Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chalk Paint DIY

So here's the deal when it came to painting the chair I'm finishing up right now.

For my first attempt, I brushed the frame with a semi gloss paint and really disliked the finish. It's an old chair with a few nicks and dents that didn't come out with sanding, and the glossy paint only highlighted that.

More sanding happened and then I sprayed it with matte white paint, leftover from another project. All was good until I put the fabric next too it. The white in the fabric clashed with the white on the frame. It just looked wrong. Can you tell in this picture?

By this point, as you'll notice, I had started upholstering, thinking I could live with it. But after a few days of looking at it, I knew something had to be done. What to do?

Chalkpaint seems pretty popular right now, and I had never tried it before. Partly because I'm not really into the "shabby-chic" look it's often used for. Shiny, glossy, laquered furniture is more my taste, so I was hesitant to try it out. Well, that and the price tag I've seen on most brands out there. I'm sure they're great products, but it's not in my budget right now.

So with a little research, I learned that you can make your own chalk paint. This seemed like a good opportunity to give it a shot, and hope that the 3rd time would be a charm!

Here's what I used and how I did it:

First, I bundled up my little guy, grabbed a scrap of fabric and headed to Home Depot for supplies. I wanted to make sure whatever paint color I picked would actually work with the fabric this time.

For about $2.50, I got a sample pot of Behr's Mild Mint. It's a soft, light mint color with a smidge of grey that keeps it from looking too bright.  A can of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural (don't get the Dark) added around $9.00 to my bill. I would have been able to buy the Plaster of Paris there, but my sister-in-law had a good size bucket already and let me use some(Thanks Cynthia!).

Once I was home and the toddler was napping, I grabbed my supplies and started mixing.

The ratio is 3 parts of paint to 1 part plaster. I had 8 ounces of paint and an empty 8 ounce glass jar which allowed me to estimate the one part of plaster needed.  It ended up being a few spoonfuls to which I added a small amount of water.  You want a pancake batter consistency. Then, stir like crazy, or put the lid on and shake until smooth. This is key to keeping the paint from being too gritty.

Next, I combined the paint and the plaster mixture together in a can and mixed it together.  Yes, I was using our good utensil instead of the paint stick nearby. Not sure why. Pregnancy brain?

Now you're ready to paint. I didn't sand the previous coat of paint since I figured it would act as primer, but I'm sure you want to make sure the surface is clean and free of any debris before applying chalk paint.

I used a 1 inch Purdy brush and applied 2 thin layers of paint, allowing it to dry between coats.  This paint was really easy to work with and smoothed out nicely, ideal when painting a chair with plenty of groves and detail (See, Ihad  already started upholstering, so I cheated and pinned the lining out of the way. Ideally, paint the chair first, then upholster!).

Once my last coat was dry, it was time to finish with wax. This helps protect the paint and gave the chair a nice sheen.

Using a soft, clean rag I worked small amounts of wax on to the frame. Spread it out so there isn't visable residue, especially in the grooves. If excess is left to dry, it will look yellow and doesn't buff out as well.

Once the wax is applied, let it dry - I left it for a few hours because I needed to do other things(like laundry, cook supper and entertain my little guy...). I don't think it takes quite that long to dry, and should list that info. on the container itself. 

When it has finished drying, take another clean rag and start to buff the frame. It will go from a dull finish to a satin sheen. 

I made the mistake of leaving a little wax in some of the detailed areas, but found that I could gently scrape at it with my nail and it would come right off. When you're happy with the finish, your finished! 

There's a little teaser of the almost completed chair. A few more yards of cording to sew and attach and I will be done, once and for all!

What are your experiences with chalk paint? Ever used it? Bought it or made it? I'd love to hear more(even some tips as this was just my first try...) or see some of your projects.  Leave me a comment or link to your finished pieces so I can take a look :)
5 comments on "Chalk Paint DIY"
  1. I made my own chalk paint using the same formula to paint the base of our kitchen table. It has held up pretty well in spite of the daily deep cleaning I have to do after every meal my two year old eats. I can't wait to see the complete chair!

  2. This is great info! For the same reason as you, I have never used chalk paint (I prefer glossy to shabby chic). Can't wait to see it when it's all finished. :)

  3. Hey I spot some hardwood floors in the last pic...which room is that in?

    1. That's our basement-We installed a floating vinyl plank floor there incase we ever have issues with flooding, it's waterproof.
      You can see us working on it here:


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