Painted Projects

DIY Black Chalk Finish Paint

DIY Black Chalk Finish Paint:

A couple of days ago I posted some pictures on my Facebook page to show a bedroom set that I painted this summer that I had not yet blogged about.

The reason I hadn’t shown the makeover on the blog was because I didn’t have great pictures.  I had taken them in my garage and in the back of the truck before delivery.

WELL, I received so many comments about how and what I used to paint it that I knew I had to get a post written for everyone. So I hope you don’t mind pictures that aren’t staged.

This was an entire set…bed, chest of drawers, dresser, mirror, and side table.  So I had to get my sister to help with this or I would have been working on it for a month.

DIY chalk finish paint

DIY Black Chalk Finish Paint-Dresser Before

For this job the client wanted the furniture painted black and she wanted it distressed.  I already had a can of Glidden Duo paint in Onyx Black that I knew was the perfect shade of black so I decided to make my own paint.

I have had people mention to me that they heard you should not make homemade chalk finish paint with a paint + primer but I have done it a few times and I haven’t had any issues.  If you are worried about mixing your own paint, Annie Sloan has a great black called Graphite. If you would like to try your own, here is what I did.

Homemade Chalk Finish Paint Recipe:

1 1/2 cup of Latex paint

1/2 cup of Plaster of Paris

1/2 cup of cold water

First step is to mix the Plaster of Paris with the cold water.  It will have lumps so make sure you stir until they are all gone.  It will be the consistency of skim milk.  Then add the latex paint.  Again, mix together until completely combined.

I think I told someone on Facebook that I didn’t sand…sorry, I realized we did sand after I went back and looked at the pictures.

I don’t usually sand when I use a chalk finish paint but this was such a big job and the furniture had been in storage for a while I wanted to make certain the paint would adhere.

DIY Black Chalk Finish Paint-Sanding Furniture

After we cleaned off all the dust, we painted!

Once the paint dried we distressed.

Then it all got waxed.  I used my Annie Sloan clear wax.

DIY Black Chalk Finish Paint-Dresser

It is probably my favorite painted furniture I’ve ever done.

I decided to leave the hardware in it’s original state because it looked so great with the black.

DIY Black Chalk Finish Paint-Dress and Chest of Drawers

For all of you that said you were working on painting some black furniture, I hope this helps.  You see how I mixed the paint in my original post when I painted my mantel, just click here.

Other projects with chalk finish paint:

Mantel Makeover


Coffee Table Makeover

Coffee Table Makeover-Homemade Chalk Finish Paint



  1. That is my favorite furniture we have ever painted as well. That black was beautiful on that style of furniture!

  2. I adore this! What a beautiful shade of black! I haven’t tried making my own chalk paint yet… but I just might have to do it now! Pinning!

    1. I painted a small table with “my own” chalk paint. It lightened the original shade. Does plaster of Paris cause this?

    2. Chalk paint is always a little lighter until you seal over it. Once you do that the richness of the color comes out.

    3. Good to know! I was wondering if i needed to apply wax …

  3. Love these dressers in black Sonya! Thanks for the chalk paint recipe! I’ve heard calcium carbonate powder also works. I’m going to try both.

  4. Roberta Burke says:

    I make my own chalkpaint all the time almost the same way except I use warm tap water to mix with the plaster of Paris. It seems to dissolve the lumps so much better. Also, I learned the hard way…buy your plaster of Paris at the hardware section and not the craft section. It is smoother.

    1. I did by mine at the hardware store but thanks for sharing about the option at the craft store…I did realize they may be different! ~Sonya

  5. This is beautiful! I just mixed some home made chalk paint too for the Cargo furniture set I made over. Loved how it came out as well as the savings over purchasing paint!

  6. I love how the original finish shows a bit with the distressing. This set looks lovely!

  7. Wow! I never dreamed of refinishing my bedroom set, but now that I have seen exactly ( I have the same exact set) what it could look like, I just might. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. I’m about to paint my daughter’s bedroom furniture, but I keep seeing things about chalk paint that you have to rewax it every so often. I’m wondering if you know anything about that, and also how durable has it been on your furniture?

    1. Maybe after years of wear and you would like to buff up the shine but I have never had to do it. I have a piece that was painted a few years ago and still looks great. The wax gets better with time and hardens sort of.

  9. Uh..can I chaulk paint over the cheepie put-it-together-yourself wallboard/cardboard type furniture that comes from WalMart-type stores? Also is there such a thing as too much distressing? I did a solid birch dresser but I think it needs more distressing before varnishing it. BTW, have you tried the ultramatte? I picked it up but now I’m thinking I should get the soft touch instead. Advice please…

    1. Yes, you can use chalk paint on most anything. Distressing is all up to you, as little or as much as you like, so go for it. I have not tried the ultramatte. I almost ordered it for my kitchen cabinets but decided to stick with the soft touch varnish. I plan to try it though. Let me know how you like it if you decided to keep it.

  10. I stumbled across your post while searching DIY chalk paint as I prepare to paint my bedroom furniture. I have similar sized pieces (a dresser and tall drawers) as you posted and wondered about how much paint you used to complete this project and how many coats you did. Your furniture came out great! I hope to have the same results!

    1. So glad you found the post. Chalk type paint goes a long way. I painted 2 coats then distressed. You will need no more than a quart of paint to mix up your own.

  11. The pieces are lovely. What finish sheen level was the paint–egg shell, etc?

    Thanks for your time,

  12. Sonja Nordahl says:

    Your furniture looks wonderful. Can you tell me how you distressed the furniture prior to painting?

    1. I didn’t do any distressing before I painted. I sanded away some of the paint after the paint was dry, only in the areas that I think would get natural wear and tear.

  13. I put the antique dark wax by Annie Sloan over paris grey & it it makes it more yellow than i like. How can i remove it?

    1. Three options…1. Wax removes wax, so if you also have the clear wax you can go back over the dark and it will lift it off. 2. Sand it off 3. Paint back over it with paris grey.

  14. love your black bedroom set. I used your homemade chalk paint recipe (sort of). I kept reading other ones saying to mix the Plaster to a pancake consistency so I probably only used half of the water and then mixed it in with my 1.5 cups of paint. It was a nice consistency of paint and covered very well for a first coat but fairly it quickly it started to thicken quite about before I finished. I added a splash of water to the remaining paint in my bowl. I’m assuming by the time I do the 2nd coat I will need to add more water still. Is this ok?

    1. Yes, you can add more water. Even store bought Chalk paint thickens over time. I’ve added water to plenty of mine. I would make sure that you add enough water so that it will not thicken before you are done with this coat. Adding the water can ever so slightly change the color and you wouldn’t want that to happen half through painting a coat.

  15. Lee Ann ferguson says:

    Love this post. I came across it on Pinterest looking for chalk paint ideas. I was shocked to see the same style furniture I own! My parents were given what looks like the same set as you finished (slightly different drawer layout on shirt dresser) second hand in the early 1960s. Then it was passed down to me. Which I LOVE IT. such amazing quality. Rare to find in furnitire made these days. I know you mentioned this was for a client but I’m wondering if you know approx age of the furniture? I’d love to know more about how old mine actually is. Thank you for your post. Ironically im thinking of redoing my set for my daughter now.

    1. So glad you found me! I don’t know the age of the furniture but this was also the clients grandmothers. Sometimes if you have find the name and style of the furniture in a drawer or on the back you can google it and see some similar. This furniture was given new life with the black. It was gorgeous!

  16. What did you finish with? Wax or poly? The furniture is lovely!

  17. I am happy that I came across your blog today, as I love to refurbish quality furniture. Your set came out beautifully, I’m sure your client was pleased with the outcome. I am interested in Paris Grey that was mentioned. Do you know who makes it? Again, kudos; you really did a beautiful job.
    This is when I sort of wish our home wasn’t “done”, but after 48 years of marriage, we have pretty much finished our decorating, and have no room for any “new ideas” unless it is a project like yours, refurbishing we already have! It is nice to be all cozy and
    “Finished”, but I love decorating, and the ideas keep coming, with no more room! Oh well, I do enjoy seeing new ideas, and if my
    Kids need any help or advise, I keep a file for just that sort of thing, and your beautiful project was added to that file! Thank you for such good advice. Experience is a wonderful thing, and I love to read what people are doing with old furniture!
    So thank you again!

  18. Hi Sonya!

    I have just discovered your blog. Just love it!
    Please tell me what kind of brush do you use to paint the furniture?

    Thank You,

    1. These are my favorite brushes. It always depends on what I am painting and the type of technique I use but this set is the most used. Here is my affiliate link to amazon.

  19. Beautious! I have done small pieces with Chalk paint – and love it. BUT I need to redo my dining room table- i am trying to save it after my house fire. I am NOT a fan of BRUSH STROKES – so the top of the table literally is stopping me from starting the project. so i ask — did you BRUSH this on- and if so, can you see the “start-stop” of the paint? Can you take a photo of the top – or any large surface area where you would have to blend the strokes? My other option is to use my sprayer but i won’t be able to use chalk painr in it. THanks for any reply from anyone!!!!

    1. The only way to not see brush strokes is with a sprayer and you can certainly put chalk paint in your sprayer. Just add water to it!

  20. Hi Sonya, wow! Stunning result! I’m just starting out chalk painting and want to try something with the black finish. I decided to cut the recipe to a third (1/2 cup paint and whatever a third of a half cup worked out to for the plaster of Paris and water) for a practice run on an old coffee table. When I mixed them – it went grey and I’m worried this will happen if I mix the full recipe as well. How did you get it to stay black? Thanks!

    1. It may lighten the color some but not too terribly much. One thing about chalk paint though is that it is a dry chalky color and will darken a good bit when waxed! I would test it on a piece of scrap wood with was to see that it is the color you want.

    2. Thanks so much Sonya – I’ll give it a try!

  21. These pieces look amazing! Ivery iced my own chalk paint with a Behr brand and after.mixing in the diluted PoP, it lightened my black paint to a deep dark charcoal color!? I did 2 coats and still…🙁 The only difference is that I used warm water but I don’t really think it was that. Might you have any idea why I can’t get it to stay and deep black like the original? TIA, Jules

    1. Have you waxed it yet? That is what will bring the darker color back out!

  22. Dianne Spencer says:

    Is there any issue with brush strokes left imprinted in the paint?

    1. You will get some brush strokes. If you want a smooth finish try using a foam roller. I like the 6 inch ones made for kitchen cabinets. You will have to paint the details with a brush though if your furniture has any. I’d do that first then roll.

  23. Beth Whitmore says:

    Just bought rustoleum chalked charcoal paint but it isn’t black like I thought. I’m going to mix your chalk paint with black but my question is, can I use the rustoleum chalked matte clear topcoat instead of waxing? I’m redoing my bedroom furniture also .

  24. Any chance you remember what latex paint /color you used? I love the color you got!

  25. Mackenzie says:

    Does it have to be latex paint?

  26. Do you have a photo of the bed? I have these from my grandmother – dresser, 2 chest of drawers and dressing table. The bed and dressing table still were out in storage and lost or damaged. I’ve never seen them but would love to know what to look for to add to set.

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