make your own chalk finish paint

Over the years I’ve used all kinds of paint – but the easiest hands down to paint furniture with is chalk finish type paint. No prep, no muss or fuss, it’s super easy stuff to use. But, unless you are lucky enough to live close to a dealer or want to wait to order it online, it’s not always the most convenient stuff to get your hands on. Plus, the colors are somewhat limited, no matter what brand you buy. And bonus, it’s not cheap. So if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at using chalk finish paint, this easy recipe is super simple and only takes two ingredients.

chalk finish paint

chalk finish paint recipeBesides regular wall paint, the only other ingredient you need is premixed patch and repair compound. I prefer this brand, the dust control type seems to work the best.

chalk finish paintIn a plastic container (if it has a lid it will last a week or so after mixing), mix together 1 part drywall compound to 4 parts paint. It’s easiest to use a small putty knife (there’s one that comes on the top of the compound) and mix it together well.

chalk finish paint recipeThen, just paint onto your surface as you would normally. I painted this old tool box I picked up at a thrift store, which was half painted and half raw wood. Both the unpainted and painted portions took the paint well.

Once you’ve painted the piece and it’s dry, you can add another coat if needed. Once it’s finished and dry, distress if you’d like and then seal with a polyacrylic sealer or some wax (chalk finish paint usually gets a wax sealer.)

chalk finish paint project

I’m excited to share that this project will be featured in the February issue of Lowe’s Creative Ideas digital magazine.

Lowe's Creative Ideas

If you’re looking for more creative ideas, be sure to stop by Lowe’s  website.

*Thanks to Lowe’s for partnering with me on this post. All ideas, opinions, photographs & words are 100% my own.*

About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. This technique is certainly a lot less mess than the water/plaster of Paris/paint mixture I have been using. I will give this a try the next time I paint…and as I look across my living room, I see a perfect piece on which to experiment. Thanks!

  2. Love this! I have made lime sludge…which is from the good ole days, original milk paint, used plaster, gesso, rabbit glue, you name it I used it. Can’t wait to try this! I love the creativity of others and the williness to try new things!
    There is nothing worse than running out of paint. We also have dealers who live close but they run out of paint. Usually it’s when I in the middle of a piece. It’s easier to have it right there, right now. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Question Gina…. do you think non-premixed drywall powder would work? We have both here, I was just thinking the powder would mix in easier, but maybe not?

    • Bliss, I agree that mixing paint in with premixed drywall compound would be tough. If you use the drywall powder, you will need to add in water to your paint mixture, making sure the water is part of the 1-part compound measurement.

  4. Hi Gina, easiest chalk paint recipe I’ve seen so far. Does it adhere unprimed just as well as the brands out there?

  5. Wow Gina! Thank you so much for a great chalk paint recipe. I love your site. Keep the good stuff coming!

  6. Hi Gina,
    I was checking out the brand of patch that you showed and I cannot find it at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Some of the ones I found say *latex* and some do not. Is that OK? I don’t want to mess this up! Look forward to your response.

  7. Gina thankyou so much for this tutorial!! I absolutely LOVE chalk paint, but I just cannot afford it. I will for sure be trying this on some pieces of furniture i have!! Your home is just beautiful, and i love all of the amazing ideas you post. Thanks for the inspiration!–♥Angie

  8. What an interesting recipe. I have only tried plaster of paris. I will have to give your recipe a try Gina. Thanks for it!

  9. I pinned this and can’t wait to tackle a project! Thanks so much for the tip!

  10. What finish do you use for the paint? Flat? Satin? Gloss?

  11. Christine says:

    It’s amazing to read this post. I’m about to attempt my own chalk paint simply for the color I want. I have drywall powder, grout, plaster of Paris, baking soda, calcium carbonate, and cornstarch already in the house. Imagine that.
    My head had already drifted in the direction of trying to mix it with spackle or something already wet to avoid clumping. And here you are.
    Great idea and oh, so much more simple!

  12. I just tried this today and it worked great!! Is there any brand of wax that you recommend?

  13. Just did my 1st project & it turned out perfectly! My question is, have you tried the chalk paint on plastic surfaces? I.e. little kids, hard, plastic furniture/play equipment?

  14. Hi Gina: I just ran out of primer so I decided to try your chalk paint recipe because I had all the ingredients at the house. I was painting trim and OMG it filled in all the little dents and all.
    How long does it take to dry?
    Does it have to be sanded if I am going to paint over with latex?
    The recipe worked wonderfully. Thanks so much.

  15. Doris Styles says:

    I’m so thankful to have read a post over at Painted Furniture Before/After, posted by Sarah Lohrey. This is the best chalk paint recipe I’ve run across on the WWW. Brilliant and a much safer way to make chalk paint…I will be getting this product. You will also have a new follower. :)

  16. Hi Gina. It looks like it would be difficult to mix the two. What about using a mixer? Thanks.

  17. Hi, would there be sanding needed before I apply your chalk paint?

  18. Hi all. I’ve literally spent more money on chalk paint than I feel even I can say ( or type ) out loud. But I’m leaving a 4 year living situation. And needless to say he didn’t care much for my artist side nor did any of the millions spent on all her (Annie’s ) quarts of paint make it thru such an ending. So now I’m wanting to try to mix myself and there are no stockist within a 100 mile radius. So I went to Loews and got wallboard joint compounding and I have about a hundred cans of mostly latex paint … Will joint compounding work. Or shall I return it. If so what would you suggest or Am I clueless and believed the men at lowes that this was similar to what uour recipe suggests ?

  19. anyway, im sorry but I was looking up a recipe for chalk board pain that you can paint on wood, or a wall made out of well, .. basically cement, its underlayer, and I wanted to do that wall as a chalkboard to write on. schedules ,menus, appointments,n such…can you wrire with chalk with this recipe gina? thanks , colleen

  20. hmmm have been wanting to chalk paint my dining table, chairs and hutch but did not like cost plus shipping. Wonder how this would hold up over time with kids.

  21. I want to try this method, I’ve been making my own chalk paint, and painted my china cabinet, and used the Minwax dark wax to antique it, it’s not for everyone, but the look is just what I want, old world look, not even put it has character, I am doing my coffee table as well, I find very ornate pieces cheap and paint a base cream chalk paint and then go over it with the Minwax dark, let it sit for 15 min and buff, then add another layer of wax, its so much fun, but the problem I’m having is I’m ADD and I have 5 projects going at once! LOL

  22. Can you use this recipe to paint a brick fireplace?

    • Gina Luker says:

      If your fireplace is still used, no. You really should use heat safe paint for that, because any regular latex paint (like this) will bubble up with heat.

  23. Oh my gosh thank you!! I’ve been wanting to do a project with chalk paint for ages, but the prices are prohibitive and I find they never have just the right color. Now I can do my own and it’s turning out so fabulous! Thank you!!!

  24. If you check the ingredients of what you purchase you will find the best to use is made with calcium carbonate and a silica— no other ingredients! Many of the joint compounds and other pre-mixed products have a lot more ingredients. Several brands carry a compound made with just the two . Many of you remember the best receipe out there calls for calcium carbonate and you have to buy the powder over the internet. Now you have it ! Again looking in the area;- just look at ingredients Hope this helps

  25. If I am using your recipe to paint upholstery, do I need to put the sealer on at the end?

  26. BRILLIANT idea <3

  27. catherine says:

    Hello, I finding it hard to find latex paint – can I use regular matt emulsion or is the any reason why waterbased egg shell wouldn’t work? Kind regards Catherine x

  28. Gina Luker says:

    any water based paint should work great!

  29. Latex is water based paint. You can buy it anywhere…There is water based paint which is latex or you have oil not use oil based for chalk paint and make sure the paint does not have primer in it. You will get a mess like cement.
    Cheaper the paint the better..I go to Walmart, they are cheap and no primer. Or you can use something like Valspar from Lowes, they have samples for 3.00..and they will make up any color you want. The one sample after it is made up as chalk paint..I use the Plaster of Paris recipe, is usually enough for a dresser.
    Mix the POP with warm water to what looks like loose pudding, then mix very well into the paint. Mixing well is the secret.

  30. Hi Gina! I am interested to know if you have ever used this chalk paint on kitchen cabinets. I got a really bad kitchen cabinet pain job and want to put this over them. Do I need to remove the paint that is on there first or just slap this mixture on there? Can’t wait to try it.

  31. Brenda, you can use chalk paint any where…no you can put it over what you have on your cabinets now. Just make sure they are clean..take off any wax or oils you might have used on them. You can go through Google and get info on how to Chalk Paint your cabinets. Just do not use wax as a sealer on kitchen cabinets. It is hot and humid in a kitchen and cabinets get a lot of greasy prints and hard use. Use a polyacrylic as a sealer. It has a beautiful finish and will not turn yellow.

    Or you can use a Rustolem product called Cabinet Tranformation. Its a kit that really works and gives you a great, long lasting finish.


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