Saturday, September 24, 2011

DIY Chalk Paint Project is Finished!

Since my last giddy post on Wednesday night, I’ve finished the little table that served as my diy chalk paint guinea pig.  I did opt to add some blue/green paint on Thursday, and then waxed (clear & dark) last night.  I know at least a couple of you are anxious to see the finished product, so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer….

Y’all….I may be just a little in love with this table. 
Crazy considering its origin – it was a free Craigslist yard sale leftover, and when I picked it up it was so wobbly it nearly fell apart in my hands.  Tightening a couple of screws on the legs fixed that problem right up, (amazing how many pieces get dumped just because it apparently never occurs to someone to flip ‘er over and bust out a screwdriver on some loose screws) but I wasn’t completely sure that there was any hope for the red/brown laminate finish that covered it. 
Here's the before:

My original intent was to use it as a test piece for the new HVLP sprayer I picked up at Harbor Freight a couple of weeks ago…but that plan changed as soon as I saw No Minimalist Here’s post on making your own chalk paint.  Since the main reason I kept eyeing the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was its ability to bond to a variety of finishes without stripping, sanding, or priming, I thought this cheap laminate table would be the perfect test to the staying power of the diy version.  I used plaster of paris in my mixture since I already had some on hand, at a ratio of approximately 1/3 plaster of paris to 2/3 paint (off white Valspar oops paint in Satin finish), as Sherry recommended.  Oh, and a few drops of water to thin the consistency a little. You certainly don’t have to be precise with any of these measurements. One coat of my concoction gave me this:

I forgot to mention that I did wind up sanding the top, since I noticed that under its nasty, flaking, red finish there appeared to be actual wood.  I gave the top a couple of coats of Minwax Dark Walnut that I had on hand from another as-yet-undocumented work in progress. 

I had to make myself walk away and leave the poor thing the heck alone at this point, because the paint was drying slowly, and I’m impatient so I kept touching it and causing smears.  Sigh, the waiting really is the hardest part.  Anyway, I’m not sure if the slow drying is inherent to the mixture, or a function of the 1000% humidity we have here in Savannah…probably both.
Once the paint finally dried, I touched up a few streaky spots (mainly where I’d touched it, d’oh!!) with a second coat.  Although it was looking about a million times better than I’d ever thought this cheap big-box-store piece of furniture possibly could, the dark top and barely off-white bottom was feeling a little stark for my taste.  I considered stenciling something on the bottom shelf and/or top, but in the end my impatience won out yet again (surprise, surprise) and I opted to dry brush the same turquoise blend I had left over from my still unposted living room dresser project.  I did NOT mix this layer with plaster of paris.

Next, I hit it with my sanding sponge to distress it a little, and realized that the chalk paint mixture had stuck so well that it was going to take some lower grit sandpaper and some serious elbow grease to sand it off.  Everything I’ve read about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint notes that it distresses exceptionally well, so this may be one big difference between the high dollar stuff and the diy alternative.  Oh well, my batwing upper arms need the workout, anyway.  I really didn’t intend for the bottom shelf to have quite so much distressing, but after I managed to take out a big gouge of paint with the 60 grit sandpaper I’d resorted to using, I just went with it (you may have noticed by now that this is another recurring theme in my projects!).

Finally, 2 coats of wipe-on poly and 1 coat of wax for the top, along with clear and dark wax for the bottom finished it off.  I am so happy with the way it turned out, and if I saw this in someone else’s house I don’t think I’d ever guess its humble origins. 
All in all, I am beyond happy with Sherry’s diy chalk paint recipe, and I will definitely be using it for future projects – like the 2 twin headboards with the icky spotted 80’s finish that I have no intentions of stripping off their intricate lattice-style designs.  I also foresee myself trying the gesso method that The Other Me Is Sane has been using … in fact, I’m anticipating a future post comparing the relative merits of the various recipes I’ve seen in the past week.  
And in the meantime, I’m off to scan my house for places my little table could live, because I’m not sure I’m going to be able to give this one up!


  1. Other than saving money, trying to see the advantage of this mixture. You said it was slower drying (but may be due to humidity) and it wasn't so easy to sand off for distressed look. That's some of the points they promote with the "other" paint.

    I'm wondering if it's the plaster of paris, rather than the other stuff, what was it, calcium carbonate or whatever. I'm curious if that would dry faster and sand easier?

    If you try the other ingredient, hope you post how it goes, many are curious.


  2. This project turned out beautifully! I am so glad you linked up with my Follow Me Friday's! I can't wait to try and make my own chalk paint.
    -Robyn from

  3. Kristy, Your little table turned out wonderful! If only the person that gave it away could see it now. I really don't know what happened with the drying time unless it was the humidity or the paint was a little thick. I painted an urn last night using the calcium carbonate and it was dry and I had it decorated for Fall within two hours. I did paint it in my kitchen though. Thanks again for the mention and I am glad this turned out well for you.

  4. I just came over from Sherry's to see your project... your table looks great.
    I have a curb shopped table waiting a transformation myself. I hope mine turns out as well as yours.

    Is it just me or are all the bloggers that have posted their comments with this DIY paint method getting lots of Anonymous posts-- from ASCP advocates?

    Well either way... it's just paint right?
    The Marble industry doesn't get mad when someone creates a faux marble countertop... do they?

    Oh, I was going to ask you about the wax. Is it necessary? Does it serve to finish the project or is it just for looks? I've not every used wax on a painted project.


  5. ooooh it's a cutie! come visit anytime!


  6. Howdy Kristy ~ being the cheapskate I am, I too have been experimenting with making my own chalk paint. I have paint mixtures with sample flat paints containing gesso, plaster a paris, whiting, calcium carbonate and mixtures of calcium carbonate & plaster a paris together. I got on my kick (as I know many others have) since reading Sherry's post at No Minimalist (she's just brilliant, and funny too). I have to say that since playing with all the combinations I don't experience any long drying time so it probably was the humidity. I live in Florida but I always paint in the house, or try to. Anyhoo, wanted to put my 2 cents in oh yea, and tell ya I'm a new follower. Love your work, keep it up.
    Stop by and say howdy if ya get the chance Bye : )

  7. Okay, I just googled DIY chalk paint, and it brought up your blog. Thanks so much for the recipe, and I plan to use it SOON. I plan to go up now and become your newest follower so I can see what other goodies you come up with. Please, please come visit me too and maybe you'll decide to follow me to.

  8. Thanks for the inspiration, I too live in Florida and experience the slower drying time and got a work out while distressing as well. I still love the look and affordability of the DIY method and will continue to use it, and burn a few calories while I'm at it!

  9. Thanks for the inspiration, I too live in Florida and experience the slower drying time and got a work out while distressing as well. I still love the look and affordability of the DIY method and will continue to use it, and burn a few calories while I'm at it!