Introduction: Chalk Paint

Colorful park bench to match back porch furniture.

Using craft acrylic paint, mixed with water and plaster of paris to make a chalk paint, this old weathered park bench gets new life.

The recipe for the paint on this project is:

  • Color of choice _ I mixed 3 colors of turquoise to get the right shade_ craft acrylic paint
    • took about 1/2 a bottle of paint to do 2 coats of the blue, and 1/4 bottle of red
  • 4 oz. of very warm water
  • 2 teaspoons of Plaster of Paris

Using an old bowl, mix the plaster of paris (pop) with the warm water, stirring until all of the pop is dissolved and very milky/chalky in color. It is not supposed to be thick: if it is then you have too much pop and it will harden before you can use it. Keep stirring until it is no longer gritty, as the grit will have to be sanded down on the project if left undissolved. After the pop is dissolved, add the paint, basically tinting and thickening the pop mixture.

Great thing about chalk paint - you don't have to prep the project (unless the project needs some repairs, such as tightening screws, glueing loosened parts, etc.). Just wipe off the dust and/or grease and start slapping on the color! This paint goes a long way in coverage, and you will find that the first few times you mix it, you will mix up way more than you will need for the project. I usually paint at least 2 coats (dries to the touch in less than 15 minutes) just to get a more vibrant color. Keep adding layers to deepen the color, but be careful of scratching or scraping, as it is very soft and will come off very easily. However, if you are wanting the weathered, much used look, you might want to use a fine grit sandpaper and sand off edges and areas that would normally get the abuse.

The final part of the completing this project is to add a couple of layers of either wax or urethane, depending on where you are using the finished piece. For the the park bench as shown above, I used urethane since it is for outdoors. It is an oil-based product so protects the paint from chipping, washing off, and weathering very well after 2 coats with a light sanding in between coats. For my indoors chalk paint projects, I use wax. It is hand rubbed on with a soft cloth, usually applying 2 layers after first coat dries (in about an hour), and then allowed to sit for at least 24 hours prior to putting anything on top of them. This allows the wax to harden to a very durable and hard shell, protecting the surface for many years of use.

Good luck & I hope you get many years of crafting and use as well as enjoyment from your creative use of this inexpensive paint technique!

Step 1: Old Dresser Gets a New Life

This dresser is now a media cabinet!

With chalk paint and a little modification and repairs, this dresser is now under the living room TV adding color and use to the room.

STEP ONE for this redo:

Take out the drawers and remove the handles from drawers. Then remove the slide bars from top two bays for the drawers to open up the area for a piece of plywood to make a solid shelf to hold the electronic components.


Glue or re-screw any loose parts to make the piece sturdy and ready for use. Dust and remove any debris from surface to get the smooth surface of a new piece.


Mix up the paint in color(s) of your choice - used 3 colors on this project.

Recipe for the paint:

  • Used sample wall paint from Lowe's for lighter teal color, craft acrylic paint for darker turquoise color, and purchased sample bottle of black pre-mixed chalk paint.
    • For lighter teal, used 4 oz of very warm water
    • 2 teaspoons of plaster of paris (pop)
    • Paint from a 10 oz sample bottle ( have more than half of this paint left over from this project )
    • For darker turquoise, used 2 oz of very warm water
    • 1 teaspoon of pop
    • 1/4 of 2 oz bottle craft acrylic paint
  • Had the 2 oz bottle of pre-mixed black from a craft/antique show


Painted the pieces in the color scheme wanted, used 3 coats of the turquoises to get the deeper more vibrant color, but only 1 of the black to allow for the underneath color to "seep" through a bit. Allowed to dry for 30 minutes between coats (actually by the time I finished a coat on all pieces, it was 30 minutes and just started over). Painted the inside of the top shelf the overall color to match the outside, including the plywood shelf. Installed the shelf and glued into place.


Allowed to cure for 2 days before rubbing the wax all over in two coats. Rubbed/polished the wax and now it is in use!

Step 2: Side Tables Repurposed

Also using chalk paint, these two side/end tables are now being used as bedside tables, with new color to match bedroom colors.

Same steps as before: Prep furniture by removing drawers and taking pulls off of drawers. Wipe off to have a clean surface and then mix up your paint.

One was painted a very dark brown and the other a light grey. Then rubbed with wax in 3 layers and placed by a bed. Very quick and easy project - did both completely in under 3 hours, including the wax.