Chalk Paint: Is It Worth the Hype?

We hope you liked Cindee’s cute Old Chair redo. It must be the nice weather because Cindee, Carli, and I have all begun furniture redo projects lately.

Repainting furniture with chalk paint has been a big trend on Pinterest. I have heard that chalk paint will stick to everything and that it provides a durable finish. In fact, my neighbor repaints furniture for a living and she always uses chalk paint. I’m not one to upcycle or repurpose items very often, but I did want to take a stab at it for my office chair. I picked up a wooden chair off a yard sale site for a whopping $1. The padded leather seat was in rough condition and the finish on the wood was a mess. I figured for the price, I could definitely try to make it pretty again.

Chalk Paint: Is It Worth The Hype? |

I purchased an 8 ounce sample of aqua paint in flat finish (color matched to my Drona bins from Ikea). The ladies at the paint counter shared their knowledge of making chalk paint. They’d heard of using either Plaster of Paris or Non-Sanded Grout additives, which is what adds the chalkiness. After a quick price comparison, I decided to try the Plaster of Paris.

Chalk Paint: Is It Worth The Hype? |

On one Pinterest search alone I turned up three different Plaster of Paris chalk paint recipes with completely different amounts! How’s a girl to know which one to use?? In this case, I guessed. I mixed 2.5 tablespoons of the Plaster of Paris with 1 tablespoon water, then added half of the paint sample and mixed well. This worked well, so I repeated it with the other half.

Here is my chair after. The colors and sewing themed fabric are perfect for my space! (I used Cindee’s instructions for reupholstering the seat.)

Chalk Paint: Is It Worth The Hype? |

Some painters will darken the edges of their project before adding the chalk paint top coat. This gives the project a nice distressed look when it is finished. I chose not to do that since the stain on the chair was already dark. After painting two coats of chalk paint, I lightly distressed the edges and other places with medium grit sandpaper.

Chalk Paint: Is It Worth The Hype? |

After that was done, I wiped the whole thing off with a shop cloth and applied one coat of Minwax brand Paste Finishing Wax. I used a new shop cloth to apply the wax in a circular motion, then another shop cloth to buff it off. Just follow the instructions on the can for a fool-proof finish.

I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with how it turned out. Not bad for an amateur! The chalk paint created an antique look. Adding the wax made the finish a bit more satin than the flat paint application. I did not have to prep my chair in any way… no sanding, no filling, and no priming. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

For cleanup, I found a great product at the hardware store to clean my brushes. (I’m notorious for letting paint dry on my nice brushes. I know… It’s a complete waste of money. ) I originally went to look for mineral spirits after working with stain, but I found a product that would work for stain and latex. It is a “green” product called NEXT Brush Cleaner. I poured some in a mason jar and stuck my dried, crusty brush in. I let it sit in there a few days and voila! There was a layer of paint sitting on top of the solution and my brush was relatively clean. I used a paint brush comb and a paper towel to get the rest off. This is my go-to solution from now on! I have tried it a few times and it works great.

Chalk Paint: Is It Worth The Hype?  Clean up your brushes with a green product that works great.|

Making your own chalk paint is an affordable project, and in my opinion, it was worth the hype. I already finished working on a second project: a TV tray turned ironing board for my craft room. I think I’m hooked!

Chalk Paint: Is It Worth The Hype? Redo a piece of furniture or two! |

I hope you are inspired to try out your own chalk paint project. We would love to see photos of your completed projects on our Crafty Friends Flickr page.




  1. Sheri says

    I love it! I’ve been looking for a chair just like that and a dollar would be the perfect price! Great find, great job.

  2. Camille says

    What was your total cost for all the paint products? I have used Anne Sloan Chalk Paint and am curious of the price comparison. I love your projects!!!!

    • Emily says

      Camille, I paid around $10 for the Plaster of Paris, $10 for the finishing wax, and $3 for the paint sample, which was enough for both projects. I will have MORE than enough wax and plaster of paris left for future projects. I’m not sure how much the Anne Sloan costs. I guess it depends on how many projects you plan on doing or how big the projects are for you to determine which is the best price point.

  3. Camille says

    Anne Sloan paint is about $26 for a quart size can. The wax is about $12 for a 16.9 oz can. Just curious about the comparables. I love the way chalk paint covers and is so forgivable. I’ll have to try your recipe!!

    • Emily says

      I think it would be worth it to try it yourself because you can use the wax and Plaster of Paris with any paint you have on hand. My cousin said he and his wife will buy the mess up paints for $1 per quart and make their own chalk paint with it. You cannot beat that price if you find a color you like!

  4. Kate says

    What a pretty transformation! How does the chalk paint look (or perform) different from the non-chalky paint? I thought at first you would be talking about chalkboard paint, so this was a nice surprise.

    • Emily says

      Hi Kate. I’m not entirely sure of the long term since I have only done the project recently. So far it has held up very well with having the wax top coat on it.

  5. Karin says

    I am loving your ironing board and think it would be perfect for my craft corner- what fabrics did you use on the top of the TV tray?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *