How to Create a Distressed Look with DIY Chalk Paint


It is a lot of fun to visit antique stores and flea markets in search of old pieces. However, you don’t always have the money to do that. An alternative is to take pieces you currently own and artificially make them look old and distressed. People do it with DIY chalk paint all the time.

Jami Ray Vintage, a Utah store based in Lehi, sells inexpensive DIY paints and finishes. Similar craft and antique stores around the country also sell the same products. If you want to make your own, it is pretty simple. You only need a few basic ingredients and a willingness to try something new.

A Naturally Distressed Look

People who appreciate chalk paint remark about how it creates a naturally distressed look. In other words, a furniture piece painted with chalk paint doesn’t look artificially distressed. Rather, it looks like the paint has been there for years and naturally distressed by weather and age.

If you’ve purchased modern antiques meant to look a lot older than they really are, chances are you’ve already experienced chalk paint yourself. Now it is time for you to mix up your own DIY chalk paint and create your first distressed piece.

Choose a piece you are not too concerned about. After all, this is your first try at creating the paint and finishing a piece of furniture. You may need a couple of tries before you perfect your technique. As for the piece you choose, make sure it’s clean, dry, and free of debris before you apply the paint.

Making Your Own Chalk Paint

DIY chalk paint is essentially latex paint with some additional ingredients thrown in. So along with your piece, choose a color for the finished product. Then get some latex paint in that color. You will also have to decide which type of chalk paint you want to make. You have three choices:

1. Plaster of Paris

Your first option is to mix up a bit of plaster of Paris and add it to your latex paint. A common recipe calls for 2.5 tablespoons of plaster Paris and 1.5 tablespoons of water for every one cup of paint. Mix the water and plaster of Paris separately, making sure that the mixture is smooth before adding it to the paint. When you add the mixture to the paint, stir it in thoroughly.

2. Baking Soda

Your second option for DIY chalk paint is based in baking soda. Be sure to use cool water for this recipe. Warm water will affect the baking soda in a way that will impact the final product. A standard recipe is to mix 1.5 cusp of baking soda with three tablespoons of cool water for every one cup of paint. Again, mix the baking soda and water until it is smooth.

3. Unsanded Grout

Finally, you can make DIY chalk paint with cool water and unsanded grout. This particular recipe might not be as smooth as the plaster of Paris or baking soda recipes. It might also give your DIY chalk paint a thicker appearance. The recipe is one tablespoon of cool water and two tablespoons of grout for every one cup of paint.

It is important that you paint your piece as soon as you’re finished mixing the DIY chalk paint. Do not wait too long or the components may begin separating. After your piece is painted, give it plenty of time to dry thoroughly. Also be careful to apply the paint evenly and in thin coats. Sand and re-coat if you have to. That’s really all there is to it!

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