DIY chalk paint tutorial {distressed shelves}


posted by on chalk paint, diy, frugal, furniture, paint, pinterest, tutorial


Chalk paint. I’ve been wanting to play around with it for awhile. Stripping & sanding obviously add more time to any furniture makeover project, so I thought chalk paint would be perfect for a quick weekend project. For those who don’t know or haven’t heard of chalk paint, here are few benefits (courtesy

  • No need to prime or prepare
  • You can use it on any surface, indoors and out
  • It’s flexible so you can be creative and change your mind 


But, (oooh, I hate “but’s”) it is not cheap. And I am. Conundrum.

A homemade chalk paint “recipe” presented itself, out of NOWHERE, during one of my frequent trips to Pinterest-land. I decided it would be a blast (yes, a blast!) to try it out on an old piece of furniture that was in dire need of sprucing up. And if it didn’t work, I’d just strip, sand and redo the whole thing the ol’ tried and true way.

I should clarify that most of my furniture is old. As in used, vintage, cheap, inherited, hand-me-down… Frankly, I don’t even like buying new furniture and aside from a few cheap bookshelves, haven’t. In addition to saving money, old furniture usually possesses a lot more personality. Generally speaking, is is also better quality. And you won’t cry (as hard) when it gets a ding or nick!

This particular piece was made by my grandpa many moons ago. Design wise, it’s merely functional. But, it’s been in my family for so long, I’m attached on a sentimental level.


Aqua on the brain, the plan was simple; color was going to be applied to the shelves only, to play against the dark stain that would remain on the legs. Let the shopping commence. I only needed one cup (8 oz) of paint and some Plaster of Paris. Here’s a breakdown of my final costs versus the original chalk paint brand (I have never tried the Annie Sloan chalk paint, but have heard that it is awesome):

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (1 quart): approximately $38.95 + tax

Grand total for DIY chalk paint “ingredients”: $6.42 + tax

*I also picked up 2 mistints quarts from Lowes at $3.00 a piece. Both were colors I had it mind for future projects.

After prepping the garage, the shelves and throwing on some “painting” clothes, I mixed up the chalk paint (recipe above). Super simple, but don’t wait to incorporate the water/POP mixture into the paint after you have mixed them together. It sets quickly.

The result is a paint that is thicker. You also don’t want to mess around with it too much when laying it down. A helpful tip from the blog post that inspired this project, DIY Chalk Paint Dresser:

“Don’t try and overwork the paint. Just lay it down and let it set. If you try to brush it on and keep brushing over, it will just lift up, and you’ll get ticked off.”

I applied 2 layers of paint, waiting about 30 minutes for each layer to dry. After it set completely, I did some hand-distressing with 120 grit sandpaper to give it a weathered look. Satisfied with the sanding, I applied Minwax Paste Finishing Wax with a clean rag (tip: save old t-shirts and towels for times such as these) and when that was set, buffed to a nice luster with another clean rag.

Distressed edges.

Investing a few dollars and a few hours resulted in shelves that now have some personality and provide a “pop” of color to an otherwise dull space!


{you might also like:}

DIY music {or book} page wreath tutorial

DIY felt flower pillow tutorial

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  1. Brian
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