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How to Make DIY Chalk Paint For Inexpensive Furniture Makeovers

Simple chalk paint recipe using plaster of Paris

The reason I love DIY projects that you can get awesome results on a BUDGET! Even if I were the richest person out there, I am sure I would still be doing some DIY projects just to prove how resourceful I can be. Therefore, I started making my own DIY chalk paint recipe, long before a lot of stores starting selling it.

 If you are like me and want to be able to redo almost anything for near pennies or almost free, then you are in the right place. I have used this recipe to redo almost a piece of furniture in each room of my house.

You can use DIY chalk paint to create an ombre effect on a dresser, distressed look, clean look…

Okay, again, you get the picture. 

I also love chalk paint better than even spray paint to repurpose furniture, like we did for this desk in our office.

Check out the images below of some of the dressers I have redone using this DIY chalk recipe or see how I  used different chalk-based paint to create an amazing DIY Chalkboard Art Wall.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here. 

Tips for Creating this Ombre Dresser Makeover

Use the DIY chalk recipe below. However, go to any paint store and find a paint swatch of your color palette. Make sure there are 5 different paint colors on the swatch. Request samples of each color. The samples will be enough to make your chalk paint for each drawer.

DIY gray ombre chalk painted dresser in nursery

Why use chalk paint?

Chalk paint allows you to quickly cover a piece WITHOUT sanding and priming! It can be a true lifesaver and time saver. You also can easily distress a piece of furniture that has chalk paint on it. 

If you want to distress furniture, after you have painted with the homemade paint, simply use a fine sandpaper and lightly take away the paint. As you can see in the picture below, I love taking off just enough paint on the edges to really make it a shabby-chic furniture piece.

I have used a variety of painting methods to redo furniture and update old trim and cabinets. to sanding and staining. Using chalk paint is by far the simplest and easiest way to redo furniture quickly and achieve awesome results.

Close-up view of distress blue dresser painted with chalk paint

How to make DIY chalk paint?


Plaster of paris, latex paint, paint tray, measuring cup and paint brush

Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe

1) Mix 1/3 parts cool water with 1/3 parts Plaster of Paris. I like to slowly add the Plaster of Paris to the water and stir until it is smooth. The mixture should stick to the spoon when you pull it out.

2) Once there are no lumps, add around 1 cup of paint and stir.

3) Use it right away. You can save this paint for a little if you place it in an airtight container, but it probably will not last longer than the time you need to complete your project.

Paint brush applying gray chalk paint to dresser

4) Depending on the project, I will use two or three coats of DIY chalk paint.

DIY Chalk  Paint Recipe to help redo furniture
Blue DIY Chalk Paint with pulls from Home Depot

5) Once chalk paint is dry, you can use fine sandpaper to distress areas. If you mess up, you can always repaint it and try again!

Half way painted dresser with DIY chalk paint

6) Once you are completely happy with the look of your project, you will need to seal your chalk paint if you want it to last.

Chalk painters will swear to buy different types of wax, but I have had success just using a good wipe on acrylic polyurethane. My favorite look has been when I use a satin finish. It gives just enough protection without making it to shiny.

Store-bought Chalk Paints

If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, then here is a link to decent chalk paint you may want to use. There are also other brands, such as Annie Sloan paints, but they can pretty expensive. I have not been able to justify buying paints that you can easily make, but hey do give you awesome results and are easier to clean-up.

Add fun hardware pulls and knobs

Another way I love to add more to my furniture makeovers, is by changing the hardware. You would be amazed at how the look of a piece of furniture can change by adding new hardware.

World Market is by far one of my most favorite places to buy hardware that is different and not expensive. Even some of the hardware in these pictures is from there.

Feel free to click the images to see some of the hardware that is on my wishlist and that I have bought in the past.

How do you like to repurpose furniture?

What is your favorite way to repurpose furniture and other items? Other bloggers and furniture makeovers may use chalk paint made with bicarbonate. If you are looking for more information on different ways to make a DIY chalk paint or other DIY paint techniques be sure to check out my DIY Painting Technique Pinterest Board.

Blue Dresser with globe, small model planes and train artwork

If you like this simple tutorial on how to create your own DIY chalk paint, you may also want to see how we cleaned our own brass hardware to make it look brand new on a midcentury modern dresser that is currently undergoing its own transformation! Check back to see how we were able to create an amazing dresser makeover using this DIY chalk paint recipe and gel stain without spending anything! 

Now go ahead, be creative and make your own DIY chalk paint.

Follow us on Pinterest or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

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Sunday 7th of June 2020

I realize this was a year ago, but when you say 1/3 parts, is that 1/3 cup?


Sunday 7th of June 2020

I also show you a cool cup technique (way to measure using a plastic cup) in my dress-up closet makeover.


Sunday 7th of June 2020

Hi Sara. Yes, you could say 1/3 cup if you were only making 1 cup of total chalk paint. I wrote it this way as is depends on what you are making as to how much you would want. I hope that helps and good luck with your DIY chalk paint project!


Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Love this Perfect for the beginners and experts thank you for sharing


Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Thank Anne! I love when a DIY home project that can work for all types of people. I feel that this DIY chalk paint recipe really works for all levels and abilities.


Monday 29th of April 2019

I love a good chalk paint project-- especially with worn edges!

Paula Campbell

Thursday 4th of April 2019

Great ideas!

Tatiana B

Thursday 4th of April 2019

I never knew all of these variations of chalk paint, it looks so great. Thank you for all of these suggestions

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