Best Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe

Happy first day of the Christmas season! I highly value the tradition of the Thanksgiving holiday and resent the degree to which the retail industry seems to ignore Thanksgiving in an effort to zoom from Halloween mania to Christmas decor. Therefore at our house nothing distinctively Christmas is donned until the Friday following our day of thanksgiving; with one exception. I don't have a sizeable enough fall wreath to hang by the front door, so I jumped the gun and used something evergreen. But it's there I drew the line. 

I hope your Thanksgiving day was blessed, and the meal delicious.

In my last post I promised I would share my best homemade chalk paint recipe and chat with you about my technique for painting mason jars and other glass. So let's get started~

Perhaps the most time-intensive exercise in any project is assembling needed supplies.

You will want to find a variety of Mason jars or glass bottles. You probably have a random assortment already, but in case you need to buy something, I found that Hobby Lobby had the most choices and the best prices. Often times the jars are on sale for 50% off.

I have tried three of the four chalk paint recipes written about by bloggers. The common ingredient is good quality paint. This really matters, and I can't stress it enough. After a lot of experimenting, I've decided my personal favorite is Valspar's best quality flat paint. However, brand doesn't matter. Work with whatever you prefer, but choose the highest quality the brand offers.

In order to make the paint chalky, you will need to choose one additive from this list of choices~

1. Baking Soda
2. Plaster of Paris
3. Sanded Grout
4. Calcium Carbonate

Calcium Carbonate is far and away the proven winner for me, though admittedly I have not tried sanded grout.

I ordered NOW Calcium Carbonate from our local health food store about 5 years ago. At that time a 12-ounce bottle cost about $9. Unless DIY stores have started carrying it, you will have to order it in advance. Therefore, this is not a project you can just decide to do without some prior planning unless you want to use one of the additives you happen to have.


1 Cup Flat Paint
1/2 Cup Calcium Carbonate
1-1/4 Cup of Water

To begin with, pour one cup of paint into a suitable small container. Next, sift the CC (I used a fine mesh strainer) into a small bowl. Add the water and mix very well. Then add the CC paste to the paint and mix thoroughly. If you have an old hand mixer or an electric paint mixer, I strongly recommend using. Don't worry. Chalk paint cleans off anything very easily with just water.

The next step is to take a sea sponge (I like to cut the sponge in half) and begin dabbing paint onto your glass jars. Below you can see my jars with one coat of paint.

Simply rotate the jar around until you've covered them completely with paint. Let them dry completely in a warm spot. This will only take about an hour.

Follow up the first coat with another coat and let that dry. After two coats I noticed that there were still some thin spots, so I just dabbed here and there to fill in.

A note of caution. I wash my sponge completely in warm water between coats of paint. However, you must make sure you squeeze all of the water completely out of the sponge before using it again. Squeeze with your hand and then wrap the sponge in a towel and squeeze again. I created a mini-disaster when I tried to spot-paint my jars with a sponge that was too wet! I actually pulled paint of the jars with the wet sponge which made a clumpy mess.

When your jars are completely dry and you are satisfied with the appearance, take an emery board or a piece of sandpaper and shabby them up a bit. You accomplish this by sanding the high points on the jar, such as the writing or the little fruit embellishments.

Aren't these cool? I think they are.

The next important step is to spay your completed jars with a fast-drying polyurethane. This is necessary to ensure that your paint is impermeable to water, oil, fingermarks, and the likes. Larry sprayed mine in the house by setting them in a cardboard box turned on edge. Currently, it is much too damp to spay anything outside.

Lastly, if you want to really add some wow factor to your jars, add a cute knob.

Hobby Lobby again to the rescue~ knobs at a deeply discounted price.

I painted a few other things in addition to these quart sized, wide mouth jars~

You need to just start playing around with the paint and your technique as I did. After a while, you will figure out what works for you. An example is that I like to use the flat part of the sponge. That's why I cut it in half. I did not have any luck with a brush. I felt like a brush on glass leaves marks, even with 3 or more coats. This project is a lot of trial and error, but the results are worth the time you invest. 

The jars make great gifts; empty or filled with something special. I'm giving one friend a white jar filled with spa cloths that I've knitted this year. 

Perfect for a bathroom.

Alternately, you could paint the jars beige or brown and fill them with a baking mix or cocoa perhaps. I actually think the possibilities are limitless. If you have good quality flat paint left over from redos and updates, try it! I have some lovely French blue paint that I intend to work with after Christmas.

I hope you've enjoyed my tutorial and will give the painted jar project a try. I encourage questions so feel free to be in touch.


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