Chalk paint is a wonderful medium to transform old furniture into new and stylish pieces. It’s also great for painting small home accent pieces and holiday decorations. Even though there are many manufacturers of chalk paint, with a wide variety of colors, sometimes it can be a challenge to find just the right color you want. It’s also hard to know which are the best chalk paints. One option is to make your own chalk paint. This post has three homemade chalk paint recipes for you.
There is also a “commercial” way to make chalk paint. You can use BB Frosch paint transformer powder to mix with normal acrylic paints. This is by far my favorite type of chalk, too. It lets you choose your own color and it’s just as high quality as the commercial chalk paints.Jump to Recipe
Making your own homemade chalk paint is easier than you might think. It can be a fun activity to do with your kids, too. In fact, you can transform many household paints into chalk paint simply by mixing them with some common household ingredients.
What Ingredients Are In Chalk Paint?
Depending on the brand of commercially sold chalk paint, ingredients can vary a little bit. However, one constant for all brands is the addition of some kind of mineral. Mineral additives are what give chalk-style paint that distinctive chalky matte finish. Additives vary, but they are often quartz, silica, talc, or more commonly, calcium carbonate. In fact, calcium carbonate is a key ingredient if you want to make your own chalk-style paint. Do you know what the more common name for calcium carbonate is? It’s chalk; just ordinary chalk!
Ingredients for homemade chalk-style paints will vary slightly, but in most basic recipes you’ll need your chosen paint, a little bit of water, and an additive of some kind to give the paint the distinctly chalky texture.
For recipes that call for using calcium carbonate (chalk), you have a couple of choices on how to add it to your paint. Calcium carbonate powder is readily available from grocery stores, health food stores, and online. It’s commonly sold as a nutritional supplement to help with bone health. The advantage to using already powdered calcium carbonate is that it will be a very fine, consistent texture that will be easier to mix into your paint.
If you have ordinary white chalk at home and want to try that for your chalky paint recipe, you’ll need to crush it into as fine a powder as possible. The best way is to place several pieces of chalk in a zippered plastic bag and smash it into a powder with a small hammer or rolling pin. After you have it smashed into as small pieces as possible, it is helpful to take an additional step of grinding those pieces into powder in a food processor or even a spice grinder. The finer you can get the powder, the easier it will be to mix into your paint, and you’ll have more professional-looking results. When grinding or crushing chalk pieces, you might want to wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth so you don’t breathe in the chalk dust.
How To Make DIY Chalk Paint
For making your own chalky paint, you should be aware that some recipes are better suited to work with latex paint, while you’ll get better results using acrylic paints with other recipes. No matter if you choose a recipe that uses latex or acrylic paint as the base, be sure your paint has a matte or flat finish. You definitely don’t want to try this with any paint that has a gloss finish.
Other than the ingredients for specific recipes, you’ll need measuring cups and spoons, paint stirring sticks, and bowls or cups to mix your paint. Because homemade chalk-style paint might get lumpy or thicken up if it’s stored for too long, try not to mix up more than you’ll need for your project. It’s better to mix smaller quantities than to have too much leftover paint.
Chalk Paint Recipes
Here are a few easy recipes to make your own chalk-style paint. Let’s start with one of the easiest recipes, that also gives some of the best results:
Calcium Carbonate DIY Chalk Paint
Just two simple ingredients are needed. Pour your paint into a container, then mix the calcium carbonate powder in. Mixing it a little at a time will be easier. It will take a lot of stirring to get the paint to a nice smooth consistency. This recipe should apply just as nicely and even as commercial brand chalk paints. If the paint seems too thick, you can add a little bit of water to thin it out. This chalk paint recipe dries very quickly. If you want to sand it for a “distressed” finish, it will take a little more sanding effort than you’ll need when using commercial paints. This recipe will last a bit longer than other recipes, as long as any leftover paint is stored in an airtight container.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 parts latex or acrylic paint
- 1 part calcium carbonate powder
Plaster of Paris DIY Chalk Paint
DIY Homemade Chalk Paint
- 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1 ¾ Cup Acrylic paint
- In a plastic container or bowl (preferably one with a lid so you can store any leftover paint), measure 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, then add 1/4 cup of water. Stir this together until it’s completely smooth. Now add your acrylic paint; stirring as you pour it into the container. Mix this together for a few minutes, and you’re ready to paint! This paint might be a little thinner than other chalk paints, and sometimes it doesn’t seem to “stick” as well. If you’re painting a larger item, a little bit of light sanding beforehand will help the paint go on easier.
Pour your latex paint into a container that has enough room for you to stir the ingredients together. In a separate small container, stir together the cold water and Plaster of Paris. It’s important to use cold water for this, so the plaster doesn’t immediately begin to harden! Once the mixture is a smooth consistency, pour the plaster and water mixture into the paint and stir it together. It might take quite a bit of stirring for it to all mix together. Make sure there are no lumps! When it’s all mixed, the paint won’t look much different than before you added the Plaster of Paris. However, once the paint begins to dry the results are impressive. This recipe will create paint with a very “chalky” finish, although it can have a noticeably more grainy texture than other chalk-style paints.
This recipe probably isn’t the best choice if you want to sand your project for a “distressed” appearance. Sanding for this recipe is more likely to just scuff and dull the paint instead of highlighting fine details and texture. If distressing your project isn’t what you intended, the Plaster of Paris in this recipe makes this a very durable paint. Don’t mix more of this recipe than you think you might need; this won’t store well. After a day or two, the Plaster of Paris will begin to solidify.
Cornstarch DIY Chalk Paint
In a plastic container or bowl (preferably one with a lid so you can store any leftover paint), measure 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, then add 1/4 cup of water. Stir this together until it’s completely smooth. Now add your acrylic paint; stirring as you pour it into the container. Mix this together for a few minutes, and you’re ready to paint! This paint might be a little thinner than other chalk paints, and sometimes it doesn’t seem to “stick” as well. If you’re painting a larger item, a little bit of light sanding beforehand will help the paint go on easier.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 Cup water
- 1 ¾ Cup acrylic paint
Unsanded Grout DIY Chalk Paint
Unsanded grout is readily available in most hardware and home improvement stores. It’s best to use white or off-white colored grout for this paint recipe, so it won’t noticeably affect the color of your paint. If you use “sanded” grout, the paint will turn out with a texture that looks similar to wet sand or dirt.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 Tablespoons of unsanded grout (be sure the label says “unsanded” or “non-sanded”)
- 1 teaspoon of water
- 1 Cup acrylic or latex paint
In a disposable plastic container, stir together the two tablespoons of unsanded grout and one teaspoon of water. Be sure to break up any clumps of the unsanded grout mixture. Pour in one cup of acrylic paint, and stir until smooth. This recipe takes a lot of stirring to get it smooth. The end result is very durable chalk paint. It will feel dry in about a day, but it takes two to three days for it to fully dry. This paint doesn’t work well for distressed finished projects. It’s better for items that you want to have a smooth, even coat of paint.
It’s crucial to take the time to mix the grout and paint together really well. If not, your painted project could have a rough, bumpy texture once it’s fully dried. For this recipe, you shouldn’t mix up more than you plan to use at one time. Unfortunately, the paint doesn’t keep and after just a day it will become lumpy and impossible to use.
Can You Use Baking Soda To Make Chalk Paint?
If you’ve searched online for chalk paint recipes, you probably found one or two that use baking soda as the main additive. You can absolutely use baking soda to create your own chalk paint, but the results will be very grainy in appearance. It’s not necessarily a bad look, but you probably won’t get velvety smooth finishes with baking soda chalk paint.
To use baking soda for DIY chalk paint, simply mix together ½ cup of baking soda with three tablespoons of cold water. Stir this together with one cup of latex paint. The result will look and feel very grainy. This method is a good choice if you want something to look very “distressed” or “antiqued”, without having to do a lot of sanding.
Is Homemade Chalk Paint As Good As Buying It?
Making your own chalk paint can be fun, and economical if you’re planning to paint a smaller object. It’s a great creative activity to try with kids, or if you are just curious to see how it turns out for yourself. The methods in this article will give you custom chalk paint that is perfectly good to use and will be in whatever color you want it to be. But, how does homemade chalk paint really compare to the commercially available brands?
Both homemade and commercial chalk paints require little to no prep before painting, and they can all be sealed with a nice wax finish. Some of the homemade paint recipes are easy to achieve the popular distressed look on a piece of furniture.
I actually prefer to use BB Frosch, even over the actual chalk paint brands. BB Frosch is a powder that you mix with any kind of acrylic paint and it makes the perfect chalk paint.
Besides BB Frosch, I’d say commercial brands have a distinct advantage in several key areas. When you buy chalk paint from a trusted brand, you will always have a consistently smooth paint that has a long shelf life if properly stored. Commercial chalk paints also clean up easily with just soap and water. While it’s fun to try to create your own chalky paint, there is a bit of trial and error to get it just the way you want it to look. You can be confident you’ll always have a good product as soon as you open a can of brand name chalk style paint.