Furniture Painting – DIY Chalk Paint Vanity Redo!

furniture painting

Last weekend I stumbled upon this old vanity/dressing table buried at the back of a flea market booth. It had an awful paint job, tons of lacquer slathered on, a hole in the bottom of one of the drawer faces and a drawer that was broke and missing the guide. I was going to pass it up, but then the lady said I could have it for $15! I couldn’t leave it for that price. I did a ton of research and decided to go with chalk paint, but the Annie Sloan chalk paint is nearly $40 a quart. So of course, I did more research and found a way to make my own! Here’s what I did.

{DIY Chalk Paint Recipe} 

There are a ton of chalk paint recipes online, but I read around and decided to go with one from Elizabeth & Co. Basically, I marked a measuring cup with four equal lines, put in Plaster of Paris to the first line, mixed water into that until smooth and then filled to the top of the fourth line with my chosen paint. I went with a paint and primer in one from Ace Hardware in a flat tourquoise.

{The Process}


I apologize for not having pictures of the whole process, but this was my first time trying furniture painting with chalk paint and I was nervous. I sanded the whole piece lightly with 80 grit sandpaper just to rough it up. The beauty of chalk paint is that you don’t have to do this, but I did, just because of the amount of lacquer someone had pasted on this thing.

Then, I thoroughly washed the whole piece down. It had been outside, so it took a few buckets of grimy water before it as clean. After that, I removed the drawers and removed the hardware from the drawers. Finally, it was painting time. I painted to the first coat and almost died!

It looked horrible! It barely covered the surface and showed brush strokes everywhere. I let it dry, started painting a second coat and breathed a sigh of relief. It covered beautifully. I didn’t want brush strokes on this piece, so I painted with the brush in one hand and the roller in the other so I could go over it lightly. This way you don’t waste so much paint!

After painting, I distressed the piece here and there and then put on two coats of paste furniture wax. I used Minwax, but there are tons of other kinds. I also sprayed some white primer that was shellac based onto the metal hardware and painted them an off white color. Once they were dry, they got attached to the drawers and the piece was done. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I patched the hole that was in the face of one of the drawers with wood putty and sanded it down before painting.

vanity redo
DIY furniture painting

That’s it! Furniture painting at its easiest. I seriously would not go any other way when painting furniture again. Nothing beats not having to do extensive sanding and priming!



  1. Thanks Lisa! I did this inside on a sheet in my living room LOL. It has rained every day for the last week here, so I am not going outside. My only worry is the cat jumping on it LOL.

  2. I love how it turned out! Im always so scared of how things will turn out if I pain them fun colors. Must give it a try soon!!

  3. Steph, I was scared to death! I have never painted anything a bright color either, well except for my living room walls LOL. I'm glad I did. Now, I have a really nice rust orange I am going to do on an end table.

  4. well I guess this gives me confidence to do the crafty project I posted about, huh? Too bad you dont live closer so you can't do mine for me, lol

  5. Now that looks good and I think you should give it some outlines to make it much better.

  6. It really isn't that hard to fit it in Tricia. Since you have to wait for the paint to dry in between, it only takes an hour or half hour here and there. The thing that took the longest was probably the washing of it in the beginning because it had been sitting in an uncovered area outside LOL.

  7. That is such a PERFECT color! I love it! &I'm surprised at how easy it was. We have a dresser in our room that is hideous {honey oak, and water damaged on top from water glasses} &I've been wanting to paint it but have been too afraid.

  8. Shell, this would definitely be a simple way to redo that dresser. I'll put up pictures of the dresser I redo later this week when I get it done. You don't have to sand profusely and the paint covers everything. It will chip easily if the wax coating is not put on, but if you don't want to use wax, you could use a spray or paint on polyurethane too.

  9. I liked the wood tone before, but that godawful white on it had to go. The results were a nice improvement.

  10. The before/after pictures for this piece are amazing; the difference is spectacullar! Thanks for sharing your process.

  11. That's a great piece! I have never painted with chalk paint. What's the difference between chalk and regular paint? Are there any cons to chalk paint?

  12. Thanks Jeannette. Basically, chalk paint is thicker and covers more easily than regular paint. You don't have to sand or prime with chalk paint. The downside to chalk paint is it can chip or scratch very easily if it is not sealed with a wax or polyurethane coating correctly. If you purchase it, it is also quite pricey, but that can be combated by making your own. πŸ™‚

  13. Chalk paint seems like a great idea, but I used DrawItPaint on my desk and it’s the same results but it lets my kids leave me notes wherever they go. Kids say the cutest things.

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