I started using a homemade chalk paint several years ago, and I have been asked a few times to share the recipe and technique for my “chippy” pieces.
Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe
1 quart of matte or flat latex paint
1 cup of Plaster of Paris
Be sure to wear gloves and a mask when working with plaster of paris and take proper safety precautions as stated on its packaging.
In a small bowl, mix hot water with plaster of paris. I try to add just enough water to the plaster of paris to ensure it can properly dissolve. You want a bit thinner than a paste, don’t add too much or it will thin out your paint. I just eyeball it and add water slowly. Stir until it has fully dissolved. Slowly add mixture into quart of paint and mix well.
When using chalk paint in general, I always keep a small bowl of water nearby. While I am painting a piece, I frequently will dip the tip of my brush into the water and then into the paint. It makes the chalk paint glide on the surface smoothly. Never do this with regular latex paint, however!
To create the chippy look, I use a wet distressing method. To do this, I grab a damp, lint free rag. Once the paint has dried, I simply wipe the piece back and forth with the damp rag. The more pressure I put on the piece, the more it distresses. Then I take a dry rag and wipe the excess water off the piece. This is a really important step, because if you don’t do this there may be a haze over the distressed parts.
I tend to like to distress over the raised edges of furniture. I think this looks the most natural. Sometimes, however, I will rub the rag back and forth with a lot of pressure against the non-raised surfaces, and this will create a really weathered look. It all depends on what type of look you are going for. Distressing becomes a bit of an art form. You really want it to look natural, rather than spotty.
What type of paint do you use? Have you ever used the wet distressing method? Let me know in the comments!