Feb 18, 2013

Adventures with Chalkpaint, Part 1

Have you caught the chalk paint fever yet?  I'm not talking about chalkboard paint, which you can use to write on.  I'm talking about chalk paint, which is used to redo furniture to give it a distressed, shabby chic or French country look.  Here are some examples:




Chalk paint is easy to use because it requires no sanding beforehand.  It supposedly covers any surface, even something shiny or plastic.  Due to the chalky finish it's easy to distress the edges to get that worn look.

Although there are lots of 'pros' to using chalk paint, there are some cons: it's expensive and not readily available everywhere.  The only brand of chalk pain is Annie Sloan, which is only sold at specific approved retailers. So you can't just go pick it up at Lowes. There are only four retailers in the whole state of Indiana.  One of them isn't too far from me, so I may go check it out some time.  But again, the paint is expensive.  I bought a piece of furniture from Craigslist that I wanted to redo, so rather than make the trip to that one specific store and spend a lot of money on Annie Sloan paint, I decided to do what any normal DIYer on a budget would do- make my own.

There are several recipes floating around on Pinterest, but I went with this one from i heart nap time. (I do heart nap time!).  You can read her whole process on her site, but the basic recipe is:

2 cups latex paint (any color or brand. I got flat but I'm sure other sheens would work.)
5 tablespoons plaster of paris
2 tablespoons water
(I really eyeballed everything and it turned out fine.  I think it's one of those projects that's hard to mess up.)
You'll also want some furniture wax to finish the job

First mix up the plaster of paris and water in a bucket or leftover plastic container.  Try to get out any lumps.  Then stir in the paint, mix well, and adjust the ingredients as necessary.  It should feel like thicker, slightly gritty paint, but not so thick that it's difficult to use.  It also shouldn't be lumpy, so you want to mix the plaster and water really well before you add the paint. Add more water if it's too thick or more plaster if it's too watery. Voila!  You've made chalk paint!  Pat yourself on the back and buy those new shoes you've had your eye on.  OK, maybe just the pat on the back.  We're trying to save money here, remember?    

If you're not going to finish your project in one day, I recommend using a container with a lid to store your paint.  It should keep for a few days, but you might have to add a little water to loosen it up. Although another benefits of chalk paint is that it dries quickly, and you can can a second coat within an hour or so.

This was my paint on day two.  I stirred in some water and it was good as new.

Now you're probably wondering what I did with this homemade chalk paint!  Stayed tuned for tomorrow's post on the whole project.  Spoiler alert- this is the 'before'.  (Update- read part 2 here).


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