My 3 Monsters: Home Made Chalky Paint

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Home Made Chalky Paint

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have been repainting my kitchen cabinets this week.  Nothing major, really.  Just a fresh coat of white paint.  {Please ignore the junk on the countertop -- I'm still moving back in to the kitchen and getting things situated.  Please note, however, that I baked banana bread today.  Yay me!} Eight years ago when we bought our house, the kitchen was sporting oh-so-lovely classic 1980's builder's grade oak cabinets.  One of the very first things I did after we signed all our paperwork and got the keys was to pull out my old sander and start prepping the cabinets for paint.  A shiny coat of white paint and some brushed nickle knobs freshened that kitchen right up.  However, that was eight years ago.  We've done some living in that kitchen since then and she needed a little lovin'.

I've been seeing Chalk Paint everywhere in blog land and I love the finish it gives -- so smooth and . . . chalky.  No, not chalk board paint, as I've explained to my husband and children several times this week. Just plain chalk paint.  There is a difference.  I think.  That was the finish I wanted for my cabinets, but heck if I was gonna' pay the premium price for real Chalk Paint. I was super excited to come across a couple of great tutorials from other bloggers about how to make your own "chalky paint":  No Minimalist Here was my original inspiration, but I also found great tips at Art is Beauty and Homeroad.

I'm not going to give you a step-by-step tutorial, but I'll share the basics with you.  Here's the secret . . . wait, come closer . . . plaster of paris.  In a container with a lid that you don't care to use again, like an old mason jar, mix about 1/2 C. plaster of paris with 1/2 C. hot water . {Not everyone will tell you to do this, but not everyone is a genius.  I can say that because it wasn't my own idea.  It keeps your paint from getting clumpy -- kind of like making gravy.}  Once that is well blended, add about 1 1/2 C. of your latex paint -- add more if you need to get the desired consistency.

Everyone says that you don't need to prime or sand before using chalky paint, but I chose to lightly sand down my cabinets before I started painting.  Mostly that was because it was easier to sand off all the old food and grime than to clean it off.  Ewwww gross!  Too much information, I know.  Just keepin' it real, yo.  I removed my cabinet doors and hinges and lined them up around my dining and living rooms, keeping them in order so I could put them back in the right place when I was done.

Brush the paint on the doors and cabinet frames until you get the coverage you like.  Most people say chalky paint covers in about two coats.  It's kind of hard for me to tell if that's true since I was repainting the same color, but it did seem to cover well.  It was thick and creamy and hid the brush strokes really well, which was nice.  This homemade chalky paint dries really fast, too, so by the time I had painted all the doors I could start back in with another coat.  Once your paint is dry, lightly sand it to a pretty, pretty smooth finish.  Do any distressing you want to do at this point as well.  {Chalky paint distresses really nicely, if you like that look.}

I finished my cabinets with a coat of paste wax to protect the finish and give them a subtle sheen, but I show you that process in another post here. I love how it turned out!!  So worth the effort in the end, even though I had my doubts midway through.  We're still a long way from where we'd like to be with this kitchen -- new countertops and sink are definitely in order -- but this is a good start.

On a side note, we almost turned this little paint job into a major kitchen renovation this week until I talked some sense into my husband {and myself}.  As I was taking down all the cabinet doors I got to thinking how nice and open our kitchen would feel if we removed the bank of upper cabinets that separate the kitchen from the dining room.  Our contractor friend came over and gave us the go-ahead since the structure is non-supportive and doesn't house any electrical or plumbing.  It was tempting to get out the sledge hammer and swing out all our frustrations, but cooler heads prevailed and we decided to save that project for another {non-spring break}day.  But just for funsies, I quickly mocked it up in Gimp today to see if I might actually like it.  Here's the current set up:
And here is what it might kind-of look like with those cabinets and the ledge above removed:
Fun, huh?  It opens up a whole lot of possibilities.  Maybe a cool pendant light over the peninsula.  {I would have a peninsula!}  A built-in plate rack on the end of the peninsula.  A fun display of vintage dishes on that wall next to the door.  Yep, I can see this happening in my future, for sure.

Edited to Add:  I received this email from an oh-so-helpful commenter today:
     Hi ...I'm sure you didn't know, but "Chalk Paint" is a trademark name belonging to {a company}.  She developed it 21 years ago.    You truly cant make your own...well yes, you can mix things to make a chalky paint but you cant call it "Chalk Paint".  I just wanted you to know this so your readers will not get confused and you can make the change on your blog.
 I have no doubt that you, my intelligent and fun readers, were not in any way confused by my use of the term Chalk Paint, but just to be clear, this is a post about CHALKY PAINT, not Chalk Paint. I've made the corrections in the original post above.  Didn't mean to step on any toes . . .
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. They claimed to have had the trademark, sent letters everywhere scaring, and bullying people for the sake of bullying! Illegally they got it passed in Oct of 2012. We are disputing! Chalk has been used in paint since cave drawings and she didn't invent a thicker paint! I make good egg salad, I've been doing it for 30 years. I'm going to another country and trademark "egg Salad" and then bully anyone that puts out a recipe for "egg salad" Americans don't like Bully's!

  3. I have stopped shopping at several stores or using different products bc of attitudes like that. This is about the 12th blog I have visited on my way to deciding to buy or make chalk paint. I think my decision has been made. I won't support anyone w that kind of attitude. A Wright. Alabama.

  4. Hi! Just researching on painting cabinets and wondering how they are holding up about a year later? Considering this or using the paint sprayer I just bought but I don't think I could use the chalk(y) paint in the sprayer and I'm not sure I want to paint ALL of our cabinets by hand we live in a parsonage and from the pic of your kitchen we probably have double the amount. But if this paint holds up really well it might be worth it... Thanks!

    1. It is holding up really well. Spills wipe right off because of the finishing wax and there are just a few nicks around the handles we use most. I love them!


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