How To Saturdays: DIY Chalk Paint
Today is the beginning of a new feature on Saturday mornings on the Old House Chic Blog:
The How To Saturdays idea actually came from one of my awesome readers, who gave me feedback and caused an avalanche of inspiration and ideas. She was also the winner of our Junk Addicts Unite t-shirt giveaway. Thank you, Sandy, for your invaluable feedback!
The How To Saturdays posts will be all about tutorials that you have requested or that I thought might interest each of you for your own projects. The big plan is to teach you how to do these things by way of the story behind the tutorial, the resources and the know how to do this yourself. As always, I’m here for you if you tried the DIY techniques or tutorial after reading the How To Saturday post, and everything went a little crazy…and not in a good way.
I hope to get these tutorials up bright and early on Saturday mornings so that you have all weekend to learn something new and can try it right away!
Ideas for the next How To Saturday?
Want to learn how to do something that you’ve seen in any of the Old House Chic Blog posts? Do you have suggestions of things you’ve seen elsewhere for future How To Saturdays? Just let me know! How To Saturdays are for YOU and are in response to your comments and emails.
So here we go with our first How To Saturday:
Back when I first started making over furniture, I did so for display purposes for all of my merchandise at my first market. I didn’t even put a price tag on the first few pieces I remade and about an hour into the market, I was approached by a frantic woman that had to have a hutch I painted. I quickly slapped price tags on all the pieces I brought that were intended for display purposes only and they immediately sold out. One of the biggest buyers of that day was a retail shop owner that wanted me to supply her store with a steady stream of furniture pieces. She knew enough about paint finishes to know that I was using Milk Paint- specifically MMS Milk Paint- and wanted to know if I would be willing to use other types of paints. Her customers were looking for a less distressed look and really only wanted the edges of the piece to have a worn look. She asked about chalk paint.
My only experiences with chalk paint were limited to how expensive it was, that it came in a limited number of colors and seemed to have a special brush that everyone used that was also very expensive. I knew a whole lot of people used it and there seemed to be classes everywhere in how to use chalk paint.
I am always up for learning new things and I love a good challenge. Here’s what my challenge consisted of: find a source of inexpensive/cost effective chalk paint, find colors I liked and that were requested by the retailer I was working with, learn how to use it.
First up was finding inexpensive chalk paint. I’ll save you the reading time and tell you that I never found a price that didn’t make me laugh out loud. Remember- at that time, I needed a pretty big quantity of paint because I was going to be doing a lot of furniture makeovers. Because of the expensive prices, I decided to look into creating my own.
DIY Chalk paint is not a new topic in the blog or social media world and if you search DIY Chalk Paint you’ll get a million results of many different ways that genius people created their own versions. I experimented, like a mad scientist, until I created a recipe that was perfect for me that was easy to make, didn’t have weird/toxic ingredients and didn’t make you stand on your head in order to get the consistency just right. So, I introduce to you the Old House Chic Chalk Paint Recipe!
Let’s talk about each of the ingredients:
Plaster of Paris- it’s sold at hardware stores, craft stores, even grocery stores. I use Dap’s Plaster of Paris.
Water- I use luke warm water.
Paint- You will need:
– a water based interior paint (latex) and
– paint that has a matte or flat sheen (not shiny).
Think of “sheen” as the “shine” of the dried surface of a layer of paint. So the higher the sheen, the more the shine. High gloss will be the shiniest choice and will shine like the surface of a black grand piano while a matte/flat sheen will be the surface of an aspirin. Some of the small sizes – better known as sample sizes- of paints or brands of paints don’t come in the lowest sheen (or flat/matte) available. If you have to get the next sheen up- eggshell- or the even the next one up- satin- don’t’ worry, the plaster of paris mix will tone the sheen down.
You have several decisions to make:
What color of paint do you want? Go to your local hardware store and stand among the paint chips and pick a color that is perfect for your project. If you find a color you love in a magazine or somewhere other than on a paint chip, most hardware stores have a color matching system. All they need is a sample/picture/scrap as big as a quarter. So go crazy! This recipe is inexpensive and, if money is tight, check Craig’s List or friends and family for free water based paint- everyone has a stash of paint they’ve forgotten about and can’t easily trash. If you are paying for your paint, start with the smallest sized can they have because you will be mixing it with a Plaster of Paris mix so you’ll need less than you think.
Do you want to use regular paint or something that is low to no VOC’s? It’s up to you, but if you are planning to sand your project later, consider the chalk paint dust you’ll be breathing even though you’ll be wearing a mask. I used both regular latex paints and low VOC paints. The only difference is the price (and your health)- there is no detectable/visual difference between the two.
How much DIY Chalk Paint will you need for your project?
So, here we go…
Mixing the Plaster of Paris:
I start with 1/4 cup of Plaster of Paris and pour in 1/8 cup of water, to start with.
I use a plastic knife or an old wooden chop stick so that I can mash the clumps I come across.
Once the Plaster of Paris has been mixed and you think you’ve gotten rid of your clumps, set your tub of mixed Plaster of Paris aside to thicken to the consistency of toothpaste. Keep an eye on it or you’ll miss your window of opportunity and have to start over. Remember- the less Plaster of Paris you mixed, the more you need to keep an eye on it.
Mixing your Plaster of Paris and Paint together:
Once your Plaster of Paris resembles tooth paste, have your preferred water based interior latex paint ready to go.
This next step is important in making sure that you get everything evenly mixed- add a little paint at a time to the Plaster of Paris mix, stirring as you go. Stir the mixture as if you are mixing a smoothie- stir with some energy- but not so much that it sloshes- to make sure you are getting any pockets of wet or dry plaster of Paris. Once your paint has been evenly mixed into the Plaster of Paris, add a little more until you have mixed a total of 1/4 cup of paint to your Plaster of Paris mix.
The result should look like a thick paint that looks a little vintage faded.
If you have an OOPS! (or a @#$% moment or even a ^&*! moment) Moment:
Don’t panic if you hate it or it doesn’t look right! My experience with this homemade chalk paint has been that if I painted a piece of furniture and decided right after the whole thing was painted that I hated the color or the way the paint looked, immediately get a wet wash cloth and wipe it all back off. You might get some paint stuck in the grain of the wood BUT if you’re going to paint it again, no worries.
Things to know about this Chalk Paint recipe
-This paint is not going to give you a flawless, smooth finish. If you are looking for a good paint to create a vintage/antique/old look. This is a fantastic choice.
-This paint has a shelf life and will not last forever so make only what you plan to use.
– The Plaster of Paris will cause the paint to thicken over time and you will wind up with clumps in your paint. This is not a bad thing either- when the clumps are on your brush and added to the paint layer and is later sanded, you wind up with a really neat look/effect/texture
-If your paint thickens up it is perfect for other paint jobs such as adding typography/designs or stenciling.
-Wear clothes you don’t mind ruining- this paint will not be coming out of your clothes.
Don’t hesitate to contact me by way of a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below with your questions or concerns!
Try it out!
When you try it, let me know how it goes! Leave a comment about your experience, your opinion of homemade chalk paint, how it compares to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and/or email a picture of your project!