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DIY: How to Make Chalk Paint & FREE Printable

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How to Make Chalk Paint by The Birch Cottage

I know that chalk paint has been around for a while, but I’ve just begun using it on some of my refurnishing projects around my home. I just love the finish and the look of chalk paint. Whether you finish it with a high gloss, leave it silky or distress it – I just adore the look. It kinda goes with that cottage-y vibe. So, here’s my quick do-it-yourself tutorial on how to make chalk paint.

There are many different ways (well, at least three that I know of) to make chalk paint. The below recipe is my preferred method.  The paint turns out chalky smooth and even though you have to apply a few coats, the paint dries quickly, sands nicely and looks beautiful!

Plaster of Paris Recipe

3 parts Paint (latex or flat paint)
1 part Plaster of Paris
Water to mix

Mix 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of cool water; stir until completely smooth. Mix that with 1 cup of latex paint and stir thoroughly. (To make a smaller batch use 3 tablespoons plaster and water to ½ cup paint.) This will make enough chalk-finish paint for one coat on a six-drawer dresser.

How to Apply a Chalk-Finish Paint

Apply the First Layer

Painting with the grain, apply the first coat of chalk-finish paint. When layering different paint colors for a distressed finish, apply a heavier base coat than top coat. Work quickly — chalk-finish paint dries fast — and immediately remove any particles in the wet paint.

The first layer will dry in literally just minutes. Once dry, apply a second coat. If necessary, apply a third coat to obtain the appropriate finish for your project.

Add a Distressed Finish

Dip a brush into the second color and dab most of the paint onto paper or a rag until the brush is almost dry. Lightly dry brush color to highlight the raised areas. After the paint dries, lightly rub the top coat with sandpaper, a sanding sponge, steel wool or a dish scrubber to enhance the distressed look.

How to Apply a Sealer

To protect the finish of the chalk painted piece, you will either need to apply a wax or polycrylic finish. As of the writing of these instructions, I have not tried the wax. So, my preferred method is to apply a coat or two of polycrylic to the finished piece. The main reason I haven’t tried the wax finish yet is because I haven’t had the right piece that I thought would be best for a wax finish as the wax finish is not a permanent finish. It requires re-application, especially if the piece gets a lot of use. Wax is also heat sensitive, polycrylic is not. So, for this tutorial, I would recommend polycrylic.

Another key component to a smooth finish is your brush. Be sure to buy a good brush that’s suitable for polycrylic. Don’t buy a cheap $1 or $3 brush – in this case, you will get what you pay for and you’ll more than likely be unhappy and frustrated with the results. So, buy a good brush!

How to Make Chalk Paint by The Birch Cottage


To make it easier, I have also made a downloadable printable on How to Make Chalk Paint. You can download it here!

Pam at The Birch Cottage

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Mary-In the boondocks

Sunday 2nd of August 2015

Thanks for the tutorial and for the recipe! I'm on my way to the paint store!!

Mary-In the boondocks

Tuesday 14th of July 2015

Thank you for the how to... I am getting ready to do this. We don'yt have this wonderful stuff where I live, and I bought some with me from USA! Love it. Thanks again.#SoMe2

Pamela Bennett

Saturday 25th of July 2015

Mary, it was truly my pleasure! Enjoy!!

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