Easy DIY Chalk Paint Tutorial

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My side tables are complete! I am so excited to share with you the transformation of two side tables I bought for a whopping $12 each.

I am slightly obsessed with finding frugal furniture pieces for my home that need some TLC. I love having the ability to make these finds look exactly how I envision them. I don’t hate the incredible cost savings either, which I’ll detail later in this tutorial.

To give you some background, I have been searching for end tables for months and months. In my living room, next to my gray sectional, I had one white tray table that I was looking to upgrade. Instead of paying a fortune to get the look I wanted, my goal with this project was to revamp two old side tables into high-quality, expensive-looking pieces.

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For months, I searched for side tables on Craigslist, Facebook groups, and our local Habitat for Humanity. Nothing. Then, last week, I decided to take a peek at the furniture section in Goodwill after I dropped off some old clothes. I couldn’t believe it! I saw a side table that I loved. It had four chunky legs, a drawer, and was in great shape. But, I didn’t see its match, which was a huge bummer…until I glanced around and spotted it. Could it be? YES! I was delighted. I immediately bought them and got to work on planning out my new project.

I always go through a planning phase before just tackling my projects. I want my pieces to look expensive, which means I can’t cut corners in my rehab of these pieces. After I determined the perfect color, I bought all the materials needed. Then, I went to work.

In total, this project took me three days. That’s mostly because I could only work on it at nighttime, after my ever-so-mobile nine-month-old daughter went to bed. If you time it right, you can tackle this project in a day.

COST BREAKDOWN

My Cost: $26.50/end table (I had some of the materials already needed)

I had some of the items I needed for this project already on hand, so the only things I spent money on were the two side tables ($24 total), the chalk paint ($16.98), and new hardware ($11.96). That’s about $53 total, or $26.50 for each table.

Cost Savings: $173.49 – $587.75/end table (This cost savings is based on a comparison using the side tables below as price points.)

I always love seeing a price comparison. Below are several examples of similar side tables that cost way more than I paid. I believe I achieved my goal of creating side tables that have an upscale look for a fraction of the cost.

Compare those to my $27 DIY version:

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

TUTORIAL

1.GATHER/BUY MATERIALS

For this project, you’ll need:

-Chalked Paint (You can use any brand you like. I used Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint in Linen White.)

-Polyurethane (I used Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane in Clear Satin.)

-Hardware. (I used Liberty Mandara Cocoa Bronze Cabinet Pulls.)

-Two Synthetic Brushes (You’ll need one for chalk paint and one for polyurethane.)

-Sand Paper Block

 

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

2.PREPARE YOUR FURNITURE

I cannot stress enough that preparing your furniture is vital. For this project, I lightly sanded the tables so the paint could adhere to the wood. After that, I removed the hardware, dusted the tables, and wiped them down. I also removed the drawers to prepare for painting.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

3. PAINT

Before you start painting, make sure to stir and not shake your chalk paint. It’s also important to note that it’s not recommended to use a roller when applying chalk paint. You should use a high-quality synthetic brush. Two or three coats can be applied, depending on the look you want. Make sure that you let each coat of paint dry completely before painting your next coat.

For this project, I opted for three coats of paint.

Here’s what one table looked like after one coat of paint:

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This is after three coats of paint:

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

4. DISTRESS

If you don’t like the distressed look, you can skip this section and go straight to number five, which is to apply the polyurethane.

If you are looking for a distressed look, this is the part where you’ll begin sanding. Before you sand, make sure that your furniture piece is 100% dry.

I targeted the edges and corners, or the parts that would tend to distress naturally.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

5. APPLY POLYURETHANE

There is a lot of discussion surrounding whether to apply wax or polyurethane over chalk paint. You can use either. I opted for polyurethane in this case. Simply use your brush to apply an even coat over the entire piece. The polyurethane I used says to allow seven days for total cure of the project. It is dry, however, after a couple hours.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

6. ASSEMBLE HARDWARE.

Once the polyurethane is completely dry, assemble the hardware, and you’re done!

Your beautiful new piece is ready to make its debut.

HERE’S HOW MY SIDE TABLES LOOK NOW:

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. If you do a similar project, please let me know how it turns out in the comments below!

PIN IT FOR LATER:

This tutorial is so easy and helpful! I can't wait to try it on my end tables.

Marly Dice
Marly is the founder of A Brick Home, a blog about home renovation, DIY projects, and decorating ideas. A Brick Home helps readers create their version of a beautiful and thriving home on a budget. Marly has had a passion for beautiful home living since she can remember. Even when she used to work in the corporate world as a marketer, she spent her evenings and weekends creating an inspired home space one DIY project at a time. Marly also has a passion for everything blogging-related. She often outlines blogging tips and strategies to help others achieve their blogging goals.

8 thoughts on “Easy DIY Chalk Paint Tutorial”

  1. This is the first DIY chalk paint tutorial that I actually feel like made the process seem achievable. So many are so complicated! I have been thinking of looking for a buffet for my dining room and doing this. I think the one at the Amish furniture store will have to stay there for a while….(expensive!). I love the amount of distressing you did, not too much, not too little. I was wondering how the poly looked after it dried…did it make the paint look a little yellow? I have had that happen before. I can’t wait to give this a try! Wonderful job and so affordable!

    1. Hi Wendy,
      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you found this tutorial helpful.

      That’s a great question. The poly actually did give it a slightly yellowish tint, but it was so minor that it didn’t bother me. Plus, they ended up being almost the exact same color as my kitchen cabinets which was a nice surprise.

      Let me know if you give this a try and how it turns out!

      Have a great day.
      -Marly

  2. I’ve got a coffee table and side table that came with the beach house I bought and They desperately need to be redone but I’ve been a bit intimidated. You’ve inspired me Marly! I’ll post pics if I get bold enough to try when we go back later this month.

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