Chalkboard paint is a specialty paint that dries to chalkboard finish. You can apply it to a wide range of surfaces as long as you prepare them properly and is often used in residential painting projects. From a doodling platform in your kids’ room to a clever home organization tool, the possibilities are endless, especially since chalkboard paint comes in a variety of colors, not just black or green. You can apply it to many surfaces such as wall, cabinet doors, mirror and even plates or mug. There are many brands to choose from and the price is reasonable, unless you are painting a very large surface. When applied properly, chalkboard paint performs quite well, however, if you’re planning on using the surface heavily, an actual chalkboard might be better in the long run.
Where can I get chalkboard paint?
All major paint suppliers carry at least one brand of chalkboard paint: the Home Depot, Lowes, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams. You’ll find chalkboard paint on Amazon, at Walmart and in arts and crafts stores such as Michaels.
If you have the time and energy, you may consider making your own chalkboard paint by adding unsanded grout to regular latex paint and mixing well (see recipes below). It might be a good option is you’re looking for a specific color, but if you’re looking for a classic black finish, just pick up a quart of chalkboard paint at your local home improvement store and use the time you saved to prepare your surface adequately.
Recipe for chalkboard paint:
1 cup of latex paint for one tablespoon of unsanded (non-sanded) grout. The reason you use grout with no sand in it is to achieve a smooth finish.Recipe 2:1 cups of paint, 2.5 tbs of plaster of Paris, 1 tbs of water.
How to apply chalkboard paint to different surfaces
When a paint project fails, we tend to put the blame on the product but often enough, it turns out the product has not been applied according to specifications. Read the instructions provided on the paint can carefully and you shouldn’t have too many surprises. Here are the basics:
Rolling or spraying?
Chalkboard paint comes in gallon and quart pails and in aerosol spray cans. Sprays are a bit more expensive than pails, and although the finish will be smoother, it will be more fragile and susceptible to scratches. If you’re going for a good looking but mostly low-use project, use the spray. If not, use a roller or sponge brush to prevent unsightly brush strokes.
Applying chalkboard paint to a wall
Chalkboard paint will work best on an untextured wall. You might get away with applying several coats to a very lightly textured wall but I don’t recommend it. Other than that, chalkboard coating instructions are not very different from regular paint instructions. Your finish will be as good as the surface you applied the paint on. You want to apply your chalkboard paint on a smooth, even and clean surface. Use drywall putty to fill in any cracks, allow for the required drying time, lightly sand the surface and make sure it is perfectly clean and free of dirt.
Applying chalkboard paint to a wooden surface
Wood surfaces need to be primed prior to painting. If you skip the priming, the final product might look fine but it won’t last. The paint might start peeling before long. In addition to preventing bleeding through and blotching, priming products contain binding agents that ensure that the paint attaches firmly to the surface. It also fills the wood grain, and seals the wood, therefore creating a smoother finish.
Applying chalkboard paint to glass and mirrors and plastic surfaces
Clean the glass thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and wipe with a clean rag. Prime the glass or plastic with a product specifically designed to adhere to glass. Example: 3M™ Teak and Glass Primer P597. You may also lightly rub your surface with steel wool to give the paint or primer something to hold on to.
Applying chalkboard paint to porcelain (mugs, plates,etc)
Porcelaine requires a special type of chalkboard paint formulated for that very purpose. Regular chalkboard paint won’t work! You can order a small amount of for example Peboe porcelaine 150 from amazon for about $8. It comes with detailed instructions. Note that you will need to bake your item after the paint has dried.
Chalkboard Paint Application Recommendations
Stir the paint gently
Some products need to be shook thoroughly prior to use while other should not be disturbed at all. Chalkboard paint should be gently stirred to preserve the writability of the finished product. It might seem insignificant but it could make all the difference between a fully functional chalkboard and one that peels and falls apart within weeks of being installed. The agents that give the paint the chalkboard quality tend to settle in the product while the paint is wet.
How many coats?
Usually, you’ll need two coats in addition to the primer. Respect drying time between coats and let the surface cure for at least 48 hours prior to using it for the first time.
When your paint is dry, use a piece of chalk laying sideways and cover the entire painted surface with chalk. Rub the board with a dry rag and finally, erase it with a damp cloth. This priming will fill all the pores on your board and make sure that your future drawings erase smoothly.
DIY chalkboard paint projects
Chalkboard paint became extremely popular a few years ago. People use it in kids rooms and to create vintage looking menus and signs using old frames and mirrors. The possibilities are endless. Check out our Pinterest board for more ideas!
Chalkboard paint products have good reviews, as long as you apply the paint properly and you’re not planning on intensive use. There are issues erasing the chalk for example. For heavy use, invest in a real chalkboard or plan on adding a new coat of paint every 6 months or so.
Stay put for our next blog post!