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How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris

I LOVE this DIY! Here’s How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris – it’s easy, it saves money and you can make the exact color you want.

How To Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris

I am a huge fan of homemade chalk paint. I have been making it for years and years with many different brands of latex and acrylic wall paints. And, it’s always turned out fantastic!

There are a few big reasons to make chalk paint with Plaster of Paris.

First, making your own chalk paint is so much cheaper than buying ready made chalk paint. The second reason is that it takes just a few minutes to mix up a cup of chalk paint.

And, you can make chalk paint in the exact color you want! Sometimes it can be hard to find a ready made chalk paint in the exact color you want.

Many chalk paint brands only sell 30 or 40 colors. And, you generally have to order them online or drive to an “out of the way” store to find that they only have 12 of those colors in stock.

When you make your own chalk paint from latex or acrylic wall paint, you can pick from the hundreds of colors that paint lines offer. That’s pretty hard to beat. 🙂

In this post I’ll go over how to make chalk paint with Plaster of Paris and a bunch of answers to common questions about homemade chalk paint.

I LOVE this DIY! Here's How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris - it's easy, it saves money and you can make the exact color you want. Homemade chalk paint recipe with FAQ's answering the most common questions.
Don’t forget to Save This DIY on Pinterest.

Let’s get to it!

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Answers to Common Questions

How much Plaster of Paris do I need for Chalk Paint?

You can make a cup of chalk paint with just one tablespoon of Plaster of Paris. At least that is how much Plaster of Paris I generally use to make chalk paint.

Other homemade chalk paint recipes call for more Plaster of Paris. That will make a thicker chalk paint.

Some people like to use thicker chalk paint because it’s easier to get visible brush strokes in the paint, for a vintage paint or distressed paint look.

That thicker chalk paint is a different style than what I usually like.

The chalk paint recipe I use makes a chalk paint that is easy to apply without brushstrokes. I prefer a smooth finish with chalk paint that looks and feels like store-bought furniture.

Follow these easy steps to get a beautiful, smooth finish with chalk paint. This is how to fix rough feeling and blotchy looking chalk paint!
Check out How to Get A Smooth Finish With Chalk Paint for finishing tips!

Can you Mix Paint with Plaster of Paris?

Yes, you can mix paint with plaster of Paris, but you need to dissolve the plaster of Paris in hot tap water first.

If you don’t fully dissolve the plaster of Paris before adding it to the paint it will make your paint lumpy, like cottage cheese.

Can you make Chalk Paint with Acrylic Paint and Plaster of Paris?

You can make chalk paint with acrylic wall paint and plaster of Paris. I use the same recipe to make chalk paint with Latex Wall Paint and 100% Acrylic Wall Paint.

In fact, I generally call all wall paint “latex paint” even when it’s actually acrylic wall paint. It’s just out of habit. Back in the day all of the water-based wall paint I used was latex.

So, I keep calling all wall paint latex even when it’s actually acrylic. I’m trying to stop doing that because it can be confusing for other people. 🙂

Check out my steps for how to make chalk paint from plaster of Paris below to see my chalk paint recipe that works with latex and acrylic paint.

I LOVE this DIY! Here's How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris - it's easy, it saves money and you can make the exact color you want. Homemade chalk paint recipe with FAQ's answering the most common questions.

Does Plaster of Paris make Good Chalk Paint?

Yes, plaster of Paris does make good chalk paint! At least I love it.

Homemade Chalk Paint made with Plaster of Paris looks like and applies to furniture just like store-bought chalk paint.

Just be sure to completely dissolve the Plaster of Paris before adding it to your paint. Break up any PoP lumps to fully dissolve it in the water.

Sometimes the Plaster of Paris can be a little gritty, even after dissolving. You can pour the dissolved PoP through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove the grit before adding it to the paint.

Easy to follow steps and video to make a kids climbing ramp, or rock climbing wall, for that backyard playhouse, fort, or play set. Fun design, right?! DIY Kids Rock Climbing Wall or Ramp.
You can even use chalk paint outside. It naturally resists mold and mildew. I used it on my DIY Kid’s Playset Climbing Ramp.

What is so Great about Chalk Paint?

I love using Chalk Paint for furniture, home decor, and cabinets because it cures (hardens) fast.

Latex paint is designed for walls. It works perfectly there. But, on furniture latex or acrylic wall paint can take days, if not weeks, to fully cure (harden).

Since chalk paint can dry harder and cure faster than wall paint, it’s perfect for use on furniture that gets lots of use. And, the faster cure time means you can do a second coat faster too.

And, since chalk paint does dry so fast and hard, that means chalk paint is easy to sand too.

Sanding latex paint can be tough. It’s sort of plastic-y and stretchy, so when you sand it it can peel instead.

I like to lightly sand chalk paint to make the finish feel velvety soft, like store-bought furniture.

And, sometimes I go for deeper sanding on furniture to get a pretty layered paint look. Chalk paint can be sanded easily to get a distressed, layered paint look.

Chalk Paint is also non-toxic, low VOC (low fumes), and generally without strong smells.

And, chalk paint is water-based and easy to clean up with just soap and water on hands and only water on brushes and containers. Once the paint dries on furniture though, it is set hard and can only be removed with stripper or sanding.

One more reason I LOVE chalk paint, it sticks to almost any existing finish without a primer.

Check out this post with 30+ step by step, beginner furniture painting tutorials, including layered and distressed paint looks. Or, if you’re new to painting furniture, check out my big printable guide – How to Paint Furniture for Beginners.

Step by step guide for How to paint furniture for beginners, when to sand, when to prime, which paints to use, and when you need a top coat! Beginners Guide for How to Paint Furniture. Detailed explanation of each step and whether or not you can skip that step. Printable version available.
How to Paint Furniture for Beginners – complete printable guide with answers to the most common questions.

What is the difference between chalk paint and regular acrylic paint?

This question can be a little confusing because there are many types of acrylic paint. So, let’s completely exclude the craft and artists acrylic paints that are sold in small quantities and not really made for painting furniture.

Now we are left with 2 types of acrylic paint, that I know of, the acrylic wall paint I keep referring to and “Chalk Style” acrylic paints.

Chalk Style acrylic paints are designed to act and look just like chalk paint. So, there isn’t any difference there.

There are a few differences between acrylic wall paint and chalk paint:

  • Chalk Paint resists damage and heavy use on furniture better than acrylic paint.
  • Acrylic Wall Paint made for walls takes longer to fully cure. It can be weeks before you can set something on it.
  • Chalk Paint dries with a matte finish. You have to apply a top coat or wax to get a different sheen.
  • Acrylic Wall Paint isn’t easy to sand, it can start to peel or pill up. Chalk Paint is easy to sand. So, it’s perfect for distressing.
  • Chalk Paint can be applied smooth or with brush strokes for a rustic or pretty shabby chic look.
  • Acrylic Wall Paint is easy to buy in 100’s of colors. It’s sold in most Hardware Stores.
  • Chalk Paint can stick to almost any existing furniture finish without primer.
  • Acrylic Paint is cheaper per ounce than chalk paint.
  • Chalk Paint can also stick to metal, mirrors, and plastics without primer.
Here is my easy DIY for Stripping Paint from wood furniture or cabinets. I use these steps every time I need to strip an old paint or stain finish. Using Citristrip Gel and Cling Wrap or Saran Wrap.
If you do need to strip paint from your furniture before painting, here’s Stripping paint from wood furniture with Citristrip.

What if my DIY Chalk Paint is too thick or watery?

If your chalk paint (store-bought or homemade) is too thick to spread smoothly, just add a little tap water to get a consistency that is easy to spread.

Add 1 tablespoon of tap water at a time and mix thoroughly to see if the consistency is right before adding more water.

Sometimes the chalk paint mix is a bit too watery or thin. In this case, mix more plaster of Paris with less hot water this time to thicken your mix.

Again, start with 1 tablespoon of PoP with a little hot water to start off. And, make sure the plaster of Paris is fully dissolved before adding it to your paint.

Which Sheen of Latex Paint to Use for DIY Chalk Paint?

I think homemade chalk paint looks best with the low to medium sheen paints; usually called Matte, Satin, and Eggshell.

But, I have used higher sheen paints, like Semi-Gloss trim paint, when I make chalk paint from Plaster of Paris.

It will work, but the finish looks slightly shiny. So, I usually give it a pretty top coat with something like General Finishes Flat Out Flat.

Here's my easy to follow steps for this beautiful DIY Gray Chalk Paint Furniture Makeover. With this tutorial you can distress as little or as much as you want to get the look you love. Paint layering and distressing with written steps and how to video.
Here’s a piece of furniture I used this Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint on. You can see the pretty matte sheen from that General Finishes Flat Out Flat top coat at this angle. You can see how I did the layering and distressing for this DIY Gray Chalk Paint Furniture Makeover in a previous post.

Do I Have to Use Wax on Chalk Paint

You do not have to use wax on top of chalk paint. It all depends on the look you want and what you feel comfortable using.

Wax over chalk paint will usually leave a lightly textured but soft feeling texture on your furniture. You can see what wax on chalk paint looks like on the Blue Chalk Paint with Dark Wax Finish on my vanities.

I mostly use a matte or satin sheen water-based top coat over chalk paint. It’s easy to apply, dries hard, and is very durable. I like this type of water-based poly top coat because it leaves a smooth feeling, professional looking top coat.

That type of top coat always looks and feels like a store-bought furniture finish if you make sure to sand between coats.

Video – How To Turn Wall Paint into Chalk Paint

Watch this short video to see How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris, tips for adjusting the mix when it’s to thick or thin, and why I love using chalk paint on furniture.

Follow me on YouTube for more DIY videos. Keep scrolling for the written steps.

How to DIY Chalk Paint - Easy Recipe using Latex Paint and Plaster of Paris

How Do You Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris

Basic Steps

  1. Prep the Plaster of Paris in a Cup
  2. Add Hot Tap Water To Dissolve Plaster of Paris
  3. Add to Paint and Mix

What you Need

Step One – Prep the Plaster of Paris

Start with about a tablespoon of plaster of Paris in a disposable cup. Break up any balls or chunks of the plaster into a fine powder.

Break up any little balls of Plaster of Paris into a fine powder before adding the hot tap water.

Step Two – Add Water

Add about a tablespoon of warm to hot tap water to the Plaster of Paris and stir to dissolve the powder.

Pouring the dissolved plaster of Paris into the latex paint.

Step Three – Add to Paint

The last step for this easy DIY Chalk Paint Recipe is to pour the dissolved mix into about a cup of a water-based Latex or Acrylic Wall Paint and stir until completely mixed.

Let that sit for a few minutes to see how the plaster of Paris has reacted with the paint.

Generally, my paint is ready to use at this point. But, wall paint dries out and thickens with time and can sometimes need extra water.

Also, different brands sell different thicknesses of wall paint. No worries, it’s easy enough to fix with another tablespoon of water.


Well, that’s it. Now that you know How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris, have fun making your own. Check out DIY Chalk Paint Recipe for more tips! Or, print the free printable version of this post below.

If you love furniture makeovers and want some inspo for makeover ideas, check out these DIY Furniture Makeover videos here, on my YouTube channel. 🙂

How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris

I LOVE this DIY! Here's How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris - it's easy, it saves money and you can make the exact color you want. Homemade chalk paint recipe with FAQ's answering the most common questions.

I LOVE this DIY! Here's How to Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris - it's easy, it saves money and you can make the exact color you want.

Materials

  • Plaster of Paris
  • Hot Tap Water
  • Latex or Acrylic Wall Paint

Instructions

How Do You Make Chalk Paint with Plaster of Paris

Basic Steps

  1. Prep the Plaster of Paris in a Cup
  2. Add Hot Tap Water To Dissolve Plaster of Paris
  3. Add to Paint and Mix

Step One - Prep the Plaster of Paris

Start with about a tablespoon of plaster of Paris in a disposable cup. Break up any balls or chunks of the plaster into a fine powder.

Step Two - Add Water

Add about a tablespoon of warm to hot tap water to the Plaster of Paris and stir to dissolve the powder.

Step Three - Add to Paint

The last step for this easy DIY Chalk Paint Recipe is to pour the dissolved mix into about a cup of a water-based Latex or Acrylic Wall Paint and stir until completely mixed.

Let that sit for a few minutes to see how the plaster of Paris has reacted with the paint.

Generally, my paint is ready to use at this point. But, wall paint dries out and thickens with time and can sometimes need extra water.

Also, different brands sell different thicknesses of wall paint. No worries, it's easy enough to fix with another tablespoon of water.

Notes

Answers to Common Questions

How much Plaster of Paris do I need for Chalk Paint?

You can make a cup of chalk paint with just one tablespoon of Plaster of Paris. At least that is how much Plaster of Paris I generally use to make chalk paint.

Other homemade chalk paint recipes call for more Plaster of Paris. That will make a thicker chalk paint.

Some people like to use thicker chalk paint because it's easier to get visible brush strokes in the paint, for a vintage paint or distressed paint look.

That thicker chalk paint is a different style than what I usually like.

The chalk paint recipe I use makes a chalk paint that is easy to apply without brushstrokes. I prefer a smooth finish with chalk paint that looks and feels like store-bought furniture.

Can you Mix Paint with Plaster of Paris?

Yes, you can mix paint with plaster of Paris, but you need to dissolve the plaster of Paris in hot tap water first.

If you don't fully dissolve the plaster of Paris before adding it to the paint it will make your paint lumpy, like cottage cheese.

Can you make Chalk Paint with Acrylic Paint and Plaster of Paris?

You can make chalk paint with acrylic wall paint and plaster of Paris. I use the same recipe to make chalk paint with Latex Wall Paint and 100% Acrylic Wall Paint.

In fact, I generally call all wall paint "latex paint" even when it's actually acrylic wall paint. It's just out of habit. Back in the day all of the water-based wall paint I used was latex.

So, I keep calling all wall paint latex even when it's actually acrylic. I'm trying to stop doing that because it can be confusing for other people. 🙂

Check out my steps for how to make chalk paint from plaster of Paris below to see my chalk paint recipe that works with latex and acrylic paint.

Does Plaster of Paris make Good Chalk Paint?

Yes, plaster of Paris does make good chalk paint! At least I love it.

Homemade Chalk Paint made with Plaster of Paris looks like and applies to furniture just like store-bought chalk paint.

Just be sure to completely dissolve the Plaster of Paris before adding it to your paint. Break up any PoP lumps to fully dissolve it in the water.

Sometimes the Plaster of Paris can be a little gritty, even after dissolving. You can pour the dissolved PoP through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove the grit before adding it to the paint.

What is so Great about Chalk Paint?

I love using Chalk Paint for furniture, home decor, and cabinets because it cures (hardens) fast.

Latex paint is designed for walls. It works perfectly there. But, on furniture latex or acrylic wall paint can take days, if not weeks, to fully cure (harden).

Since chalk paint can dry harder and cure faster than wall paint, it's perfect for use on furniture that gets lots of use. And, the faster cure time means you can do a second coat faster too.

And, since chalk paint does dry so fast and hard, that means chalk paint is easy to sand too.

Sanding latex paint can be tough. It's sort of plastic-y and stretchy, so when you sand it it can peel instead.

I like to lightly sand chalk paint to make the finish feel velvety soft, like store-bought furniture.

And, sometimes I go for deeper sanding on furniture to get a pretty layered paint look. Chalk paint can be sanded easily to get a distressed, layered paint look.

Chalk Paint is also non-toxic, low VOC (low fumes), and generally without strong smells.

And, chalk paint is water-based and easy to clean up with just soap and water on hands and only water on brushes and containers. Once the paint dries on furniture though, it is set hard and can only be removed with stripper or sanding.

One more reason I LOVE chalk paint, it sticks to almost any existing finish without a primer.

Check out this post with 30+ step by step, beginner furniture painting tutorials, including layered and distressed paint looks.

What is the difference between chalk paint and regular acrylic paint?

This question can be a little confusing because there are many types of acrylic paint. So, let's completely exclude the craft and artists acrylic paints that are sold in small quantities and not really made for painting furniture.

Now we are left with 2 types of acrylic paint, that I know of, the acrylic wall paint I keep referring to and "Chalk Style" acrylic paints.

Chalk Style acrylic paints are designed to act and look just like chalk paint. So, there isn't any difference there.

There are a few differences between acrylic wall paint and chalk paint:

  • Chalk Paint resists damage and heavy use on furniture better than acrylic paint.
  • Acrylic Wall Paint made for walls takes longer to fully cure. It can be weeks before you can set something on it.
  • Chalk Paint dries with a matte finish. You have to apply a top coat or wax to get a different sheen.
  • Acrylic Wall Paint isn't easy to sand, it can start to peel or pill up. Chalk Paint is easy to sand. So, it's perfect for distressing.
  • Chalk Paint can be applied smooth or with brush strokes for a rustic or pretty shabby chic look.
  • Acrylic Wall Paint is easy to buy in 100's of colors. It's sold in most Hardware Stores.
  • Chalk Paint can stick to almost any existing furniture finish without primer.
  • Acrylic Paint is cheaper per ounce than chalk paint.
  • Chalk Paint can also stick to metal, mirrors, and plastics without primer.

What if my DIY Chalk Paint is too thick or watery?

If your chalk paint (store-bought or homemade) is too thick to spread smoothly, just add a little tap water to get a consistency that is easy to spread.

Add 1 tablespoon of tap water at a time and mix thoroughly to see if the consistency is right before adding more water.

Sometimes the chalk paint mix is a bit too watery or thin. In this case, mix more plaster of Paris with less hot water this time to thicken your mix.

Again, start with 1 tablespoon of PoP with a little hot water to start off. And, make sure the plaster of Paris is fully dissolved before adding it to your paint.

Which Sheen of Latex Paint to Use for DIY Chalk Paint?

I think homemade chalk paint looks best with the low to medium sheen paints; usually called Matte, Satin, and Eggshell.

But, I have used higher sheen paints, like Semi-Gloss trim paint, when I make chalk paint from Plaster of Paris.

It will work, but the finish looks slightly shiny. So, I usually give it a pretty top coat with something like General Finishes Flat Out Flat.

Do I Have to Use Wax on Chalk Paint

You do not have to use wax on top of chalk paint. It all depends on the look you want and what you feel comfortable using.

Wax over chalk paint will usually leave a lightly textured but soft feeling texture on your furniture. You can see what wax on chalk paint looks like on the Blue Chalk Paint with Dark Wax Finish on my vanities.

I mostly use a matte or satin sheen water-based top coat over chalk paint. It's easy to apply, dries hard, and is very durable. I like this type of water-based poly top coat because it leaves a smooth feeling, professional looking top coat.

That type of top coat always looks and feels like a store-bought furniture finish if you make sure to sand between coats.


Try this White & Blue Distressed Chalk Paint look on your next furniture makeover.

I LOVE this easy DIY White and Blue Distressed Chalk Paint Look. Here's the easy to follow steps and how to video to help you paint this look. A little bit of distressing on the furniture curves & corners adds so much character!

You might also like this easy DIY Blue Distressed Chalk Paint Makeover.

Easy to follow steps for this beautiful DIY Blue Distressed Paint using petroleum jelly (Vaseline) and Magnolia Homes by Kilz paint color Demo Day. Paint an Outdoor Bench or any furniture with these steps.

I love this pretty DIY White and Grey Distressed Chalk Paint Look.

Here's how I get the perfect layered paint and distressed paint finish with chalk paint on furniture. East how to distress paint steps and video to help you do it too! DIY White and Grey Distressed Furniture Look #PaintTips #Painting #Crafts #DIYCrafts #ChalkPaint

And, here’s How to Stain Wood Furniture without Stripping It.

Easy DIY Steps to Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping the Old Stain. I'm using General Finishes Java Gel Stain for this makeover.

You might also like this DIY tutorial to whiten your dingy grout – Does Grout Renew Work.


That’s it for this DIY Chalk Paint Recipe. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

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