How To Make Chalk Paint – My First Project

How To Make Chalk PaintI mentioned in a previous post that I had gone on a bit of a chalk paint spree…..I was just having so much fun and didn’t want to stop!  I had been secretly wanting to redo my dining room table, which was a solid golden oak color, but I was terrified to tackle a project like that!

I figured doing some “practice” pieces would be a good idea.

I looked online and saw that tons of people use the Annie Sloan chalk paint, which I am sure is a really great product.  However, I was just not prepared to pay for that, and since I saw that a lot of people make their own, I decided to just jump in with both feet!!

After doing a few pieces, I just kind of played around with different amounts and different products for finishing.  I discovered that it is pretty forgiving and you can’t really mess up the paint too much – if you think it needs more plaster of paris, add a bit more.  If you want it runnier, add more paint.  It really is that simple.  Just play around with the ingredients until you find what you like to work with….

Chalk Paint Recipe

Here is the general chalk paint recipe I used:

  • 2 cups of latex paint (whatever color you want to use!)
  • 5 TBSP Plaster of Paris
  • 3 TBSP water

I mixed the Plaster of Paris up with the water and got out all lumps.  **One thing I would suggest is to maybe try warm water.  I just used regular water and it was sometimes a bit harder to get all of the lumps out.

*I made larger batches because I was using it for a lot of pieces.  If you are just doing something small, you could cut it in half.  The paint really does seem to go far.  I even refrigerated it overnight many times in between coats or before starting the next piece, and after a good stir, it still worked great.

I just mixed everything up in an old margarine container so I could put the lid back on and reuse as needed.

I have to say, I loved the look of the chalk paint!  It turned out so amazing!

I will show you my first project – which was a bookshelf painted with red chalk paint…..

Bookshelf for My Daughter’s Room – My First Chalk Paint Project

This bookshelf was just an old melamine shelf that had that fake veneer wood over top of it.  My oldest daughter wanted a bookshelf in her room, and this was one my grandma had.

How To Make Chalk Paint - Bookshelf Project

So, all I did to prepare the shelf was clean it really well with TSP furniture cleaner.  I didn’t sand it down or anything because I had read that you didn’t need to sand the pieces when using chalk paint so I wanted to see if that was true.  I would have rather found out if it didn’t work on a smaller project like this than on a bigger piece like my table!

I had also heard you didn’t need any primer, so I wanted to test that out on this as well.

Products I Used For This Project:

  • How To Make Chalk Paint -My Chalk Paint RecipeBehr PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Flat – Regal Red (I have always wanted to paint something red for a pop of color, so I decided to not hold back!)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Martha Stewart Faux Finishing Glaze
  • Black & brown acrylic craft paint
  • Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax
  • Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish

I put the first coat on with just a paint brush.  I found out that you have to be pretty quick and just put the paint on because after a few seconds, you don’t want to have to go back over it.  If you do, I found the paint was pulling up a bit, so I just did a quick swipe with the paint and covered the whole bookshelf.

I let it dry for a couple of hours, then used a very find grit sandpaper and sanded it.  You want to be pretty careful so that you don’t sand any big chunks out of the paint.  Just a fine sand to get rid of any gritty bits that might be in the paint.

I just put the paint in a margarine container in the fridge while it dried, and took it out and gave it a good stir for the second coat.

How To Make Chalk Paint - Bookshelf ProjectI let the second coat dry for a bit longer just to be sure it was stuck.  Then I did another fine sanding to get rid of any bumps or grit.

For this project, I wanted to practice doing an antique look, so I tried using a bit heavier sandpaper, and roughed up edges and corners a bit.  It peeled the paint back pretty good – so you have to be very careful that you don’t push too hard and take too much off!

When I did that, you could see the fake brown wood underneath and it didn’t really look “antiquey” – so I mixed up a bit of glaze in a small container with the black and brown craft paints.  I simply poured a small amount of glaze, then added a couple drops of the craft paints and stirred – adding more until the color was what I wanted.  No recipe – just kind of some trial and error.

I painted the glaze over top of an area on the shelf, making sure to get into the parts that were distressed, then used damp paper towels to wipe it off after a few seconds.  I let it sit for a bit, then when I did wipe it off, I was careful to not pull it all off.  All you need to do is wipe a bit without taking it all, then a bit more until you get the look you want.  It really is pretty simple….

After I had glazed the whole piece I let it sit for a few hours and completely dry.

Every site I read said I had to use furniture wax for the perfect look, so I gave it a try.  It was tedious, and took some elbow grease to really get it worked in and buffed.  I just put small amounts into a piece of cloth and buffed the heck out of it – and it took forever!

(As you will see in my next projects, I eventually abandoned the furniture wax step as it really just seemed like a lot more work that it was worth!)

It looked OK after I was done, but I still wasn’t sure how it would hold up to every day use, so I went ahead and put a coat of Polycrylic.  I did a thin coat and you have to be careful with this as well because if you go over the same spot after a few seconds it will pull.  I let it dry for a couple of hours then did another coat.

This shelf has held up remarkably well being in a kid’s room, and having stuff taken off and put on regularly.

Here is the final product…..

How To Make Chalk Paint - After Bookshelf Project

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