June 27, 2014

DIY Small Batch Chalk-y Paint

Chalk-y type paint is great if you know that you are going
to want a distressed look on an object because it is easy
to sand off. If you are only painting a decorative object
that is not going to get wear and tear and you only need a
small amount, you can make your own chalk-y type paint
in the color of your choice easily. 

Here is a recipe that I have used with success:
1 part powdered plaster
3 parts paint
enough water to make it brushable

Most home made chalk recipes that I have seen dissolve
the plaster with water before adding the paint.  I usually
mix the plaster and the paint together as much as I can
before adding the water a little at a time.  That way I have
more control over the consistency of the finished product. 

Sometimes you may want it thicker than other times.

For example, here is a reproduction wooden lobster/crab
fishing float/bouy that I got at The Christmas Store a 
couple of years ago.  I got one coat of chalk paint on it
(didn't like the red, white and blue theme but I can't find original photo)
but never finished painting it before now. 

I mixed up another beige-ish chalk paint in a small 
amount to add to the first layer then added painter's 
tape for the colors I will be adding on top of that. 

Because I only need enough paint for the stripes, only 
one spoonfull of plaster is added to the bowl. 

I don't actually put the paint in a spoon to add three
 times as much paint as plaster...I just kind of eye-ball it.
Start mixing the paint and plaster then add water a 
little at a time to dissolve the plaster and mix in the paint.

When I know I am going to be sanding down a piece, I 
like to have two shades of a color...it adds depth to the
final color when you do that but you do not have to. 

Here is the wooden float after the first green and the
first blue colors are added:

In the picture above the second colors of blue and green
are mixed and ready to be applied. I just used the same 
bowls for the respective colors. You can see the slight 
difference in colors dried on the sides of the bowls. 

Here is the float after the second blue and green 
colors are applied.  Wait for the first coat to dry before
adding the second coat...it doesn't take long. 

After the second coat is dry, you can take the tape off. 

Then sand down to expose the layers of chalk-y paint.

You can leave it alone at this point or you can add a clear
wax or a clear wax mixed with some dark wax. The wax
puts a sheen on the piece and helps protect your paint job. 
The wooden float has a coat of clear wax mixed with a little dark wax to age it more. 

I  have a can of Annie Sloan dark wax (that I think will last
me the rest of my life now that I mix it with cheap clear wax).
Sherry at No Minimalist Here blog has a tutorial on how to 
make your own dark wax if you don't want to buy a whole can.

Here is my "instant antique" fishing float in action on 
the bookcase for Summer:

This year I gave away books that (let's be honest) I was probably
not going to read.  The remaining books were consolidated on
the lower shelves to give me more room to display Summer items. 

When I unpacked the Summer items from their attic boxes,
I was happy to see that the framed specimen shell collection
"lived" through the heat and cold of being in storage. 
This is crazy easy to do...shells glued on linen stretched on foam core in a frame. 

Also on this side of the edited bookcase (which now has

More blue bottles along with ceramic shell vases
that were less than $10 each at T.J. Maxx...

Topping each shelf on this side of the mantle are

The single bookcase on the other side of the mantle
also has a DIY sea fan as well as DIY coral pieces.

Do I need more blue bottles? No! But who can resist
when Michaels had these marked down to $1.50 each?

Here's a little print that I tried to make look like a painting

I thought that this lantern and a couple of others that I had
painted were going to be the "theme" of my summer deco-
rating and be the main attractions on the coffee table this
 year.  They just did not look "right". They got split up.

  This one had  been painted brown for my 
step son's after rehearsal party a few years ago
 and has not used much since.  

The lantern (I think it started out its life white) got
a couple of thin coats of green and blue acrylic paint
to (hopefully) give it an aged copper look. 

Yes, blue and green must be one of my favorite color combos.
Most of the decorations on the mantle this year are pieces that
were made for the Summer Mantle of '12.

All of the green and blue wooden items on the mantle
were painted with home made chalk paint two years ago. 

They have held their color very well.  The only change I made
to them this year was to add a mix of clear and dark wax on them.

The faux wooden pilings are made from pool noodles and
wood-grained contact paper! Here is the tutorial for those. 

The artwork over the mantle is actually just an art print 
 that has been attached to cardboard with spray adhesive.

The artwork in the frame gets changed out seasonally.

The beach one never got the strokes added so I'm 
pretending that it is a watercolor. 

In the Summer I like to try to hide the black fire screen 
as much as possible with plants.  The one plant did 
not do enough hiding...

...calling in reinforcement options...

...used some thinned out small batch white chalk paint
 on the the round pot to help it blend in...

...still not enough visual "weight" on one side...what about
 the plastic clam shell that hasn't been used yet...

...too white...too cheap-looking...more chalk-y paint needed!

The plastic clam shell bowl was found last year in Gulf Shores, 
Alabama at a "five and dime" store for $7!  It originally came
 from Oriental Trading Company...it is still available online. 

Two coats of small batch tan chalk paint were applied.

Then waves/curves that a real clam shell would have 
were added with thin small batch white chalk paint.

A coat of clear wax was added for a sheen and to protect
the paint from scrapes and a plant being in it. 

How to hide the plant's dirt?  Maybe more fishing floats
some of the new glass paints that have come out since
 I made the last fishing floats? Ooops! Well, I tried. 

Just in case YOU are planning on making some glass
fishing floats for decoration here is what I found out...

The Martha Stewart Transparent gloss glass paint lives
up to its name...it is very transparent.  I added three
coats of it to get it to add much color to the balls. 

The Ball Mason company's "Tranformason" glass paint
is not transparent at all.  I kept waiting for it to have some
transparency and then I read the label more closely.  It is
called an "enamel"...that doesn't sound see-through does it?

I had more balls than I did paints so I fell back on 
coloring the balls with Mod Podge and food coloring. 
 I think I went too heavy on the food coloring!  
That method has worked well for me in the past 
but this batch did not get very transparent. 
 Be careful how much food coloring you use. 

Well, the (disappointing) glass "fishing floats" did cover up
the dirt in the painted clam shell. 

Finally, I am happy with the composition of the
bookcase and mantle for the Summer of '14 
thanks to some help from small batches of 
home made chalk-y paint.  It is so inexpensive,
sticks well to almost any surface and is easy to distress. 

Hope that YOU are having a great Summer!

I am sharing this post over at
Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading
36th Avenue's The Party Bunch
Stephanie Lynn's Sunday Showcase Party
Between Naps On the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday


  1. Nice read! Wish I had known about your chalk paint mixing before I went to an Annie Sloan workshop yesterday. I took two matching little tables and only had time to put one coat on one of them. Then I had to buy everything I needed to finish both pieces plus the clear wax. Tried not buying it but the instructor said I couldn't use Johnson's wax. Now I don't feel like finishing the project at all. Bummer! But I do like your beachy d├ęcor. It has inspired me to work on something coastal!

  2. Gorgeous!!! I love the beachy theme! I need to try the chalky paint.

  3. Lovely aqua shades and very creative, Kitty! Such a beautiful collection of marine fun!



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