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How to make chalk paint: Three of my favorite no-fail recipes!

Chalk paint is the perfect way to add some personality to a wall or other surface in your home! Today I’m going to share how to make your own, awesome-looking chalk paint.

I’m also going to talk about three different ways to make it with three totally different key ingredients. So let’s dive in! 

Famous for its matte-dry look, chalk paint is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. It gives anything you use it on more personality and vintage or rustic feel.

It’s also incredibly easy to use and requires little to no prep work. It can also be easily given a distressed look for a more shabby-chic style if that’s what you’re into.

One of my favorite parts of chalk paint is that you don’t even have to go to a store to buy it. You can make it from the comfort of your own home, with just a few simple steps and ingredients.

Making it yourself also means that you can fine-tune the color to be exactly what you want. Here are just a few different tips on how to make chalk paint, as well as my favorite foolproof recipes. 

What are the Ingredients of Chalk Paint?

There are a few different ways of making chalk paint, and each recipe has slight variances in ingredients.

However, the main things you will need is cold water, a powder to mix with it, and, most importantly, latex paint

For the three best DIY chalk paint recipes, you’ll need either baking soda, plaster of Paris, and/or calcium carbonate.

Depending on how/if you choose to add a finish once the paint has dried, you may also need polyacrylic or wax. 

Can you Make Chalk Paint out of Baking Soda?

Yes, it is possible to make chalk paint at home using baking soda, alongside a few other key ingredients. This is one of my personal fav recipes to use when I’m making chalk paint! Keep reading and you’ll find my recipe! 

Why Make Your Own Chalk Paint?

Making your own chalk paint is fun, easy, and cost-efficient. It costs barely more than simple latex paint, and many of the other ingredients, especially if you follow the baking soda recipe, can be found around the house. 

Chalk paint is very adhesive — it may be the most adhesive paint out there. In addition, it’s more durable and lasts longer than almost any store-bought paint.

The color is customizable, and you can even control how thick or thin your paint will be. It can also be easily modified for use in a paint sprayer if you want. 

Is Homemade Chalk Paint as Good as Store-Bought?

No… it’s better! If done correctly, DIY chalk paint can be better than store-bought chalk paint by miles, and I’ve always preferred making my own paints over buying them from someone else.

Besides, if you buy chalk paint at the store, it costs more than latex paint at most places.

However, making chalk paint at home out of latex paint costs the same, except for a little bit of money you may have to spend if you don’t already have baking soda or one of the suggested substitutes. 

One of the biggest benefits I have found for making chalk paint at home is that you have total control, especially over consistency.

I’ve found that some store-bought chalk paints can get lumpy fast if they aren’t already lumpy when you open them.

They also typically only come in a single thickness, which isn’t always what I need for whatever project I’m currently working on. 

By making your chalk paint at home, you can be sure that you get it as smooth as possible, which means that it won’t be lumpy when you use it and it rarely dries weird like some store-bought paints.

You can also control how thick or thin the paint gets by adding more or less water during the creation process or as needed, which means that you can get the perfect coat of paint every time. 

The benefits to making chalk paint rather than buying

Buying store paints also restricts your color options significantly, which means you may not be able to find the exact shade or hue you need for your project.

That’s a frustration we’ve all dealt with. I’ve found that mixing my paints at home has enabled me to achieve the exact color I need, every time! 

Can you Make Chalk Paint out of Acrylic Paint?

While latex paint is recommended, acrylic paint can also work with certain recipes to make chalk paint, despite them being essentially opposites.

There are also hybrid acrylic-latex paints out there that you could use if you look hard enough for them. However, using latex paint to create and mix the perfect chalk paint is what I’ve found works best for me personally. 

Acrylic-based chalk-based paints, I will admit, work pretty well for smaller projects or outdoor projects.

Most chalk paint recipes that use latex paint have a fairly high yield, which can be wasteful if you’re only painting a small item or only need to cover a small area.

Using an acrylic paint recipe also means you can divide the final product up easier to make a wider variety of colors out of one batch. 

The biggest mistake when using Acrylic paint to make chalk paint

If you do want to make your DIY chalk paint from an acrylic paint base, it is highly recommended that you use calcium carbonate, as Plaster of Paris can harden the mixture — which often makes it unusable.

You should also make sure that the acrylic paint you use is all-purpose acrylic craft paint. 

My Favorite Chalk Paint Recipes

Here we are, some of my favorite recipes for chalk paint! They are easy and great for customizing to your liking! So without further ado, here is my absolute favorite: Plaster of Paris recipe! 

Recipe #1: Plaster of Paris

  • 1 Cup Latex Paint
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • ¼ cup Plaster of Paris 

In one bowl, I mix the water and Plaster of Paris together until it’s a smooth mixture with no lumps. 

Then I take the other bowl, containing the latex paint, and pour the mixture into it, once again making sure there are no lumps when I’m done mixing them.

By the time I’m done, if I’ve managed to pull it off correctly, the paint looks almost exactly the same as when I started. This is normal.

It’s not until you use the paint that you’ll start noticing the difference. For a full quart of paint, multiply the ingredients by four. 

Recipe #2: Baking Soda 

  • 1 Cup Latex Paint
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • ½ cup baking soda

This is about the same recipe as the plaster of Plaster of Paris, but it is replaced with Baking soda! Be sure that you mix out all of the lumps.

This recipe is perfect if you can’t get ahold of Plaster of Paris when you want! 

If you want to use the Plaster of Paris recipe, switch out the baking soda for ¼ cup PLaster of Paris.

For the Calcium Carbonate recipe, exchange the baking soda for 4 tablespoons of calcium carbonate, and use just enough water to dissolve the powder

Recipe #3: Calcium Carbonate:

  • 1 Cup Latex Paint
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 tablespoon calcium carbonate powder 

This recipe is very similar to the other two, but there is a slight catch.

The amount of water you use may vary, as you will just need enough water to dissolve the calcium carbonate powder. Make sure that it’s smooth, and you are all set! 

For small projects, I recommend starting with a 2-ounce bottle of all-purpose acrylic craft paint, which will yield around the same amount of chalk paint.

If you find you need more when you’re done, you can always make more. You can’t unmix chalk paint once it’s been made. 

You will need a single tablespoon of water, 2 ½ tablespoons of calcium carbonate powder, and an entire 2-ounce bottle of acrylic paint of your choosing. 

Alternatively, if you want a more custom color, you can mix small amounts of various all-purpose acrylic crafting paints until you reach a total of 2 ounces.

When the mixture is finished, you can add more calcium carbonate if you need it to be thicker, or more water if you need the opposite. 

The Final Steps

When your DIY chalk paint mixture is complete, whether it’s latex or acrylic, be sure to test it on a scrap piece of material similar to the one you’ll be using for the final project. Let it dry, and adjust the paint if needed.

Once you have perfected the paint, begin applying it in thin layers, letting each layer dry completely (about 24 hours) before moving on to the next one. It is not recommended to exceed four layers of paint if you can manage it. 

Once you have applied all the layers of paint you want, it’s time to finish it. While you don’t have to do this step at all, it’s often a good idea because it can both add a bit more personality to your project, and potentially make the paint last longer.

Distressing an finishing

There are two common ways of finishing a DIY chalk paint project: Distressing it or sealing it with polyacrylic or wax. 

Distressing the paint on the final product gives it more of a vintage, shabby-chic look. It is important that whatever item you are distressing is clean and prepped.

There are a variety of aging techniques you could use, so be sure to look around at how it will turn out before you get started. (Nobody likes having to restart a project because of a silly little mistake!)

The most commonly used tools when aging a project (especially furniture) are drills, hammers, screws, and nails — which should all be used carefully.

Almost everyone who has been an adult for a while has used these tools before and is well aware of how to do so again.

However… things are going to be a little different this time. You won’t be using these tools to carefully assemble or deconstruct a project. You’ll be doing more of the opposite…

Assembling your furniture

When assembling furniture, the reason people are so careful with their tools is partly that they want to avoid dents, scrapes, scratches, gouges, and what have you.

However, I am officially telling you to put your instincts aside and have fun with it! Within reason, of course! These tools can still be dangerous and we don’t want anyone getting hurt.

Take your tool of choice, and have at it! You have a hammer, start banging away! It’s that easy! 

If you want a different-looking texture, that’s where the other tools come in. Lay a screw or two, maybe some nails, or even a drill bit on the surface and bang on those.

The different materials, patterns, and textures on these items will leave unique, interesting patterns on the surface. 

And, there’s one more thing. This is also a great way to release some pent-up emotion if you’ve been feeling stressed lately. 

Do I have to apply a topcoat when using chalk paint?

And the answer is YES… if you want it to last of course! I recommend using either a wax finish or a Polycrylic. Using a polyurethane will give your furniture a shiny finish rather than a matte one. It also may yellow over time too.

To start, apply your wax topcoat with a thick round brush. Once you have covered your furniture piece thoroughly covered, use a rag (or clean your brush to reuse) and buff the wax.

The wax will take 24 hours to harden, but really it takes about 30 days to fully cure. So be careful in the mean time.

I usually recommend waxing your furniture every couple years to make sure it stays protected.

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Be sure to pin for later!

Thanks for reading friend!

Much Love,


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  1. Thank you so much, I’ve just started to try this. What about blending? Yeah I just retired so money not what it use to be lol I’m wanting to update stuff and stay busy.. thank you.

    1. Hi! While I’m painting if I notice some bleeding I’ll wait until that coat is dry and paint on shellac in the spots that have some bleeding. Then I’ll wait for it to dry before I do my next coat in chalk paint. If your piece is pretty rough from the start with knots or uneven tones in the wood, you can do a coat of shellac first before using chalk paint.

      1. What exactly do you mean by bleeding and what shellac do you use? Does the chalk paint stick good to the shellac without needing sanding? Thanks!

  2. I’m anxious to try these recipes and wondering g if you’ve ever tried mixing a bit of calcium carbonate with the Plaster of Paris? Any benefits?

    1. Hi! Yes, thats also a great way to Make Chalk paint. Just mix 4 tablespoons of calcium carbonate with 2 tablespoons of water until dissolved. Next mix in about a cup of latex paint. I’ve never tried it with the plaster of Paris but I cant image it would hurt anything.

  3. Hi Kori, can you recommend how much water to use for Recipe #1 if wanting to use in a paint sprayer? I know each sprayer is different, but it would be helpful to know approximately where to start.

    1. I use Behr clear Wax, Jolie wax, Waverly or hello hobby crème wax, and Dixie Belle best dang wax in clear. They all 4 are the best in my opinion.

  4. Is that measurement correct for the acrylic paint? You’re using 1/4 of the paint. So 1/4 of the calcium carbonate would be one tablespoon. Are we possibly starting with 2.5 teaspoons?

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