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DIY chalk paint

Chalk paint can give your furniture a wonderfully distressed and antique look. Here’s how to make your own and use it.


By Sarah Moodley and Roelof Strydom


Piece of furniture to paint

PVA paint in the colour of your choice

Bit of black paint

Plaster of Paris


Candle or Vaseline





Chalk paint can be quite expensive, so we did some research and found a simple way that you can make your own chalk paint at home. And, what makes this paint technique so wonderful is that it doesn’t have to be perfect as the distressed look is what it’s all about.


Step 1: Simply wipe down the piece of furniture to remove any dust and dirt. You’re most likely going to use an old piece of furniture that won’t have any sealer or varnish on it anymore. If you are using a piece of furniture that has sealer or varnish on it, give it a light sanding to ensure the chalk paint sticks.


Step 2: The areas on which wear and tear on furniture normally occurs are on the corners, along the sides as well as the legs. It is on these areas that you need to apply the black paint. Take a 25mm paintbrush and paint all the corners, along the sides and the legs. See photo 1. Refer to the paint tin to see how long the black paint takes to dry.


Step 3: Looking at the materials list, you’re probably wondering why you need a candle; well, this is where you’re going to use it. Once the black paint has dried, rub the candle over the areas that are painted black. If you don’t have a candle you can use Vaseline.


Step 4: Then you need to make the chalk paint. The recipe we found stated that you need two cups of paint, four tablespoons plaster of Paris and two tablespoons of water. The amounts you use will depend on the size of the piece of furniture you’re painting. Because our table was quite small we only used a quarter of a cup of paint, two tablespoons of plaster of Paris and one tablespoon of water. To make the chalk paint, mix the plaster of Paris with the water until you get a thick paste. Next, add the paint and mix that into the plaster of Paris mixture.


Step 5: Paint the entire piece of furniture with the chalk paint and let it dry for a few hours. Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat and let it dry overnight.


Step 6: Then it’s time to give the piece of furniture the distressed look. With a piece of sandpaper, sand all the areas you painted black. You’ll notice the chalk paint comes off quite easily. This is because of the candle wax (or Vaseline) not allowing the chalk paint to stick to the black paint. Don’t sand too roughly or you’ll sand all the way back to the wood (which is not necessarily wrong as it can look nice in some areas).


Congratulations on transforming your old dreary piece of furniture into something that’s bang on trend.

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