Viv’s first project: Chalk Paint

It’s a bit intimidating starting anything, but starting something that you know you are committing to for, oh say, forever can be even more so. I am new to the world of blogging, and new to posting “Do It Yourself” projects, however I am well suited to it. A commercial Licensing illustrator by trade, with a sizable image library, I am driven to making things out of other things, reinventing things, up-cycling and paying it forward.  And of course I am not the only one doing this, and that makes it all the more exciting. So in the interest of “beginning,” I will take the advice of a friend from years ago and start in the middle.  And for now, the middle will be the project I tackled this week.

finished piece

1st chalk paint project

I had my first experience with chalk paint and was so excited I could barely contain myself.  There are 2 commercially available lines that retail at about $40/quart. It is, however, easy to make yourself. This paint is amazing in that it will adhere to just about anything, and the preparation requires only that you clean your target and tape off the areas you don’t want to paint. (No sanding, no steel wool, . . . non of that tedious stuff), and there are a couple of options for sealing, wipe on polyurethane, or furniture


Plaster of paris (powder form)
Any household acrylic wall paint (the finish is irrelevant as the paint dries very flat)

Mixing cups and lids

A good brush to apply paint
Acrylic paint for tinting
Acrylic medium for glazing
Wipe on Polyurethane
Fine grit sand paper (I used 150)
Painters tape
Mixing sticks


3 parts paint / 1 part plaster of paris, water.

This paint goes a long way, so 1 to 2 cups would be adequate for most furniture projects. I think at most I used a half cup for this little piece.

Measure your 3 parts paint in one plastic container (with lid) and measure your 1 part plaster of paris powder in another. Next add water to the plaster, creating a paste (Elmer’s glue consistency) eliminating all lumps. Add this to your paint, and add enough water to achieve a pancake like batter thickness. After you do this once you WILL completely relax the second time! You are now ready to paint.stage 2

side stage 2You can see that the piece I started with has two etched mirror panels in the doors. Consequently I did not want to distract from that by doing anything detailed with the paint. I chose to do 2 coats, but often you need only one. This paint goes on like butter, dries fast, and very flat. Cover your paint as soon as you are done. Once painted, I mixed some raw umber acrylic with a gloss medium and glazed that over the piece to add a little interest, and it’s first seal. Once dry, I used an old T shirt to apply the Wipe on Poly, and while it was still damp I gently rubbed it with the light grade sandpaper. The typical finish for a piece of furniture done with chalk paint is to use a soft furniture wax in very light coats.  One or two depending on what you like.  The poly works well, and I think it’s just personal taste. I will finish this piece off with the wax still, because I want a good seal.  But in one word. Awesome.

finished piece

1st chalk paint project

This paint deserves a lengthier discourse, as I am a firm believer in understanding the materials you choose to work with.  (I haven’t even mentioned distressing, and stenciling, it is an extraordinarily versatile medium indeed) But before I get too far ahead of myself, I feel that you also deserve to know a bit about who I am, and what it is that I do as well. For that, pop into my bio. I chose to begin my blog with something I was currently playing with. For those who know me, I love the adventure of new materials and new possibilities.

For the “Chalk Paint Discourse” tune in to Post 2.

It’s me, viv.

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