How to Make Chalk Paint

How to Make Chalk Paint – A Guide to Making Homemade Chalk Paint

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you. You help to support

Using chalk paint is hands-down one of the most popular ways of doing up boring furniture, and it does so, paradoxically, by making the surface you are painting look old. In this article, we will show you just how easy it is to achieve that weathered, distressed look on your furniture without having to compromise on your budget by buying ready-made store-bought paint. We also will show you how to make the paint yourself at an affordable cost. 




What Is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is paint that is thicker than regular paint as a result of the inclusion of a thickening agent such as calcium carbonate. Not to be confused with chalkboard paint, it is used to produce the “distressed” or antique effect you might find on older pieces of furniture, while chalkboard paint creates a surface you can write on with chalk in your living or working space.

Annie Sloan was the original inventor of chalk paint, which arose out of her need for a paint that could be applied quickly while being equally versatile. It came into being in the 1990s and has since become a widely used solution in decorative arts and interior design for precisely those reasons.

What Is Chalk Paint

Chalk paint sticks to several different surface types and is usually more expensive than ordinary paint. But the great news for curious arts and crafts enthusiasts and homeowners looking for cheap and classy ways to enhance their homes is that making your own chalk paint is much more affordable than store-bought paint, and it is very fun and easy to make!

Anyone with a smidgen of experience in DIY projects for the home will attest to the fact that chalk paint is a super-versatile paint that works on many surfaces. It is very often used on wooden surfaces to create an “aged” effect by sanding the paint once it is properly dry. The other major appeal of this product is that minimal effort is required in preparing your surface before painting it, although if the surface has a rough texture, then sanding it before you paint it can help to make the paint stick better to the prepared surface.



How to Make Chalk Paint

Making your own chalk paint is not rocket science and it will only take a few minutes to mix all of the ingredients needed to produce long-lasting paint that is highly durable. All you need is latex paint, a thickening agent, and possibly water, depending on which thickening agent you choose to add to the paint.

Best Chalk Paint Recipe


Why Make Your Own?

There is no denying it – chalk paint can be quite expensive, which makes affordability the number one reason for choosing to make your paint at home. But it is not only the cheaper cost that makes this homemade option the preferable choice.

When you take the DIY route, you have a wider spectrum of colors that would be available than compared to ready-made chalk paint.

While chalk paint bought in a store will only have a select few colors, you have the option of adding any color latex paint to your chalk paint mix that your heart desires. You will also have more control over the consistency of your paint so you will be able to make it as thin or as thick as you like; you can adjust the fluidity of your paint to suit your current project. Your chosen chalk paint recipe can therefore easily be modified to be suitable for putting into spray cans instead of being applied by using a brush.

Another advantage to using homemade paint is that it can potentially be more durable than the ready-made paint you can buy in the store. And, finally, depending on the recipe you use and the ratio of ingredients, your homemade paint may dry faster than store-bought brands. So, you can see for yourself that there are many good reasons as to why DIY chalk paint is the ideal choice.

Thin Chalk Paint Recipe


Best Chalk Paint Recipes

Ask around and you will find that the question of which paint recipe for chalk paint is best is a contentious one. Like any fail-proof DIY approach to arts and crafts, a good, healthy balance between doing the appropriate research and testing the theory on a more practical level is necessary for the making of a DIY master, who can achieve the same quality paint as those available in your local hardware store, if not better.

Preferred methods for making this paint vary, depending on who you ask. In the following four recipes, we will give you the basic steps you need to take to produce the paint of your desired consistency and texture. Like any homemade solution, the best approach is to try a few different methods for yourself and pick your best chalk paint recipe based on your own experience rather than word-of-mouth.

Bear in mind that, as you read the following recipes, you may have to adjust the quantities slightly to achieve your preferred consistency.


Calcium Carbonate

This recipe simply requires mixing two parts latex paint to one part calcium carbonate (chalk). One of the biggest challenges you will face when using this method is sourcing calcium carbonate, but you should be able to buy it online in the form of calcium carbonate powder. Aside from this setback, calcium carbonate is the perfect addition to latex paint for the following reasons: It provides a chalky finish, lasts for a couple of days if sealed properly, has a great consistency, and is quick drying. What more could you ask for when making your DIY chalk paint?

It is suggested that you include talc in your recipe in order to prevent cracking and improve adhesion. The ingredients in this recipe are:

  • 1 cup paint (latex)
  • 4 tbsp calcium carbonate (chalk)
  • 1 tbsp talc
  • Water

The method? Add calcium carbonate and talc to the paint. The next step is to mix these ingredients for two to three minutes, using a blender or by hand until the paint reaches the desired consistency. If it is a little thick for your liking, add a tablespoon or two of water at a time and stir thoroughly. Repeat this process until the paint is as thin or thick as you would like.

Chalk Paint Recipe


Plaster of Paris

The method for using plaster of Paris as a thickening agent is similar to the previous method. First, mix three parts paint with one part plaster of Paris until smooth. Then simply add water to attain your desired consistency.

The advantages of using this method to create your homemade chalk paint are many: It is affordable and quick-drying, and the mixture lasts for an extended period without going completely hard (you will need to stir it from time to time to avoid hardening and the development of a slightly grainy texture). There are no disadvantages to using this method that are worth mentioning.


Baking Soda

Although the ratios involved in this method are different from those described above, the method to follow with this recipe is the same as the calcium carbonate method: Stir together ⅔ cup paint and ⅓ cup baking soda to achieve the desired consistency. There is no need for priming or surface preparation. The main disadvantage to using this paint is its gritty texture, although it still works well if you want to distress it with sandpaper once dry, even though the texture may not be as smooth as you would like.

Homemade Chalk Paint


Un-Sanded Grout

This is the final method that is commonly used to produce chalk paint. The ratio for this mixture is one cup of paint to two cups of un-sanded grout, which you should mix until smooth. Grout has an unappealing odor and also has the unattractive quality of hardening too fast – so fast that you may find your paint thickening while you are using it. This means that you will have to spend extra time and energy mixing it up to prevent it from hardening while you are using it.

For these reasons, this is listed as the chalk paint recipe that we least recommend, and we suggest trying all the other recommended methods before you attempt this one.



General Tips on How to Make Chalk Paint

If you are making larger quantities of paint, grout and plaster of Paris tend to harden quite quickly. What this means in practice is that if you plan on storing paint for later use, it is best to go with calcium carbonate if you want to avoid wastage.

When you are choosing the paint you want to add to your mixture to add color, remember that the latex paint will lighten the color. Thus, we recommend that you choose a darker color than you intend to paint with.

Always cover your working area or your art studio at home when making your own chalk paint

DIY Chalk Paint


How to Use Chalk Paint

Once you have made your chalk paint using one of the recipes described above, you are ready to apply your paint to your surface. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the look you want using your chalk paint:

  • Apply thin coats of paint to minimize drying time.
  • Lightly sand (with 100-grit sandpaper) the surface to achieve distressed edges. Wait until the paint has dried completely before sanding.
  • Dust the surface to remove excess particles.
  • Apply wax to the entire area for a protective finish and buff to achieve a shine.


Since the 1990s, chalk paint has been an extremely popular method of jazzing up furniture to look, well, old. A modern-day technique of bringing back that ancient look without actually paying a pretty penny for antique items in a furniture store, chalk paint can be made at home with a few basic ingredients in a no-mess, no-fuss kind of way that keeps you smiling throughout the process. 



Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Ingredients in Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint usually has latex paint as a base, and then some form of thickening agent that could be calcium carbonate (chalk), plaster of Paris, or grout, for example. Bicarbonate of soda is also sometimes used.


Is Homemade Chalk Paint as Good as Store-Bought?

Many people would argue that DIY chalk paint is more durable than paint you might find at the store, but it depends on the chalk paint recipe you use and the brand that you buy. Many people opt for making their paint because it is much cheaper.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Chalk Paint?

The main benefit of chalk paint is that it provides a medium that can help you to achieve a distressed effect when sanded, which is much harder to achieve with regular paint if it is at all possible. This is because the chalk paint is thicker. This type of paint has good adhesive properties and will stick well onto a range of surfaces, with minimal surface preparation. On the downside, chalk paint is often noticeably more costly than regular paint. You can get around this by making your own though, which can be considerably cheaper than store-bought options. It is very easy to make your chalk paint.


What Is Chalk Paint and Why Use it?

Chalk paint is a special type of paint that allows you to create an antique finish on your surfaces and furniture. It has a base of latex paint but has a thickening agent as an additional element, that allows for the creation of a “distressed” look if sanded. Chalk paint should not be mistaken for chalkboard paint.


What Is the Difference Between Chalk Paint and Regular Paint?

What makes chalk paint different from ordinary paint (such as acrylic or latex paint) is that it is much thicker because it contains an additive that changes the consistency of the paint. If you make your own chalk paint using the best chalk paint recipe you can find and adapting it to suit your own needs, you can choose the consistency of the paint, while still achieving the antique look on the item you are painting.


Similar Posts