How to Decorate with Chalkboard Paint

Get inspired by these rooms that decorate with chalkboard paint

By Jan Soults Walker

Let kids be kids (or bring out the kid in you) by transforming most any surface into a functional chalkboard. Draw or write on this specially painted surface with colorful chalk, erase it at will, and begin again.

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Once available only in black or green, chalkboard paints now come in a vast array of color options (and can easily be made on your own) so you can express your inner artist or list-maker in a format that ranges from hip to whimsical. The matte finish looks fabulous on walls and other surfaces, and allows you to add colorful chalk notations and drawings. Chalkboard surfaces serve as an imaginative feature for any room.

The Basics

If you purchase ready-made chalkboard paint, follow the manufacturer's directions for preparing the surface and applying the paint. With a properly prepared surface, you can apply chalkboard paint to metal, wood, masonry, drywall, plaster, glass, unglazed ceramics, and hardboard surfaces. Consider using magnetic primer and your chalkboard finish will also hold lightweight magnets.

In most cases, chalkboard paint must cure for three days after application. Then, condition the finish by rubbing the entire surface with the side of a white piece of chalk. Wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth and you're ready to chalk-and-roll.

To mix your own custom batch of chalkboard paint, select any color of flat or low-sheen latex paint and thoroughly mix 1 cup of paint with 2 tablespoons of unsanded grout. Apply two to three even coats with a smooth-finish foam roller. Let cure for three days. For a smoother finish, sand the surface lightly with 150-grit sandpaper and wipe clean. Condition the finish with chalk as noted above before using.

If painting isn't your thing, another option isto use adhesive-backed chalkboard wall coverings. Make sure the wall is clean, peel off the chalkboard paper backing, and press in place. Condition the chalkboard with chalk as noted above, wipe clean, and it's ready for use.

Wallpaper ideas for your home:

Playing With Paint

Apply the chalkboard paint to an entire wall or just part of it. One option is to create a rectangle or square of chalkboard paint on the wall and finish it by hanging a same-size frame over the painted area. Or "custom frame" the area by applying molding around the edges. You can also create a ledge for holding chalk using molding or a narrow strip of lumber.

Check out more ways to decorate bare walls

In the Kitchen

Homey Transitional Kitchen by Susan Fredman
Susan Fredman

A chalkboard surface makes a handy kitchen helper for writing down menus, grocery lists, emergency numbers, and messages.

Some kitchen surfaces that could be chalkboard-worthy:

In the Entryway

In the mudroom or at the entryway, create a chalkboard surface for posting emergency numbers and family communiqués. This is also a great spot for reminders: Don't forget the milk!

In a back mudroom, paint the exteriors of lockers with chalkboard paint and personalize each with a family member's name.

Additional foyer inspiration:

In Your Home Office

Casual Contemporary Kid's Room by Lori Dennis
Lori Dennis

Use a chalkboard surface in your home office to create a calendar with plenty of room for noting appointments and reminders. Write inspirational quotes on the outside of a filing cabinet. Make to-do lists on the front of an armoire for office supplies. Label bins on open shelves.

In the Playroom or Child's Bedroom

Chalkboard surfaces can provide children with hours of creative fun. Paint a child's tabletop with chalkboard paint. Fashion a chalkboard "wainscoting" on the lower portion of the wall so it's just the right height for budding artists and students. Paint the fronts of galvanized storage bins with chalkboard paint and label the contents using pictographs, so even your youngest non-readers kids know where toys and belongings go.

Look at other kid-friendly storage solutions.

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