End tables are a dime a dozen at tag sales…and they are the best way to test out your painting/refinishing skills. Folks worry all the time… “What if I paint it and don’t like it!?!” but when you start out with a beat up $10 table, there should be no worries in your mind at all! Just go for it! Chalk paint is all the rage because of the weathered finish it gives to painted pieces. What I love about it is that it’s hard to mess up. There is no need to be perfect…the look you are going for is imperfect—sounds perfect right?!? (perfectly confusing??) Ok, this is how easy it is to make your own chalk paint with any latex (water based) paint that you may have lying around.
I picked up this end table for $15 at a garage sale. I love the legs, and it has a nice size top which will make a great bar on my screened in porch. There will be a little bit of forethought for mixing up your chalk paint. I ordered some calcium carbonate (which is basically chalk in simple form) off of Amazon. I bought 1 lb online for $9. Don’t go looking all over town for it…you may have a hard time finding it. If you are in a pinch and want to get to work quickly you could try a local Home Brew supply store.
The recipe is this easy…I fiddled around with a few formulas, and this one is really the best. One part calcium carbonate to one part paint. Easy! The trick is to SLOWLY add the calcium to the paint. Here is a tip: use a fine strainer to dust the calcium into the paint. It will be much easier for the paint to incorporate the calcium.
I wiped the table down good and got to painting. I have some leftover gray paint so I used that for this piece. Apply a thin first coat. Let it dry about 30 minutes…brush on another coat and let dry a few hours or overnight. Sand down with a medium grit sander and distress the edges nicely…stopping often to step back and evaluate where you need to sand more. Wipe the entire piece down (vacuuming first is a great idea.) Be sure all the dust is off prior to applying the poly. I really like to use Minwax poly (that I found at my local True Value Hardware). It is the easiest way to get a nice protective finish on chalk paint. Some folks swear by the wax…but I love this wipe on poly. It is so easy and quick! Be sure to use a water based poly---otherwise it may yellow on you.