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Over the past few weeks I’ve stumbled across tons of projects on Pinterest using something called chalk paint. After some research I decided to try making my own recipe with leftover house paint and some plaster of paris.

What is Chalk Paint?

The coolest thing about chalk paint is that it’s really easy to work with, and requires little to NO preparation on the surface to which you are adhering the paint. It also has a really neat chalky texture that some would describe as a velvety, or matte finish. Chalk paint can be sealed with wax (clear, dark or colored) to add depth and character to otherwise boring pieces.

There is pre-made chalk paint available if you’d prefer to buy it. However, I think making your own chalk paint is a really cost-conscious and unique way to use some of your leftover paint.

But seriously, no prep work? Sounds too good to be true. Let’s find out!

How to Make Your Own Chalk Paint

The process is simple. I used a leftover mason jar from my paint storage project.

  1. Fill the mason jar 1/4 of the way with plaster of paris (buy at your local craft store, or even at Walmart).
  2. Fill the mason jar 1/4 of the way with warm water. Now you’ll have the jar about halfway full.
  3. Mix the plaster of paris with the warm water until it’s a liquid consistency – no powder.
  4. Fill the rest of the jar with any paint in the color that you want. Flat paint will give you the chalkiest finish.
  5. Mix the paint and plaster of paris/water mixture until combined.

That’s it! Now that you have your batch of chalk paint made, simply use a paint brush to apply it to whatever material you’d like to cover. Because of the plaster mixed into the paint, it will adhere to almost any surface.

Original Mirror with Wood Finish

Original Mirror with Wood Finish

I used an old vanity mirror for my project. The wood was shiny and finished with poly. I just painted right on top of it without even sanding it.

The first coat of paint was very runny and I could definitely see the wood through it.

Applying the first coat of chalk paint. It will be runny and not cover very well.

Applying the first coat of chalk paint. It will be runny and not cover very well.

It dried REALLY fast, and I continued by applying a second coat of my homemade chalk paint. After the second coat dried, I took some sandpaper and brushed along the edges and grooves of the mirror to let the wood show through. This isn’t required, but it does give it that worn, shabby-chic look.

This is after 2 coats of chalk paint and a light sanding. It's covered very well

This is after 2 coats of chalk paint and a light sanding. It’s covered very well

Apply Wax Over the Chalk Paint

I used a dark wax and applier with a brush. After applying, I wiped the excess wax off the chalk paint finish with an old t-shirt.

I used a dark wax and applier with a brush. After applying, I wiped the excess wax off the chalk paint finish with an old t-shirt.

Once you have the piece distressed to your liking (or if you are skipping the distressing), you just need to apply a furniture wax over top of the paint to protect the finish. You can buy furniture wax at the craft store, or a big box home improvement store. A clear wax will not change the color at all, just protect the wood and give it a little bit more of a sealed/coated appearance.  However, I’d recommend using a dark furniture wax. The dark wax will slightly enhance the color of the paint (but not much). It will also make any of the distressing more dramatic.

Once you’ve applied the wax, you can wipe off the excess with an old t-shirt, rag, or a microfiber towel. Buff the wax with your cloth of choice and enjoy your final product! The picture below shows the slight color enhancement from using the dark wax.

Closeup of the final, weathered chalk paint finish.

Closeup of the final, weathered chalk paint finish.

Here's the full chalk painted mirror.

Here’s the full chalk painted mirror.

Other Chalk Paint Recipes

The internet is FULL of chalk-paint recipes. If you don’t have plaster of paris, I’ve seen recipes using unsanded grout, spackle, and even baking soda!

 

 

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