Furniture Flip: DIY Chalk Paint Dresser

You may remember that a few weeks ago I introduced you to some fabulous new site contributors. You’ve since heard from Holly (events and party design), Kendra (Blogger tutorials) and Emilie (Photography).

Today, I am excited to introduce you another amazing woman.

Meet Ann Marie!

Twice Lovely

Ann Marie is an Arizona based blogger with a furniture refinishing business and an ETSY shop on the side. Her DIY furniture flips have been featured on some of the biggest sites online.

Amazingly, she is able to fit all this in whilst raising four children with her husband and blogging at Twice Lovely. Incredible.

Ann Marie’s posts will be filled with all the details she puts in to each “Furniture Flip.”

The Furniture Flip: Chalk Paint Dresser


I picked up this sturdy old dresser from the local Craigslist. It’s mammoth weight and the dove-tail joints told me that despite it’s ho-hum appearance, this piece was built to last and needed a fresh new look so it could be loved and enjoyed again.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe

I’ve been hearing about different methods of making your own chalk paint at home. I’m always for ANYTHING that saves me moolah!! After some research and on the recommendation of some furniture refinishing friends, I settled on trying out this recipe:

(It actually ended up being way too much paint for the body of this dresser, and I would think a half recipe would cut it for most projects.)

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed working with it! I’ve only had one experience with the pricey chalk paint (that shall remain nameless) so I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but I applied the paint without priming or sanding and the adhesion was great!

A tip if you try this recipe out for yourself: Don’t try and overwork the paint. Just lay it down and let it set. If you try to brush it on and keep brushing over, it will just lift up, and you’ll get ticked off. This beachy blue gray color (a mis-tint I picked up from the hardware store) took 2 coats to cover, each coat taking about 30 minutes to put down. Quick and easy!!

After the paint was set up, I did quite a bit of hand-distressing with some 120 grit sandpaper to give it a beachy kind of look. After that was done, I applied Minwax Paste Finishing Wax
with a clean rag (I keep our old t-shirts around for just this purpose) and when that was set, buffed to a nice luster with another clean rag.

The original wood pulls got the same treatment as the dresser’s body, but I wanted to bring in a natural wood treatment on the drawers for a two-tone look that is SUPER hot in design right now.

Weathering with Tea and Rusty Vinegar

To achieve a time-worn, antique looking wood finish I tried another internet method that has intrigued me, and it was so fun and remarkably effective! Using just a strong brew of tea and a concoction of rusty vinegar, you can age any wood to weathered gray.

  • First, fill a glass container with white vinegar, some fine steel wool, and something rusty. (I added the “something rusty” part. The online recipes I saw just said to put the steel wool in the vinegar and it would start to turn a dark brown, but after leaving it soak overnight, no such thing happened to mine. I’m not sure why. The next day, I decided I would try and put a rust ol’ valve that I had in there too, and that seemed to do the trick for me.)
  • Brew a strong cup of tea (I used Lipton Black Tea, but I think just about anything you have that isn’t an herbal tea would work.)
  • Remove any finish that’s on the wood with sandpaper.
  • Paint on the tea and let it completely dry (about 20 minutes or so).
  • Apply the rusty vinegar with your steel wool, then watch the magic happen as this dries! You’ll end us with a nice weathered, gray wood!

With the addition of some Howard Feed-N-Wax, you can take the gray, weathered wood to a deep, natural brown that is stunning! This is life changing, people. I may never use stinky canned stains again. Who knew you could get this look completely naturally?  I sure didn’t.

And here are the beauty shots. I could totally see this piece is a little boys room, or a beachy guest room. TONS of great storage!

On an unrelated note, take a quick look at the weeping willow tree in our backyard…

Yep! Those are buds! Spring is just around the corner!

(Our early springs and late falls in Arizona might make you in colder regions jealous,
but you’ll be laughing at me come mid-summer when it’s as hot as the lowest setting on your kitchen oven!)

Wow. So looking forward to Ann Marie’s next post. In the meantime, you’ll want to go poke around her site.

You wont want to miss this Chevron beauty:

This modern girls dresser is amazing too:

Twice Lovely Furniture Flip

Thanks Ann Marie!

Leave a Reply

  1. Love how this dresser turned out. Thanks for the chalk paint recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the tips, too. I would be one to overwork the paint, trying to make it perfect.

    • Marci, isn’t Ann Marie amazing?! I am so glad to have her on board as a contributor. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’ll come back again soon!


  2. Can you tell me how long it takes for the paint to set up?? I’ve painted two coats (about an hour between coats) and the base coat scratched really easily when I was applying coat #2. Help!!

    • Anne, This project was my first using this chalk paint recipe, so I’m not exactly sure how long you should wait, but on this dresser, I did a coat one day, and the second coat the next day. But when I was talking about not over working the paint, it was my experience that if I tried to go back over what I had painted that had partially dry, it did the same thing as yours did and scratched with the paint brush. I would think you would need to wait at least a few hours for the paint to set up completely. Overnight worked well for me. Thanks for the question!

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  4. Christal, it’s been a bit crazy around here and I think I neglected to repsond to your comment last week…Sorry! You can purchase plaster of paris at most hardware stores – Home Depot, Lowes, etc. You do need to make sure it is plaster of paris.


  5. On the post I saw on Pintrest, it said mix pop with hot water? I must really be ignorant, but I don’t see anywhere how much pop and water to use. Could you clarify. I can’t wait to try this. I, too, used a very expensive chalk paint, and really thought it was really over praised. Thanks so much!

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  7. I was wondering why you use hot water instead of cold. Does this help the mixing process or something. I know that hot water makes POP set up faster but I would think that would make the paint too thick??? I’ve been making my own but have been using cold water because I was afraid I would end up with thick goop if I used warm or hot. Thank you!!!!

    • Mandy, Hot water makes the POP set and cure faster. I haven’t tried using cold water, but would recommend following the instructions with whatever brand of POP you use.

    • Jo, Hot water makes the POP cure and set faster. I haven’t tried using cold water, but would suggest following the instructions on the brand of POP you’re using.

  8. I love your website! I was wondering what type of paint you used to make the DIY Chalk paint. Thank you very much for the recipe. I just bought a dresser at a thrift store and wanted to use chalk paint but found it was too expensive so thank you!

  9. Hi there! Just curious… I tried the chalk paint recipe above and, I don’t know if I mixed it wrong or what, but it was SO thick. Is it supposed to be that way? It was almost grainy and “gunked” up a lot in the brush and in the corners of the headboard I was painting. I tried adding water, but it still seemed….well…just “not smooth”. lol
    Any idea what I might have done wrong?
    Thank you!!

    • Mine was exactly the same. The plaster settled to the botton the second batch I made. This sounds easy, but it is not! Very disappointed that I wasted my money.

      • Melanie, I am sorry to hear that this didn’t work out for you…Without more details, I am afraid I can’t help figure out what went wrong. I’ve had my paint turn out grainy (I’ve mixed it twice now), but I’ve never had the plaster settle to the bottom. Did you try remixing?


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  11. I’ve been using this DIY chalk paint recipe recently, and so far, so good…it covers easier, no brush lines, looks thicker…I use boiling water and have used it with flat and satin paint…I’m loving it…trying to use up paint I already have in this manner before I make an investment of the ASCP that I’m so anxious to try…thank you so much for sharing this recipe…it was very generous of you!!!! And I love your work!!!

  12. Hi I love , love that dresser on the very bottom!!! I know this is not the same as furniture but could I use that same chalk recipe for a wall? Thanks

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  15. Hello! Not sure if this post is monitored anymore for comments, but I’m trying to reprint my dresser and I want the top to have a weathered gray look that keeps the wood grain as well. I love how the vinegar/tea stain looks, it’s exactly what I envision for my dresser, but I was wondering how many coats did it take to achieve that look and if a darker wood would have that same effect. Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Amanda, the photo in this post that showcases the three different styles is just a coat each. However, for a darker wood you’d probably need additional coats. It’s hard to know without seeing the piece. I would recommend coating and drying until you get to where you’d like to be…xo Tauni

  16. Hi
    Reading this post to learn about using sit chalk paint but the photos don’t show up.
    How can I access the photos ?
    Thank you

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