Chalk Paint: Homemade Style

So, I am sure by now most have heard of or even used some sort of chalk paint! Maybe you have at least heard of the legal debates of who actually coined the term “chalk paint”…not mentioning names here of who claims they did out of fear of being sued! Maybe their first name starts with an A and last name starts with an S… anyway!

The point is lately this paint has been extremely popular, and, well that makes it very profitable! It is still considered a specialty paint or “boutique” paint which gives it a fancy price tag with its fancy category! I have used a couple of the brands on the market. I like them! The problem lies in the price, availability, added shipping rates, waiting periods, etc!

I am, like many people in the US today, on a tight budget! So, if you haven’t heard yet, you can make your own chalk paint for a lot cheaper! The main ingredient in this type of paint is
I have found 3 main recipes for homemade chalk paint and since my two favorite words are “cheap” and “easy” I will share my favorite recipe out of the three!

There are only three ingredients to this recipe: latex or acrylic (water based) paint, plaster of Paris, and water! All three of these are cheap and easy to find! Here are the measurements….

• 1 1/2 cup paint
• 1/2 cup plaster of Paris
• 1/2 cup hot water

For best results mix water and plaster first and then add and mix to paint. It’s best to make with flat or satin paint. In my experience I can’t tell the difference between this and buying boutique brand! I have painted many pieces of furniture and even walls with this homemade recipe!

Tip of the Day: Lowes sells their big brand paint in sample sizes which cost around $3 for 8 ounces! Sign up to receive special offers and you may get a voucher for a free sample size each season!



What? Just because we are women we can’t use power tools?

I love to repurpose wood! To do so, I have had to become familiar with power tools most women shy away from. Once you get the hang of it, they are so fun to use! You will feel empowered! In today’s economy most people can’t afford to buy custom made pieces or hire someone to do simple jobs around the house. My goal is to help women learn to use power tools and get comfortable being a “handy woman!” In this first post I am going over saws!

I have a new found obsession with pallets! I have found so many projects I want to do! For my first project I decided to keep it simple! I made a simple shelf to hang on my barn to place plants in. I got free pallets from my local hardware store! This is a more worn pallet which is why they gave it to me for free! Usually they sell for $2-3 a pallet or more. The free one was perfect for the rustic look I was going for!

For this project I used a power tool called a reciprocating saw (aka recipro saw or sawzall). It is a saw that cuts through metal and wood with a large blade that moves in a back and forth motion. There are a variety of brands of this type of saw. You hold the piece down that you are cutting with your foot to control the movement of the saw.


Tips for a woman using this tool for the first time…

• wear safety goggles
• hold saw with both hands! It is a bit heavy but not bad.
• do a test run before actually using to get used to the power
• press blade to the spot you intend to cut and make sure you have your foot firmly placed on the piece before pressing trigger
• you can draw a line or mark where you want to cut for more accuracy
• blade gets hot after use
•you control speed by how much pressure you place on trigger- start slow!

The sawzall is great for a pallet repurposing because it will cut right through nails with ease and quickly cut through wood. To make this shelf I cut off the end of a pallet at three boards. I then cut an extra board off and nailed it to the bottom side of my shelf. The back of my shelf had three boards and the front one. I didn’t sand or repair anything because I was going for a rustic look. I used a gel rubbing stain to darken the wood and then used a spray waterproofing agent since it was going outdoors.

That’s it! It can’t get more simple than that for a first timer! I hope this project seems do-able for the women out there interested in wood work and using power saws for the first time! I think the sawzall is a great place to start since it doesn’t require a lot of direction or skill. I promise you WILL become addicted to power tools after your first successful project!

I am woman, hear me roar! 😉


Painting Your Prepped Wood Furniture- Part 2

Now that your piece of wood furniture has been prepped and repaired, it is now time to prime it for paint! There are three basic types of primers. They are either oil based, water based (latex), or shellac based. All brands add this or take out that to make their products more appealing to consumers. We are just going over the basics here and I will recommend the brands I prefer from experience.

Let’s start with my preference, and my favorite brand, Kiltz Original oil based primer. Oil based is the standard for the industry and has been for years! Oil based primer is the only type that can be used with oil based and latex paint. It can be used on many surfaces such as painted or bare wood, metal, drywall, paneling, plaster, wallpaper, masonry, brick, and properly prepared glossy surfaces.

imageOil based primer is also excellent at blocking heavy stains and odors. It blocks smoke, water, rust, tannin, ink, pencil, felt marker, and grease stains. It effectively seals smoke and pet odor. It is great at preventing further paint peeling, cracking, and blistering. It can be used on interior surfaces with no issues and exterior with a proper top coat. Oil based primer dries to touch in 30 minutes and can be recoated in one hour. Drying times vary due to humidity. Unfortunately the only drawback of it is it contains harmful vapors so use in a well ventilated area or use a respirator mask. Clean brushes with paint thinner. Kiltz Original dries to a smooth surface with excellent paint adhesion and usually only requires one coat! It costs around $15.98 for a gallon.

Latex primer is a water based primer mostly used on unfinished drywall before painting. It isn’t great for using on older stained wood furniture or previously painted wood. It is more flexible than oil based which can reduce the risk of peeling and cracking. Latex primer is typically used on soft wood, brick, concrete, and galvanized metals. Latex primer is preferred on drywall because it smoothes out the surface. It is effective at blocking minor stains. The benefit of latex is that it is low VOC and easy to clean without harsh chemicals.There is also an acrylic-latex primer that is more expensive that regular latex but works much better.

The third type of primer is shellac based. It is probably the best at stain and odor blocking and excellent for sealing wood. It is used on all the same surfaces as oil based and blocks the same stains. It is fast drying, highly adhesive, and can be used with both latex and oil based paints. The downside is shellac based primers are not as versatile as latex and oil based. It also gives off more fumes than oil based. Shellac based primer can be cleaned up with denatured alcohol. Now that you have primed, allowed it to dry, and lightly sanded if needed, it’s time to paint!  Finding the right brush is about personal preference and how much you are willing to invest.

imageThere are some really nice quality brushes $15+ and there are some that get the job done just as good for a fraction of that price! One of my favorite hardware stores is Harbor Freight. They have great brushes for less than a dollar a piece! Can’t beat that with a stick! I also am a fan of the cheap chip brushes you can get from most any hardware store. They seem to shed less than some other cheap synthetic ones. My two qualities for picking faves are minimal shedding and smooth application! Purdy, Wooster, Blue Hawk are three good brands you can buy from Lowes. Purdy being the higher end and Blue Hawk being the more affordable option. I also like an angle brush. For most small to medium projects I use a 1″-2″ brush and smaller specialty brushes for small details. I am not a fan of rollers or cheap foam applicators. I do like the thick foam brushes but they are still only good for one project.image

There are many different paints out there. I want to keep this basic so let’s go with general types. Oil based paint, like any other product is best for wood. But, if you have used oil based primer to seal the wood, it won’t matter as much if you use oil or latex paint. Oil based paint of course has high VOCs which are those smelly toxic fumes. They have made oil based paint and other products that are slightly more environment friendly. Some cities have banned oil based paints from being sold so it is getting harder to find. Also for painting with a brush, oil based paint is not your best option! It is harder to work with and leaves brush marks. It is also not so fun to hand sand when dry. But it is much more durable than latex without a top coat. Latex paint is water based, a lot more environment friendly, much easier to work with. In fact, some companies now make it 100% VOC free. Better for people with allergies and health in general. Of course there are many varieties of water based paints. Just read your labels for what application your paint is used for. To keep the confusion to a minimum, just grab high quality interior house paint! I typically use Valspar from Lowes. Remember, they sell sample sizes for about $3 for small projects or to see if you like the color.

Now to pick your paint’s finish……well, it depends on what look you want. If you are going for a soft, shabby chic style or distressing, try a matte or satin. If you want a modern, sleek, and more durable look, try a semi gloss or gloss. Again the safe choice here is satin. You can always intensify the finish with your clear coat. There are glossy paints, like enamels, that wouldn’t require a clear coat. Paint in thin coats, allow to fully dry between coats, and pay attention to directions on the package! You may need to sand lightly with a fine sand paper between coats. Remember oil based paints require paint thinner to clean up. Always keep your surface clean and dust free before applying coats. Be aware of the climate you are painting in as it can affect drying times. Check my other posts for topics of specialty paints and faux finishes.

imageThere are also many options for adding that protective clear coat to your piece. I have tried many myself and there are many I despise! So to keep it simple, the two I use most are polycrylic and wax. Minwax is an affordable brand that carries both of these that I have used and work well.

Clear furniture wax is best wiped on thin with a lintless cloth. You just use enough that the wood absorbs it. If it feels tacky after applying you have used too much. Take another lint free cloth and buff that thing with all you have (after it has dried to a haze). The more you buff, the more sheen. This leaves a soft look, water repellent, but not super protective  against scratches and dings.

The better protection alternative I personally prefer is polycrylic. It is a clear, water based, top coat that dries hard. It doesn’t turn yellow like polyurethane so it’s better for painted surfaces. It comes in different finishes. Can be applied by roller (only for large surfaces), paint brush, foam brush, or sprayed. I will be writing a post on spray guns if you are interested in that application! Stay tuned And happy painting!

Prepping your wood furniture for paint- Part 1

Now that you purchased your vintage solid wood piece from the thrift shop or yardsale, its time to paint it! Now you may be wondering what steps you should take before slapping paint on. This blog is dedicated to tell you all the possible steps you may need to take before painting. I am not an expert! This is a guide purely from trial and error in my venture of refurbishing furniture!


The very fist step to take is to remove all hardware and put aside. Lay a plastic or cloth drop cloth (or whatever you have) where you plan to work on your project. Next, wipe down the piece with a microfiber cloth, if you have one, to remove dust and dirt. If needed, use a degreasing cleaning product to remove any oily film and let dry. Now you are ready to sand!


Not only does sanding smooth the surface and even it out, it also roughens up the previous top coat to allow better paint adhesion. I personally like to use my hand sander as it takes a lot of the work away from this process. It also shortens the time spent sanding times ten! I own the sander pictured above. It’s from Harbor Freight (one of my favorite stores) and costs about $19.99. Cheaper than most! It has lasted me over a year thus far and still going strong! Plus I prefer the pointed tip to get in tight spaces and the Velcro pad attachment.

Now there many different grits of sand paper for different purposes. As I said, we are sanding at this point mainly to roughen the surface and remove the sheen to allow better adhesion for the paint. Remember the lower the number, the courser the grit and vice versa.

Sandpaper grit chart


Above is a helpful chart to picking which grit to use. Most likely the package will tell you! For roughing up surfaces I use 60-80 grit. After you are done, wipe surface with damp cloth to remove dust.


Now because this piece has probably been around for years, it may have some damage. There are varying degrees of damage and various products to fix them. The piece above would require a product called wood filler. imageI typically use Elmer’s in natural. This product is used to fill the dings, cracks, and chips. Push the product in with your finger and smooth with putty knife. It’s ok if it is not level with the surface. Once it completely dries you can sand it with a fine grit. You may also need to add multiple layers if gorge is deep. Allow to dry in between layers. This brand is around $4.75. It’s non-shrinking and paintable/stainable. It also doesn’t have the tendency to dry up in tube.


There there is another hole filler called wood putty. This is what you use when filling nail holes and other minor imperfections on stained and finished wood. It is tinted so you would match it to the color of your furniture. It doesn’t dry and harden like filler but takes stain a lot better. Filler is best used when painting. The Minwax wood putty pictured is a popular brand and costs around $9.97 at major retailers.

The damage to you furniture may be a bit more extensive than chips and scratches. Some vintage pieces were made with a veneer top which could be coming unglued. It also may have decorative pieces falling off or trim. It may be missing a corner or have a corner cracked to the point you will have to remove it and reattach. The best way to reattach these pieces is to use an adhesive. As with most things, there are different types of adhesive that work best for different materials. These are the three I use regularly.


The best adhesive for gluing wood to wood is…wood glue, imagine that! Lol I personally like Elmer’s carpenter wood glue. Made for use with porous surfaces such as soft and hard wood as well as particle board. You will obtain the strongest bond when two pieces are clamped while drying. Takes 1-2 hours to set. It dries hard which makes it sandable and paintable. This brand runs around $2.97.


My favorite adhesive for nonporous surfaces is DAP contact cement. It makes an immediate, permanent bond when it is applied to both surfaces, allowed to dry to touch for 30 minutes, and pressed together. Don’t believe me? Try it! 😉 Best used on plastic, metal, rubber, glass, vinyl, leather, veneer, laminate, particle board and any nonporous material glued to wood. This brand usually costs around $9.59 for one quart. This type of contact cement has a very strong odor! I would use outdoors!


The strongest permanent adhesive is an epoxy. It is also used on nonporous surfaces and can bond wood. It is a two part adhesive of resin and a hardening agent. It has about a 5 minute work life and is waterproof when set. Costs about $3.99 for one ounce.

Hopefully this hasn’t made your head spin yet! Now for the worst kind of wood damage is rotted wood. Luckily, this is fixable using two types of products- a wood hardener and an epoxy wood filler.

There are different types of hardeners. I am focusing on two that I am familiar with. The first is an acrylic based like Minwax wood hardener. It penetrates wood to bond to decayed fibers and block moisture. I would rate this type of hardener for light repair.

The best type of hardener for more extensive rot damage, it is best to use an epoxy hardener. It turns cellulose into epoxy impregnated cellulose that is waterproof and resists fungi. This type penetrates wood deeper than acrylic. it will say CPES (clear penetrating epoxy sealer) on bottle. Both should be applied until wood can absorb no more And let dry. Minwax costs around $12.99 and Smith’s Original CPES is about $42.99. imageimage

The next step is to fill the surface with an epoxy filler like PC Products Woody Wood Epoxy Paste. Once it dries it mimics wood and can be painted, sanded, stained, nailed, and sawed. It dries within 24 hours and can be used indoors and outdoors. It costs about $22.99 for 12 ounces.image

Okay, now that our wood piece of furniture is repaired and sanded, it’s time to move on to the next step, priming and painting! Follow my blog for my next how to on priming and painting! Coming soon!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed! Would love to see your comments on this topic!

Custom Creations by Margaux

Custom Creations by Margaux

Welcome to my first ever blog! My name is Margaux. I have been crafting for a very long time. I finally found my true passion is finding someone’s trash and turning it back into treasure. It combines my love for art and drawing, my love for all things vintage, and my love for bargains!

I plan to use my blog to help others learn my methods for painting and explain products I use. I also want to reach larger audience for my new business! If you are reading this, you are already showing your support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I want to hear from you! Please take the time to share my blog with others!

My future goal is to write a series of “how to” ebooks! This site is the first step towards that goal! Register via email to stay posted on updates and progress!

Thank you!

Margaux XOXO

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