Thrifty End Table Upcycle with Chalk Paint

Leftover paints + non-sanded grout make a homemade chalk paint to update a worn piece of furniture.

Upcycled homemade chalk painted end table

I love a good upcycle project and recently found the perfect side table to paint and update! We’d had an old table in our basement for a while and it had seen better times. It’s a perfectly solid wood table but the finish had worn off and stains and scratches were evident. I knew I could use it in the family room if it were updated up a bit and knew just how I wanted to achieve that!

Since I have loads of leftover paint from houses that I’ve remodeled, I decided to use a black paint I already had to update my table. I also have tons of leftover grout from tile projects from my remodeled homes and have a hard time throwing away these products, so I decided to experiment a bit and try to come up with a formula for my own chalk paint!


supplies to make homemade chalk paint recipe bowl leftover paint non-sanded grout and paintbrush

I’d seen several “recipes” for chalk paint online that used various products to thicken the paint so I thought my non-sanded grout would work just as well. No need to buy anything if I could make this work! I came up with a formula that worked great and provided a black chalkboard finish that looks and functions just perfectly!


finished thrifty end table upcycle with chalk paint with piece of chalk and writing and drawings on the surface

Ready to try an easy upcycling painting project? Get your paint brush out and let’s have some fun!

Let’s Go!

Materials To UPcycle an End Table with Homemade Chalk Paint:

  • Non-sanded grout in a neutral color or a color to match your paint

  • Paint brush

  • Paint in color of your choice

  • Drop cloths or newspaper

  • Bowl for mixing paint

  • Furniture of your choice

top view of old end table with stains and water marks

Instructions for Thrifty End Table Upcycle with Chalk Paint:

Step 1

After setting up your work space, pour paint into a large bowl. For my table I only used about a cup of paint for a 24” x 24” side table.

spoonful of grout being mixed into leftover black gloss paint

Step 2

Mix in grout. For my side table I mixed five heaping teaspoons into 1 cup of paint. Depending on how “chalky” or textured you want your paint, you can add more or less grout. I wanted to be able to use my table top as a true chalk board so I needed a little extra grout. I also started with a semi-gloss paint so I needed more grout to de-gloss it. If you start with a flat paint you could use a bit less grout.

Step 3

Paint furniture with mixture and let dry. I experimented with leaving part of my table unpainted but then decided to paint and sand for a distressed look.

Step 4

After letting furniture dry overnight you can “distress” the paint a bit if desired. I think mine looked good when I just sanded a few edges and part of the decorative trim.

There you go! I absolutely love the way the table turned out and now I often use my white chalk to write a reminder or draw a cute picture on the table. This project didn’t cost anything but time and turned out so well that I’m going to try it on a coffee table that’s a bit worse for wear too! Have you upcycled furniture by painting or distressing? I’d love to hear what you think!

Thrifty end table upcycle with homemade chalk paint at Yarn Scissors Silk