How to Make Chalk Paint: 4 Super-Simple DIY Recipes

Save yourself time and money by making chalk paint. It's an easy and inexpensive alternative to buying it ready-made. 

By Debbie Wolfe | Published Apr 6, 2022 4:28 PM

how to make chalk paint

Photo: istockphoto.com

Chalk paint creates a soft, chalky patina that gives furniture an antique look and it makes refinishing furniture and cabinets easier because it requires little prep work. Although it is a useful and worthwhile product, this paint can be expensive, averaging around $20 a quart.

However, making homemade chalk paint is an easy DIY project that many can complete in as little as 30 minutes. Best of all, you can use virtually any water-based latex paint color to create the chalk paint and customize your project.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

The supplies needed to make chalk paint are not particularly dangerous, but they can be messy and require working in a well-ventilated area because of the paint and fine powders needed. When using plaster of paris, it’s recommended to protect the work surface with a tarp or newspaper and wear a dust mask to prevent the inhalation of the fine powder.

Chalk paint is thicker than latex paint. Depending on the viscosity of the paint after adding the chalk substance, the amount of water added to help thin out the paint will vary. As a general rule of thumb, the chalk paint should be similar in consistency to pancake batter.

How to Make Chalk Paint With Baking Soda

Baking soda is the key ingredient in the simplest recipe for DIY chalk paint, making it perfect for a quick or small project. Use basic baking soda that’s found in grocery stores (or in your cupboard).

Supplies

Pour 1 cup of matte or flat latex paint into a quart container. Sprinkle in 1/2 cup of baking soda, mixing as you go. Don’t dump it all at once—this can cause clumps to form in the paint.

Mix ingredients thoroughly until the baking soda is completely dissolved. If the texture seems too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of cold water to thin out the mixture. The goal is to not have a gritty texture.

how to make chalk paint

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How to Make Chalk Paint With Calcium Carbonate

Calcium carbonate is mostly known as a dietary supplement used to treat upset stomachs and heartburn. It’s harder to find 100 percent calcium carbonate in hardware stores and it’s more expensive per ounce than baking soda or plaster of paris. However, it does work well for making chalk paint because of how easily it dissolves in liquids.

Supplies

Pour 1 cup of matte or flat latex paint into a quart container. Sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of calcium carbonate, one tablespoon at a time, mixing as you go.

Mix ingredients thoroughly until the calcium carbonate is completely dissolved. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Related: 11 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Paint DIYs

How to Make Chalk Paint With Plaster of Paris

Using plaster of paris is a cost-effective way to make homemade chalk paint, and you can find it in most hardware or craft stores. However, there’s a trick to getting the consistency right. Use one part plaster of paris to three parts flat or matte latex paint for the best results.

Supplies

Plaster of paris has a tendency to clump easily. Because of this, first mix the plaster with water to remove the lumps. Sprinkle in a little at a time and mix as you go. Remember: you are looking for the consistency of pancake batter.

Once the plaster mixture is ready, mix it with the matte or flat latex paint. It’s best to make this mixture in small batches because plaster of paris hardens as it dries.

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How to Make Chalk Paint With Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout is another excellent material to use for making chalk paint. However, it’s typically sold in large quantities at home improvement stores, so you may want to make sure you have a use for the excess before you purchase it.

Supplies

Pour 1 cup of latex paint into a quart container. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon unsanded grout, mixing as you go to avoid clumping. Mix thoroughly until the grout is completely dissolved.

Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

Related: 5 Paints You Can Make Yourself

how to make chalk paint

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Final Thoughts

Chalk paint is used to cover a variety of surfaces without requiring a ton of prep work. It provides wonderful coverage and distresses easily. However, it can scratch off the surface once dried, so it should be sealed with water-based polyurethane or wax. Although it can be expensive to purchase ready-made chalk paint, DIY chalk paint is easy, fast, and inexpensive to make.