*Warning: Although we still publish information about our DIY Chalk Paint Recipe that I personally used for years, we want to let you know that using Plaster of Paris can be hazardous to your health. Always wear a respirator when working with Plaster of Paris and make sure not to touch the mixture while it is setting as it can cause severe burns. We want you to be safe while painting your furniture. If you are looking for an all natural safer solution for creating Chalk Paint Check out Blue Minerals Chalk Paint Powder.
A little while back I tried Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on a beautiful hutch I refinished. I really liked some things about the paint, but felt that the cost of the paint ($38 per quart), was just too much for me. I started doing some research online and discovered a few different recipes for DIY chalk paint. I did a small experiment to see how it really compares to Annie Sloan’s chalk paint as well as latex. Since then, I’ve had a little while to mess with the recipe and techniques I use to apply it, and I wanted to update you on the changes I’ve made. I’ve also updated my previous post as well to have the most updated information. (Click on the photo to see a large version you can print off).
There she is… the chalk paint recipe I use on all my new refinished pieces. There are a few tricks I’ve learned while perfecting this recipe as well to get the most out of the paint. I have a paint gun, so I am spraying this paint on. I use an HVLP sprayer, which is not really designed for latex paint. There are a few things I like about the sprayer, so I continue to use it. But because it’s not designed for latex, there are 2 things I have to do to make sure I get the most out of the Chalk Paint.
- I thin the crap out of the paint. Not to the point where I am making what would be considered a wash, but just enough so that I get a viscosity of about 100. The nice thing about this Chalk Paint Recipe is that to thin it down, I just add water. I add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water for the mixture above to get the right consistency for me.
- This is the most critical part of using home-made chalk paint – mix, mix, MIX. Oh and did I mention to mix? I can’t stress the importance of this step enough. If you don’t mix well enough it will cause multiple problems – clogged spray gun (if using a spray gun), lumps in the paint ( they almost look like tiny rocks) and white speckles in the paint after you sand it down. The last one is especially problematic if you are using dark paints. (By the way, I haven’t mentioned this yet, but you can actually make BLACK chalk paint. Not graphite – not dark grey, but black. Score one more for homemade chalk paint!) Here’s how I mix my paint.
- I first mix the Plaster of Paris and water in a zip lock bag. I add the two together, close the top and start kneading through the bag. I do this for a few minutes until all the lumps are gone. The nice thing about this technique is you can actually feel the lumps with your fingers and smash them out. Mixing with a spoon in a cup doesn’t al you too see these lumps, so your somewhat blind.
- Next I add in the paint. This parts a little tricky because you want to make sure you get a consistent mixture and the plaster likes to stay in the corners of the bag. What I do is add in the paint, flip the corners inwards and start pushing it from the corners out. I usually even shake the bag a bit (make sure its zipped up all the way) to get it it to blend a little better (don’t shake too much, or you can get bubbles in the paint, just a little is enough!).
Hopefully you enjoy this paint as much as I do. It goes on super smooth, you can lightly sand it with a 400 grit sand paper and make it ultra smooth and finish off with wax or polyurethane. You don’t have to use primer with this paint either!