Homemade Chalk Paint vs. ASCP

I get asked everyday the differences between
my Homemade chalk paint & Annie Sloan Chalk paint.
I have my own opinions after working a lot with
both of them & I feel like I’m at a point now where
I can give my honest opinions on both of them.

 Homemade chalk paint Pros:

- Easy to make! There are only 2 ingredients {Unsanded grout & flat latex paint}
-No prep work! No sanding needed. This paint adheres to any surface
-Cheap! Unsanded grout is less then two dollars & can be added to any
existing paint that you already have.
-Endless color options- you choose the color to mix the grout with
- Durable & long lasting finish- finish off with a poly or wax to seal it
- Easy to distress & antique with simple sanding
-Covers a piece in one coat because of the thick consistency

Homemade chalk paint Cons:

-Has a very rough texture when it dries {Needs a light sanding all over}
-Needs to be sanded all over in between coats to smooth out the roughness.
-Can become clumpy while you are working with it {add water if this happens}
-Can “crackle” in areas on the piece after it dries, which can add to the charm,
but if you don’t want that look it can be un-welcomed.

{For this recipe, to help with clumps: mix the unsanded grout with water
to make a paste & then mix it with the paint.. try it!}

My Pro’s & Con’s for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint…

ASCP Pros: {Where do I start?!}

-No prep work needed. No sanding. No priming. Period.
-So smooth & easy to work with
-Very versatile & can do so many looks with it {layering exd..}
-Dries very smoothly with a velvety finish
-Covers {most of the time} in one coat because of the thick consistency.
-Very Durable with a long lasting, quality finish.
-Very easy to distress for the perfect shabby chic look.
-Unique color selection- Annie sloan is constantly coming out with new colors
-Annie Sloan waxes are amazing as well! So soft & easy to work with

ASCP Cons:

-A little bit on the pricey side {But so worth the cost! A little goes a long way!}
-Limited color selection {You can mix the colors to make other colors}
-Finding a location it’s sold at {You can order online here}

All in all, Annie Sloan has my heart. A Big thanks to R. Lucas Scott
for introducing me to it!! ASCP makes painting so easy
& I know my pieces are always going to come out looking great.
I will forever be in love with my homemade chalk paint & will
continue using it because of how affordable it is & when
I need certain colors, but there is really no comparing it to
the quality & loveliness of ASCP.

I hope this post helps all of you who were wondering why
I used both Homemade chalk paint & Annie Sloan Chalk paint
and what the differences were. What are your thoughts on
Homemade chalk paint vs. ASCP?
If you have any questions, comments, or opinions post them in
the comment section below or on the facebook page {here}.
I would love to hear from you!

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  1. Thank you for this!
    I have ALWAYS wondered the difference.
    I want to try it, but am looking for the perfect piece to do so… seems almost impossible to mess it up?
    I love all the pieces shown, your blog is sweet, thank you for all that you do!

  2. Great points about ASCP vs. homemade, and I’d agree on your pros and cons of each. One tip my mom gave me for working with homemade chalk paint is to mix the unsanded grout with water before adding it to your paint. That makes it less thick and clumpy and much easier to work with. But it is still very much a different texture from the real stuff.

    Like you, I use both, but I probably prefer ASCP.

  3. Great explanation of both paints Liz. I use both as well and I totally agree with you on every level. I am going to add a link to your post today for my readers. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. ~ Judy

  4. Thanks Liz for sharing this breakdown. I actually am in the process of painting a dresser for my 2nd little girl due this July. I have used ASCP before and loved it. For this dresser, though, I wanted to paint it white and did not want to spend the cost of ASCP. So, since I read your blog and know you make your own I tried the recipe but have to admit I was not super thrilled with it compared to ASCP. It gave good coverage but almost too much and so gritty. I am still in the process, though, and will have to use some of your extra tips for the homemade that you listed. Like give it some sanding. Thanks again! :)

  5. I am so glad to read this. I have tried the unsanded grout recipe but didn’t do a very good job with it (it got so thick and I didn’t know how to overcome that)…I have never tried Annie Sloan because of it’s cost. I will try the homemade version again and seal with poly or wax, and I definitely want to give AS a try. Really appreciate your thoughts with all the experience you have in this department!

  6. Just found your blog on 5 minutes for Mom, I am SOOO loving it!!! :)

  7. Hey Liz…there is a lady in Greenville that sells ASCP, actually Ayden. It is Gallery on Third in downtown Ayden. She stocks all the colors and has them all to see in person. Not sure if you knew that but it helps with the price b/c shipping paint is so expensive!

  8. Melanie says:

    I have only been using the homemade chalk paint because of cost issues. The recipe I use though calls for plaster of Paris. I will have to try the unsanded grout and see what the differences are. Thanks for your blog about this, very informative.

    • Lee Anne says:

      I to use the recipe with the plaster of paris, it is not gritty like the grout and still covers great. I only have to do a light sanding to smooth. Then use a wipe on poly. Very easy!

  9. Thank you so much for your thoughts on the paints!! I’ve yet to try ASCP but have made the homemade version, and I agree with everything you said about it!! It is nice to hear that you like both enough to continue using them in the future. :)

  10. I can’t compare to the ASCP, since I have never tried it, but I do love your DIY recipe. Yours was the first I found and I use it quite frequently with great results. I do sometimes get the clumping that you mentioned, but it does go on nicely and provides great coverage. Thank you for sharing your insight into both options!

  11. Hi Liz, thanks for the tutorial.

    I was wondering if you have ever used the chalk paint recipe that calls for plaster of Paris? Do you know if the finish is different? Thinking about trying it on my bedroom furniture, nothing matches might be a good way to make everything flow. Any advise would be fabulous!

  12. Hi Liz Marie! Happened upon your comparison of our Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan and the DIY version. Good to hear your comments! I am the Marketing Director for Annie Sloan Unfolded and of course, I love our paint and blog about my projects too at UnfoldedBlog.com. Hope you’ll check it out. P.S. Our Chalk Paint™ is more expensive but it goes a long way and is tried and true for over 20 years.
    All the best, Debbie Hayes

  13. This info on homemade chalk paint was very interesting. I have recently discovered ASCP and was wondering if it would be worth the cost.

  14. Hi.
    Love your blog, so cute!
    I’ve tried ASCP a couple weeks ago and maybe I didn’t let it cure long enough. I was impressed with the prodocut.. but not the price!

    I have a crazy stock pile of latex paint and happen to have grout on hand as well. I tried your recipe yesterday!! It went on great love the brush stroke marks it leaves, however the piece of furniture I painted yesterday, has been curing all day and still I can scratch the paint off.. I didn’t prep the piece at all, no rough sanding I just slapped the paint on.. needless to say I need to sand and repaint..

    anyone have any advice??
    PS I hate sanding!! lol
    PPS Anyone else find the paint/recipe has a strong odor after the paint has sat in a container for over a day.

    • I’ve just started experimenting with the P of Paris recipe. From everything I’ve read, the chalk paint is VERY chalky when it dries, so you definitely want to wax it or give it a coat of poly. Then,it is not supposed to scratch off. Hope this helps!

  15. I love this post! Thank you!!

    Anna :)

  16. Lindsey says:

    I have never used either of these paints, but I am about to paint my kitchen cabinets…does anyone know if this type of paint will work well for that project as opposed to regular old paint? I have only seen it used on furniture so I am curious. Any tips or suggestions is appreciated!

  17. What a beautiful blog! This is my first visit! I LOVE ASCP! But, was wanting to try my hand at making some chalk paint. In my quest, I found your blog. I appreciate the “pros” and “cons” that you listed. I am going to follow you when I am done leaving this comment and come back for the party! Life to the full to you!

  18. I recently decided to makeover my bedroom and go with the white antique look. I just bought a desk and a dresser and I wanted to paint it with chalk paint. I’ve read a lot about how Annie Sloan’s chalk paint is amazing and I feel I couldn’t go wrong with that, but it’s so expensive for just a quart that I don’t think I can bring myself to get it! I’ve been reading multiple recipes for different homemade chalk paints… based on this blog and the comments I may go with a plaster of paris recipe and then use a wax or poly coat over it (what’s the difference?)

    I’m also wondering about how much prep work I should do? The dresser is wood but the top has a laminate finish… do I need to sand that first? What I’ve read about chalk paint says it goes over anything but I’m worried!


    • Don’t be worried.. chalk paint requires minimal prep work, but to be safe you can do a light sanding to all parts. Not sure the difference with the plaster recipe bc I have not tried it, but from what I hear is that they are very similar!

  19. Thank you for the breakdown. I haven’t used either but I’ve heard rave reviews about the ASCP, but I also heard that the stuff is pricy. Good to know that there is a viable homemade option out there, and what the pros and cons are. I’ll keep them in mind if I go the homemade route!

  20. Thanks so much for posting this. I always feel like if I can spend another hour figuring something out that I can save some money, but with what you have said about sanding, I’ll feel good spending the money on some ASCP. I have only done one project myself, and it is gritty as all get out, so I guess I’ll have to get my sander out. Thanks again, for the wisdom.

    Found you on a linky party.

  21. Thanks for this tutorial. I need to try this Chalk Paint craze!!! I love the blue paint you choose for the table. Happy painting!!!

  22. Thanks for the recipe I have used it a few times. Have a question what is the wax that all people talk about after using ASCP and other forms. In Australia we do not even have the chalk paint and I have tried so many outlets. So there is no one to help me re the wax. If you have the time I would love to know what the wax is used for and can I substitute something else for it, thank you for sharing I have passed your recipe onto a few of my friends, I hpe they have thanked you.


    • I have used Minwax paste wax (avaiable at harware stores) instead of AS wax. Although it isn’t quite as easy to work, the end result is the same. Hope this helps!

    • Sorry, I missed part of your question. The wax is applied after paint is dried. A thin coat is applied with a brush or cloth. After allowing to dry for a few minutes, buff with a soft cloth for a nice sheen.I have sanded and distressed before applying wax or after. In addition to giving the piece a nice, finished look, it provides protection.

    • I use the min wax you get at home depot or any painting store…Wax is wax….And cheaper

  23. Thanks for your post! I’ve used the unsanded grout and ASCP. You are right, the chalkboard type with the grout is more rough. I have tested Plaster of Paris and that was a better smooth finish. But, my favorite is actually powdered calcium carbonate that I bought at a health food store. Not terribly expensive and it has a finish more similar to ASCP. .I’ve used it several times and been pleased so far.

    • What is the “recipe” for the plaster of Paris and then the calcium carbonate – the same as the grout? (one cup of paint to 1 Tablespoon of grout)

      • I’m sorry for the late reply – I saw this on pinterest and have been enjoying reading more of you blog and seeing your beautiful creations!
        You probably already know the answer by now but you can use the same proportions. I used the same proportions to test and the calcium am plaster of paris were smoother. And it is a good idea to mix a dab of hot water with the plaster or calcium first.
        Thanks for all your inspiration! Love your blog

  24. Thank you for this wonderful post! Yesterday I posted one of my projects using homemade chalk paint. It’s not my recipe, I found it online somewhere and jotted it down. I’ve also used ASCP and loved it but it’s a lot of $$$$. I found this recipe to be so close to ASCP and not rough at all..After waxing all was smooth just like ASCP.
    Here it is:
    1 Part Plaster of Paris
    1 Part Water
    Mix very well then add:
    3 Parts of paint (I used eggshell because i like the subtle sheen)

    It dried super fast and felt super soft…I’m keeping this one!

  25. We painted a coffee table with ASCP. Yes, it might be priced higher or just as high as other name brand paints. In using her paint, you do not load the brush with paint. Therefore, after completing the table, we still had over two thirds of the can left! More than enough to use on multiple projects. The end result is beautiful and so worth the money spent! With the endless combination of mixing colors, no doubt it will not ruin before being used!

  26. katie kile says:

    thanks so much for this great info!

  27. Last night we painted a table top with homemade chalk paint. We used the recipe of three parts paint to one part plaster of paris. We mixed the POP first with some water. To prep we lightly sanded the table top because we felt there might be some polish on it that would cause the paint to not stick. The table was actually a newer piece but my kids had somehow ruined the finish in spots.

    The first coat went on fine but it needed a second coat. I think maybe we didn’t have the best brush to apply it so it didn’t go on as think as we’d hoped. Anyway, we did a second coat and woke up to a very blotchy surface. It appears as if spots were chalk paint and spots were the original paint color and texture. This happened in the same brush strokes… it shifted from one finish to the other.

    We’re totally perplexed. The paint was mixed well and had no lumps when we started. We mixed it for a couple minutes and the texture was smooth and thick.

    Has anyone had this happen or ever heard of this before?


  28. Hi, it’s a while now I silently follow you. I think it is time for me to try your chalk paint recipe and I have a question to ask.
    I know it might seem a silly one, but being Italian I sometimes need a bit more details because of the language difference.
    Well, here’s the question: which kind of paint you use exactly? Internal walls paint or an acrylic paint that could (at least theoretically) be used to paint on canvas?

    I love your work!!!

  29. Hi There, I have been researching and learning about Chalk paint. I painted two matching vanities in the Master Bath and unfortunately, after waxiing with clear wax….the color came out waaaay to yellow. I mixed cream and arles. I was hoping for a more golden hue. Now I am faced with repainting them, which in itself itsn’t a big deal. However, I tried one small drawer and realized that the “yellow” is the color that will come own when I sand. I’m at a loss here now because I really don’t want to get into a lot of work. Can you offer any suggestion? I know the deal with ASCP is that you can easily paint over but this yellow….ugh. It’s going to come through when sanding.


    • You should try a dark wax which would tone down the yellow to a tolerable state, you can also try a glaze or even a stain. I’ve seen them all get a similar effect

  30. I have come to the same conclusions as you about ASCP and the DIY version (same as yours), and have used plenty of both!
    I don’t sand in between applications though…I use an immersion blender to mix the DIY chalk paint REALLY WELL and that seems to illiminate any roughness that would need to be sanded.
    Super happy to have found that DIY recipe as I do love choosing my own colors and saving money!!!

  31. Karil Gierum says:

    I love your site! thanks for all your help. I have tried a DIY chalk paint version that uses baking soda. It is okay, but in m opinion nothing compares to the real thing!! I love ASCP!!! I was wondering if you used unsanded grout that had polymar in it. I can’t find the grout without polymar in it.

  32. I have used homemade chalk paint and, yes it scratches off easily. So when I bought this used little tv cabinet, I decided to splurge for ASCP. It did not cover with one coat; I needed two. I let it cure for a couple of days during which time I noticed that it seems to be bumpy and will need a light sanding. However, I’m afraid to sand it because it scratches off so easily. I should mention that I don’t like the whole wax thing for a finish; I intend to use polycrylic. All in all, I am disappointed in ASCP because I am out a lot of money and the results just are not good.

  33. Hi, I love reading all the results everyone has had with homemade chalk paint and ASCP. I have used both of them a lot and feel that with either one it takes a lot of practice until you get used to using a thicker, faster drying paint. For my homemade chalk paint I use flat paint (you can use latex satin) for the best results. It sands very close to the real chalk paint and looks great once you use your wipe on poly or wax. I used AS today and I do like it, but since I use the homemade so much I’m almost to where I prefer it over the more expensive paint. My recipe is 1 cup flat paint, 2 tbsp. plaster of paris ,mix that with a little water first until smooth then add it to the paint. It’s that easy!

  34. Debbie (UK) says:

    Hi, I’m just about to have a go with painting an old table and would like to try out the ‘homemade’ chalk paint is ‘flat paint’ in the US the same as our ‘eggshell’ paint in the UK does anyone know please ?

  35. What color is the aqua dresser in this post? I love it and want to use it for ours! It’s at the top where you say Annie Sloan chalk paint.

  36. Have you ever tried putting the homemade chalk paint in a blender to help smooth it?

  37. Do you know if I can use this in a paint sprayer?

  38. I tried the blender idea with plaster of paris (flour, water, and paint). It was still slightly grainy but went on very smooth. I am making my sister in-laws wedding decor and wanted the chalk paint look for a sign. It turned out REALLY CUTE and didn’t cost me a thing since I had all the supplies.

  39. Kim Dykman says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty and this forum! Your site is also fabulous and I will continue to join the over 10,000 people who are smart and stylish enough to follow you!

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  41. Hi I read your recipe for chalk paint. I also saw one that instead of grout uses plaster of paris. Do you have an opinion on the plaster. I keep thinking that the grout even though it’s not sanded still has a gritty feel. I’ve worked with both types of grout and to me they are both gritty. The plaster is more like talc. What do you think? I appreciate it. Thanx.

  42. Oh my goodness, this is my new favorite blog! I just LOVE your style. It’s exactly how I want my new house to be!

    So I just came across chalk paint and was researching more about it. I was scrolling down this page and came across the little desk you had painted. I have the EXACT same one that I bought for $5 from a friend! I was going to stain it, but I like what you did with yours better. Do you have a link to that original post?

    Keep up the great work :)

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  1. [...] to Liz Marie Blog, it is as easy as mixing 1 cup of flat paint with 1 tbs. of unsanded grout.  Jamielyn at I Heart [...]

  2. [...] hands on chalk paint. Here’s a review on home made chalk paint versus Annie Sloan paint from Liz Marie Blog. It’s a good read if you are weighing up your options. Got to Annie Sloan for Annie Sloan [...]

  3. […] I just couldn’t make myself do it.  Cruising pinterest paid off yet again when I came across this post by Liz Marie Blog and I realized that I could make my own!  SO, instead of waiting for […]

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