How to Get the Chippy Paint Technique in a Unique Way

5 Materials
3 Hours

What is the number one tool needed to paint besides the paint?

If you said a paintbrush, in most cases you would be right. But if you’re wanting a chippy paint look, this technique doesn’t require a paint brush.
I was inspired by an old chest in one of my grandparent's outbuildings. The chest was long forgotten, except by me. The chipped finish showed layers of paint. I wanted THAT look.
I found a cabinet door at a thrift store. I plan to use the door in a wall of cabinets for craft storage. I used a mix of chalk-based paints and latex.
I needed the paint to be thick. So I added a sprinkle of calcium carbonate to thicken. Even added it to the chalk-based paints. There are more ideas on the website to thicken paint.
Instead of a paintbrush, I used a piece of wood to "paint." Why? because I wanted uneven paint. When using a brush we tend to smooth the paint. Painting with a piece of wood isn't as hard as you would think. Also as you paint, lay the wood on the paint and lift up in areas- like if you were making a meringue pie and using a knife to make peaks in the meringue. Then smooth the peaks a bit. This step adds to the chippiness.
Let the paint dry to touch!!! It is important that you don't let the paint dry completely.
Paint another color the same way. Let dry to touch only.
Paint another color. Notice this area has "meringue" peaks.
Here I smoothed the peaks a bit. Again let dry to touch only. Note: Thick layers of paint dry from the top down. Sometimes, as the bottom layers dry and shrink it causes the top layer to crack. This happened to my door and I like the look. This may or may not happen next time.
When the last layer is dry to touch, use a paint scraper to chip away at the layers of paint. Since the bottom layers didn't dry completely the paint chips easier.
Finished chippy door
The chippy door is ready to add to the wall of craft storage...when I get them painted. You may notice my door got the crackle finish.
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Country Design Style-Jeanette

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Vicki Coggins
    on May 25, 2018

    What are some crafts to work with copper tube straps

    • Jeanne Martin
      on Jun 12, 2019

      Vicki- if you'll repost your question on Hometalk's main/home page a whole lot more readers will see it. You posted it on this one page about painting chippy cabinets.

  • Jackie
    on Jun 8, 2018

    What is a good cleaners for my kitchen cabinets, that will get down to the nitty-gritty?

  • SueBee
    on Jun 12, 2019

    I love the result! Did you do this in a full day or over a few hours?? Just wondering roughly how long it takes each layer to dry to the touch. I'm guessing the thicker layers take longer??


    • Great question! I did this over a few hours, but I like in Arizona. It would take longer in a humid area. The thicker layer do take longer to dry to the touch. Paint is finicky with weather.

Join the conversation

4 of 24 comments
  • Itsmemic
    on Jun 15, 2018

    this is the perfect job for my ugly as sin tv center. I LOVE it !!! Thing is..I have to paint it in place in the living room cause I can't pick it up. Dog hair sticks to wet paint. Hmmmm

    • I had sweet german shepherds that loved to get into my paint. I turned chairs on the side to make a fence when I did larger pieces. A bed pulled next to the "fence" also helped.

  • Jo Falasca
    on Jun 12, 2019

    Not a fan of chippy paint. This probably would look good in a barn. It looks like it has layers and layers of extremely thick paint.

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