Monday, May 12, 2014

Make Your Own Chalk Paint!

I shall make my own table.  It shall be weird and quirky, because that is how I roll.  But before we get all into that fun project, I want to show you the magic of DIY Chalk Paint.  Yes, I learned to make my own chalk paint and it was a giant success (and I even screwed up the formula and it still worked).

Every table needs legs.  But table legs are pricey at the Lowes, and since you need four for a table, even more pricey, I decided to take a gander at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore!  It is an absolutely garden of treasures.  Old furniture, weird building supplies, and the bestest of the best part:  all proceeds go to one of my very favorite organizations.  And guess what?  They had a TON of old spindles waiting to become legs for my new little table.


We can do better than white.  And I've been really interested in chalk paint lately and trying out the process of chalk paint and furniture wax.  But can we say sticker shock?  $40 a quart for paint seemed a bit ridiculous.  Pinterest to the rescue!  You can MAKE YOUR OWN!

The correct formula (which greatly depends on your humidity level...it was POURING down rain the day I did this):

1 7.5oz latex paint sample + 2.5 tbsp Plaster of Paris + 2 tbsp water = DIY Chalk Paint

***If you're in a dry climate, keep a cup of cold water handy.  Should the paints start to set up and become like batter, add water slowly and stir the bejujuice out of it.  I had some MAJOR misadventures the next weekend with this method.  Please read the updated post with tips on how to avoid your chalk paint from "setting up" on dryer days.

Of course, I turned to Valspar Historic Preservation Goodness again like I did for my amazing bamboo side tables, and like I will for my Metrolina cabinet when it comes back from its vacation in NC as I couldn't fit it in the car to take home.  This time it was Homestead Resort Spa Green.  I was married at the Homestead Resort five years ago to my darling husband who I adore so naturally, I always look for those paint colors first.  My kitchen is Homestead Resort Tea Room yellow and I will never have a kitchen that is any other color.  It is truly the perfect shade of yellow in every light.

That brings me to my next reason for making my own Chalk Paint.  The boutique selection of chalk paint has a very limited color options so the freedom of making my own was a glorious revelation because I could use any latex paint I wanted.  First, mix up your Plaster of Paris and water.  Stir until smooth, then add in the paint.  I only had to buy a sample as this wasn't a big project.  I would think that the amount of Chalk Paint I made could paint a chair.  Maybe two.



Using a foam brush, I got to painting.  I mixed up the recipe a bit, so my Chalk Paint was too thin....added two parts paint instead of three.  Sigh.  I know better next time!  But it had little bearing on the project as I didn't want a super heavy finish.  Still looks awesome especially with two coats.  You can see the difference (top = one coat, bottom = two coats) below and the texture it gives you:


Once all desired coats are dry, how do you finish chalk painted pieces?  How about some Miniwax Paste Finishing Wax?  I am IN LOVE with this stuff.


Using a rag, I scooped it out and rubbed on a good coat.  These spindles had a ton of little grooves and notches and I didn't want the wax to settle and live there, so I made sure to rub really well.  For that, I was glad I was not using a brush.  Set aside to dry then go back and buff with a clean rag.  You'll see the color and surface change and it's quite amazing.  It also tones down your paint color a notch.  I don't think I would use this brand if I was painting something white as it might leave a slight tint.  I'll have to do some more research to find a wax to use on light colored paint should I ever paint a light colored piece!  Maybe the Annie Sloan Clear Wax would be a good choice in that situation.


I really loved the waxing process...it was relaxing and the change in surface was immediately noticeable.  The top spindle is waxed, the bottom is not.  Pretty, right?


I would highly recommend trying to make your own chalk paint vs. buying the boutique stuff.  Granted, I've never bought the boutique stuff, so I don't know how different they are.  I'm sure there are pros and cons to each, but this seemed like a good starting point for someone looking to try out the concept of chalk painting.  And I really love the outcome and can't WAIT to show you the rest of the project!

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