Friday, November 4, 2011

Make your OWN Annie Sloan! aka Chalk Paint

a pic of their opening night party
Happy Weekend Friends!
Before I get to the chalk paint, I have some exciting news I'd like to share with you. I have just been added as a vendor to an amazing new boutique in Austin called "flock."  I am so excited about this, to think my products are finally in a 'brick and mortar' store!  In fact they cleaned out my etsy shop, so I am working at a feverish pace to restock it for some upcoming showcases as well as the holidays. But I'll have lots of new pillows, some refinished vintage desks, consoles, and even a dining set I am working on, (using my recipe for chalk paint ;) Here is a brief write up that was in the Austin paper about 'flock';

Friends flock together for business
Flock, a new addition at South Lamar Boulevard and Oxford Avenue, is a local artists' oasis nestled in a growing area of locally owned business in 78704. Flock was born from the collaboration and friendship between owner Tamara Carlisle and manager Ashley Woodson, whose mutual love and appreciation for the art and talent of their Austin neighbors lead to a business partnership. Flock carries jewelry by Tracy Tenpenny, Mari Andrade and Woodson's line. Other items include home accessories, furniture and d├ęcor, art work, greeting cards and Carlisle's Lights Out candles. The women at Flock officially opened their store in mid-September and search online marketplace Etsy to bring in new local artists each week. Flock is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 2120 Oxford Ave. 707-1093. 

Anyhoo, if you are in the area be sure to check them out.  These gals have a great mix of things that are so artfully displayed you just want to sit and take it all fact they do private parties there were you and your friends can partake in some wine, some shopping and lots of fun!

Now on to chalk paint~chances are that gorgeous piece you saw in the antique mall, the one that had that perfect patina, that time-worn distressed look was the result (and hard work!) of the refinisher and a can of this magical chalk paint.  'Annie Sloan' is the ONLY manufacturer of this stuff and its beyond expensive.  It costs 39.99 per quart to be exact.  That's per QUART, not gallon.  And there are very few distributors so most people have to pay the shipping on top which equals over $50.00 for again, a QUART.   Lately the blogs are a buzz with different recipes/concepts/ideas, etc of how to create some of this yourself.  I just wanted to share my personal experience and what I thought of it with you.  

So chalk paint, by name implies there is a chalk like substance in it right?  I've read various theories on this and here are some of the additives people have used with success: sandless grout, whiting powder, plaster of paris, and calcium carbonate.  I chose to try calcium carbonate because that is what chalk is actually made of, a form of limestone.

I bought a cheap sample size of paint ($2.50) at Home Depot-my home away from home-and purchased some Calcium Carbonate at a local health food store for 7.75, you can also order online from or other places.

One sample pot of paint is 8 oz. and I'd read whatever additive you choose should be a 3:1 mix so I went conservative and added 2 oz. calcium carbonate.
 It definitely maintains a sediment like consistency now matter how much you mix it, in fact these pics are taken a week after I mixed it and it is STILL like that.  

 I tested it on my large picture frame from the previous post. And what I found was that it still went on well, and you can add a tiny bit of water to dilute things too.  The first coat is a little scary, but you have to lightly sand after it is dry, BEFORE you apply your second coat.  Then just a light sanding and whatever distressing you want to do, and all the clumps go away.  Now I have never used Annie Sloan as I just can't swallow the cost, but this to me-is a great alternative and definitely worth experimenting with.  Especially with sample paint pots and a small piece of wood just to get a feel for it, decide on your preferences for the mixture (add more water? more calcium carbonate? etc).  I'd really love to hear from anyone who's tried the plaster of paris or the unsanded grout.  How do they compare?
I hope some have found this at least helpful in attempting to try this.  I definitely think it can be done, and I will be attempting it again and sure to post the results when I do!
Have a great weekend! XO


  1. What I would like to know but can never find out is this: Are you starting with FLAT paint(your sample pot)? No gloss, correct?

  2. I just ordered some calcium carbonate online. ill give it a shot and let you know how it goes. i was thinking maybe stir the calcium carbonate into a little hot water to stop the clumps what do you think? did you find that this adhered well to your stuff without primer?

  3. Wendy-Correct,I used a flat/matte sample of Behr 'Cottage White' for this.

    Lauren-I tried your hot water suggestion this morning on a console I'm doing and it was BRILLIANT! I used 2 oz Calcium Carbonate with .5 oz hot water and stirred for a full minute. Clumps be gone! Let me know how it goes for you, I'm waiting to see how things adhere still...

  4. EXCELLENT! Cant wait to try it. i ordered calcium carbonate online and i also picked up unsanded
    grout. also i just watched a video where a person
    used baking soda so that is a thought too. ill keep you posted.

  5. I have just started to follow your blog as I would love up dates to your chalk paint experiment. Can you use it without sanding your piece? how has it lasted on your project? Thanks for the info.

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! What a great tip, and it works! I just picked up the calcium carbonate from my local health food store (just enough to test and not expensive at all). I used two heaping tablespoons with just enough hot water to make smooth. It was kind of pasty at first, so I added just a bit more hot water, then I added this goo (in a larger containter) to a sample of satin latex. It's perfect!! I painted the inside of our back door with a beautiful soft grey and the finish looks like velvet. Two coats, no priming, 45 minutes - Done!

    1. Awesome!! You just made my day:). If you seal it, use a paste wax as any kind of clear-coat (polyurethane, etc) can change/ darken your color a little bit, unless you want that than its fine. Thanks so much!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Another Alternative to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is CeCe Caldwell....its a green product, no VOC's safe to breathe and ABOVE all made right here in the USA! It goes on beautifully and you can find it at The Austin Gift Company or

  7. I use a 3:1 mix of paint and baking soda. The baking soda is cheap and readily available (sodium bicarbonate). I cruise the "oops" pots of paint at the hardware store and can usually find a color that I like. Many times you can pick them up for less than a dollar. I like the idea of painting each piece a slightly different color so that the room looks as though it came together over a period of time rather than all at once. It is okay to not have everything "match"! I use Annie Sloan wax, though pricey, it goes a long way. I am going to try Miss Mustard Seeds wax when this pot of wax runs out. I also would like to experiment with milk paint. I have used the baking soda/chalk paint recipe for a long time and love the results!!!

  8. How wonderful to have found this blog. I am in my 60's and found Annie Sloan a couple years ago. I have done several pieces repurposing things in my home rather than buy items at furniture stores that fall apart if you look at them wrong. Next big project will be my built in cabinets in our master bathroom which after 26 years need either to be replaced or repainted. I opted to repaint...I know, my eyes where big at the time I spoke up to my husband, Oh yeah, I can do that. I have taken the ideas here and bought from evitamins and hope to use calcium carbonate and see if it works on paint I have here and didn't know what to do know ladies that change of mind thing we do. I find one look I absolutely love is taking an old white paint over any color and taking the dark wax of Annie Sloans and pushing into the crevices a little at a time and wiping off the wax as you go...the look is amazing. I would have used dark wax a long time ago knowing this look was waiting for me. It's in her book. I am in love with chalk paint so all the ideas and trials here I am going to try. You are correct, the price of Annie Sloan chalk paints and waxes are a bit much but they go a very long way. I have used one can of dark wax on 2 armed french chairs and still have about half of a can left. Thats really pushing it in the designs well and using it all over the chair even underneath. I love all the young minds here giving such wonderful ideas. It goes to show you are never too old to learn. Thanks to everyone for their comments of how to make chalk paint.

  9. I also could not swallow the cost of that paint. However, today I am trying your recipe. Thank you soooooo much for posting this. I have looked everywhere for an alternative.

  10. Will chalk paint go onto laminite / vaneer furniture that has a particle board base without sanding or prep work or is this type of product not recommended for those types of applications? Also, could you use high gloss paint with this and not have to wax at all?

  11. Chalk paint can be used on any of those, without prepping/sanding however be warned after your first coat you MAY need to apply a primer if there is bleed through, then apply a second coat of the chalk paint. Laminate is the most difficult to get paint of any kind to adhere to but all will to some degree.

    High gloss and enamel paints provide a more durable surface. I wouldn't use a wax on these at all as it will dull the sheen a bit. I would use a clear coat of some king instead, if anything. Hope this helps!

  12. I tried the calcium carbonate recipe this weekend for my first attempt. I did it before I read your blog. Rats. The finished piece didn't feel chalky smooth (as people who use the ASCP stuff say) but I'm wondering if it would have if I had lightly sanded it as you suggested? HOw is the texture of yours after you're done and waxed? Thanks.