Chalk-painted Side Table

I spotted this side table at the Salvation Army last summer, and my first thought was “Oh, that would make an adorable little chick brooder”. That crazy thought lasted for only a second, because on closer inspection I saw that it was far too sound for such a fate. I intended to paint it bright glossy white and set it next to my recliner in the family room. I’ve developed quite a pile of books and crochet patterns in that location, so it would be the perfect thing to corral that mess.


When I found a DIY recipe for chalk paint, which I am far too cheap to pay retail for, I changed my plan just a little. I decided to paint the table a more creamy color, and since I had at least two other pieces that would look perfect in that color, it would be even easier on the wallet.

Here’s how it went:
First, I mixed up 1 part plaster of paris and 1 part water. I stirred that very well, until there were no lumps, not even small ones (or so I thought, more on that later). Then I added 3 parts of flat paint and mixed well. Tip: make sure your can of paint is well shaken before you mix the plaster and water. If you have to take the time to stir it before adding it to the plaster of paris/water mixture, it will begin to set up fairly quickly and you’ll have to start over. Ask me how I know.

The consistency seemed a bit watery to me, as compared to straight flat paint. I have no idea how it would compare to the good stuff, but if when I DIY it again, I’ll probably use a little less water.

The next step is to paint the (clean, dust-free) piece.

You’re generally not supposed to need to prime before using the name brand chalk paint. I didn’t prime (although the paint I bought had primer in it), and found that I needed 3 coats of the DIY stuff on the whole piece. Since it dries pretty fast, I can live with that.

The first coat in progress

The first coat in progress

The first coat dry

The first coat dry

Second coat in progress

Second coat in progress

Little bits of plaster that I didn't notice until the paint dried

Little bits of plaster that I didn’t notice until the paint dried

Most chalk-painted pieces that I’ve seen in Blogland have been “distressed”. I really don’t care for that look, so I sanded the high spots very, very carefully to soften the brush marks and smooth out the little bits of plaster. If I know my kids, the table will acquire authentic distressing over time anyhow.

I went back and forth about whether to seal the paint with wax or polyurethane. The wax that is formulated for chalk paint is, like so many good things, not readily available in my region. I was concerned that paste wax would be too hard for this application and might pull the paint back off. On the flip side, I know that poly can bubble up when brushed on, it stinks, and it’s been far too cold to use spray poly outdoors.

In the end, I ordered some Fiddes & Sons soft wax online and used an old paint brush to apply it. I enjoyed working with this wax, even though it doesn’t smell so good.

Once the wax cured, I put the door pulls back on. They received a quick coat of brushed nickel spray paint back when I was working on the purple dresser.
door pulls

I placed my electric hurricane lamp on the table, and I think they were meant for each other. Unfortunately, there isn’t an electric outlet anywhere near my recliner, so they’re going to live in a different spot for the time being.





Have you painted any furniture lately? Linking up to Serenity Now.

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9 Responses to Chalk-painted Side Table

  1. Love this. I would like to paint the tables in my living room this summer so I may have to give this a try!

  2. You did an incredible job on this piece! I love the color that you chose.

  3. Brenda says:

    Beautiful job! Love that lamp too! Just my style!

  4. Love this- I just splurged on chalk paint (a bday present to myself)and love it but wish I had seen your recipe first! Visiting from find a friend Friday!

  5. Pingback: Jewelry Organizer |

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