Calcium Carbonate & Coffee Tables

Ahh…  I am sitting here sipping an iced coffee listening to the most beautiful sounding rainfall and I feel so relaxed. Our house is a total mess, which normally stresses me out, but I just can’t make myself care right now… 🙂

I’m also very pleased that this lovely rain held off until the afternoon so I could get in a full morning of yard sale-ing! I got some great pieces that I am dying to get started on, some fun vintage t-shirts that I want to use for upholstery, a couple of other little doodads and a blender that I want to use from now on when mixing my DIY chalk paint! And I spent less than $40! Holler! I was shopping with money that I recently made from selling the cute little teal and white coffee table featured in this post.

The other exciting thing about this coffee table (other than the fact that it sold super fast) is that I tried out a new DIY chalk paint recipe when I did this piece. I’ve previously used baking soda and Plaster of Paris. Baking soda works, but it’s not a little grainy and not super smooth. PoP wasn’t adhering as well as I would like, but a lot of people like this recipe, so it was likely my mixing or messing up the proportions.

This time I used Calcium Carbonate. At $10 including shipping for a 5 pound bag on Amazon, it’s still really economical! Calcium Carbonate chalk paint recipes get rave reviews online, but I had mixed feelings about my first attempt. Allow me to explain.

Here’s my before, a fold down oval coffee table that I bought from a friend who was moving for $10. (Thanks, Erin!!) It was in good shape, just a little scratched up from years of love.


Here is the first coat of teal flat Behr Premium Plus paint, mixed with Calcium Carbonate. I did about a 3 to 1 ratio of Calcium Carbonate to paint. (I don’t like stopping to measure when I’m on a roll, which will eventually be my downfall.) But before I mixed the paint, I mixed the Calcium Carbonate with a good bit of water. Too much water, it turns out. My first coat was really thin and didn’t cover very well. But, it was super smooth, so I didn’t give up!


One reason that I really wanted to try the Calcium Carbonate is because I haven’t had a lot of luck getting the heavily distressed layered, but still smooth, look that I LOVE. (Like this vanity on 551 east. Swoon.)

So I started by sanding down some spots to show the wood through the teal.


Then, I added a layer of white paint to the top. Since the teal was too thin and runny, I didn’t add any water to the Calcium Carbonate this time around. Also a mistake. It went on kind of like mud. By this point I was sweating and frustrated and ready to be finished, so I don’t have any pictures of this step. haha. After A LOT of sanding, I got it fairly smooth and got some of the teal to peek through. I have to work on fine tuning the chalk paint recipe and my distressing technique. I often have trouble with DIY chalk paint gumming up when I use my mouse sander and I’m trying to heavily distress the piece. Or, manual sanding doesn’t take enough of the paint off. I read somewhere that part of the problem may be that the electric sander is creating too much heat. I’ve also noticed that I need to use really fresh sanding pads for a smooth distressing job. I didn’t get as much color to come through as I would have liked, but I’m going to keep working on it!

Here’s the final product: (PS: Whites GLOW in all of my outdoor photos, so I have to really darken them when editing. If anyone has any tips on how to fix this, I would love you forever. I’m still a DSLR newbie.)

teal and white coffee tableteal coffee table top

Side note: I sold this piece on Craigslist and the buyer put it back on Craigslist for TWICE as much as they bought it for. Can you believe that? Rude.

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