Asked on May 22, 2015

Problems with homemade chalk paint

by Kathy
Does anyone have any tips on making chalk paint? I've tried it several times and I never get satisfactory results. I combine 1 cup hot water and 1 cup Plaster of Paris and mix until my arm falls off. I then add 3 cups latex paint and mix well. Its always very gritty and never smooth and the texture on the wood is bumpy. I hate to buy it, it is SO expensive. Any tips would be appreciated; I'd love to know what I'm doing wrong.
  10 answers
  • Ginger Robinson Ginger Robinson on May 22, 2015
    I have used that method, but the recipe is 1 cup paint, 1 1/2 tablespoons cool water and 2 1/2 tablespoons plaster of paris. Make sure you mix the water and plaster first and add to paint. the method I like the best is using Calcium Carbonate- 2 parts paint and 1 part Calcium. It's harder to find but I have never had it gritty
  • Carole Carole on May 22, 2015
    If you think the problem is in the mixing, get a paint mixing attachment for your drill and mix the paint with that. No need to give yourself RSI from stirring paint. Let the drill do the work.
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    • Melinda Hernandez-Snead Melinda Hernandez-Snead on Feb 28, 2018

      Or you can use a hand mixer or even an old blender that you pick up at a Goodwill Store...and mix the POP and water first..that works for me..after trial and error, you'll get it down to how you like it but I always suggest to practice on trash wood before you use it on a piece that is important to you :) good luck and don't give up, always remember chalk paint can be easily fixed or redone

  • Shelly Hasti Shelly Hasti on May 22, 2015
    My recipe is 1/3 c Plaster of Paris and 1/3 c water. Mix that together thoroughly. Then stir up your paint and add 1 c of paint. Works EVERY time! If you think, towards the end of your project, the chalk paint is getting too thick just add a tiny amount of water to thin it out just a bit!! I LOVE THIS RECIPE!! I half it a lot as well for smaller projects!! Mine is not gritty either. You will want to use a wax after you distress also to calm down the chalkiness!!
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    • Karomi Karomi on Aug 25, 2019

      I've been having a similar issue and I think it's the paint itself. Seems like some brands combine with the POP mixture better then others. Doesn't seem to matter if it's paint + primer, flat, ect. but the high end paints seem to mix thicker.

  • Shelly Hasti Shelly Hasti on May 22, 2015
    Here is what my pieces look like with my recipe...
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    • Shelly Hasti Shelly Hasti on May 26, 2015
      So glad you had recipe has never disappointed me!! I use clear wax, Miss Mustard Seed, to mostly all if my pieces. Some I apply just the dark, Miss Mustard Seed, wax if I want a grungy/antiqued piece. If my piece had detail then I will antique wax/dark wax, with a brush to get into the nooks and crannies, and then go over the whole piece with the clear wax and when it goes over the detail it will take off the dark wax excess but the dark wax will remain in the crevices making it POP!!! So beautiful!!!
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on May 23, 2015
    I think that your ratio of POP to paint is too much? My recipe is 2 TBLSP Plaster of Paris, 2 TBLSP Water and 2 TBLSP Calcium Carbonate. I mix that into a paste and pour into 2 cups of paint. Works beautifully every time.
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    • Country Design Home Country Design Home on May 23, 2015
      @Kathy Hi Kathy- It's not baking soda. You can purchase it online ( or at your local health food store, like GNC. I am not sure exactly what it is, but it makes the paste smoother and dissolves very well in the water.
  • Neita Young Neita Young on May 23, 2015
    I have been using POP to make my chalk paint recently and have not been having the problem you describe. I have been using just room temperature water. I did some checking and learned that the hotter the water the quicker the POP sets up. What I have been using works better if I use it all in one session and don't let it set for a few days--then I get little clumps along the bottom and sides of the container. I use this recipe--3 parts paint to 1 part POP, using enough water to make a pourable gravy texture. Calcium carbonate works very well also but is much more expensive. I have purchased mine at health food stores and online. It is food grade. I hope this helps. I love using chalk paint!
    • Kathy Kathy on May 27, 2015
      @Neita Young Neita, I just figured this out too! I substituted cold water and it didn't get gritty and thick. And, I learned the hard way last night when I mixed up a batch to use today. I left it outside and this morning, the heat had turned it almost solid. I made more and put it in the refrigerator when I'm not using it and it has stayed nice and smooth
  • Neita Young Neita Young on May 27, 2015
    I never thought of putting it in the fridge--what a great idea if I have leftovers! I hope you enjoy your painting as much as I have!
  • Fluffette Fluffette on May 18, 2020

    I use 2 Tablespoons PoP...2 Tablespoons tap water...2 cups paint. PERFECT! No lumps....glides on like BUTTAH! Its the same consistency as the plaster used for a plaster leg cast. It really is perfect. I can even use paint with primer in it with no problems. Love love LOVE this combo. Its really easy to half or double too. I call it the TRIPLE 2 METHOD. Yeah...i know....get a life....LOL!!!!

  • Fluffette Fluffette on May 18, 2020

    BTW....I also just use flat white paint (the cheap stuff for like $20 bucks a gallon and add my own paint colorants. SOOOOOOO MUCH CHEEAPER!

  • Cathleen Cathleen on Oct 13, 2021

    Hi! I think it’s the primer in the paint. Try finding a paint without primer in it.