Chalk Paint - seizing up!

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Has anyone encountered the problem of their DIY chalk paint seizing up? I have been making my own chalk paint for 2 years, using unsanded grout and various paint sources. I have never had a problem with it but the last 5 batches I have made seized up (the last 2 seemed to do so right in front of my eyes) and became unusable! So frustrating. There were few variables to contend with since I have made CP in winter, summer and relative humidity, all with no problem; and I tried to thin the last batch with more water (used originally to mix the grout up before adding the paint) but to no avail. The consistency turns to mud. I am going to switch to plaster of paris as a Plan B but I am mystified as to what might be going on. Could it be the PAINT? I've used Glidden, Valspar, Benjamin Moore, etc..., and others without a hitch, and have recently been using a lot of Sherwin Williams over the last 6 months. Today I went to Home Depot and got a new container of grout thinking that might help - nope. And a brand new gallon of SW paint purchased this past Saturday - yuk - no luck + what a huge lump of a mess. Anyone have any ideas?
  14 answers
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on May 05, 2014
    What recipe are you using? I use 1 tablespoon unsanded grout to one cup paint and haven't had any problems, but I can only do this with paint that I am going to use--in other words, I can't mix it in the can, and save it or it becomes a can of thin paint with a big rock at the bottom.
  • DIY Fun Ideas DIY Fun Ideas on May 05, 2014
    I use the unsanded grout recipe and actually use floetrol in my recipe too (I talk about it in this post: http://diyfunideas.com/?p=5471 ). I does get thick, but never to the point where I can't use it. I can't imagine why it would do that. Do you have hard water? Maybe the minerals in the water does something??
  • I haven't altered anything (even the water is the same as it ever was) except the switch to SW paint products. I didn't think Floetral in chalk paint would do much (because it starts seizing almost immediately now) but at this point I'll try anything. Thank you for the suggestions!
  • Alexa Draper Alexa Draper on May 05, 2014
    This just happened to me this weekend. I also haven't changed anything. I found it SO weird.
  • Alexa Draper Alexa Draper on May 05, 2014
    The paint I was using was a mistint so I'm wondering if it was how they mixed it.? I'm stumped
  • Hey Alexa, what BRAND of paint was that mis-tint? I am thinking that in my case it just might be the Sherwin Williams Paint and that perhaps there is just something in it which causes the grout material to solidify very quickly. Just for the sake of comparison I am going to use another brand of paint and whip up a batch of chalk paint (using Behr or a Glidden mis-tint). I'll report back :)
  • Using that exact recipe. I did a test and used a new sample of Valspar that I picked up at Lowe's and made a batch of Cp and it worked gloriously. The world has righted itself! :) Unfortunately, I have a few gallons of Sherwin Williams paint that I can only use for straight latex projects (apparently), since SW simply seizes no matter what I do. Either there must be some chemical makeup in SW paint that dislikes calcium carbonate, unsanded grout and/or plaster of paris, or I have colossally bad luck mixing paint...
  • I am going to ask my very awesome local SW dealer about this ...
  • Scottie Vosburgh Scottie Vosburgh on May 07, 2014
    If you can get your hands on some Websters chalk paint powder, I would try that first just to see if it the material you're using. SW is most likely going to tell you that you're not supposed to add anything to their paint anyway... technically it voids the warranty (I don't actually know of a soul who would try to make a claim on a paint warranty). You are a more patient soul than I... it's one of the reasons I don't make my own. :)
  • You're absolutely right, Scottie. I actually went so far as to contact customer service at SW (I really love the company - always have great one-on-one at my local shop) but I told my husband that I expected exactly the response you wrote (above). I will look for Webster's. AS and CC chalk paints are just too expensive - I do love the colors they offer though. Sadly, my budget does not. Thank you for the suggestion!
  • Cj Cj on Mar 19, 2015
    I just discovered Yesterday between two different colors of sample Valspar paint, it's the base that is used to make the paint. The pure white base to make a light color paint seized up while The medium base for a darker color did not. I tested my theory by doing it with two more samples of different colors one light one dark, pure white versus medium base and the same thing happened. Pure white base seized up medium base did not.
  • Thank you!
    • Cj Cj on Mar 21, 2015
      Is there a cream color paint that you used successfully to make chalky paint?
  • Yes, but unfortunately it's pretty much gone and it was a rather old can. I think that there's a distinct possibility that because of the popularity of Chalk Paint in general, more and more manufacturers of latex paint are getting into the game with their own lines and making DIY options pretty unusable. I am still very unwilling though to pay $36 for a darn quart of it though. :(
  • Karen Karen on Aug 22, 2018

    I've had the same thing happen with a pure white Valspar..so frustrating..

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