How To Make Chalk Paint

Did you know that you can make chalk paint by using off the shelf products from your local hardware, renovation, or big box store?

Today we will teach you how you can make your chalk paint using either Plaster of Paris or Calcium Carbonate.

You will also learn about two other recipes you may be interested in trying out.

That's right, a matte chalk paint finish does not need to be expensive or complicated.

There are other ways to make chalk paint but we decided to try a recipe that seemed to be the easiest by using locally available products. 

Update April 2020, we had a chance to try out the Calcium Carbonate recipe.

You can check out our video here or continue reading past the Plaster of Paris Recipe to get the Calcium Carbonate recipe. 

We were really surprised when we saw that Lowe's had a chalk paint recipe online on how to create your own and didn't even have any advertising on buying their name brand chalk paints.

The recipe they suggested is 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris, 1/3 cup of cool water, and 1 cup of latex paint of your color of choice. It is said that amount is enough to cover a six-drawer dresser with one coat.

If you need more or less chalk paint all you have to remember is the ratio of 1 part Plaster of Paris, 1 part Water, to 3 parts Latex paint.

One thing you need to remember is that the paint color will be lighter than what is on the paint swatch due to the added white of the Plaster of Paris.

Here are a couple of projects we recently completed using the Plaster of Paris chalk paint.

Stuff you will need to make your chalk paint

Plaster of Paris

Materials


  • Flat Latex Paint 
  • Plaster of Paris (we used Dap)
  • Water
  • Paste Wax or a finish of your choice

Tools


  • Paint Brush
  • Stir Sticks
  • Measuring cups
  • Buckets for Mixing the Materials
  • Sand Paper

Instructions


  • Mix 1 part Plaster of Paris with 1 part Water, mix into a smooth paste, like a thin pancake batter.
  • Then mix in your 3 part Latex Paint, make sure there aren't any lumps or dry clumps of Plaster at the bottom of the mixing bucket.
  • Start painting your furniture as this paint will dry quickly.
  • If you're planning to make a distressed look then put on a thick first layer, usually a darker, then your top coat. Sand lightly to raised areas to create a distressed look.
  • Let chalk paint dry then finish with Paste Wax.

Pros and Cons


Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easy to Make
  • Off The Shelf Materials
  • Easy to Apply
  • Water Clean-up

Cons

  • You Need to Prepare Mixture before each project
  • Need to work quickly as it dries fast
  • Paint will be lighter than the original color

These were the first projects where we used chalk paint and were surprised how easy it was to make chalk paint then how easy it was to apply and sand.

Calcium Carbonate

Materials


Tools


  • Paint Brush
  • Stir Sticks
  • Measuring cups
  • Buckets for Mixing the Materials
  • Sand Paper

Pros and Cons


Pros

Cons

  • Paint will be somewhat lighter than the original color, almost not worth mentioning.
  • Hard to find in any stores, sometimes in pharmacies.

Here is one of the projects we completed using the Calcium Carbonate recipe.

We were very pleased with the outcome from using the Calcium Carbonate recipe.

It really did go on much easier than the Plaster of Paris and it was just as easy to make and clean-up.

That said, we also heard of a couple of other recipes but have not had the chance to try them out yet but felt they deserved an honorable mention.

Drywall Compound

Materials


  • Flat Latex Paint 
  • Drywall Compound Mud
  • Water
  • Paste Wax or a finish of your choice

Tools


  • Paint Brush
  • Stir Sticks
  • Measuring cups
  • Buckets for Mixing the Materials
  • Sand Paper

Instructions


  • Mix 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup drywall compound with 4 cups of paint.
  • You may need to adjust the amount of drywall compound to get the desired texture but do not go over 1/2 cup for 4 cups paint.
  • Start painting your furniture as this paint can dry quickly. You may require 2 to 3 layers to get the desired look.
  • If you're planning to make a distressed look then put on a thick first layer, usually a darker, then your top coat. Sand lightly to raised areas to create a distressed look.
  • Let chalk paint dry then finish with Paste Wax.

Pros and Cons


Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easy to Make
  • Easy to Apply
  • Water Clean-up

Cons

  • Paint will be somewhat lighter than the original color, almost not worth mentioning.
  • May require more layers for desired outcome.

Unsanded Grout

Not Recommended


It turns out that many who have tried this recipe do not recommend using it. It turns out to be very gritty and difficult to sand.

Seeing that the price is about the same if not higher than the Calcium Carbonate we so no reason to attempt using it on our projects and really can't recommend it based on many other reviews from the DIY community.

Ultimately, our preferred choice is the Calcium Carbonate recipe. It looks and goes as good as the store bought mixtures.

Have you ever used the Plaster of Paris, Calcium Carbonate recipe, Drywall compound or Unsanded Grout?  Leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Emmanuel - September 19, 2019

It is so consoling to know that one can cut the cost with respect to producing chalk paint. Before now, I had been using foreign materials in the production of my chalk paints. I never knew that local materials could be used also until I stumbled upon this post. Thanks to you for the enlightenment. 

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    I would be interested to know what type of foreign materials you may have used. My next attempt will be with Calcium Carbonate, I hear good things about the consistency, smoothness, and shelf-life.

    Reply
RoDarrick - September 19, 2019

It is really surprising how easy it is to make chalk paint and definitely I am going to give this a try soon and see how many more benefits that I can be able to recoup from it. Making chalk paint is much simpler and I will make sure to keep it that way by making it in large amounts and hopefully, I can get them to sell out. Thanks

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    It certainly is much cheaper if you are needing to do many projects. Just note that if you make mixtures ahead it will get dry and gritty on the edges of the mixture when you open the lid. So be sure to add some more water and mix thoroughly.

    Reply
Matt - September 19, 2019

I love this article about making chalk paint at our place since it’s a trend that everyone could DIY something on weekends. I love the output that you paint it on one of the small tables with two drawers, and it looks quite nice and old-ish to make it with a retro style. When you mentioned the mix of plaster and paint would dry quickly, does it bother you or block to paint better since I think I paint a bit slower? Another concern is what brush you use for this DIY, is it reusable?

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    Great questions. If you are needing more time or breaks then you can either just make small batches at a time as you go along or prepare your mixture in a sealable jar so when you need a break you can put the lid on. When you get back all you need to do is mix thoroughly again and may need to add water. If you find your mixture is getting thick or dry I found that having a spray bottle of water is very helpful. A couple of squirts here and there and your chalk paint will be like new. 

    Reply
Dane - September 19, 2019

Hello Paul, thanks for sharing this really wonderful post. So many people are in need of such knowledge so they would not have to go buy a new chalk paint just to maintain some old tables that are sitting in one corner of the room. Having a knowledge of such small things would save lots of people including myself some money which can be used for something else. Thanks once again, I’ll get the recipe and try making it on my own.

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    Yes and I was surprised to see that Lowe’s had the recipe on their website. I guess they can still sell the latex paint and Plaster of Paris, they still make their profits. Cheers

    Paul

    Reply
Shelley - September 19, 2019

Great article and I must say that I found it very handy and helpful. Never would I have thought that making a chalk can really be this much simple. Paint chalk are really in hot demands here in my area and I think I can really become well established if I can aster the art involved in it. Great tips and thanks for giving the depth to how to make it and the requirements for it. Thumbs up

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    It is really easy to make and just as easy to apply. Grab some Plaster of Paris and start painting 😉

    Reply
Rachel - September 19, 2019

I wasn’t aware I could make paint cheaper than buying it. I’m curious can this type of paint be used on furniture such as kitchen tables or a custom kitchen island (where food could come in contact with it)? Would you recommend sealing it with something? How well does this paint hold up over time? Thanks for the info I am certainly interested in trying this.

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    It is latex paint and plaster so wherever and however you would use latex paint you can use this paint. The recommended finish for chalk paint is to use paste wax. The finish is quite durable as the plaster reinforces the latex paint but it is a little harder to get a clean uniform finish, you will see brush marks when looking close up. Hope that helps.

    Cheers

    Paul

    Reply
Sirmy - September 19, 2019

Wow this is really a hands-on task. Surprising how alternatives to the mainstream supplies are available for our use, and cheaply available in that case…

Indeed this is something one can try at any place of his convenience as long as he has the materials needed. It was very mindful of you to inform that the homemade chalk paint dries fast so one has to hurry. Thanks for the post!

Reply
    Paul - September 19, 2019

    Happy to help. It’s also convenient as you can choose any color you want from the hundreds of latex paint color swatches. 

    Cheers

    Paul

    Reply
Riley - April 7, 2020

Apparently, I don’t have to spend so much to make the chalk paint anymore. This is really good news for me because considering the amount of money I used to spend, it’s very sad, now I can really make that paint without having to break the bank. I’m happy that I can use the plaster of Paris, which will save me some money and still work efficiently. 

Reply
    Paul - April 7, 2020

    The Plaster of Paris recipe worked really well, you only need to remember it is not one that you can prepare in advance as it will dry on the edges and make a mess if you try to use it in that state. The Calcium Carbonate recipe works as well, if not better and you can prepare weeks in advance.

    Reply
Angela - April 7, 2020

Oh! These are quite interesting to see here. For a first, I like making chalk paints and I sometimes engage in home reaching for my kids and neighbours, so I employ the use of chalks. Seeing all these very cost effective means of making chalk paints is dope and thank you so much for sharing out here. Thumbs up to you. I will try them out

Reply
    Paul - April 7, 2020

    Hi Angela, thanks for the feedback. I am more of the woodworker but now that I’ve started using the homemade chalk paint I can’t seem to get enough of it. I want more customers to order custom pieces where I can use this chalk paint.

    Cheers

    Paul

    Reply
evans - April 7, 2020

Wow never knew making chalk paint could be this easy and it is so cheap to get it…Truly said what one doesn’t know is more than him or her… I do have to change my kitchen wall color from this review I don’t think I will be buying the ready-made chalk paint anymore…

I will definitely get the materials needed to make it and will make in a large quantity for my work. Thanks for the great idea

Reply
    Paul - April 7, 2020

    Great to hear! Yes, it is quite simple and cheap to make. Well worth the effort to mix up a batch to try yourself.

    Reply
Zac - April 7, 2020

To be honest, this article really gives me a lot of great insights on how to make DIY chalk paint at the lowest possible cost. Thanks mate! I’ve bookmarked this webpage on my browser!

I also love how you use the video to illustrate the message that you trying to deliver, especially for a person whose mother tongue language is not English like me.

Reply
    Paul - April 7, 2020

    Hey Zac, Thank You. We are very pleased that you find the videos helpful. It really helps us to know that they work and can work better than the blogs to explain how to make and use the DIY chalk paint.

    Reply
Ann - April 7, 2020

Hi Paul and Brenda. This was an interesting read and I had no idea I could make chalk paint here at home. We have a bunch of things to paint and were taking advantage of these days were staying at home to make a complete restoration of all the things that need maintenance. I’ll show your post to my husband to see if he gets as excited as me.

Thanks!

Reply
    Paul - April 7, 2020

    Thank you, Ann. The Plaster of Paris and the Calcium Carbonate are both pretty good recipes that we know work really well. At least just as good as the ready-made chalk paint. If you do decide to try them out please let us know and send us some pictures. We would love to see and hear about your results.

    Reply
Lina Ng - April 20, 2020

Love this DIY recipe. Has anyone tried it in a sprayer? I want to but I’m terrified that I’ll jam up the sprayer nozzle.

Reply
    Paul - April 20, 2020

    We haven’t tried it with a sprayer but wouldn’t recommend it. When using a sprayer you would run your paint through a filter and thin the paint. The chalk paint is quite thick and we are adding grains of chalk to it so doubt it would work very well. I am curious how they managed to make it work from the spray cans though. The chalk paint in spray cans never clogged and it felt like chalk when the pair was dry. If I find an old paint sprayer we may give it a go and let everyone know how it went. Cheers
    Paul

    Reply
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