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How to Make DIY Chalk Paint Using Store Samples

Save Money by Making Chalk Paint in Store Sample Pots

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For many of my projects, like when I made this modern rustic sign for a boy's nursery recently, I only need a small amount of paint. I don't want to commit to purchasing a quart, so I'll buy just a sample size from Home Depot or Lowes. The price is affordable and I then mix my own chalk paint right in the sample container!

Home Depot sample paints are available in a flat finish and I usually purchase this sample by Behr, and have my choice of color mixed in right at the store. These little sample pots cost right around $3.00 each for 8 oz.

The same size paint sample, available at Lowes, is a little bit more ($3.50) and is only available in a satin finish...but they'll custom mix your choice of Valspar colors right in.

To be honest, I'm a little more partial to the Home Depot version...only because the finish is flat, and that's important for me when I want to achieve that chalky, matte look. However, there are times when I want to do a quick project and I don't want to take the time to wax, and that's when the Lowe's sample paint works best because it has a little bit of sheen already in it.

That said, I'll pick up samples whenever I'm in either store, it's really not that big a deal!

Let me show you how I make my own DIY chalky paint, and I'll have a supplies list at the bottom for you.

Note: I write the recipe directly on my bottle of Calcium Carbonate; that way I don't have to try to remember it, 'cause if you're like me...there's always too much going on in my head and I'm apt to forget!


To make my DIY chalk paint recipe work in these sample-size pots, we are actually halving the recipe. The paint will be a little thinner, but trust me, it will still work! Measure out 1 Tbs of both the Plaster of Paris and the Calcium Carbonate into the bowl.

Add just enough hot water to make a paste (roughly 2 tsp but start with 1 and slowly add more as needed) want the consistency to be like thick pudding.

Mix and mix and mix, scraping the sides and bottom of bowl so that all the lumps are gone and it's completely smooth. Those lumps are what cause all the issues with DIY chalk paint, and even when you mix a lot, you'll still wind up with a few.

So mix well.

Now just scrape this mixture into your paint and give it another really good mix.

And just like that, your DIY chalky paint is ready to use! It's that simple.

When I do this, I always mark on the lid of the sample paint that it's chalk paint.

Go ahead and PIN this image for easy reference in the future!

As promised, here are the items you'll need to make your own DIY chalk paint in sample paint pots:

Supplies Needed

If you're interested in mixing larger quantities, here is my regular DIY chalk paint recipe:

Chalky paint goes a looong way, if you're new to using it you will be amazed at how much you can paint with a little bit!

For that reason, I wouldn't recommend doubling this recipe as the paint doesn't have a long shelf life. You can definitely keep the leftovers to use again, but over time it will clump and harden.

A good rule of thumb with DIY chalk paint is to mix just what you need for your project.

I hope it's been helpful to see how I mix my diy chalk paint and that you have many hours of happy painting and many completed projects using this recipe!

Here are some of my recent projects, completed with my DIY chalk paint recipe:

painted sign
Modern Rustic Sign

kids activity table and chairs
Painted Activity Set

painting an oak bed
Oak Bed Makeover
And if you're a chalk paint junkie like I am, I encourage you to read these informative posts:

Chalk Paint 101 - for beginners
Chalk Paint 201 - at inside look at 10+ brands with honest reviews!

Have a fabulous week! I'll see you back here on Friday with another great project!

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  1. Thanks for the recipe!!! Guess every time I go to Home Depot or Lowe's I'll have to start buying samples of paint!!! That never even occurred to me!!

    1. Yes Farm Quilter, it's such a good way to save money!

  2. I'm so glad I ran across your blog! I'm preparing to undertake my first ever chalk paint project, my 20 yo bedroom set, and I am finding your blog incredibly helpful. Especially the whole idea of mixing my own. I'm having visions of all kinds of color and painting all kinds of furniture pieces. :) Thanks again!

    1. Hi Witney, I'm so glad you're finding my posts informative! Chalk paint is such fun to use and when you make you're own, the colors are limitless! Good luck on your project!!

  3. How long will it last in the sample jar? I would like to use this for my wood signs but won't use up the whole jar at once. Thanks!

    1. Hey Jill, great question! As long as it's tightly sealed, it should last you a couple months. I'd you go to use it and it's a little thick, just add a little water abs mix well to blend.

  4. I recently purchased a 100 year old home with original wood floors. Currently, in the bedrooms, the floors are painted a dark, chocolate brown. I am considering a chalkpaint or whitewash type of cover in a much lighter color to brighten up the space. Would your DIY version be something to consider for this kind of a project? I assume that it would need to be covered with a clear coat of some sort. Any suggestions?

    1. Ashley, first of all, congrats on your home purchase! It sounds wonderful! I have never painted a floor and i probably wouldn't use chalk paint on them but here's what I would do. Sand the floors down to remove the brown paint. Depending on the color of the natural wood, you could then whitewash them or simply protect them with Hemp oil or a flat poly. If you choose to whitewash, I would probably use porch paint that will be more durable and able to handle the heavy wear of foot traffic, rather than diy chalk paint. You could thin the paint with a little water first, brush on and wipe off with a damp rag. That would give that time worn look. The porch paint probably would not require atop coat of any kind. Good luck!

  5. When you mix the chalk paint does it lighten the color of the paint, or does it stay true to the original? I have not been able to locate the perfect color for my kitchen cabinets to fit in with my color scheme, and am considering mixing my own. Just worried it could lighten. Any advice is appreciated! Wonderful tutorials!

    1. Hey Julie, thanks for the great question. I have not noticed any lightening, but I haven't tried to match the color to an existing one. I think it would only really affect dark colors but even then would be minor. Good luck with your project!

  6. When I try to make my own chalk paint it always goes on gritty. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I have tried several different recipes but its always the same. My last piece was a dresser in barn red but I ended up having to sand the entire thing because the paint finish felt like it had measles. Any suggestions?

    1. I'm sorry you're having this problem. The grittiness is due to the powder not fully dissolving. Be sure to use very warm water and mix until powder is fully dissolved before adding it to your paint!

  7. Hi Cindy! Wonderful ideas. I have wanted to use these paint samples but did not want the satin finish. So nice to know home depot has them in flat. My question is, do I still need to mix the calcium carbonate and plaster of Paris into the flat paint since it is already sort of chalky, or just into the satin? Thank you, Jill

    1. Hi Jill, for the best results, I would still use the recipe as is, even with the flat sample paint. Flat paint on its own isn't really chalky, it just doesn't have any sheen. Good luck!

  8. Hi there-
    I do have one clarifying question...the recipe calls for 1c of paint, so I'm wondering why you halved the recipe when using the sample pots. They are 8oz, which is 1c...right?! ;-) Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Tracy, you are correct. I halved the amount of add-ins only so that I wouldn't over fill the sample paint pot! As I mention above, the resulting chalk paint is slightly thinner but will still work. You could always pour the paint into a larger container and mix. This recipe is for convenience ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. I understand now! I'm new to chalk paint so didn't quite understand the thickness part of the equation. ;-) Thanks so much!

  9. Hello. If I wanted to mix up an entire quart of chalky paint, how much POP, CC, and water would I need?

  10. Do you know that the sample jars of paint sold at Home Depot & Sherwin Williams are not the same quality and do not have the durability as the paint sold in the quart size. I spose they are okay for a project where that is not important. I'm not sure if Lowes samples are the same. I have talked to the sales people about this.

  11. Great ideas! Thank you so much. I have been told not to use wax on kitchen cabinets, makes sense to me but, do you have to seal the paint?

    1. Hi Kim, yes anything that will be used daily should be sealed.


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