DIY Friday – how to mattify gloss paint

Last week I traveled to our closest Home Depot to decide on a paint for our living room. It had a huge selection of interior paint so as you can imagine, I was excited to pick a colour. I did the thing you’re not really supposed to do though and I chose a colour without trying a few tester pots first. It took me nearly an hour to get there by bus and it was -17C that night, so forgive me as I had survival instinct priorities at the time so I committed to 3.5L of BEHR’s Classic Burgundy [09YR 05/305] and headed home. 


After first painting the ceiling white that weekend, I got to work and started painting the walls burgundy. I got very lucky as BEHR’s burgundy was EXACTLY the colour I was looking for. Except for one thing; it was in an eggshell finish. Big time not something I wanted. 

I don’t like eggshell finishes in such a dark colour as it makes it too glossy. I’m not pointing fingers but I am used to being asked what type of finish I’d like my paint to have and as I wasn’t asked, I completely forgot to mention it to the paint technician so I didn’t realise it had an eggshell finish until the first coat dried. It wasn’t cheap paint and I bought enough to paint our entire living room, so the thoughts of having to buy more paint was exhausting [it ended up taking me close to two and a half hours to get home by bus that night as the bus I was on got cancelled mid-journey. I wasn’t looking forward to a potential repeat]. I figured I’d take advantage of the opportunity to make lemonade and help out anyone else who might be in the same situation. 

It wasn’t long though before I remembered a hack my dad told me about a few years ago that I used on the walls in our living room in our Dublin apartment to dull the shine on our even then glossier walls.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
– plaster of Paris
– water
– tablespoon and cup measures
– a tub to mix the plaster of Paris
– paint brush, roller etc. and whatever else is needed to paint a room
– patience

RECIPE / PAINT HACK

I mixed 3 tablespoons of plaster of Paris with 1 tablespoon of water in a jar. I mixed it thoroughly to make sure the plaster of Paris was completely dissolved and there were no lumps. It’s pretty VITAL [enough to warrant the use of capitol letters] that you mix the paste like this first and not under any circumstances do you just add the powder directly to the paint. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DIY, DON’T DO THAT

I used this amount of plaster of Paris mix for every 1 cup of paint I used. For the eggshell finish I had, I found this ratio worked out perfectly to give a matt finish. Try messing around with the proportions yourself if you’d like in small batches before committing to repainting an entire room and finding it’s still too shiny for your liking. I definitely found I needed about 10L of patience while I was testing out the ratios. There was a lot of waiting for things to dry before finding out if my ratio was right, but it totally paid off. 

At the most I mixed up enough for 2 cups of paint as that’s how much my paint tray would take. To add the paste, place a few dollops of the paste in the corner of your paint tray. Using your brush, smooth the paste into the paint in a small corner of your tray and ensure it’s completely mixed and lump-free before stirring it in with the rest of your paint. Once all the paste is added, thoroughly mix your paint so the paste is evenly distributed. Thoroughly. If you think it’s all mixed, mix it for another minute to be sure. 

It was actually quite difficult to try and photograph, but you can just about see where I used the plaster of Paris paint vs. the eggshell paint above. To me, it made a huge difference and I was able to actually use the paint in our living room without it driving me up the walls. 
I then used the paint mix as I normally would; I painted on the edging and rolled on the rest. I will say because of the plaster of Paris, don’t go for a lunch break mid painting. The paint in your tray will dry faster than it normally would and especially the paint on your brush and roller thanks to the plaster of Paris. If you do go for a break or want to finish on another day, use some cling film on your roller and brush to keep them airtight and that will stop the paint from drying. Once you’re finished, be sure to clean your roller and brush thoroughly as you don’t want any paint or plaster of Paris left in the bristles. 
I am so SO SO happy with how it turned out. BEHR’S Classic Burgundy is my dream colour and I’m able to appreciate it so much more now thanks to having a more calming finish. I’m now almost finished painting the living room [I’m taking it one wall at a time – about as much as you can get done with a toddler] and I cannot wait to share what it looks like now. It’s so excellent. 
PLEASE NOTE – I have not tried storing paint after adding plaster of Paris to it so I do not know what would happen to it. I don’t know if it would completely solidify or if it would be fine. It could make like Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, or not. I really don’t know. But I am going to make up a small amount to store and I will report back as to the Han factor in a few weeks / months.

How blogging taught me to do things the right way vs. the easy way

I’ve been blogging for 7 years now and I will be the first person to admit that in the beginning my projects were terrible. I used regular wall paint on furniture, I glued things together instead of buying the hardware it needed, I wouldn’t wait the recommended time between coats [because I want it done NOW], I’d skip steps to speed up the process and I went for the cheapest option vs. the option that was most suitable and would last the longest. It was definitely a mix of my age at the time and inexperience, but I’m quite proud of how far I’ve come these past years.

A lot of how I now treat projects I owe to two of my favourite bloggers; Anna Dorfman of Door Sixteen and Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely. I started following both women around the same time I started my own blog. Two [of the hundreds] of their projects that stand out the most was one of Anna’s posts about updating the cast iron radiator in her kitchen and a post of Nicole’s was when she was updating the sink nook in their walk-in closet. I don’t know why, but these posts stand out the most out and from time to time I think about them. Effort and research went into both [seemingly straight forward, but not] projects. They took their time and weren’t done in a day. If they needed more time, they took it. They didn’t take the fastest route. I remember being so interested in both posts and their surrounding projects. Both Nicole and Anna often do research into the history of whatever piece their working on and manage to make the intricate updates and processes interesting. I mean, radiators and filler don’t particularly scream ‘exciting’, but I was captivated by both projects [and about 1,000 of their other projects] and the underlying theme of doing something properly. 

It’s not a great example because it’s the only project I’m working on right now, but case in point – our living room. When we moved in it had a beige ceiling, grey walls, two shades of grey on the picture rail, grey painted trim, windows and doors. For a few weeks I considered what colour to paint the walls and on Friday I bought paint for the living room. Knowing it will make the biggest impact, I want more than nothing than to paint the walls. But another part of my brain reminded me there’s an order to things – the ceiling should be painted first because it makes the most sense [working from the top down etc]. So on Saturday I painted two coats of white paint on the ceiling. It was exhausting but it looked fantastic compared to it’s previous beige! However, on Sunday morning reality hit and I realised it needed another coat. 

Did I want to climb up that step ladder, pinch my hip countless more times and crane my neck for another 4 hours to paint another coat on the ceiling? HELL NO RIGHT HERE 🙋 But I did it because I knew it wouldn’t be done properly otherwise. Yes, the ceiling looked good after two coats but it had ever-so-slight shadows of uneven paint. I painted another coat and it now looks immaculate compared to its previous self. Yes, it was annoying as fuck having to do that last coat and on a Sunday. But which was worse? A few hours of extra painting, or the next X-number of years looking up at the blotches of uneven paint that irked me? During those few hours on Sunday morning before I painted the third coat all I kept doing was looking at the damn blotches so I knew if I didn’t do another coat, my eye would keep getting drawn to them. 

What I’ve learned over the years is to take your time and think about the right way something should be done. If you’re not sure, ask in your local hardware store or Google it. If it takes another week to get a project done, it takes another week. I had to learn a lot about patience over the years and I’ve learned to appreciate not taking the easy route. And I have Nicole and Anna to thank for that. 

Curio cabinet collection

It’s been nearly 2 years since I got my curio cabinet and up until last week, it was empty. I wanted to fill it with a collection but as you may be able to guess, I wasn’t sure exactly what that collection should be. 

I do find I like to collect things that I’ll never really use [washi tape, wrapping paper, feathers, small boxes, cat whiskers, wine corks] so I’ve been trying to stop collecting things so uselessly. Except, last week I cleaned out a small round jar [seen on the top shelf to the left] and I really liked it and I just wanted to keep it. It’s just a small jar! So innocent. So I put it in my curio cabinet. Then I washed two mini jam jars and added them too. And a few tiny bottles of emergency baby food. And, oh, look how cute they all look together! They all had different coloured lids which was irking me, so late last night I spray painted the lids gold and semi organised them and I think it looks quite nice! And it immediately justifies one of my [many] useless collections. 
Do you have any weird or unusual collections? Or do you share a passion of hoarding something slightly more normal like small boxes like I do? I get that from my mom so it’s in my DNA so that makes it okay. 

Also check out – updated curio cabinet