How I Chalk Paint Furniture

Apr 13, 2019

I'm a girl that loves taking an old piece of furniture and giving it a new life with some fresh coats of chalk paint. What I love most about chalk paint is that there is no prep work before using it - no sanding, priming etc. I've tried a few methods & have settled on my favorite (and least expensive) method.

I first started using chalk paint when I bought my first home and wanted to give my old dresser a new look (the after!) -then I was hooked!!

There are tons of chalk paint lines out there. The first one I used was Amy Howard's line. Which I really liked, but chalk paint is definitely goes a long way, but a quart of this paint costs $35. So, when my old co-worker mentioned her love of chalk paint and told me she makes her own paint, I was all ears!

I now mix my own chalk paint each time I want to knock out a project & keep all my supplies on hand. This has saved me a ton of money since I have completed quite a few large projects & now I'll walk you through my process.

Chalk Paint Recipe

+ Water
+ Whisk
+ Interior Eggshell Paint (in the shade of your choosing)
+ Quart sized container

+ To create a DIY chalk paint - It's simple! You mix the plaster of paris with your interior eggshell paint. The ratio is 3 to 1; so three parts paint to one part plaster of paris slurry.  Only mix as much as you will use on this project because the plaster hardens over time & it will not keep.
A little bit goes a long way. But, it's better to mix more than you expect you'll need because you do want the shade to be the same for your pieces.

+ First, sift plaster of paris (this gets rid of any chunks of plaster), add water & whisk until the consistency is like runny pancake batter. Then add in 3 parts paint & stir well. I typically mix mine in a 1 – 2 quart sized plastic container (think - tupperware, old butter tub, or they sell some fairly cheap containers at Home Depot).

Now to put that paint to use!
What you'll need ::
+ Paint Brush (I love these with bendy handles)
+ Small Roller Brush
+ Paint Tray
+ Lint free rag
+ Cheap brush
+ Clear Wax ( I use Americana or ArtMinds from Michaels)

Painting Steps
+ Prep your piece by wiping it clean (sometimes I use a multipurpose spray or just water and soap)
+ Remove hardware + drawers (if applicable, this is also optional, but I typically remove all)
+ Put a thin first coat of paint onto your project & let it dry well
+ Paint a second coat (and however many you like, most projects I just do 2 coats)
+ Let the piece cure for 12-24 hours

This is optional, but it is a step I always do now because I like a chippy look. You can skip this if you don't want that look.
I use a hand sander to buff & distress the entire piece.
+ First, I take a fine grit (220) sandpaper to buff the entire piece and smooth any paint strokes or bumps in the paint. (This part is the most daunting for me)
+ Then I take a slightly heavier grit (180 to 150) sandpaper to distress areas that I want to be chippy - corners, drawer fronts, surface edges, etc
+ Wipe the piece down thoroughly with a lint free rag to remove all sanded "dust"

The final step is sealing the piece with wax
+ I've used a clear wax on most all of my projects (again, I use Americana or ArtMinds from Michaels)
+ Grab your wax & a cheap brush and smooth a thin coat over the entire piece, buffing as you go.
+ I brush on an area and wipe off any excess with a rag as I go. (i.e. - brush the wax onto the top of the piece and wipe excess before moving to another section)
+ let dry, add the hardware & drawers back - YOU'RE DONE!

Chalk Painting a piece certainly takes more time than just buying a new piece. But, if you can commit some time, it's so rewarding to revamp a piece. It's really not a hard process at all. It's also very budget friendly - a great way to re-use pieces you may have access to or snag for free!

And now a look at some projects I've completed over the years!

- My first piece - a Craigslist dresser - Painted with Amy Howard chalk paint, color: A good man is hard to find

Thrifted dining chairs - Painted with Amy Howard chalk paint, color: A good man is hard to find

A Craigslist dresser I re-did last year for our wedding - Behr Pot of Cream
before - grainy Craigslist image

 after - our wedding cake table - LOVE
(after the wedding we used this dresser in our bedroom for a bit and now it will be a dresser/changing table in our soon-to-be-nursery!)

A big hutch from Facebook Marketplace we (my old co-worker and I) re-did for my wedding + our home - painted in Royal Hunter Green by Olympic (lowes)
before -Facebook Marketplace image

after image

how we used it at our wedding to hold our favors - a homemade beef spice rub

another after image of it in our home (before I actually styled it up)

My most recent project - a dresser set from my childhood bedroom that I re-did for our current master bedroom - Granite Gray by Glidden
before - one piece of the set

after - the same piece in our bedroom

So, there you have it! My process + some of my projects. There were more over the years & there are more to come! I hope you find some inspiration in this post to revamp a piece of your own.


  1. All your furniture looks amazing! I've always wanted to try chalk paint. I'm definitely saving this post to come back to later. :)

    1. Thank you! Let me know if you have any questions if you give it a whirl.

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