When it comes to DYI projects, one of the best tools in any crafty person’s bag is chalk paint. If you aren’t familiar with this awesome product, we’ll give you a little background. This article is “chalk-full” of inspiration for your next re-purposing — be it decorative elements or a piece of furniture.

There is a lot more to chalk paint than you may think if you haven’t worked with it before. Originally invented by Annie Sloan, Chalk paint can now be purchased or made by virtually anyone. From DIY stores to Amazon, you can find the signature look and feel of this fast drying and versatile textile just about anywhere. There are also easy recipes to make your own.

(Please note: Just to be clear, don’t confuse “chalk paint” with “chalkboard paint.” It isn’t designed to be drawn on with chalk.

We’ve gathered some great ideas for your next chalk pain DIY, and ways to get these million dollar rustic looks on the cheap. You will find recipes for your own chalk paint, tutorials on how to get the look you are after, and good advice. From huge pieces to small vases – this paint is going to be your favorite, even if it wasn’t before.

Chalk Paint: Not Just a Pretty Face

One of the most noticeable traits of the shabby-chic look that is achieved with chalk paints is the texture. The paint, after it is applied, feels silky, soft and inviting to touch. Even more importantly, it dries faster than other paints, allowing DIYers with busy schedules to budget their scant time well.

Another remarkable trait of this perfect project paint is that it will adhere to nearly any surface. Glass jars, metal lids, wooden furniture, this paint sticks and looks good. Even more important to many DIYers, you don’t have to sand, prime, or prep your project for this paint. As long as you have a decent, clean surface that isn’t chipping away – you can paint it with chalk paint. The ease of one-step (though not always one coat) preparation, pushes this from a good option to a great one.

Now that you know what this great paint is — and are even more excited about that great dresser you found, super cheap — let’s get to what it can do for you.

Before and After

Because chalk paint is inherently easy to apply, you will save a lot of time in the prepping stages of your project. As you can see in the picture below, the paint doesn’t require you to sand away the old surface. So, if you have been looking for a way to redo that piece of furniture without having to sand it down first, this a great way to go.

It doesn’t take long to achieve the look you want, either. You can remove the hardware – drawer pulls, etc — to also cut down on taping when it comes to areas you don’t want to be painted. As you can see below, the more stereotypical “distressed” look is not your only option with this paint.

Here is a video with more on how to get this look:

Play Around with Multiple Colors for Truly Unique Looks

If you want it to look distressed, adding the mystery and complexity of years with brush strokes, it is pretty easy to achieve the look. Dry brushing paint of different colors can do the trick for you. Like this beautiful distressed bench:

Here is a great video on the color distressing techniques you can use to get a great “aged” look:

Love Color? Don’t Let the Word “Matte” fool you

Chalk paint can be used to create some pretty striking looks. In the piece below a vibrant red and black make for a striking piece, one anyone would be proud to display in their home.

From Color to Classic

If you are looking for a more classical appearance, again, chalk paint won’t let you down. The look you want is closer than you imagined at the flea market. Your find can be as classic or colorful as your heart desires. The only limit is that of your creativity, which is to say, there is no limit.

Make Your Own Chalk Paint

Though some reviews seem to indicate that the best results from chalk paint come from commercial paints, many swear by home-made. Not only will you get your look cheaper, but you will have ownership of every step. When you say, “I did that” you are going to know that it is 100 percent your re-creation.

Did we mention, cheaper? Name brand chalk paints can cost a pretty penny. As Addicted 2 Decorating fumes, “Chalk Paint costs around $40 for a quart of paint (yes…a quart!).” Sure, you can find it cheaper on Amazon or at Walmart. But it still costs more than other paints. L

Below are three different recipes for you to experiment with until you find the mix that gives you the results you are looking for. When making these mixtures you must remember two things:

  1. Start by mixing your dry ingredient with water until completely smooth. Lumps are your enemy.
  2. When your perfectly smooth paste of dry powder and water is ready, mix it thoroughly into the paint until it appears exactly as it did before you added your slurry.

Recipies for DIY Chalk Paint:


  • 1 cup latex paint
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Plaster of Paris


  • 1 cup latex paint
  • 3 tablespoons cool water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda


  • 1 cup latex paint
  • 1 tablespoon cool water
  • 2 tablespoons unsanded grout

Watch this video for more information on how to be very successful with your own chalk paint:

Make Your Own or Buy It, Chalk Paint is a Winner for Every Project

Remember, though this paint is “no prep,” your finished product will only be as good as the surface that you start with. So, if your project is in very poor shape, it will need some TLC to get good results. Additionally, If you are sealing your piece in wax, a little goes a long way. Don’t dip your brush into your wax sealer, instead, put some on a paper plate to keep your fresh wax clean.

Chalk paint dries very quickly, so be sure to have a piece of tinfoil to wrap your brush in if you want to take a break. Even more important, don’t leave your paint uncovered or make a large amount at a time. With that all said, chalk paint is fun to use and delivers great results. Because it’s quick-drying, it also makes DIY easy for you to fit into a tight schedule. So, enjoy your project – and send us pictures of it when you are done.

Featured image: CC 0 Public Domain via MaxPixel.

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