7 Steps to Painting Furniture on a Budget


We absolutely love the look of furniture that has a chalky soft matte look and making something ugly into something beautiful. But when you do several pieces a month, the cost is just out of this world for high end chalk paints and most of all you are limited with your color choices.  A few years ago we started working on a formula that would give us the same results if not better than the $40 quart of chalk paint and finally we have a product worth telling the world about.  For about $15-17 (includes paint and powder) you can make a quart of chalky like paint any color you want!  That’s about a 60% savings and that adds up to be a good amount of money!  Here is a quick tutorial to get you started on a project!  If you are like me, just look around the house and I’m sure you will find something that needs a new look!

 Step One: Find your project piece

It can be anything from a picture frame to a dining room table to your kitchen cabinets.  The options are endless.

Step Two:  Pick your paint color

Lowes, Home Depot, or Sherwin Williams will have everything your heart could desire. At Pixie Dust Paints, we use only FLAT- ZERO VOC  paints and recommend that you do as well. Brands that we have tried and LOVED:

Olympic ICON(Now Called Assure)

Valspar Ultra

Behr Premium Plus

Step Three:  Mix the paint powder or add liquid Pixie

Mix your Paint and Pixie Dust Paint Powder/Liquid Pixie as instructed. We suggest using a mason jar to mix the paint powder first and then pour the paint into the jar and if using the Liquid Pixie you can add right to the paint!.  When finished, seal up the jar and save for use for another project!

TIP:  Mix a pint at a time. Use a quart mason jar and mix 1/4 c. of Pixie Dust, add 3-4 tablespoons of water, seal tightly and shake until it looks like milk.  Then add the paint half way up the quart Jar.  This will be enough paint for at least 2 pieces.  Take a sharpie marker and mark the date on the top and the paint color.  After about 3 months the paint will need to be thrown out as the chalk/clay will begin to absorb the paint and it will be a jar of clumps.

Step Four: Prep your project

We recommend giving your project a good wash down with some TSP90 (wear gloves) or just some warm water and dawn dish soap.  Just don’t get the piece too wet!  Next inspect it for any areas that may need sanding or stripping.  If there is peeling paint/varnish, you will need to sand it.  For the most part, very little prep work is required.

 Step Five:  Start painting

The title speaks for itself!  Apply your first coat and allow it to dry.  You can tell when it’s dry as it will go from a wet look to a chalky like finish.  If you need to do a 2nd coat, sand in between coats using a wet/dry 600 grit sandpaper. That will insure that all imperfections are gone before the next coat, or before distressing.

Step Six:  Distressing

There are several different methods for distressing.  You will need to find the one that you like best, or the one that works for the piece you are doing.   Distressing is not required!

Water Distressing:   Water Distressing works best for light distressing. Get a bowl water and microfiber cloth.  Keep the cloth wet,   not damp or saturated. Use some elbow power and remove the paint in the places you want.  Corners and edges are a good place to start then the sides and then the top.

Sanding: Sanding works well if you are working on a hardwood piece.  It requires less effort and the distressing can be more pronounced.  You can use this technique for both light and heavy distressing.  With the sanding method you can use any grit sandpaper you want. The lower the number the more coarse the paper.  The higher the number the more fine.  You would use a lower number for deep distressing and higher number for a lighter distressing.

Kitchen Scrubber: This method is a combination of the wet and the sanding method.  Get a kitchen scrubber (not the green kind unless you want green fibers all over  your new paint job).

Step Seven: Waxing/Sealing

We recommend using our very own Finishing Hemp Paste Wax for chalk painted furniture.  There are many furniture waxes available at home improvement stores, but sometimes the smells are more than you can tolerate, especially indoors, and some waxes will discolor your piece.  We typically do 2 coats of wax, allowing a few hours in between each application.   An old T-shirt is your best bet for applying and buffing, make sure whatever you use, that it’s lint free!



Project List:

*1 Quart of paint should be able to do several small projects or 2 large dresser size


1 Qt Paint  (Flat latex only)

1/2 Cup Pixie Dust Paint Powder/or Liquid Pixie

Cheap paint brush (dollar Tree has the best, you get 3 for a dollar)!!!

Mason Jar or other air tight container for paint storage

600gritwet/dry sandpaper (use between coats/final coat)

250 grit sandpaper (distressing)

Scrubby Dish pad (distressing)

Microfiber cloth (distressing)

Hemp Paste Finishing Wax and t-shirt rag



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