As it is a beautiful sunny day outside, and the gas co. is digging up my driveway, I thought I'd blog about my first experience with homemade chalk paint.
Don't get me wrong, I do love Annie Sloan chalk paint, but it kills me to pay about $30 per quart- yes, you read that right. I have been checking out other painters that have made their own with much success. Some have used plaster of Paris, others have tried calcium carbonate, a paint extender, which can be found in health food stores, I know, sounds weird, but it's just multitasking. Another recipe calls for unsanded grout: this is the one I used.
Off to the store I went to buy flat (matte) paint, which is what everyone seems to recommend. I bought an antique white. I knew right away which piece I was going to transform:
This piece was given to me by a neighbor-score! I am a sucker for those curvy legs, what can I say?
So I go home, grab the paint, grout (remember unsanded), a plastic bowl, you know the kind you use at picnics? Don't get paper, it just gets messy after a bit. Oh, and a plastic spoon for stirring.
First, I measured three of these plastic spoonfuls, leveled with my finger, and then added three spoonfuls of warmish water so like a 1 to 1 ratio, mixed the two up very well, and then I poured about a cup of paint into the bowl, I just eyeballed it. OK, I'm not that good, I have another way to get about a cup of paint into a bowl: I poured a cup of water into one of these bowls and marked how high the water went with a Sharpie. Very accurate, eh? Not really, but it's all good.
Stir everything together very well. It's like thick pancake batter. While mixing, it will look really gritty, but I think it's a combo of grout and air bubbles. When you stop mixing, it will appear much less gritty. now you're ready to paint. After each section, I mix well. If you feel the paint is too thick, put a little water in. Do this little by little 'til you are happy with the consistency. You can always add more H2O: a little more difficult to take out.
When you have one coat on your piece, wait about an hour. When you run your hand over the dried surface, it will feel rough. That's ok, don't worry, it's some of the grout. Sand each coat with a fine grit sand block, and your surface will be smoooooth. I do get some brush marks, but it doesn't bother me, it shows that this piece was painted by someone's hand rather than someone's sprayer.
****Tip: Because you can see the strokes, it is important to go with the grain of the wood, otherwise it'll look weird.****
Oh, and for my second coat I used this new paint from Ace Hardware called Clark & Kensington, in the color Casual Day, it's kind of a spring green color. It has primer in the paint, so you can add a little more water to thin it out. If you are wondering why I used this brand, well, because it was FREE, yes that's right, and from what I hear they are giving quarts of this paint away every Saturday in March, and as I type this, that means two more Saturdays, two more free cans. Get there early, folks, it goes fast!
OK, onto the controversial bit. To finish the piece, I used, gasp, polyurethane. Varathane Floor Finish in satin. I did not use wax. How dare I? Well, because I could never get the hang of the wax, and to be honest I don't trust it's durability. This stuff does not yellow, I have done side by side comparisons, and didn't notice a difference. I got this recommendation from Perfectly Imperfect, but I am not sure if she uses the Varathane with chalk paint, but I do.....
So without further ado, here she is, Miss Spring Green:
Go ahead, make your own chalk paint. It is freeing, and in some cases (almost) free!
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***An update to this post can be found here: