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Chalkboard Paint Uncovered

Chalkboard painted crafts and DIY has been all the rage for several years. Even cell phone covers are getting into the act.  Chalkboard paint has many creative and fun applications.

What is chalkboard paint? It's simply paint that you can apply to virtually any surface that will turn that surface into a usable chalkboard that you can draw and erase like a standard chalkboard. We have compiled a comprehensive list of our favorite ideas, tips of the trade and craft ideas anyone can do. We even have a list of products and tips you might want to try.  Our focus will be on traditional chalk used on chalkboard surfaces.

The fun thing about chalkboard crafts and DIY is that you can pretty much use it on any surface. It can be used on walls, kitchen cabinets, doors, storage bins, clipboards, jars, cups, walls, dishes, and even recycled items from the trash. You can transform anything to make it hip and functional again.

Let’s Talk about Chalk

We researched chalk and found how interesting those little sticks are! Chalk is made from Calcium Carbonate, a processed form of limestone.  You can even make YOUR OWN chalk! Take a look at our very own recipe for it on Tipspoke.

Chalk Board Paint 411

Chalkboard DIY is very popular, but be sure this is something you truly want to include in your home. We suggest using this to accent your home decor. Small sections go a long way. And you can truly transform a space!

There are a few things to consider before using it. Here’s a quick snapshot of pros and cons before your pull up your sleeves and begin to paint with Chalkboard Paint.

Top 5 reasons for using chalkboard paint:

  • Quick and Easy Transformation – Painting walls and surfaces of virtually anything are a cinch!
  • Usefulness – You can do so much with it, very versatile.
  • Artistic and Educational Purpose – Enjoy an ever changing ‘canvas’ for ideas, messages, and artwork for all ages.
  • Quick Changes – You can easily change any words or artwork quickly with a quick erase.
  • Nostalgia - Kids are not using chalkboards at school much anymore, if it all. It brings back an old school nostalgia, kids today don’t experience.

Top 5 reasons to hold off on using chalkboard paint:

  • Price – Chalkboard paint is pricier than other paints. Chalkboard spray paint can set you back even more.
  • Dust & Allergies – Anyone that has asmtha or any other respiratory issues at home or has allergies must be considered before you start painting walls. Sensitivities to chalk dust are real and chalk dust floating around in the air is considered an irritant. Check out this great outdoor wall alternative!
  • Time and Planning - You will need at least 3 coats of paint, with waiting times in between coats. The final coat it will need to set and cure for at least a week. (so don’t get the kids too excited!)
  • Repainting and Damage – The process of painting your walls with Chalkboard paint requires several layers. To change the wall back to basic color you may have to strip the wall with sanding and TLC.
  • Don’t go overboard - We recommend painting accent walls and smaller spots around your home, than full fledged rooms.

Paint Selection and Tips of the Trade

There are many companies producing chalkboard paint.

We found that Rustolium Brand seems to have the best recommendations around. Take a look their cool color swash.  It’s impressive how many great colors you can now choose from.The benefits from using paint is that it’s price effective and longer lasting. The con with it is that it places a rougher surface coat on your walls.

Chalkboard paint also comes in a spray paint form. The benefits of Spray-paint is that it has a smoother finish and it’s really quick and easy to apply. The drawback with it is that it’s much more expensive and it scratches easily.

YES, you can make your own paint!

There are a lot of ideas on making your own chalkboard paint. Here is a great tutorial on how to make your own Chalkboard paint!

Preparing your Walls for Chalkboard Paint

  1. First, paint the area with a layer of tinted primer to best match the color you are using. Chalkboard paint comes in a variety of colors. Be sure to prime with the best color match you can.
  2. Next, paint on a layer of chalkboard paint. Let dry and reapply until you get the coverage you are looking for. Please check out Benjamin Moore’s Top Tips for great ideas and application directions.
  3. Season the Wall. After the paint dries, cover the entire surface with chalk, to prepare the surface to be written on. Simply use a large stick of chalk on its side and coat the chalkboard paint with a thin layer and wipe off. Why must we do this? This process seals the chalkboard, allowing whatever is written and drawn on the surface to be erased and written on well.

Do Not Write on a Wet Board!

Have you noticed that writing on a wet chalkboard will result in darker markings? It might seem as if this is the best way to clean and use a board, but this practice will eventually ruin it. The chalk will stick to the board like glue after the moisture dries, and the markings will not be nearly as easy to remove. In fact, this will create a buildup that is not good for the finish.

How to Clean Your Chalkboard

Use a micro-fleece (be sure it doesn't have too much lint on it) or a traditional felt eraser. Colored chalk seems to be stingier to wipe clean.

For erasing those swirls and better clean up, we recommend the following:

  • Wipe with a micro-fleece rag or a felt eraser.
  • Fill up a bucket with a tiny amount of liquid dish soap.
  • Using the a soft rag or micro-fleece wipe down the entire wall.
  • Let dry.
  • Repeat 3 & 4 until clean.

Additional tips: Mr. Clean Magic Erasure Sponges work well. And you must season the wall again after a big clean.

Alternatives to Painting Your Walls

When painting isn't an option, try chalkboard contact paper.  It can do the trick and it has many craft applications. You can easily use the contact paper to cute out shapes and apply to non-porous areas. Like cutting our a circle and applying it to a coffee cup.  Really quick and simple DIY.

Need Inspiration? We have our top picks!

There are a lot of ideas beyond painting your walls! We have some unique ideas for you to consider.

1. Small Spaces, BIG Impact

Chalkboard Door – cool in the bathroom where you are on tile usually and cleaning that floor is easy. Messages are fun, and graffiti is accepted – shhhh…don’t tell the kids I said that!

Inside Kitchen Cabinets - We love this idea! It's just enough to make a cool impact in your kitchen.  Great way to keep the household organized!

2. Here is a listing of some DIY Projects we know you will love!

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