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Enjoy Magazine

Craft It

07/24/2014 11:17AM ● By Jennifer Highet
By Jennifer Highet

To make your own chalk paint, you will need matte/flat acrylic paint, Plaster of Paris and water.  The ratio that worked best for me was 1 cup of paint, 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of water. The key to  perfectly smooth paint is to dump your Plaster of Paris into your water and mix thoroughly. A handheld mixer would be ideal, especially if you are doing a large batch. Once it is free of clumps, add your paint and stir.  Plaster of Paris will run you around $7 for a large box, and it will last you for a very long time. 


Most hardware stores are selling sample sizes of paint for less than $5. This is a perfect opportunity to test out your chalk paint-making skills!

One of the most rewarding aspects of repurposing is figuring out how to use an object in a completely different way from its originally intended purpose.  A bonus reward would include learning how to create your own specialty paint to finish the project.
 I found a broken-down desk on the curb recently. The only salvageable pieces were the drawers. They were sturdy and made of oak, so I couldn’t pass them up. But what to do with them? After giving it some thought, I had just the thing – these lovely wooden items were destined to become shelves!  But I was out of my favorite chalk paint, and decided it was time to try my hand at making my own.

After making a supply of paint (information above), I took off the old, unattractive handles, filled the holes, and sanded the area smooth. I drilled a hole for the new knobs, which I had found locally at Antique Cottage and Garden and which had been waiting for just the right project. These French beauties are from the 1940s and were looking really rough. I gave them a quick cleaning, a few coats of chalk paint and finished them off with some dark wax.

Up next are the drawers. One of the fabulous things about chalk paint is that it requires absolutely no prep work, except a general dusting and cleaning. As long as your surface is in the condition you want, paint away. My first coat went on thin, which is standard with store-bought chalk paint as well. The second coat was the finishing touch. I honestly can’t tell a difference between store bought and homemade chalk paint and I will never buy it again. It was so simple to make.
I let the drawers dry overnight (even though chalk paint dries in 30 minutes or less ‒ another big perk) and then took rough steel wool to the surface to achieve a distressed look. I rubbed some places more than others, allowing the dark color of the wood to show through.
I then sealed each drawer with Minwax finishing paste, applying it with a lint-free cloth. The wax goes on smoothly and after 15 minutes you can buff it to your desired level of shine.Once it was fully dry, I installed my “new” old knobs and attached sawtooth hangers to the backs of the drawers. Now they are ready to hang and display all sorts of little treasures.