The Best DIY Chalk Paint Recipe

best diy chalk paint

I’ll be perfectly honest with you – there is no comparison here.  One of these “recipes” outperforms the other in all areas, at least in my opinion.  I’ve found the best DIY chalk paint recipe!

I went about this little experiment thinking I would find pros to both recipes, but it just didn’t end up being the case.  I even went out of my way to set up a controlled experiment (my fellow science teachers would be proud of me) by using the same brush, the same brand and sheen of paint, and painting the same surface.

Truly, though, one of these DIY chalk paint recipes is just simply the best.  And the winner is…

chalk paint with calcium carbonatecalcium carbonate chalk paint!

The texture is super smooth while the Plaster of Paris paint is thick, a little too thick for most projects.  The Plaster of Paris paint dries extremely quickly, almost too quickly.  I found my brush dragging almost right after I started painting.  Even the outside of my brush started crusting up in the middle of my project, making it quite difficult to clean.

plaster of paris chalk paint

I’ve always used Plaster of Paris for my DIY chalk paint, but I’ll be making the switch, now!  The only time I might whip up a batch of it again would be to do a layered, dry brush effect with multiple layers of paint.  I’ve found the thicker the paint for that type of look, the better.

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Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

I just bought my calcium carbonate on Amazon, but I know health food stores carry it as well.  Of course, I still am glad to have my Plaster of Paris on hand for thicker chalk paint.

Here’s the little piece that I tested these recipes out on.  It’s not done yet, as it still needs one more coat of paint, some chicken wire in the doors, and wax to finish it off, but you get the picture.

diy chalk paint


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19 thoughts on “The Best DIY Chalk Paint Recipe

  1. Thanks for this. I used the calcium with a satin paint and it didn’t adhere. I hope the flat will make the difference. Most recipes don’t tell you a paint type.

    1. Yeah, I could see that it might not adhere well, but I’ve never tried it with satin before. I’ve used flat and eggshell with success, but I prefer flat paint. I hope it works out for you!

  2. Thanks for your blog. I used your prep tips and recommended chalk paint recipe to revive a $20 dresser from a resale shop. So far so good–just need new knobs.

    1. Thanks for your questions, Becky. If I use Plaster of Paris I use the same ratio as the calcium carbonate. I have used it with satin finish paints, but you just won’t get quite as much of a flat sheen as chalk paint usually gives. As for acrylic paint, I’ve actually never tried it. I’ve only used latex for it. I hope this helps!

    1. Yes, you can double, triple, whatever you’d like and still achieve the same results. I usually just use a different flat paint color and it will change the color your chalk paint once you add the calcium carbonate/plaster.

  3. I’ going to try the calcium carbonate recipe on an old coffee table and a credenza. You can buy the calcium carbonate 8 oz. size in Walmart. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Hi Karen. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I have used furniture wax as a topcoat (specialty paint companies have their own types, but they also sell it at the hardware store), but recently I prefer to use a matte or flat acrylic topcoat. I find it to have less upkeep than wax. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Sarah. The nice thing about making your own is that you can make a small batch with a custom paint color in a sample size (usually around $3). Of course, you’ll also need to buy the calcium carbonate too. In that case I find it to be cheaper. However, if I need a quart, or it’s a color that I’ll use over and over, I just buy the chalk paint that is already made. When I wrote this post, they didn’t offer chalk paint in the hardware stores at the prices they do, and the only option was the more expensive name brand ones. Obviously, things have changed and there are so many more options for chalk paint. Hopefully this was helpful!

    1. I’ve used eggshell, too, but haven’t tried a higher sheen than that. I think it would still work, it just won’t be as similar to that matte finish as chalk paint.

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