Furniture Makeovers

HomeMade Chalk Paint Gone Wild

How to fix a home-made chalk paint flop | The Chelsea Project Blog |

I must be the only person in the world

who has stirred up homemade chalk paint…

only to shriek in horror….

because I certainly don’t find any of these accounts on the internet.


It was my first time.


I didn’t know what to expect.

But, even I knew that something had gone terribly wrong

when THIS indigo wall color..


turned into this color of baby blue….


……..when mixed with simple Plaster of Paris.

No……I can’t explain it.

I have no idea what happened.

I just knew it was time for Plan B.

Only….. I didn’t have a Plan B


retreat is not in my vocabulary.

So…I just stood there…

staring at a baby blue concoction

and that awful oak chest.


…Then I decided it was time to saddle up…

time to get tough…

to forge this trail…

to go all Lewis and Clarke…

Daniel Boone….


Davy Crockett.


just like the great pioneers before me…



….what happens.


Day One: The Base Coat

I didn’t sand or use a primer.  After all, everybody says you don’t have to because chalk paint sticks to anything.  At the end of the day, I had great paint adhesion to a full-on baby blue chest.  Yea…the one there…in the middle.  Trust me,  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Sorry…this is the only pic I snapped……just shows you how rattled I was.  

IMG_1861BlueDoorA while later, Hubs takes one look at it…..

the color drains from his face

… he murmurs…..

“Are you going to put THAT in our grown son’s room?”

Now…… is the time where I toss back my hair back,

garner a twinkle in my eye,

and confidently reply,

“Don’t be silly……this is just a base coat.”

……..and then hope…….

he will just. go. away.

Day Two:  The Top Coat

The following morning, my new brilliant plan was to make red chalk paint to go over the blue.  After all, chalk paint is supposed to cover anything.  Then, sand down a few spots and do a black chalk paint dry brush over the entire piece.


Black over red.

It looks like a boy.

It looks grown-up.

Yes….  Yes.  This will work.

So, using the same chalk paint recipe, I mixed fire engine red latex paint with Plaster of Paris…….and….whoohoo… the color didn’t change!

Now… I’m thinking…. things are back on track….

So, I joyfully started singing…. and painting…………until the chest….the chest……begins to turn purple!


And puddling..

Holy cow!

It was puddling and turning purple.

Oh WOW……two DIY meltdowns for the price of one.

Lucky me.

Then.. I thought….”Huuum… chalk paint is supposed to cover anything….and not …ahem….. puddle.”

So…why now?

As horrifying as this was….I kept going.

I figured that….at some point…I would turn this thing around…..but my bulldog determination was no match for that paint.

It kept puddling………and turning purple.


So….ok…whatever happens…good or bad…at least it’s consistent……….from top to bottom.

I was all in……..I tell you……..all in.

I painted the whole chest.

Later that day…….Hubs comes home….

and once again…..

the color again drains from his face….

as he murmurs….

“You do realize this is purple?”


What?  No comment about the puddles?  But…..I digress.

“Oh, yes.”  I replied with even more confidence than the day before.  “This is just the second coat.”

“And, for Pete’s sake,”  I thought to myself.  “Don’t blink……just keep smiling.”

…..and hopefully……

he will just. go. away.

Day Three: The Fix

The next day, I bounced into the garage with yet another grand scheme new plan.

 What happens to the color if this thing is sanded?  I mean…it’s not like I could make it worse.

 So, I gave it a go with some very fine grit sandpaper.


I can’t say it was any better…….but I can say it was no longer purple…….or puddled.

I also didn’t want to admit that my confidence in homemade chalk paint was waning.

So… I began to think about some of my other great saves.

After all, it’s not like I haven’t been down THIS road before.  🙁


I have.

Many times.

But, anyway, back in the day, I had tremendous results using glaze.  Just plain old Ralph Lauren latex glaze…in tobacco color.  My go-to… favorite….my friend.  It was the peanut butter to my jelly.  The macaroni to my cheese.  The wood filler to my bad miter cuts.  The ying to my yang.  When paint jobs went awry…. I could hit them with a little tobacco Ralph…in full strength or watered down…..and every little thing would be all right.

So…now…..I figured……maybe it’s time.

Time to whip out my old-time “go-to” guy………..and get this thing fixed.

Only…..ahhh oh.

New problem.

Did you know that chalk paint sucks up glaze like a dry sponge?

Yea.  Me, neither.

I applied it full strength …..only to watch it glob up and not move.  At.  All.

I promise you that this has NEVER happened.  Ever.

Time to regroup.


Ok….so I was concerned about too much water warping the wood.  After all, this is 100% oak….heavy as a tank….with zero veneer.  Believe it or not…this was this first time I paused….and gave way to the possibility that something could happen that I couldn’t reverse…or hide.

Not. Good.

Before panic had time to completely set-in, I opted to thin out the glaze (about one teaspoonful of water to one cup glaze) and apply it using a wet sponge brush.  I used as little water as possible, but made sure the glaze was even.  Absolutely no globbing allowed.  After the first coat… I saw some progress… I applied another……..and another.  Three coats later…..the baby blue turned purple turned baby blue chest was beginning to show signs of life.


Day Four:  The Hardware

Once the final color began to take shape, it was time to deal with the hardware.  One thing I knew for sure……the original antique brass had to go.


After a light sanding and two coats of spray paint…..


Day Five:  The Assembly

After everything had cured……about 7 days later……we reassembled the pieces to the frame….which had been refinished in the bedroom.


Hubs came home some time later……

…only this time

…the color didn’t drain from his face

…as he murmurs…

…”Looks good.”

…and I no longer had to hope he would go away.


I don’t know if I will ever tell him how I scrambled to wrangle the homemade chalk paint gone wild.

Maybe, some things are best kept and simply shared to fellow DIYers…in the sheltered confidences….of the internet.

But, I surely do appreciate the excitement as I pioneered into furniture refinishing.


And, better understand……..even if it’s only in my little corner of the world……the rush the Great Ones must have felt as they explored America for the very first time.

Yea, guys.

I get you.

Me and my little adventurous heart.



Until next time,

Happy decorating,



  • Reply Maggie Kimble-Bernard February 17, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    WOW! Hearing your story has me reluctant to tackle my newest project.

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 17, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      I think it’s a one in a million whackadoo…. Give it a try and if it goes wild…contact me….and we will fix it.

  • Reply erika February 17, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    What a fabulous transformation! I have a table I am wanting to paint but haven’t had the courage yet…
    Good job!

  • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 17, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    TY….I appreciate your kind words… It’s very encouraging to hear. Bless you.

  • Reply The Cedar Shake Cape February 17, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Wow! Although you had quite the troubles in the process the end result is beautiful! 🙂

  • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Yep…it was the wildest thing….and but I’ve fininshed several pieces since then…without a hitch. So…go figure?

    • Reply Dianna Wilhite February 18, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Do you still go through all the steps as in your first project or did you find an abbreviated version??

      • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 18, 2015 at 8:34 pm

        No. Since then, I have refinished several pieces using chalk paint. I just cleaned each piece well and painted…the only sanding was to distress….and they were great. Waxed a couple and used poly on a couple…I expect you will have a good experience. Just take your time and do everything well. Good luck.

  • Reply Nicole February 24, 2015 at 5:02 am

    Hi, stopping in from Totally terrific Tuesday Party! I think it turned out beautiful 🙂 But what a fun story!

  • Reply How to Use Aging Glaze and Why You Would Want To | The Chelsea Project March 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    […] Then reassure her by showing photos of another girl getting a makeover with glaze.  See here. […]

  • Reply Melanie March 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve never tried making my own, just spend the extra $ to save time. But I have had some wierd things happen even with store bought chalk paint, especially with the wax marketed with the chalk paints. But you persevered and the end result looks great 🙂

  • Reply TV Cabinet Turned Kitchen Cabinet With Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project April 24, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    […] my history with furniture makeovers (Chalk Paint Gone Wild), maybe this wasn’t altogether the smartest thing to […]

  • Reply Phelin May 8, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    I wished to painting a dresser in a dark and rich violet, and the diy mixing become a ligh purple. I painted before the dresser with a primer and took the risk to add black paint to my diy chalk paint, and the result was a darker purple. In the end, i finish the dresser with another mic of Americana decor clear wax and metallic silver. That made de ooops! a WOW!

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog May 9, 2015 at 12:01 am

      How wonderful!!! I’m so glad it worked out!! I’d would be so happy to see a picture of how you fixed your flop… Lol. It seems the violet group of pigments do not like home chalk paint…since this happened to both of us. I used Plaster of Paris…how did you mix yours?

  • Reply The Chalk Paint Diaries: Lessons from a Practice Piece | The Chelsea Project May 20, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    […] What saved this project and my confidence in furniture refinishing was my experience with DIY projects.  To save the piece, I reverted back to an old trick and everything turned out just fine.  The piece is now totally awesome and I love it to pieces.  If you want a peek, click here. […]

  • Reply The Chalk Paint Diaries: Poppie’s Repurposing Paint Powder Review | The Chelsea Project May 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    […] that changed from indigo to baby blue when it was mixed with plaster of Paris.  Remember that fiasco?  And, then applied to a stool from the same furniture family as a chair that had been painted […]

  • Reply Beginner Furniture Painting: A Practice Piece Using Americana Decor Chalk Paint – The Chelsea Project March 22, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    […] What saved this project and my confidence in furniture refinishing was my experience with DIY projects.  To save the piece, I reverted back to an old trick and everything turned out just fine.  The piece is now totally awesome and I love it to pieces.  If you want a peek, click here. […]

  • Reply Product Review: Chalk Paint Made with Poppie’s Paint Powder – The Chelsea Project March 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

    […] of Paris.  Remember that “homemade chalk paint gone wild” fiasco? (Click here for the link)  And then, this mixture was applied to a stool from the same furniture family as a chair that […]

  • Thanks so much for your comment!

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.