SONY DSC For months I’ve been fascinated with chalk paint. You’ve probably heard of brands like Annie Sloan and CeCe Caldwell, right? The thought of not having to sand or prime before painting instantly had me sold! But the price…ouch!  I really wanted to try it on our crib, but decided to start with something a little smaller before I committed to a very spindly crib (because the last thing I want to do is sand off a paint job that I tried just so I wouldn’t have to sand!)

SONY DSC Our old coffee table became my trial subject. It was looking a little worse for the wear and the stark black wasn’t working in our front room. Here it is on it’s way out the door, with the hardware removed. SONY DSC Now, there are a few ways I read to do this, but decided to use the unsanded grout method. I stopped by Lowe’s and picked up the grout (white) and a premixed container of their sample paints. I mixed 2 tablespoons of grout with a little water and stirred until it was smooth, then added 1 cup of paint (the whole sample). It was thicker than latex paint. And since I’ve never used the real deal I wasn’t sure if it was the right consistency, but it seemed to work well. SONY DSC

Using my lovely Purdy brush (not all paintbrushes are created equal), I quickly painted the table. The paint dried fast and by the time I was finished with coat #1, I started right behind it with coat #2. It took probably 30 minutes to paint the 2 coats on the entire table. And I ended up only using 1/2 of the paint I had mixed up.


Now this is the cool part! After the paint was dry I took a wet rag and simply rubbed where I wanted it to be distressed. Since the table was black to begin with, black showed through when rubbed. It did take a few times of rubbing back and forth before the paint came off. But I liked it so much more than using sandpaper.

SONY DSC The paint felt a little gritty (from the grout), but I had read that chalk paints use wax to seal it off. So I picked up a tub of furniture wax at the local hardware store and waxed on and waxed off. Once the table was waxed it felt much smoother and has done a great job protecting the table. I’ve never waxed furniture before, and honestly it was more work that I first thought it would be. But I guess it’s the trade-off for not having to sand or prime. SONY DSC It’s been 5 months since I painted the table and it has held up really well to the abuse we’ve thrown at it.

EDIT: To answer the pillow question: the 2 on the left are from TJ Maxx and the two on the right are covered in Riley Blake Serenata line.

Have you tried chalk paint? Tried making your own?




  1. Hi…..I have spent a fortune on Annie Sloan paints and waxes….and I must say, that I do love them. I have also made my own, similar to the way you made yours, only I used plaster of paris and Behr latex paint. The results were great…..

  2. I’ve used chalkboard paint, but I’ve never heard of chalk paint. What are the benefits? I like what you did with the table, Nikkala.

    • The main benefit is the lack of prep needed before painting! But chalk paint also has a very muted and soft look. If you prefer high gloss lacquer, then chalk paint isn’t for you.

  3. I too am wondering if this is supposed to have the effects of chalkboard paint. Or is the intent for it to look like you used chalk to paint it?

  4. Thank you for this post. I have several projects to complete when it warms up. And I can do all this locally and love the saving money. Your table looks so nice.

  5. Renee Kern Says: February 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I cannot wait to try this when the weather is nicer here. I have an old table that is brown, an ugly brown. But it is mine from my bedroom when I was a teen (many, many years ago) and I would like it to look a little nicer since it is our coffee table. I love the lack of prep work with this!!!

  6. […] DIY Chalk Paint – 1 freebie(s)? […]

  7. […] DIY Chalk Paint – 1 freebie(s)? […]

  8. I love this! Thank you for telling us step by step how to do it! We are building a new house and I’m going to be revamping a lot of our previous furniture. 🙂 This is going to work great!

  9. So my first chalk paint project a year ago, I tried a recipe with plaster of paris and it turned out awful. So I switched to Annie Sloan which is a dream to work with, however, the price is really high. This weekend I have a child’s bedroom set post planned using chalk paint. After reading your post and seeing the process and result, I am going to give it a go with your recipe. I would love to find a mix that would save me a ton of money and give me unlimited colors. I thank you for posting this in the nick of time…lol. I will let you know how my bedroom set turns out.

  10. Looks awesome! I have been wanting to try homemade chalk paint and even went to buy the unsanded grout and my home improvement store had the same thing you bought but I wasn’t sure about the added polymer. I’ll have to pick some up next time I’m over there =)

  11. I used the homemade chalk paint using plaster of paris, it worked fine but then I used the furniture wax to seal it. The problem is I can still see where I applied the wax in circles, I even used a buffer after wiping the wax with a rag didn’t work. Any suggestions about how to get out these marks? Thanks!

    • Try using equal parts wax and paint thinner, paint on with a foam brush and wipe off, gives you more control as its thinner to work with. I have had great results. Looks amazing on white painted furniture and use a dark wax with the paint thinner, it really antiques it.

  12. […] We’ve painted our kitchen cabinets, the walls, and replaced the light above the sink but something was still missing in here. That something happens to be the Serenata peacock fabric from Riley Blake Designs. I love the entire line, but this particular fabric makes my heart sing. In fact I had a hard time deciding which room to use it in, and have restrained myself to only using it in 2 rooms! (Maybe you remember it as the pillows in my front room in this chalk paint post.) […]

  13. I made my first attempt at DIY chalk paint last night. Unsanded grout method. Two coats. This morning I moved one of the pieces and my fingernail scraped off a chunk. Is this supposed to be a possibility until you seal with wax? I am trying not to freak out. Also any ideas on how to fix the scrape? Doesn’t have to be perfect because I wanted distressed anyway!! Thanks so much for any help!!

    • Until you wax the paint is very soft–which is how you can distress with just a wet rag. Once it was been waxed it is much harder and more resilient.

  14. Thank you so much for your fast response. I was hoping that was the case!!!!

  15. Can you tell me what the consistency of the paint is after you added the grout? My paint mixture is really thin and isn’t covering well. I’m also using plaster of paris (couldn’t find the unsanded grout) and a cheap exterior flat paint from walmart.

  16. Marilyn Collazos Says: April 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Great post! I have been doing alot of research on chalk paint. Annie Sloan and Cece chalk paints get great reviews BUT they are very pricey. So I wanted to try making my own. Can you please tell me the correct amount of ratio of each product? Also, Annie Sloan has a dark wax; do you know a similar product I can use? Thank you!

    • I use the cornstarch chalk paint recipe, love it, used it on at least 20 pieces now, from large ones like a hutch to small one magazine racks, no chipping or peeling and no prep needed, if I really want it to stick then I will prep by spraying a thin coat of Rustolium or Krylon ( the outdoor spraypaint used for metal or platic) as a primer, I pick a color that I want as a undercoat anyways, especially if I plan on distressing it.
      Here is the recipe:
      fill a measure cup with 1/4 cup of warm water, add in 3 TBS of cornstarch, add in enough of your desired paint to make a cup, pour it into a empty sour cream or cool whip container then add in another full cup of paint. Mix well, this keeps for weeks, just stir well at next use. For a streak free top coat add a few TBS of water to thin it out.

      • Do you mix it with flat paint or can you use any sheen like eggshell or satin? Does using an eggshell or satin sheen make a difference in the final result?

  17. I too am curious about the dark wax. Is there anything like the Annie Sloan dark wax that is more readily available?

  18. Did you ever figure out the problem. I tried yesterday and it worked perfectly. Then, I started a new piece today and the same thing happened to me as Wally Czyz. Just curious if a solution was ever found as I’ve gone through 2 pints of paint now. Weird that the same paint and same bag of grout would behave differently in a matter of 24 hours. Hmm.

  19. sorry, Wally Czyz was from a different blog. What happened was the paint/grout mixture turned into slug (moon sand, glob)

    • I had the same problem. The paint/grout turned into “slug”. I think my problem was that I used old paint. On a prior project I purchased fresh paint, mixed it exactly as Nikkala had, and everything turned out beautifully!

  20. Great tutorial! I have been hearing a lot about chalk paint but haven’t tried it yet!

  21. Jennifer Says: June 23, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Can you polyurethane over top of the wax? I want to redo my kitchen table but want to poly the top to seal.

  22. […] painted the soup cans with homemade chalk paint; red, white and blue… and then hot glued ribbons and lace to each of them.  I placed a […]

  23. […] and soft look of chalk paint. (You can find a great tutorial on making your own chalk paint here ) After painting the legs cream I went to taping off my stripes. I did it very randomly. I knew I […]

  24. […] edges of the drawers leaving the faces exposed, mixed up my trusty taupe color into a chalk paint (chalk paint tutorial ) and brushed it on the drawer faces. I let it dry 30 minutes before lightly sanding and coating […]

  25. […] mixed up a beautiful buttercream chalk paint and put 2 coats on her. I didn’t really try too hard to get the paint in all of the crevices, […]

  26. […] perfect for taping. $20 dollars and a trip across town and I was ready to start. I mixed up a cream chalk paint and put on two […]

  27. […] I tried the Plaster of Paris version and it was a disaster. It was something like cement. Recently, The Crafting Chicks posted a recipe which I decided to give a try. It basically requires adding a small amount of […]

  28. […] smooth and I wanted it to show up underneath when I distressed it. I mixed up a pretty blue-green chalk paint and went to work painting and distressing, then I put on a coat of clear wax followed by my […]

  29. […] veszik ezek után a festékét vagy csak a tévhitet próbálta eloszlatni, mindenesetre itt vagy itt tökéletesen működő házi változatokat […]

  30. I would like to try your chalk paint recipe. Can I use flat interior latex wall paint in the recipe? I have some left over from painting a bedroom.

  31. Becky Plumlee Says: September 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    why grout instead of Plaster of Paris

  32. I have used Annie Sloan and Cece Caldwell paints. They are both very nice but I just can’t bring myself to pay over $30 for a quart of paint! I use satin paint and mix a small amount of plaster of Paris, stir it with a plastic spoon and paint! The satin paint covers better and has more luster than flat. The advantage of using any chalk paint instead of plain latex is that it is more porous and sticks to anything (this is why you don’t have to sand before you start) and the chalk paint is much easier to distress. I don’t measure, but if I did it would be approximately 1 cup of satin paint and 1-2 tsp plaster of Paris.

  33. I used the above mixture that you stated above. I painted a dresser, it looked great, but then when I put Minwax wax on it, the paint rubbed off. Can you tell me what I did wrong? Thanks, I need to fix this asap!!

  34. I have had the same problem as Debbie S of the paint wiping off with the wax, It felt dry in an hour but left it to dry another day before waxing. In another try paint not sticking to glossy surface. I want to top with a white glaze swiping most of that off Can I glaze over wax?

  35. I am new to painting furniture, have picked up a few pieces at garage sales and started looking on the web for what and how to do it…. and found your page
    I was wondering, you said that it will cover anything…. no sanding or priming, but if the piece I want to paint has areas where the paint is coming off, do I need to make it all smooth first? or just apply more coats?
    Also, after applying the wax, will the piece be fairly durable? It is a small table that will get alot of use.
    Thanks for writing this with easy instructions

    • Any good paint job starts with a good base. If your piece is peeling or has a missing chunk you should sand. All those imperfections will show through the paint. Unless you think any imperfections add to the character of the piece then leave it as is. You should do a few layers of wax on any part that will get heavy use put it should last just fine 🙂

  36. I have had the exact same problem described with the wax. The paint comes off slightly and creates a very uneven surface. Is it possible to leave it unwaxed? Does anyone have any solutions to this problem?

    • I wish I knew what was going wrong. I didn’t have any problem with the wax, and if you leave it un-waxed it won’t wear very well. But you could seal the piece with polyurethane spray. Good luck and let us know what you end up doing.

  37. […] I tried the Plaster of Paris version and it was a disaster. It was something like cement. Recently, The Crafting Chicks  posted a recipe recently I decided to give a try.  It basically requires adding a small amount of […]

  38. Hi Nikkala.
    Fabulous job! After researching online Annie Sloan’s chalk paint…..YIKES on the cost! I’m on a budget. I recently purchased some of that same white grout that I have left over. I want to chalk paint a small kitchen farm table that I picked up at a yard sale. I believe it is oak & there are burn marks & cup circles on the top so it is covered. I really like the Valspar colour you picked for your table. By any chance do you remember? I love Valspar paint & have never had a problem with it. I am so glad that I found your site. You are very inspiring!

  39. Hi Nikkala,
    I had to tell you THANK YOU!!! I just finished my table & I’m waiting for it to dry. What a deal for someone on a budget. This is turning out FAB! It has transformed my table completely. My brush cost more than anything!!! (I needed a good brush) I wanted to know where you found Johnson Paste Wax? At Lowe’s they only had the Minwax Paste. Are they similar? I did not buy it. It is so exciting to me to renew something old and give it new life. I am already searching for my next piece to chalk paint!!!! Have a great day!!!

  40. Angela, I just read your post and almost did the same thing at Lowe’s with the minwax. They are two different things. Don’t buy the minwax paste. You can find the Johnson Paste in the cleaning supplies isle at Lowe’s. I had to ask a sales associate and they led me right to it. Hope that helps.

  41. I would like to chalk paint a chair. Is chalk paint durable for sitting? Will it hold up?

  42. Okay, I really need help. Please! 🙂
    I used Flat Behr paint with my Purdee brush and brushed the paint right on. I used the mixture with the unsanded grout recipe, 2 tbsp of grout a little bit of water and a cup of paint. I did nothing to prep the dresser other than wipe it down to get it clean and let it dry. I put two coats on right after the other because the paint was dry when I got done with the first coat. When I went to use my extra fine sand paper to destress it a little bit, it took the paint right off to the original paint. What did I do wrong. Help. My husband says this can’t work, but I believe it does. I just don’t get it yet.

    • Are you painting real wood or laminate?

      • Real wood – maple

        • Was it completely dry when you sanded? Chalk paint can be distressed just using a wet rag because the moisture causes it to lift easily. So, the only thing I can think of is that there was still a little bit of moisture in the paint and it caused the paint to come right off when you sanded.

          • Thank you Nikkala. It didn’t seem like the paint had moisture on it, but anything’s possible. It was in the summertime. I’m going to try again. Do you recommend a certain brand of paint to use? I would love your input before I start any more projects, and I have a few. Thanks so much for any help you can give me:)

  43. Just curious. I used chalk paint and the soft wax then dark wax. I rubbed it in really good, buffed it and love the way it looks. However it get smudges easy and if u pressed your fingernail on it it indents. Just worried this kitchen table and chairs are going to end up being a mess after a year. I heard you can’t seal after waxing? Do i just keep buffing it or will it cure eventually. I did let the pai t dry completely. Any ideas?

  44. […] Crafting Chicks have a project using a DIY chalk paint recipe using sanded grout… they have all the instructions on the site, with […]

  45. Can you get that wax in a darker color? I have a table painted but never got any wax because I didn’t know what to get and I wanted darker.

  46. My problem when I tried using the Plaster of Paris is that because I wanted to use bold colors (reds or cobalt blue) for my pieces, adding even the minimal amount of P&P changed the color of the paint to be more pink-ish instead of candy apple red. I thought about adding some black to keep the color darker but (??!) it’s difficult to get white out once it’s in there, right??!
    Perhaps I should look into colored grouts in red or…
    Any suggestions?

    • Hi,

      I am thinking of painting my office desk with DIY black chalkboard paint. I live in Barcelona and the guy at the hardware store convinced me to buy white cement. Will that work? Also, will I have to wax the surface afterwards? What exactly does waxing it do?


      • Sorry I have no experience using cement…are you wanting a chalkboar paint finish or chalk finish. If you want chalkboard that you’d actually use chalk to write on then don’t wax. If you want the soft look of chalk paint then you’ll want to wax to finish it with.

  47. […] Nikkala’s Chalk Paint Tutorial Nikkala’s Pelmet Box Nikkala’s Two-ToneKitchen […]

  48. […] Diy chalk paint – the crafting chicks […]

  49. I have painted several pieces including a dining table and chairs. I have used, unsanded grout, baking soda and plaster of paris. I think They are all about the same, I also lightly sand between coats. I use paste wax and if I want a antique look I mix some stain in the wax and stir well, apply, buff and then wax again with regular wax to set it. I have used flat to semi-gloss, they have all worked well. I love to be able to mix my own colors. I look for oops paints and sample sales. Tru value just had sample (16oz) bases on sale for 99 cents, bought 10 in different colors, fun times to be had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *