Sewing our Sanity

Thursday, August 23, 2012

To chalk paint or not...that is the question

Dear Emily,

Since writing about Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint [ASCP] and my kitchen cabinet, I have had lots of questions about the paint. Our cousin Carole sent me some questions the other day..

Dear Monica,

Ever since I saw your chalk paint post, I've been dreaming of all the places I could use it in my house. When I looked at the ASCP web site, Lynchburg was the closest retailer, so I sort of put those dreams on hold until I could make a trip there and see it in action. I did get a page of hand-painted chips from the Lynchburg retailer. None of colors are ideal for what I envisioned, but I was resigned to using whatever would come closest to my mental images of finished projects.

Then yesterday I looked again for a retailer, and found one much closer, in Covesville. I contacted them, and about fell out of my chair at the price. So I started looking for make-your-own chalk paint ideas.

I think I'm going to try it with some unfinished furniture I bought at that place in Madison on the way to the farm. Ethan and Blake each have had an unfinished dresser for about a year - bad Mommy! We even had some purple paint mixed at Lowe's, but I just never got around to the actual painting part - mostly because I didn't know how much or what type of prep work was involved (and was afraid to find out). Chalk paint seems to have solved that problem for me, so now I can't wait for school to start so I have uninterrupted painting time!
My current conundrum is whether to make the chalk paint using plaster of paris or unsanded grout. I'll probably try a batch of each. And I'm curious to know whether my paint color will be muted once it's mixed. I figure I'll test this out with the boys' dressers and then decide about doing my kitchen cabinets. My kitchen has too much wood - there's the original hardwood in the dining area, newer laminate wood in the actual kitchen, and all the cabinets are the original 1950s stained pine. I thought about painting the lower cabinets black, but Megan suggested espresso instead, or matching the darkest knotholes. I can't wait to mix a custom color and get at least the bottom cabinets painted dark, to break up all that mediocre brown!
Have you ever made your own chalk paint? Any suggestions?!


For anyone who has done any furniture repainting, even a little, Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint [ASCP] is a miracle paint. Yes, the price of ASCP can make one fall out of one's chair. But, there are several other factors to consider...the time you save stripping and/or priming. The drying time is shorter. Not having to buy a separate primer. Little odor so it is easy to use inside. On a drop cloth, of course. All that being said, it is not the end-all-be-all to furniture paint. It is a wonderful choice for a piece that would look good distressed, or "shabby chic." It can completely change the look of an outdated piece. It all depends on how much time you have to spend, or want to spend, painting something. When you have a bunch of little kids and are trying to squeeze painting in between naps, time is of the essence. it is pricey but sometimes there is no price on your time. And you save on needing to buy primer and paint.

As for making it, no, I haven't tried it but I am planning on it. With something small. I would go with plaster of Paris.

For unfinished furniture, I would probably go with a latex-primer-all in one, like Behr's Plus Ultra paint at Home Depot. Probably in a semigloss, especially for a kid's room. The color choices are endless and the price is about the same, maybe a couple of dollars cheaper, for a gallon as the price for a quart of ASCP. I have used the Behr over furniture that I have stripped or just sanded and have been pleased. I did leave the furniture out in the garage to cure for at least a week before bringing it inside.

As for the kitchen cabinets. My first thought is ugh! Seriously, though, it is a daunting task. Lets say you need 4 quarts of ASCP to do the top cabinets. if you used another kind of paint, you would need a primer as well as the paint for the color of your choice. Really good primer is close to $60 for a gallon. And the value of your time should be considered, too.I saw these yellow kitchen cabinets the other day...what do you think?



In ASCP's yellow?

I have had more than a few people ask questions about ASCP. And I have sung its praises. I found a great post by Jami of Freckled Laundry that answers many of those questions. Including one I have about painting on top of chalk paint with latex. (yes, a project in the works for the boys room. I'll fill you in on that later...)




  1. My piece is coming along and I can't wait for it to be totally finished. I do think that I might try the homemade chalk paint on the TV cabinet with some paint I already have and plaster of paris. If it is horrible I can just paint over it and I won't be out too much money or a whole lot of time.

  2. Thanks for the tips, Monica! As happens every year, this first week of school has somehow filled up with all the running around that I didn't do with the kids in tow over the summer. I hope to tackle Blake's dresser next week when things have slowed down for me - at least during the day! Have you ever used Valspar paint from Lowe's? We *still* don't have a Home Depot here. Although a trip to Waynesboro isn't the worst way to spend a morning. :)

  3. Carole - I tried several times to respond from my iPad but it froze. Then I got sidetracked. So, to answer your question about Valspar...I have used it before but on a wall. Behr from Home Depot has a high rating from Consumer Reports so I have just stuck with what i have always used.