DIY Chalk Finish Paint

Chalk paint is a popular way to revive furniture with a matte finish and a variety of colours. Painting with chalk paint is easy! Learn how to use chalk paint for your next DIY project.
Few Hours
Less Than $500

What You Need for This Project

What is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint or chalk-finish paint is a latex-based paint to which a fine granular powder has been added (often Plaster of Paris). After the paint dries, the granules create a matte finish. Brush strokes and imperfections become part of the look, making it a forgiving finish to apply. The finish can be sanded in places to create a distressed look or waxed for either an aged look or more satin finish than paint alone.

How to Apply Chalk Paint

  1. 1

    Chalk Paint Recipe

    This DIY version of chalk paint can be antiqued or distressed and tinted in your choice of colours.

    Mix 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of cool water; stir until completely smooth. Mix that with 1 cup of latex paint and stir thoroughly. This will make enough chalk paint for one coat on a six-drawer dresser. Chalk  paint should not be stored and reused. If you have a smaller project, mix smaller amounts of plaster, paint, and water in the same proportions.

    Note: The addition of Plaster of Paris to any paint colour will lighten it slightly compared with what you might see on a paint colour chip.

  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Apply the First Layer

    Practice painting a scrap board before tackling a project. When layering different paint colours for a distressed finish, apply a heavier base coat than top coat. Work quickly, chalk paint dries fast, and immediately remove any particles in the wet paint.

  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Add a Distressed Finish

    Dip a brush into the second colour and dab most of the paint onto paper or a rag until the brush is almost dry. Lightly dry brush colour to highlight the raised areas. After the paint dries, lightly rub the top coat with sandpaper, a sanding sponge, steel wool or a dish scrubber to enhance the distressed look. Finish pieces with paste wax.

  2. Steps:

Layered Look

Put a hand-me-down coffee table on centre stage using chalk paint by mixing two different colours, using one for the base and one for the top coat. Distress the legs and table curves and edges to give it a worn look perfect for this style. Mix 5 tbsp. of Plaster of Paris and 5 tbsp. of water with 1/2 cup of paint.

Contrasting Colours

To paint this dresser, we used chalk paint to give the entire piece one coat. After the drawer fronts dried, we added a surface coat in a contrasting colour using a light brushstroke so the base colour shows through. Mix 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of water with 1 cup of paint.

Mirror Makeover

Mix small batches of chalk paint in colour combinations to decorate mirrors like the ones shown. Mix 5 tbsp. of Plaster of Paris and 5 tbsp. of water with ½ cup of paint.

Colour Inside & Out

Paint the inside of a cabinet a brighter colour than the outside to add personality to a room. Mix 5 tbsp. of Plaster of Paris and 5 tablespoons of water with ½ cup of paint for both colours.

Wake Up Wicker

A tired wicker set becomes a charming duo with chalk paint. Clean the pieces with a wire brush before painting. Mix 1/3 cp. of Plaster of Paris and 1/3 cp. of water with 1 cup of paint for the wicker portion and 5 tbsp. of Plaster of Paris and 5 tbsp. of water with 1/2-cp. of paint for the top and legs.

How to Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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