Blog Home
Apr 18, 2019

What is Chalk Paint? (And How to Make Your Own!)

Have you heard of the chalk paint craze? Thrifters and DIY pros all over are using chalk paint to upgrade their furniture and home décor items because it’s easy, requires little prep, and gives a rustic finish.

Many people confuse chalk paint and chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint is used to turn items (such as walls or canvas boards) into chalkboards. Chalk paint is a type of paint that results in a matte, chalky finish.

Tips for Using Chalk Paint

  • For big furniture, have lots of brush sizes available. You may need a small brush for intricate areas, but it’s much faster to paint a large flat area with a bigger brush or a roller. A roller eliminates brushstrokes, while a brush, of course, will give you more visible brushstrokes. Both are nice looks, but what you end up doing will depend on your own style.
  • No sanding or primer is necessary. You can just start painting without any prep work!
  • Paint at least two coats to get a good finish.
  • Don’t run your brush over and over the same area. Just do one or two strokes, or else the brush will peel the paint back off. If this does happen, let the area dry completely, lightly sand it, and try again.
  • Chalk paint is very forgiving. It’s trendy for chalk-painted items to look aged or have visible brushstrokes, so you don’t have to be a perfect painter to create a great piece.
  • You can seal the chalk paint, but you don’t have to. A sealer will make the paint more durable. You can use a wax or polyacrylic sealer. (Learn more about sealers in this blog post from Samantha Stoddard.)
  • Chalk paint can be used on wood, metal, and most other surfaces! (Check out this chalk-painted piano, or get inspired by checking out how to chalk-paint a mason jar.)

(Watch this video of Kari Sweeten redoing a piano with chalk paint for more tips!)

How to Make Your Own Chalk Paint

You can buy premade chalk paint, but we love making our own because it expands your color options! 


  • 1/3 cup plaster of paris (look for this on the paint supply aisle at the home improvement store)
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 cup water-based paint in the color of your choice (you can buy a sample size of paint instead of buying an entire cansample sizes are usually at least one cup)

Instructions: Stir the plaster and water together until smooth. Mix in one cup of paint. Pick up a paintbrush and get ready to paint!

Download a printable version of the recipe.

Find your local DI, pick up an item, and get crafty with some chalk paint! We want to see what you create, so email us at!