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Making Outdoor Chalk Paint

I know I have not posted about making and painting with chalk paint in a while.  I still LOVE it and get many questions in my inbox on a daily basis about making and painting with it. Today I am sharing with you how I make and use outdoor chalk paint.

There are many chalk paints on the market these days. It seems like every brand of paint makes it now. Some are very affordable, even come in spray cans.

However I still like to make chalk paint myself for two reasons.

  • Cost – much cheaper to make yourself especially if using inexpensive latex paint.
  • The ability to make it in any color you desire.

When we moved into our lake house last December, the previous owner left us 18 resin barrel style planters. Up on the deck they were used for flowers. Along the side yard, they were used for herbs and vegetables.

Since I am a flower and herb loving girl, I knew I would use them and recently added my own style to them using DIY chalk paint.

Before and After painted planters

Here is how the planters along the side of the house looked before I painted them. Some were white, others grey, and brown.

How To Make Outdoor Chalk Paint

How-to-make-outdoor-chalk-paint

Making outdoor chalk paint is no different than making chalk paint you use indoors.  It is the same, except you use “exterior” paint. When the paint is used outside though, it gradually fades and will take on an softened weathered patina.

I used the Calcium Carbonate with Plaster of Paris recipe and inexpensive Walmart paint to make the outdoor chalk paint.

If you are new to making your own chalk paint, you will find all the recipes I have used here: How to Make DIY Chalk Paint

I painted the planters in 3 easy steps.

  1. Brush on base color.  2. Applied top color with a rag.  3. Wiped excess top color off with another rag to expose some of the base color.  Very Easy!

Below you can see the process in a little more detail.

supplies needed:

  • Latex exterior paint in desired colors – I used two colors that I bought at Walmart. Black as the base color and Turquoise for the top coat.
  • Calcium Carbonate and Plaster of Paris
  • Paint mixing container. I use coffee containers to make and mix my chalk paint in.
  • Water
  • Paint stirrer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2″- inch wide paint brush
  • 2 Rags
  1.  Make the chalk paint following the Calcium Carbonate and Plaster of Paris recipe. You can find the recipe here: DIY Chalk Paint

make-outdoor-chalkpaint

2. I placed the planters on flattened cardboard boxes to protect the grass.

3. I used a 2″- wide paint brush and black chalk paint to paint each planter and let them dry.

How-to-paint-with-chalk-paint-on-exterior-projects

4. Once the black chalk paint was dry, I used a terrycloth towel/rag and bunched in up in my hand. I dipped one end into the turquoise chalk paint and then dapped it over the black paint. I continued to do this until the black paint was covered.

5. While the turquoise paint was still wet, I took a second rag and wiped some of the turquoise paint off to expose the texture of the planter and see a hint of black that is underneath.  I just kept wiping the turquoise off until I liked what I saw.

Can-you-use-chalk-paint-on-outside-furniture

6. Once I liked how the paint finish looked, I repeated the process on the next planter.

How-to-paint-outdoor-planter-pots

I had 9 to do and did one at a time. If you have a line up of planters like I did or items to paint, do one at a time so you can remove some of the top coat of paint before it dries.

how to age planters with paint

I did not use poly or wax over them, the just have chalk paint on them, no sealer. Wax would melt in the sun and poly would not stand up to the elements. I want the planters to take on a softened patina. Over time the color will fade away and look more like verdigris.

Outdoor-chalk-paint

When you look up close at the finish, you can see that it is not perfect, but slightly distressed and perfectly…imperfect…. just the look I was after.

Have you ever used chalk paint on outdoor items or furnishings?

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22 Comments

  1. Hi I have a huge entertainment area and was wondering if I could use chalk paint for that? Im in Australia and the concrete paint and the steps in getting it ready is ridiculous, thought chalk paint might be an option? how long do you think it would last and rustic looking is great, thanks so much, Juliette 🌻

    1. Hi Juliette – Depending on the quality of the paint you use and the application, the finish could last years. Clean the surface well and apply the paint in light coats, letting each coat dry before applying the next is crucial in getting a lasting outdoor finish. If you like the aged look-even better as the finish does not have to be perfect to achieve an overall nice look.

  2. Thank you for posting- I got a great deal on exterior paint at Home Depot today in the oops section. It’s the exact color I was looking for but didn’t know if exterior paint could be used to make chalk paint. Glad to know it can!

  3. Hello again. To answer your question: yes, I have used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint outdoors with varying results. When a piece of wood is exposed to rain and snow, that kind of chalk paint is useless. It will crack and look ugly within a year. On the other hand, I have painted a bench that’s on my covered porch and it looks fine. I can still hear my husband tell me “I told you so” about the exposed wood I chalk-painted. Plus it cost me a fortune for nothing. I have to sand it and do it all over again…
    So now I’m keeping chalk paint for indoor projects! Although I haven’t bought any in a long time because there are so few stores that carry it.
    I might try your recipe on planters, for instance.
    Thank you for the great idea. Your project looks awesome.

  4. What a great idea! I never thought of using exterior paint to make chalk paint. I will definitely try this. I love the blue and black together. You rock Diane!

  5. Hi Linda–I am going to be painting 2 great chairs I found at a barn sale and put them on my uncovered deck. The chairs are wood–how long do you anticipate this kind of paint would last? I’ve seen others who say to use an oil based poly to protect and make it last longer?

  6. Hi Linda – Thank you for the chalk paint recipe. I’m still having a hard time locating enough calcium carbonate to make a quart… will try the beer/wine making shop next. And is interior Plaster of Paris ok to use. I found it at Walmart. Thanks!

  7. Do you think this would work for a child’s outdoor chalk board? I realize I would need to just put a couple of coats of paint on a board but do you think it would it work for them to draw on?

  8. Love this idea. I have some of those resin planters and they look dingy with time. Over the winter when the plants need replacing this may be a good time to try and paint them. Your new place looks amazing, love the walkway you put in.

  9. I have been considering chalk paint for my house exterior, which is good old concrete block. What are your thoughts and tips? Still scale, prime as usual? Or would you say no go?

    1. Hi Sheryll – If you want a weathered look for the house, then chalk paint will be fine to use, but I don’t think it would be a good idea. It would be a very flat finish and get dirty easily. For my planters that is the look I want. I would use chalk paint on exterior doors where you would seal with wax or poly. I would not use it on the house itself. I would use regular exterior latex for concrete. It is made to not wear and will be durable and does not need to be sealed.

  10. I love those planters. I wish I had seen this post early. I am trying to paint an outdoor bench. Maybe I can repaint!

    1. Hi Debby – If you want the finish to gracefully wear away and create a soft patina you can go over it with chalk paint. If you used a sealer over the paint, I would go over the bench with 100 grit sandpaper to provide some tooth. It is an optional step, but will only help with adhesion. Clean off the bench and then make the chalk paint with exterior latex paint and the CCP and PoP recipe.

  11. a super looking job! Those workshops must be a lot of fun, and you really learn some new tricks !Wish I could go! Wish I had a blog! Wish I had the cash to go! Wish I wasn’t so lazy and then maybe I’d go!

    1. Hi Linda – The Haven conference this year was the best one yet. I learned many new things and am excited to share them on the blog. If you ever want to start a blog in the DIY niche, attending the Haven conference will be worth every cent. I wish they had it when I first started blogging. :-)

  12. This was perfect timing! My pots have a beautiful design but our outside decor has changed and I did not want the expense of buying new pots. I have been thinking about what I could do to breathe new life into them. I may just give this a try! Thank you Diane, as always, I thoroughly enjoy your posts, ideas, and inspiration. I am so happy for you and your husband in realizing your dream of waterside living!!

    1. Hi Barb – Using what I had and making it more my style was my goal when I decided that painting the pots was the thing for me to do. I liked the pots, but wanted them to look more cohesive. Painting the pots using the exterior latex to make chalk paint was so easy. I don’t think I mentioned it the post, but I had the project completed start to finish in a few hours. :-)

  13. Very pretty! I also make my own chalk paint w/ pop.
    So the only difference between painting indoor/outdoor is using “exterior” paint?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Linda – Thank you for asking the question. It is an important one. Yes – the only difference when making chalk paint to use outside is to use “exterior” latex paint. I just added the word “exterior” in front of latex paint in my post.