaster, Calcium Carbonate, or Grout added to the mixture to truly make it “Chalk Paint” that sticks to any surface shiny or not.

      On the pieces I have done, I have had some bleed through of tannins, but no easy to scratch off problems. The only fix, would be to add a coat or two of Polycrylic. I would repaint the areas that have scratched off first and let them dry well. You can repaint over the wax. Once it is repainted, then add a thin coat of Polycrylic over the entire surface. Let it dry and then add one more thin coat. Let the piece sit unused for a few days so it can cure before being moved or touched.

      I hope this helps – let me know how it comes out.

  24. Hi Diane….another question for you that might help other readers as well. Once a piece of chalk paint is “cured” with the wax….can one safely sell outside in the hot sun….say at a Flea Market etc. I’ve been invited to attend to try and sell some of my pieces but I’m worried about the wax melting in the sun. Any advice on this? Thanks so much, Anna

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Anna – That is a good question. I have not placed anything I have painted outside, so I cannot tell you from my own experience, but I know that Marion from Miss Mustard Seed blog, has written that the wax will melt out in the sun. It happened to her when she was selling her painted pieces at a flea market. I am not sure if you are under a canopy – it might not happen, but out in the full sun – it probably will.

  25. Mary Beth says:

    I am a beginner using this paint. Just painted a wood panel wall surrounding my stone fireplace with acrylic wall paint. Now I want to give it a touch of an aged look. Can do this using chalk paint or is it reccommended that I use a different technique?
    Thank you

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary Beth – Chalk paint is perfect for creating aged looks. It is more about how easily it distresses with sandpaper and absorbs the wax that makes it perfect for aging. To age your wall you would want to use clear wax first, then dark wax over it. Another option, since it is on your wall – you can go over your painted wall with a colored glaze. Valspar makes an antiquing stain/glaze that I use all the time. You would wipe it on – leave it on for a few minutes then wipe it off. It will darken the paint a bit giving the painted finish an aged look. You can also distress the wood before or after applying the wax or glaze with medium grit sandpaper.

  26. Diane,
    Love your blog. I especially like the template…the note book style of the pages is extra pretty! I have done the ‘chalk paint’ look via mixing regular interior flat wall paint with gesso. I mostly do it as I am painting on a paper plate so I can do shading / highlighting as I go. Instead of wax, I use Benjamin Moore flat finish varnish. It protects, seals and won’t yellow with age. Plus, its easier to paint over later when I get bored with my color favorite du jour :)

  27. Hello Dianne,
    I have been reading your blog on making chalk paint. I myself made chalk paint. I refused to pay a high price for these designer brands. I purchesed the ingredients after reading article after article on how to make chalk paint. After much trial and error and finally aggravation, I broke down and bought some. It wasn’t so bad. It went on beautifully, adhered really well and was ridicously easy to sand and distress. I was sold! would like to say one thing to everyone out there. Brand name chalk paint compared to a homemade one has it’s advantages. I am done with making paint and have resigned myself to the fact that brands like CECE Caldwell are so popular because they know what they are doing in making this paint.
    Regards, Robert

  28. Hi Diane, thank you so much for your informative note. Yes, I meant unsanded grout. And yes, the piece was very shiny in spots. This chalk painting is new to me and I’m def. learning as I go. I didn’t realize that you had to sand shiny pieces prior to painting. From all I read the only problem is a bleed through on some types of paint. So I think from your insightful info I will now have to sand slightly. I just did a table today that was very shiny on top so I hope I don’t run into the same problem.

    Also, it did thicken quite a bit and I just keep adding water. Do you think that will compromise the paint?

    Really appreciate all your answers and hopefully this will help others that are DIY … making chalk paint.

  29. Stephanie says:

    Hi Diane!

    I have some left over sanded grout from a tile job in my kitchen… Do you think this would produce the same results?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Stephanie – No – the sanded grout would be too gritty when mixed with the paint. If you don’t have non-sanded grout and you want to try making your own DIY chalk paint for $5.00 you can buy Calcium Carbonate Powder from a heath food store. You can use it in the same way as the non-sanded grout and is cheaper than buying a big bag of the non-sanded grout.

  30. Daphne Stewart says:

    Does the tile grout give off fumes? I’ve used it to make the chalkboard paint recipe and the fumes were so toxic! I couldn’t figure out if I used the right product, because none of the blogs had posted pictures of their ingredients. Just wondering but this was all I could find in my local Lowes that said unwanted tile grout. The tub was white and blue. I’ve since thrown it out because it smelled so strongly and said I had to use gloves because it was corrosive.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Daphne – You must have used the wrong stuff. Non-sanded grout is sold in bags in the tile aisle of the home improvement store. It has no smell at all. It is a powder. It comes in white, gray, or tan. I use the white. Did you use premixed in a tub?

      1. Daphne Stewart says:

        It was also a powder. The label was the same as the bagged stuff, just a smaller quantity. I’ve tossed it, but I’ve asked many bloggers w tutorials this and no one answers, so I appreciate your reply! I’ll have to try plaster of Paris next time.

  31. I love your comparison of the different chalk recipes, and I’m anxious to try one out. Which of the two recipes you posted do you think gives the smoothest finish? I’m not crazy about the pieces I’ve seen that have obvious brush strokes all directions. I like the ones that look as smooth as possible.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marti – I am not a fan of the brush stroked look either. I like the paint to go on to create a smooth finish. Both the Plaster and the grout will produce a smooth look so it is more about what you have on hand or is easier for you to get. To get a less brush stroked look – make sure the chalk paint is a nice pancake batter consistency with no lumps in it. Use a an electric hand mixer to mix it well.

      More importantly for a smooth look -Use a good smooth bristled brush – Purdy are the ones I use. Don’t use an old one with splayed out bristles or a cheap brush where the bristles separate when you apply the paint. A good brush costs a lot more, but you will have it for years and the finish it produces will never let you down.

      On another note – something I just learned and have not posted about yet, but will be soon – is that you can also use lime in place of the grout or Plaster. The kind you would use in your garden and lawn. I was told by a CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint distributor that it won’t make the paint hard like the Plaster and grout sometimes do. I am going to test it out and post about it soon.

      1. Hi, I wanted to know if we use lime is it the same ratio?
        Thanks Darcy Deblanc

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Darcy – I have never used the Lime, as I cannot find it in the powdered form. I was told it would be the same ratio as the other DIY recipes. I would mix the Lime and water first, then into the paint. Just be careful with the Lime as I was told it can be toxic if you breath it in.

          1. Go to a feed store. They will probably have lime in powdered form. We use it around the goats, ducks, rabbits, chickens to prevent odors and repel flies.

  32. Robert Besancon says:

    Hi Diane,
    I like your blog and tried your recipe. I have also used powdered lime with much better results. In fact this is all I used until I came across CeCe Caldwells chalk & Clay paint. It was a little less expensive then the other brand of chalk paint. I became a retailer for CeCe so of course I will push the product but it has so many more positives then using latex. Most of all it is all natural with no voc’s. I could go on and on but would like to ask you to try it. Your honest opinion would be appreciated. Feel free to contact me through my website. Look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Daphne Stewart says:

      I’d love to try your product!

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi again Daphne – I don’t have a product. I just made DIY versions of Chalk paint. If you would like to try the brand names – there are many distributor’s. sells Ce Ce Caldwell Chalk paint. For Annie Sloan Chalk Paint go to:

        1. Robert Besancon says:

          Hello Daphne,
          After you see our website, if you have any questions about our CeCe Caldwell paint please feel free to ask. I will help you in away way possible.
          Thank you,
          Natalie & Rob

  33. Hi Diane. I’ve inherited two MDF cabinets from the former owner of our house. I think they’re laminated and topped with varnish. Can I use your chalk paint technique to update them? If yes, is it okay to paint over it without sanding off the varnish? I know that MDF furnitures are cheap but it feels such a waste to throw them away as they make good storage. But the “natural wood” colour is so ugly…

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nadia – Yes – it should be fine. If the varnish is very old and is tacky in any areas – you may want to sand those areas smooth first. The first piece I painted with chalk paint was made of MDF. I loved the way it turned out.

  34. I was wondering if you put a layer of wax on before the glaze? I feel like the glaze is making my furniture awful dark and it is also rubbing off some of the paint when I try to wipe it to lighten it up. Thanks!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ricci – What kind of glaze are you using – Valspar? I have always put the glaze on before the wax and rub if off quickly and very well. I believe if you are using dark wax – it is an Annie Sloan product you should do it last, over a clear wax so that you can wipe it away easier. With glaze ( glaze is different from a dark wax) – if you add it on top of the wax – most of it will wipe off as it needs something to grip on to. It will stick to some areas and give you a more spotty look.

      I think if your finish got too dark, you may have added too much glaze and it set in too quickly before you had a chance to wipe it away. The wax and glazing take the most time to get right. After you do a few pieces, you will get so much better at how much to use and how to wipe it, etc. I would try it on a sample or scrap piece of wood to test it out first – wax, then dark glaze, and then clear wax as the protective finish to see how you like it. You only need a very thin layer of wax. There are some who like to make a dark wax/glaze mixture. Adding the two products together with mineral spirits to create their finishes. It is all up to how you want the piece to look.

  35. Lisa Thomas says:

    Just tried the plaster of paris recipe with some “oops” enamel paint and I loved it!! Worked great on an old mahogany sheet music stand. I mixed my plaster with hot water first, stirring throughly and letting it sit for about 5 mins before mixing with paint. An earlier post mentioned that their project was a gritty mess after painting so I was a little concerned. There was a little roughness to the touch after painting that a very light fast sanding took care of and after waxing, it was silky smooth. I used Minwax sparingly applied with a soft paint brush. I finished it in one afternoon and after started looking for something else to paint!

  36. Love the piece but am confused about why you would want satin paint. Why milk paint if you are going to polish it to a shine with wax? Wouldn’t if still have the same feel?

    1. Hi Ann – I am going to address this in my next post. I used Chalk paint which is a bit different from Milk paint. The wax brings out the character in the piece – it is not necessary, but if you don’t use it the chalk paint alone as a finish on furniture is very flat. When you make your own chalk paint you can use just about any type of paint. The grout or Plaster of Paris will flatten the sheen. I had the paint already in satin and knew it would not matter it I used it or flat paint – they both deliver the same results after being mixed with grout or Plaster of Paris.

      1. I have been looking for this “answer” through many tutorials ……. thank you for letting us know it doesn’t matter what type of paint! I have ton’s of all kinds of paint just waiting to be used up!!
        thanks again, your new fan
        Darcy DeBlanc
        as we say in Cajun Country “Laissez les bons temps rouler”
        ” Let the good time roll” :)

  37. Marsha Stopa says:

    Thanks for sharing the details of this project. You’ve explained several things about the process I was wondering about. It turned out fabulous, even though I am a fan of red. :-)

    I have a couple questions about chalk paint, if you don’t mind. I have a couple sample jars of CeCe Caldwell’s chalk paint and aging wax, which I haven’t tried yet.

    How does chalk paint hold up as a finish with wax on it? I read on another blog that said it will scuff, such as on chairs. What about for a tabletop with wet glasses etc?

    That’s my only holdup on the growing number of thrift finds I’m collecting.

    Many thanks again for sharing in such careful detail.

  38. WOW – looks great! Love the color and the great tutorial!

  39. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh Diane, I just love this piece and the color and how great the finished result is. I have learned so much from you.

    (wondering which is less expensive…. Plaster of Paris, the grout or the calcium carbonate).

    Thank you ever so much. You really are a treasure.

  40. Pam Clark says:

    This looks great and I love the color! I make my own chalkpaint too, using plaster of Paris and I also use Johnson’s paste wax. No way will I spend the $$ on Annie Sloan products! I’ve had wonderful success and really have fallen in love with painting furniture.

  41. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    I’ve pinned several recipes for making your own chalk paint. It looks like fun and with all your painting talk ;D I think I just might try my hand at it. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Love that green paint!

  42. My daughter dislikes red, also. It’s one of my favorite colors. She does love that lime green, however. Great piece!

  43. Love, love, love your cabinet and that glorious color. There is one thing … there are 25 days left of summer. Fall does not begin until September 21. woohoo – I hate snow. :)

  44. Lindy@ItsyBitsyPaper says:

    Beautiful!! I just love that cabinet (before and after). I posted this same recipe for Chalk Paint on my blog last year and believe it or not I still haven’t tried it yet. I have two pieces that are waiting to be painted with it but I can’t decide on a color. Your cabinet inspires me to get busy painting the pieces I have.

  45. I love that shade of green and the shape of the furniture! I use that same recipe for DIY chalk paint, but w/ flat instead of satin. I’ve never used glaze on any of my painting projects, but love the look it gave your piece. It will definitely be something I try in the future. Found your link on BNOTP. Have a great day!


  46. Jessica @ Decor Adventures says:

    Hi Diane,

    Looks great! I have a question though. Is this how to make chalk paint or chalk board paint? Can you write on that with chalk? I mean before you put the wax and glaze on. I’ve seen the same recipe for both and wanted to clear it up!

    1. Hi Jessica –

      To answer your question I just tried writing on the seat bottom of the stool I painted in the Spring. I didn’t wax the underside. You can write on it :) I know Martha Stewart uses the same recipe and calls it chalkboard paint. So they may be one and the same. Some recipes use Plaster of Paris instead of grout. I don’t think it matters which you use. It does make the paint dry to a smooth flat finish. I know I am sold on the finish it produces. I may try the using Plaster of Paris just to see if there is any difference. I still haven’t used the real stuff – Annie Sloan. I have the jar of it from Haven. Have you used yours yet?

    2. I also read somewhere that you can use Calcium Carbonate that is sold in health food stores. To make the paint chalky you need a powder form of Calcium -Carbonate or gypsum – which is what Plaster of Paris is. The more powder you add to the paint the more chalky the paint becomes.