How and Why About DIY Paint

There are many paints on the market for furniture painting, but I find DIY Paint ultimately the best for artisans because DIY Paint is a chameleon for furniture artists and other types of art because it is clay-based and blends naturally. DIY Paint is specifically designed for furniture with no need for sanding or priming before you begin (See minimal preparations below.) It adheres to nearly any surface including metal, plastic, laminate, and glass. 

All paints have different ingredients and formulas; however, many chalk-type paints are acrylic based like latex paint and I find them difficult when cleaning up even if water-based. I clean up with DIY Paint at my kitchen sink.

Some paints boast about being a clay paint, but in all likelihood the clay is just an ingredient.  What does clay-based mean? Clay is to DIY Paint what flour is to a cake. Flour is the cake’s foundation into which all other ingredients are added; Clay is DIY Paint’s foundation. CRAY CRAY FOR THE CLAY CLAY!

DIY Paint does not need self levelers and that’s SUPER DUPER for furniture artisans and others. It takes five times the amount of pigment to work with the clay in order for that pigment to color the clay base. We can build the paint up with thick layers or water it down to blend and smooth, yet it will still retain a high pigmentation.

The clay creates highs and lows, so your whole piece has continuity when blending without having to worry about match-ability. DIY Paint is natural; nothing is more beautiful than nature’s blend-ability.

When it comes to blend-ability, “DIY Paint does the work, so you don’t have too.”

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Love, water, clay, porcelain clay, chalk, alcohol, ester (as a binder), cellulose, pigments, preservative.

The happiness of nature allows DIY Paint to have no VOCs and be eco-friendly. No more gloves, harsh chemicals, respirators or toxins to harm our skin or our land. No need to know where to properly dispose of this paint!

NO FUMES IN YOUR ROOMS with DIY Paint and it’s safe for our kids and pets.

Nature is simple yet complex which makes DIY Paint so minimal, yet so rich. 

Want texture, you got it! ~ ~ ~ Want a smooth surface, you got it! 

Want a century-old patina, like shutters in the New Orleans French Quarter, you got it!

Just paint it on thick or use a palette knife to push and pull the paint.  You can even burnish the paint like pottery.

Want drips saturated with color, you got it! – Simply add water.

No other paint mediums are needed since adding water to DIY Paint does not compromise the color.

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Below is HOW I prep and paint with DIY Paint.  For optimum know-how, be sure to read this entire blog post because the HOW TOS are part of the WHY.  

Sample Boards When I am trying a new technique or color combination, I sometimes experiment with sample boards. Sample boards can be anything from wood scraps to cardboard! You learn a lot and avoid mistakes. However, some mistakes turn out to be no mistakes at all. 

Preparation DIY Paint is a minimal prep paint.

  1. Clean your piece with Dawn dishwashing liquid and water from a bucket, then wipe with a clean damp rag. 
  2. Does your piece need any repairs? Fix those first.
  3. Are you working with a dark wood like mahogany or cherry?  The tannins in dark wood could bleed through your paint, DIY Paint Salvation Solution is a stain-blocker and the bleed-through solution. I will be addressing bleed through in a separate blog post and video. Until then, contact me or drop me a comment below.
  4. Is the surface of the piece shiny or slick? If the answer is yes, you may need to scuff it up a bit with a light sanding.


  1. Drop Cloth to protect area (especially if painting in your home).
  2. DIY Paint
  3. Brush(es)
  4. Paper plate or small paper bowls
  5. Spray bottle
  6. Paper towels, baby wipes or old rags
  7. Plastic closable bags or cling wrap (for storing brushes until project is done.) I simply wrap my brush bristles in cling wrap and use that same piece until I’m done.

How I Like to Paint with DIY Paint

  1. DIY Paint is thick and does not separate easily.  I stir the paint rather than shake it.  I use a paint stir stick or large popsicle stick to stir the paint making sure to go all the way to the bottom and around the sides. I scrap the excess paint off, then put the stick on the paper plate or bowl I am using, so I do not waste paint.
  2. I do not paint from the paint container. I use paper plates or bowls to hold my paint to avoid contaminating the paint especially when using several colors.  (See my upcoming video and post on blending different paint colors.)
  3. Be careful not to use too much paint.
  4. Use a synthetic brush for fewer brush strokes.
  5. Use long brush strokes and do not overwork the paint by continuing to brush over the wet paint.
  6. The first coat may not provide full coverage on the piece.  That’s okay.
  7. Let your first coat dry at least two hours.  Drying time will vary depending on how thick the paint was applied or how dark the color is because darker colors have more pigmentation. As a rule of thumb, I find two hours minimal; however, I have left a project overnight or for several days before applying my second coat. That’s okay too.
  8. On your second coat, use light strokes.  Don’t push hard.   You can spritz your brush with water and then dip it in the paint especially if you notice your brush is starting to drag. (Some people like to spritz water directly on their furniture piece and that’s okay too.)


  1. Keep in mind hand-painted furniture is just that, so you will see minimal brush strokes. Personally, I like this look because I am not creating for perfection and, thank goodness, I am not a machine of mass production. You can use a natural bristle brush. Synthetic brushes will show less brush strokes. Use either type brush to achieve the look you want.
  2. Optional – To produce an even smoother surface on the top of a piece, I sometimes apply what I call the “Color Washed Top” to the top surface after the second coat dries.  The “Color Washed Top” technique is simply another option to consider if you feel there are paint irregularities remaining on the top of the furniture piece. I create a color wash by taking a small amount of paint on the brush tips and dipping the brush into a cup of water (no need to measure) and swirl it around. 
    1. Then, I dip the brush into the color wash and off-load the excess onto a paper towel or rag.  You want your brush saturated, but not with excessive dripping.
    2. Lightly brush the color wash over the top of the piece in long strokes in the same direction. Overlap your strokes, but do not keep reapplying in the same area. Let dry. — You will see the color wash reactivating some of the paint underneath to naturally blend any paint irregularities into the existing paint to create a smoother paint finish. 

I hope you find the Whys and Hows of DIY Paint helpful. DIY Paint should be sealed, so please be sure and watch my upcoming videos and blog posts on DIY Paint wax and finishes.  You don’t want to miss out, so please subscribe to my You Tube Channel and follow on social media.

Questions or Comments, please contact me or comment below. Don’t forget — Sign up for our newsletter, “What’s In Your Dewdrop?” I bet it is DIY Paint! LOL — Thanks Again, Terri 

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