Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cedar Chest with DIY Chalk Paint

I think I’m frugal.

My husband calls me cheap.

Like that’s a bad thing! (Whatever.)

What does that have to do with furniture?? Well, it means that despite great temptation, I have not made the switch to chalk paint. Despite all it’s good qualities, I can’t justify the price.


Last week Sherry from No Minimalist Here posted about how to make your own CHEAP chalk paint!

I was very intrigued.

Sherry gave three suggestions for additives to make your own chalk paint: calcium carbonate, Whiting powder, or Plaster of Paris. Reading through the comments, another suggestion from Carole at Maynard Greenhouse was to use unsanded tile grout was to use unsanded tile grout, and that’s what I chose to use because it’s what I found first! Note: the grout comes in different colors; I bought white.

I started with this cedar chest I bought off a classified ad:

moustache 002

It was advertised as a “Mediterranean-style” chest, and I don’t really know what that means…but I’m going to go with it!

I mixed 2 T. unsanded tile grout with each cup of ordinary latex paint. It gets VERY THICK, so I diluted with at least 1/4 c. water, I think…then I got to brushing! And despite my misgivings, I did not sand or prime.

moustache 003

The paint was still VERY gritty, no matter how much I stirred it (I would love to know if the other homemade versions are the same). However, as it dried most of that magically disappeared. And…there were no brush marks!

I was virtually painting in the dark, so I noticed the next morning that I had some drips. I got out the sandpaper. With latex paint, sanding drips is usually a disaster, as it all just peels off, and I never seem to be able to make the flaw blend in again. With the homemade chalk paint, that did NOT happen! I was able to sand the drip down until it was invisible, with NO peeling paint.

I painted the whole chest with two coats of red (the same red I used on the retro buffet), but I wasn’t feelin’ the love.

So next I combined the leftovers from the three sample pots I used to paint the gradient dresser, tossed in more unsanded tile grout, and painted again.

Much better.

mediterranean 033

I glazed this piece with a diluted white acrylic paint, and then I also distressed it quite heavily.

mediterranean 027

True to the hype, the paint sanded away into powder. That also got rid of the last bit of grittiness. You do have to sand A LOT, though. When it’s smooth, it feels just like…chalk!

mediterranean 028

There was one spot which, when sanding, peeled away as latex paint is wont to do. I attribute that to a not-very-well-mixed spot of paint. When that happens when I’m distressing a piece, it makes me cringe…it’s SO hard to cover up a spot that peeled away.

mediterranean 029

This time, though, I “filled in” the bare spot with two coats of the DIY chalk paint, and sanded again. You can’t see a difference.

mediterranean 031

Overall I would say I’m quite impressed with the DIY chalk paint. The biggest ‘con’ in my book is that it would not go through my Harbor Freight paint sprayer. And let’s face it, painting spindles and detail work by hand takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R! And I don’t think you get as good of coverage or as smooth of a finish that way.

But since it’s also a bugger to sand spindles and detail work—it may be a bit of a wash!

I finished this cedar chest with Minwax paste wax in natural. No, I haven’t purchased the more expensive/better waxes either—I told you I was cheap frugal!

mediterranean 032

So, will I try it again? Absolutely.

Am I going to give up on latex paint for furniture? Not for the moment.

Just another tool in the arsenal. And that, as Martha would say, is a good thing!

I would love to hear your thoughts about DIY chalk paint (what versions have you tried?), as compared to Annie Sloan, or to latex paint! What do YOU think the pros and cons are?


This project was featured at Mod Vintage Life.


Linking up here and The DIY ShowOff.Link


Anonymous said...

I found that recipe (grout & paint) on pinterest today & wondered if it worked! Thanks for posting this, very helpful :)

Shannon Fox said...

Oh I am so glad to hear it wasn't just me! I mixed, mixed & mixed my paint and even added a little water. I used the plaster of paris (easy to find). The paint went on very creamy but dried like I painted it in a sand storm. It does have the perfect chalky look when dry and there are no brush strokes. The feel is so rough though. I did not attempt any sending yet. I was not sure if I had done something wrong?

Loved the post and YOUR pc came out fantastic!! Love the color too.

Thanks a bunch =)))

Anonymous said...

I used in on 2 end tables I just refinished. I mixed with Plaster Of Paris and loved the result. I will be doing it more. The tables are on my blog if you would like to take a look. I would love to have you as a follower. :)

Karyn said...

Brave girl!!! I love that this worked so well for you. I too like to spray on my paint, but I think I could find a paint brush to try this "chalk" paint. Did you wax the piece at the end or just left it as is?

Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com said...

Great post! I thought I was the last one in the world too "frugal" to purchase the Annie Sloan paint. I might have to try this little DIY trick. Thanks for sharing - your buffet looks great!

Karyn said...

Thank you for answering my question...(need to link up my email to my profile...oops).

Karie said...

Thank you for doing this post! I saved it to my bookmarks, so I can come back and give it a try when I'm ready to start a new project! The buffet looks great!

Deb said...

Wow, wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing the link and for sharing your 'recipe' and project, it looks fabulous! Off to get some unsanded grout and paint pot samples!! Deb

Erica said...

I love this color!!! I'm so happy you posted your results because I've bought quite a bit of ASCP and I have made myself stop for the time being because it's so expensive, but now I'm getting low. This will be a great alternative. I'm giving away the ASCP Paint Transformations book on my blog right now if you're interested in that. There are only 2 entries right now!



Carole said...

Yes I've been using that formula for a couple of months and love it. I got the idea when I read Annie Sloans book where she uses her paint for furniture and chalkboards. Lightbulb went off and I thought hey I know how to make that. I do want to try the whiting addition. That was another I heard ppl were using too. I did buy some sample ASCP's that I will have to compare it too.....sometime!

Happy you tried it...I did a post on it but never heard how anyone liked it.

citicasita said...

I found ASCP pricey also and had wondered if I could mix my regular paint with something else to get the same effect. I'm so glad to have come across your post. I have a ton of stuff to paint. Will it work on a wall, I wonder? I have started a blog called citicasita.blogspot.com, I can't seem to interface it with Facebook which I'm under another name with. Please check it out. I will be revealing the plate rack soon.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to read your post! This looks amazing! I appreciate the time you took to explain your ups and downs in making the paint. I am a big ASCP user and looking for a less expensive formula- thanks for sharing this!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

I have this on my to do list too, but have not gotten around to it yet. Thanks for sharing your results!

Marci said...

i am so excited about this! i have wanted to use that chalk paint but no way can i pay that much for it. i am going to try it on a cabinet in my house...thanks for sharing!!!!!!

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

That looks so good.

My daughter repurposed an old entertainment center by chopping off the top where the TV and stereo went and gave it a flat surface for a Flat-Screen ...she painted hers a similar color as yours. (not chalk paint though)
Yours looks great.

If she'd used ASCP-- she probably wouldn't have had to prime and such.


Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Came back to say... dad-gum my A.D.D. and trying to skim read!

You used the No-Minimalist-Approach to painting this with Homemade Chalkpaint~ Yay!

I want to try doing this. So glad you posted it.

I'll try to be more thorough when I read... Pat

Sharon@fromragstorainbows.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for sharing this tip! I love using the ASCP but have a ton of great colors from other brands that would be nice to try this on!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Thank you so much for the mention and the link. I have heard of mixing grout in your paint but I haven't tried that yet. A reader also said mixing in baking soda worked for her. So far my favorite is the calcium carbonate because it is a very fine powder and the paint goes on smooth. I appreciate you sharing this at the Open House party.

Decor & Harmony said...

Wow! I love the color of your Mediterranean Buffet (whatever that means haha)Thank you for taking the time to share your tips on your recipe of CP. I think it looks fabulous, gonna have to give this a try.

Lisa said...

I thought everyone was using ASCP. I have bought 9 cans and I am so frustrated by the price, the lack of paint colors and the drive time it has taken to buy it. I haven't made my own yet, but boy am I excited to try it. Did you wax after? If so do you mind sharing what you used? Thanks a bunch.

Beth said...

I painted an end table using the unsanded grout and I also make chalkboards using it. It is very thick and I don't water mine down any. I discovered that the more I stir the mixture with my foam brush, the smoother it gets, but it does take a while to get to that consistency. I also discovered that you can't save any left overs because it hardens and a little paint goes a long way, so I reduce the recipe most times. I'm not painting large pieces of furniture tho (yet). I love this method and can't bring myself to pay more for the small can of paint than I do for the piece of furniture it's going on. LOL!

Carrie said...

I accidentally bought ceiling paint from the oops (mis-tint) section. I painted over a unsanded varnished surface it went on very chalky and was easy to distress. Then I used Minwax polycrylic over the whole table and it crackeled. While not expected it turned out pretty neat.

Julia @ 551Eastdesign said...

Wow! LOVE it! It doesn't even look like the same piece...I had to scroll back up again to do a double check. :)

PS I have a $50 cash giveaway going on at my blog this week. Come by when you have a chance! :)

Honey at 2805 said...

The color is fabulous! You did another great job!

Thanks for linking to Potpourri Friday. I appreciate you!

SImple and Serene Living said...

great job and thanks so much for sharing how it worked for you. I have been wondering about the homemade version.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

I just started using ASCP and really like the "no prime" part of it and the way it smooths out. I will definitely be trying this version also. I have so much paint just sitting around and this would be a great way to use it up. Thanks for the great tips!! Love the color on your pretty cedar chest.

eleven-o-one said...

So like me to be a day late and a dollar short...I just bought 2 more cans of chalk paint today. I had used it before but had sworn I wouldn't do it again. Bug then I had some bleeding trouble (the furniture was bleeding - not me) and I broke down and bought it again. I will definitely have to try this method.

Anonymous said...

this is very interesting...however, I have experimented with mixing color into common gesso...dry powders, with acrylic or latex paint...you can develop many colors, altho not really dark. However there are gesso colors that are dark that can be mixed with lighter, and/or dry pigments to make most any color...texture can be added as well, everything from sanded grout to spaackle, or etc. this I am convenced is the basis of ASPC...gesso was originally a combination of rabbit skin glue, and whiting...I like this method very much, as it can be adjusted from super thick, to smooth thin, and sanding is a breeze...

Unknown said...

I love the color! thanks for the nice comment on my blog. I have been looking at yours for a while!! I love your work

Samual James said...

I really like red its very hot & happening colour...Living Room Furniture

vikki said...

I too used the homemade chalk paint and am in love. I used spackling compound, use what you have I always say. Love your new piece.

Ellen said...

Awesome piece of furniture, and it looks great.
Happy Fall

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

Your chest looks really pretty! It's good to know that latex with an additive is a good alternative to chalk paint.

I tried to make chalk paint from scratch with a recipe I found online. Glue, water, whiting chalk, powdered pigments~it was a disaster!

Kristal said...

You're too funny! I am cheap, um, I mean FRUGAL, too. I just saw someone else mention the homemade version of ASCP this morning and thought that I might look into it as I do love the way the pieces look.


Attic Rat said...

I am going to have to give it a try. The recipe that I have calls for mixing 1 tablespoon of unsanded grout into 2 tablespoons of water. Make sure that it is mixed very well then add to 1 cup of paint. Stir very well. I saw a demonstration for the expensive kind and it gave a wonderful result. I'm just too cheap.


Kristybelle said...

I just finished a table with diy chalk paint made with plaster of paris. It definitely felt chalky/texture-y but not gritty, and after finishing it with was it was baby-smooth. I think I'm going to try the gesso technique next to see how it compares!

LOVE the way your piece turned out, it is just lovely!

Katie said...

I'm so excited to hear that this actually worked! I'm just like you and I can't justify spending so much money on paint when latex has worked just fine for me. I love how this piece turned out - I'll definately have to give this a try!

Sandy said...

So glad I saw your post at Funky Junk sns! I've been looking for a knock off version of ascp, but to no avail. I'll try this, cool, thanks for sharing!( I'm frugal too!)

Unknown said...

love the color and the finish. the chest turned out beautful

Anonymous said...

Great job, thanks for sharing. I tried this mix, though just a small amount to paint a clay pot. I was using black paint and it turned out more dark gray... I liked the finish but wanted black, any suggestions on how you can get it to stay dark? email me or stop by my blog

Shannon Fox said...

Hi again,
I ended up sanding that little table with 220 grit paper and it smoothed right up. It's perfect now =) I'm going to try the wax you suggested. Thanks for comparing notes! Have a wonderful day.

Megan Gunyan said...

Wow, I never even thought to try and make my own chalk paint! I just bit the bullet and paid out the nose for the stuff. Not that I mind it, but once I bought 3 quarts I'm trying to figure out how to make this last forever so I don't have to buy more anytime soon! What a great solution! I think the buffet turned out great. Love it and wonderful job!

Cassie Bustamante said...

it looks awesome! i need to try this, too- thank goodness for sherry! :)

gail@My Repurposed Life said...

Looks great! I have made this paint to use on a chalkboard, but never considered painting a piece with it. :)
super job

Nita Stacy said...

I featured this today at Mod Mix Monday!

Sherry said...

I love how it turned out; I'm determined to give this a try myself now. I'm your newest follower and I will definitely post to let you know the results. Thanks for sharing

Alicia @ Sweet Ava Kate said...

Lisa @ A Vintage Vine told me about you and encouraged me to try this! I used plaster of Paris and was VERY happy with the results! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comments. I'm following you now! LOVE your blog! :)

Katie said...

I was practically screaming at you when you posted this, telling you how much I loved this project and the chalk paint idea - four months later I've finally tried it and I love it! I used your recommended recipe and I love it! Thanks for the how-to!

Judy (Distressed, But Not Forsaken) said...

I too, used the chalk paint recipe I found on Pinterest, except I used Calcium Carbonate powder. It made my latex paint very thick, but not gritty. You can see my pics of the black vanity I painted on my Facebook page, Distressed, But Not Forsaken. It is in the photo album entitled "Fun Things I've been making". And not by any means are you the only person who can't afford the real thing. I've been looking for a way to make it for months!!

Laurie B. said...

I have been "SPRAY PAINTING" a ton of heavy, dark furniture that was given to a client, with home made chalk paint. YES, it works! I used plaster of paris, sifted it into the paint, mixed it with a hand mixer (from my kitchen) until it was smooth and creamy, and then added water to make it thinner. I made it a little thinner than regular paint. As long as it was thin it went through the Wagner Sprayer beautifully. It takes 3 coats to really coat it well, but with a sprayer that is a BREEZE. Just be sure to clean the sprayer extremely well when you are finished. I am THRILLED with the end results.

Anonymous said...

I sent an email to Annie Sloan and asked to be sent the Material Safety Data Sheet for their paint (MSDA). (Federal law requires that it be provided upon request). As I suspected, one of the listed ingredients of the chalk paint is calcium carbonate. It stands to reason that this might be the best additive to achieve a result most like ASCP. It can be bought at some health food stores (make sure it is pure calcium carbonate, not the ones with other ingredients). It is around $4.00 for 12 oz. You can buy 5 lbs. at www.dudadiesel.com for $16.50 and free shipping (mine came in 2 days!!!) I find a good mix is to use 2-3 tablespoons CC per pint of paint, and also add 1-2 tablespoons inexpensive artist's gesso to the same mix.Nice and smooth, and not gritty.