How to mix your own chalk paint–New Video

mixyourownchalkpaintafromartha

By now you should know how much I love chalk paint.  I’ve used it on everything from refabulating a dresser, to painting my entire wood paneled kitchen.

If you’re like me and would prefer to make your own instead of shelling out the big bucks for the brand name, then this post is for you. Yes, it really is as simple as mixing in plaster into the paint…but wait. As simple as it is to mix, it is also just as simple to get wrong.

When I first started mixing it myself, I would just dump in the powder and mix, mix, mix with my stick blender. Even though the paint worked fine, I had to do some sanding to get a smooth finish.

I also found that when I went back to use leftover paint, the plaster would form little hard plaster pellets that did not smooth out when painting.  This makes for an unsightly finish.

Then it hit me. DUH! Why not moisten the plaster with water before  mixing in with the paint? that way the plaster is dissolved, eliminating any possibility if not combining with the paint pigment. Sometimes the simplest idea escapes me. Does that happen to you?

So here goes:

My formula for chalk paint:

1 part Plaster of Paris (can be found at your local big box home improvement store for under $10 for about 4Ibs

4 parts Paint

Enough water to moisten the plaster

Mix the Plaster with just enough water to make a thin paste. Then mix into the paint. That. Is. It.

It’s not brain surgery is it? But if you’d like to see it in action, here’s a quick video:

How To Mix Your Own Chalk Paint by AfroMartha

Re-Styled Dresser

Here I am again with another before/after. This dresser is one of the first pieces of furniture. I purchased when we first moved to Ohio in 2007. The place we were renting was short on storage, and we needed some furniture, STAT. I found this dresser and it’s larger sibling at a yard sale. They have survived lots of repurposing despite my not liking their appearance. I recently removed this smaller dresser from my daughter’s room since she didn’t need it anymore. I decided it should go in my craft space/living room/oversize foyer. It wasn’t going in there looking like it was though!

I dove right into repainting, since it would be relatively easy. I wasn’t even going to blog it, since it was just going to be yet another chalk paint redo, and hey, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all. Of course as soon as I had that thought, inspiration reared its head, and I immediately regretted not taking a good before photo. Once I realized this would get blogged after all, I dove for my camera and captured what wasn’t already painted, bowl and all:

before

As you can see it has that hideous faux wood/formica finish. I was just going to paint the whole thing white and be done with it. Then I thought it might be nice to do something interesting with the recessed fronts of the dresser drawers. I decided to decoupage the hell out the top and the drawer fronts.

I headed to Tar-Jay for some swanky wrapping paper. I was not that impressed with what I found. Ditto for the drawer liners. I almost caved in and got the uber-trendy damask printed contact paper, but I decided against it. I also didn’t want to use contact paper because it’s only a matter of time before it would start to peel off, and I didn’t want that. I roamed the aisles of Tar-Jay for the next 20 minutes, till my eyes landed on these gorgeously bold graphic plastic placemats. And I love me some bold ethnic prints!

placemats

My first inclination was to cover the table top (as a way of protecting the surface) and the fronts with the placemats. I wasn’t quite sure how this would happen, since plastic just laughs off Mod Podge. I wasn’t sure hot glue would be the way to go either, but after hemming and hawing a few more minutes, I left the store armed with 3 placemats @ $1.99 a piece. Once I got home and started cutting up the placements, I realized how easy it would be to do the fronts. Since the fronts have a recessed panel, all I had to do was slide the plastic pieces in there. No glue required, and Voila!

after

As you can see, I decided to forgo doing the tops of the dresser, since it might be overkiill.

Thanks to chalk paint + pearly paint top coat and some plastic placemats, I have miraculously transformed the dresser into something that adds interest to my front room. Here it is in its new home in my craft room/living room/oversized foyer: 

after2

The moral of the story? There is inspiration everywhere. If you love something enough, don’t be afraid to take risks and find use it in a way it wasn’t originally meant to be used. 

 

beforeafter

So what do you think? Have you used something for other than its intended purpose? I’d love to hear about it.

Chalk-Painted Side Table

Ever since discovering how to make my own chalk paint, painting furniture has become so much easier and so much fun that I actually want to paint, instead of wishing for a magic wand. Here I have another piece that I painted in one evening. The Hubs needed a side table on his side of the bed instead of the ugly cumbersome tall dresser that inhabited the space, not that he cared. The man could live in a pile of rubble and still wake up whistling a happy tune. I on the other hand, need some visual balance.

This side table is one that I picked up from the side of the street for the best price of free! The table had nice metal drawer slides seem to just sing as they slide out. I could tell it was well constructed and sturdy, so I knew it was worthy of being refinished.  I already had the paint, brushes and plaster of paris, so all I had to do was mix and paint. I caved in to the distressing trend since distressing is so easy and fun with chalk paint.

 

Before – a little beat up and kinda grody right?

before

 

After – presto fabuloso!

after1

This time I sprung for the Annie Sloan clear soft wax finish. I purchased the wax because I couldn’t find a good alternative locally. I spent a good week searching for Briwax or Trewax locally before it hit me that DUH, Annie Sloan is sold locally. In my search for thriftiness and just plain DIY stubbornness, I sometimes end up wasting other valuable resources: time and effort. Sometimes you just spend the money. I do consider the wax a good buy, since a little goes a long way. I barely scratched the surface when I used it on this end table.

I applied the wax with an old t-shirt. The instructions say to use a brush, but a t-shirt worked better for me. I put on a light coat and just rubbed/buffed it in. The wax gives the table a nice soft velvety feel to it.

I did consider switching handles but decided to stick with the original. For one, the holes are already there and fit perfectly, and it’s so dificult to match holes with new handles. I also feel that the handle style compliments the dresser and stands out more now with the new paint color. In the future I may chalk paint the handles too. (yes, you can do that!)

after2                        PICT0040