Chalkboard Paint: How to (and how not to)

As I said yesterday, I’ve been seeing homemade chalkboard paint around the web for a while now, and I decided to give it a try myself. Which was kind of a fail, except now?

Yay! So here is the story. I used this tutorial, which seemed to be the easiest one on the web. I’m all about two ingredient recipes. This one simply called for any interior house paint of your choosing and unsanded grout. I was a little leery of the grout because I didn’t know what it was exactly or how much it would be, but it turns out that it only cost $1.88 at Lowes. I have tons of left over paint from getting our house painted, but rather than even crack open one of the extra gallons, I decided to just use the test pot of the light blue color that I bought when I was trying to decide on colors. Some tutorials say that you have to use flat paint. Maybe that works better? But my normal eggshell worked fine. Here are the supplies.

First step was the clean the door. The blog didn’t mention this, but because it was a shinier surface I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any grease or fingerprints on it. I just used a normal house cleaner.

Then I taped the door off so I’d get nice crisp edges.

I didn’t want to measure how much paint was in the test pot, but it seemed like it was probably somewhere between 3/4 and 1 cup, so I just added 2 tablespoons of the grout mix directly into the pot (note: I have a TON of grout left).

I sacrificed a chop stick because I didn’t know what else to stir it with. It stayed kind of clumpy in texture but the directions said that was okay.

And, just as the directions stated, it did go on sort of clumpy but the clumps somehow melted away as you brushed it on.

I did three coats and sent B out to get me some chalk (okay so I didn’t so much send him out for it as I asked him to pick it up while he was out buying kitty litter, but whatever). Aaaaaaaaandddddd….

FAIL. See, he bought me colored chalk. I didn’t specify what kind and colored chalk seemed fine with me. The directions stated not to use a chalk pen but didn’t mention colored chalk. Well…. it does not work. When you try to wipe it off it just smears everywhere and refuses to wash away! See?

Grrrr… Stupid dark blue chalk. I washed it off as best as I could, and let it dry. Then I painted on two more coats of chalkboard paint and baked a pie.

Today on my way home from work, I stopped to buy some white chalk, hoping the issue was the chalk and not the paint itself, and it was! The white chalk works great!


A few notes:
– If I did this again, I would use a roller and not a brush. The brush left brush marks which makes the surface not as smooth to write on.
– This isn’t *exactly* like a real chalkboard. It is definitely less smooth and the chalk doesn’t wipe away quite as easily. It does wipe off with a damp cloth, but it isn’t like a real chalkboard where you can just rub something away with your thumb.

So, for $1.88 spent (plus $2.07 for two packs of chalk), I am calling this project a totally fun success.

Also, just because I already had the paint made, I decided to paint a mirror to make a mini chalkboard:

Inspiration here. But this mini-project is not quite done. I want to paint the frame of the mirror as well. I’m thinking dark blue maybe? Or maybe the same green as our bedroom so it blends into the wall and is just a cool textural element? Also, I think I might permanently paint on the words “I love you because” and then just let the bottom part be the chalkboard. Any thoughts? What color would work best for the frame?


5 thoughts on “Chalkboard Paint: How to (and how not to)

  1. Love this! Such great tips on making it yourself. Also I like the dark blue for the frame, it would look nice with the lighter chalkboard paint.

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