Friday, August 2, 2019

How to Give Furniture a New Look with Homemade Chalk Paint. Cheap and Easy!

Since April, I have been working on my house. It all started when I decided to paint the den and have new carpet installed. Of course, one job led to another. While I was at it, I thought I should go ahead and have the floor covering in my writing room replaced. Plus there were numerous other things that needed to be done including touch-up painting, cleaning out cabinets and the shed. I ended up having two yard sales. Now it is the first of August and I am finished with all the big tasks for now. I'm looking forward to autumn and some new ventures, but that's for another blog post.

I wanted to share with you my experience with making and using chalk paint, which I've found I love!!! I have painted several old pieces of furniture I had and a cart. When I decided to do this, I did some research and check out Lowe's. I was practically going over there every day when I was working on the house. Chalk paint is expensive and since I didn't know if it would work or not, I didn't want to invest that much in it. After doing research I decided to try to make my own paint. It worked great. Plus it costs next to nothing.

I ordered calcium carbonate from Amazon. I bought the LD Carlson brand. It costs about $6 for a 1 pound bag which I still have some left. The texture is like flour. Mixes really well with the paint and there's no grainy problem. 

I bought the small sample jars of paint from Lowe's $3.98 each. Note: you can save even more if you buy the mixing error paint samples if you find a color you like at $1.25. For the final finish, I used Johnson's Paste Wax, about $8. Still have half the container left. 

Prep furniture: Be sure it is clean. And I recommend sanding lightly. I used a sanding block and went over the tables, especially the tops. At any rate, chalk paint adheres well.

Regarding paint: flat latex is recommended. However, Lowe's samples are satin finish. So I used satin finish and was happy with the outcome.

Recipe for chalk paint
1 cup latex paint  
4 tablespoons calcium carbonate
2 tablespoons warm water.

Note: This is going to be enough paint to do a couple of table or more. 
If you are doing a small project like a table, cut it in half or fourth.
I cut it in half. 

Pour your cup of paint into a container. You can use empty Cool Whip or cottage cheese containers which are great because they have lids.

In a separate container, add calcium. Then warm water and stir until dissolved.

Pour this into the container with regular paint and mix well. 

Apply a good coat and use a good brush for a smooth result.

Let dry and cure overnight. I found it's important to let paint cure overnight. A couple of times when the paint had dried, I started to apply a whitewash/paint coat and I had a problem with the bottom layer coming off. So I advise to put on a good coat and let it dry overnight. 

After the project is dry, you can do different techniques such as antiquing or whitewashing or distressing. I didn't do antiquing. You would need to get the stain for that at the store.
You need sandpaper for distressing. And you can make whitewash from any color paint, which is what I did.

To make whitewash you use 1 part paint and 2 parts water. For example: 1/3 cup paint and 2/3 cup water. Stir well. Have some soft old cloths for wiping it on and off. You can use a brush to paint it the furniture and then wipe it off with the cloth.

You can apply layers, lightly wipe on and off until you get the effect you want. You can use a couple of different colors of whitewash for a beautiful result. 

You may want to distress the piece. Using a block of coarse sandpaper, sand paint off a couple of places like on the trim or edges so the wood shows through. You can use a block of fine sandpaper to smooth those places.

Let all your paint dry overnight. 

Finish with wax. You may need to get a round brush, used for chalk paint finishing, to use to apply your wax. I used a friend's on my tables. Then I did one a couple of days ago and I applied the wax using a cloth because I didn't have the brush. After you have put the wax on the furniture, then you use a cloth and rub it in. The more you rub the more satiny the finish is. 

You can also use an acrylic clear coat to finish a project. That's what I used on my metal cart and it worked well. 

I am going to share some photos of my projects. The dark table and the round table were vintage tables that I bought at estate sales, probably 20 years ago. The square table I've had in the shed for many years. I bought it on clearance years ago and used it for a while as a printer stand. Then put it in storage.

The bookcase is old too and on the bookcase, I used a blue-green paint that was one of Lowe's mistake samples that I got for $1.25. Then I made a wash of deep blue paint to go over it. I used a color called piano brown on the square table. Then I made a wash of a little brown mixed with a color called Hopsack, a tan color. I put the wash on the table. Then I made another wash of white paint and put that on the table. I used white and hopsack to make the base paint for the round table and side table. Then I used a wash of hopsack over them. I distressed the side table edges. 

I sanded the metal cart, which was sprayed paint black and looked awful, and painted it with a violet color that was another mistake sample. The chalk paint held well to the metal and I finished it with the acrylic spray finish, applying several light coats.  


For all the pieces I did, I still have paint left. I used about a 1/2 cup of chalk paint per piece. Maybe a little more for the bookcase and cart. So I probably have less than $5 invested in painting and finishing of each piece. The cart is probably $10 since I used a half-can of the spray that cost $11. 

You can also use chalk paint on flower pots. I painted one with the hopsack color just to see and it stuck to it. I want to eventually do some picture frames. It's a great way to update colors. The picture below is a maple table I painted using blue chalk paint and dark blue wash. The flower pot was green. It's not a good photo as I had to crop it. 

That's it for my post on chalk paint. If you have some old tables stuck back in a shed like I did, it might be fun to give them a new look. You could even sale them. When I was having a yard sale, I was working on painting the first two tables outside and everyone wanted to know if they were for sale.

If you have any questions about chalk paint, leave them in the comments and I'll respond with what I know in relation to my experience.

Have a great weekend and I plan to blog more often now that I am finally caught up around the house. Of course, I have a lot of writing I need to do!!!

No comments: