Family games table with homemade chalk paint

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Chalk Paint Table Cover Page

Hi friends!

It’s been a good while since the last furniture reclaim we shared with you. Dan has been fine tuning his ‘vision’ for our rec room for a while and we’ve been picking away at updates down there. This table re-do played right into that and came at a perfect time. (Read: before tackling ANY of the painting in the laundry room! That meant I could get drips on the floor AND on the walls… haha!)

In terms of technique though, I tried something a bit different this time. We’ve had this small, drop leaf table for years. It once served as our dining room table in our condo. Then it was our folding table in the laundry room here. Since we have new (and exciting!) plans for the laundry room, it moved to Dan’s rec/man room. We decided it is the perfect thing for a ‘games and puzzle’ table. It tucks away as a console when the leaves are down and then expands when we’re playing a board game or doing a puzzle.Chalk Paint Table Cover Page

BUT – The paint job was lacking. For one thing, it was a boring brown colour. Beyond that, the finish was milky for some reason. And then, it got chipped and scratched when we moved. It needed some new life!Chalk Paint Table BEFORE

Dan’s favourite colour is yellow. So we picked the ‘yellowiest’ yellow we could find that wasn’t too garish, settling on a quart of Calabash by Pittsburgh Paints. We bought it in a flat sheen.

I’ve been seeing so much about chalk paint out there in DIY land, I thought this might be the perfect project to experiment on. I was curious to see what all the hype was about.

Chalk paint promises:

  1. Requires no sanding
  2. Requires no priming
  3. Can be sealed with poly or with wax or can be sanded strategically for a ‘vintage’ look

I was skeptical.

I followed a recipe I found on the Lowe’s website – basically it’s 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1 cup of flat latex paint. That made more than enough for two coats on my table, but unfortunately not enough to finish the job. I had to mix some more to finish the leaves properly. I followed their instructions to use a bristle brush instead of foam rollers.

Chalk Paint Table 4

My initial observations

  1. I hadn’t adequately prepared myself for how much more viscous it was going to be compared to regular latex paint. (I don’t quite know why it surprised me that it was watery considering I added water to it! DUH!)
  2. If you have any sort of short edge (like my table does) have a rag handy. Because it’s so much more watery than regular paint, it’s obviously more susceptible to drips.
  3. Chalk Painted Table 1
  4. It dries VERY quickly
  5. The brush strokes on the first coat looked really, really bad. I ‘chalked’ that up to the fact that I was painting a dark brown table very pale yellow. In theory, I was priming the piece and we all know the primer coat never looks pretty right?
  6. Most instructions say this paint cannot be mixed and then kept. I thought that was a lie until I tried to keep mine. It kept for a little less than 24 hours before becoming clumpy and icky. SO – heed that advice. Only mix what you know you will use. If you’re going to leave it, only do so for a matter of hours and make sure you cover your tray with plastic wrap or foil.
    Chalk Paint Table 2

I don’t know if it would have worked out better using high quality foam rollers. I ended up finishing this entire project using a 3″ and a 1″ bristle brush – so the jury is out on that. Here it is after a second coat – clearly not ready for any sort of debut. You can see the leaves in the background only have one coat on them. (As an aside, it was probably a mistake to paint this yellow table while in my green laundry room. The reflection off the walls made it very hard to photograph and discern the true hue of my table!)

Chalk Painted Table 3

At this point, I don’t think using chalk paint is any easier than regular latex paint on an already painted surface. It still took three coats and the drying time was essentially the same (about 24 hours before I moved it into the rec room, a week before really putting anything on it.)

The plus, perhaps, with chalk paint is that you can stretch your paint dollar. If you only have a couple of cups of colour left, in theory, by making chalk paint you extend its life, you know? A penny saved, kind of thing.

I’m sure I’ll find reason to use chalk paint again on *something* in the house. Until then – I’m going to reserve overall judgement.

What I do know is that it’s totally added a fun and subtle pop of colour to the room!

We have a handful of other small-ish projects to finish up before showing you the whole shebang. Dan has a fun storage solution he’s working on and I’m hoping to boost a piece I reclaimed a couple of years ago to give it some more style!

Chalk Paint Table 8

This isn’t the final spot for this table – but I dressed it up so you can envision it like our games table. Funny, since I’ve finished this project, we have actually played more games!!

Chalk Paint Table 10

It will eventually end up on the opposite wall under a new and simple, high impact, wall feature I’m working on. I had to include this photo because Buddy tried desperately all afternoon to photobomb me!!

Chalk Paint Table 7

This close-up is a fairly accurate representation of the finish this paint achieved. It is much more rough to the touch than regular latex paint. At first, I really wasn’t a fan, but now I think it’s grown on me :)

Chalk Paint Table 11

We have decided to move that rug upstairs to the spare room. We have something in mind for a floor covering for this space that will be more durable and ‘boy and dog’ friendly :) I also have some plans for that thrifted lamp in the corner – the pea green one with the lop-sided shade… haha We picked it up for $2 at a yard sale last year and I *think* I finally know what I’m going to do to dress it up! (Its companion lamp is in our guest room and will likely get the same treatment.)

Chalk painted table 12

Next week, I’ll share a quick and easy tutorial on how I made that graphic art. It might have taken me 1/2 an hour tops. Kinda looks like a flag, eh?

So what do you think? Would you try to make chalk paint? Have you ever used it before? How successful were you? More importantly, what’s your favorite board game?!


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About the author

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DIY Passion

Ahoy! We are Erin and Dan - a couple on a quest to make a house a home. We met in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2009 in a record store (yes, seriously). Since then, we've moved from the city to the sea into a house that admittedly needed some love. Here's where we share our journey through DIYs - from building and constructing, sewing and crafting, musing and inspiring, designing and curating. We'd love for you to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram feeds to follow along and chime in. Thanks for stopping by! xoxo