Chalk it up!

Chalk boards are a thing of the past for modern schools.  Replaced by big white boards & projection screens, chalk is generally relegated to sidewalks, and school chalk boards are now vintage finds that are hip to hang on the wall of a dining room, hallway or coffee house.  But there are a mighty large number of uses for chalk board paint, such as the Chalkboard Globe from Design Sponge for instance, which is a popular way to “salvage” globes from flea markets and make them new again (but please, please, don’t do this with a globe which is 70 years old ore more; those are real pieces of history as some countries don’t even exist any more).  Covering a wall or two with chalkboard paint is all the rage right now, but don’t limit your creativity! A layer of chalkboard paint can make even the most mundane items interesting.

Actually it’s pretty simple! Take any basic object (coffee-mugs, kitchen jars, garden pots, your laptop/iPad, or even your dearest Nabaztag), mix your own paint and then let the creativity begin! Black is classic, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and finishes. Do you like the classic matte look, or would glossy go better with your décor? All you need to make your own special brand is a can of paint – any color – and unsanded tile grout.

To make chalkboard paint:

Purchase ingredients and tools: primer, paint, unsanded tile grout, and 2 foam paint rollers.  You can find a roller for about $2 at your local hardware store. Make sure your roller’s package reads, “very smooth finish.” It’s also best to use a foam paint roller instead of a brush. Even when the paint is well mixed it’s a little gritty, and foam rollers distribute the paint evenly and smoothly. Use two separate rollers for your project – one for the primer and one for the chalkboard paint.

Recipe: 1 cup of paint + 2 tbsp. unsanded grout

1. Be sure your wall or surface is completely clean and free of holes or nails. Repair any damage before you start your project.

2. Mix small batches of paint, even if you’re working on a large project. Stir the paint often because the thick paint dries quickly.

3. Use a primer. Be sure that your primer edges are neat and don’t run, because a messy primer edge makes painting more difficult. Allow your primer to fully dry before painting. Tip: When you think it’s dry, wait another hour.

4. Paint several coats for the optimal chalkboard paint project. To achieve the smoothest finish, let each coat fully dry before painting the next layer. If you’re unsure if your wall is dry, a good rule of thumb is to wait two hours between painting each coat.

5. You’re ready to draw! Don’t buy dense school-type chalk. Instead, opt for lightweight artists chalk. We found this set on Amazon for $8.75. You can also find it at your local arts supply store. Nicer chalk makes more dust, but it’s also easier to erase and will keep your chalkboard paint looking new.

What offbeat object will you paint?

Photo: Censational Girl

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How about you? What kind of vintage piece of furniture/object would you give a second life with a bucket of chalkboard paint? Please use the comments section below, and share your ideas and tips!

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