Chalkboard paint bought from stores allows you to use only the boring black or green of school classrooms. I didn’t want that for my walls. Instead, I made an easy chalkboard of the color I wanted. Plus, because I used a board instead of the wall itself, I can have a chalkboard anywhere with ease. It can be hung in any room of the house, dorms, classrooms, offices or where ever. It’s cheap (costing me about $25) and can add style and function to anywhere you hang it. It is also great if you live in an apartment or a dorm and cannot paint your walls.
Step 1: Materials
• Piece of wood that is the size you want the chalkboard.
I used a piece of birch that measures 2x2. Birch is lightweight, light in color and fairly smooth.
• Quart of any color of paint that you want in matte finish.
• Unsanded tile grout.
• Paint roller and tray or paintbrush.
• 150 grit sandpaper.
• Sawtooth hangers (if nails aren’t included then you will need those).
Optional (But Highly Recommended) Accessories:
• Trash bag or piece of plastic for painting with no mess.
• Chalk rag.
• Command jewelry organizer. http://bit.ly/aUPIA9
• Command Sawtooth Picture Hanger (if you aren’t allowed to put holes in your walls). http://bit.ly/diUNkP
Step 2: First Coat
Before painting the first coat, if you got a board that is a little rough surface-wise then I suggest sanding the board.
Lay out the trash bag or plastic in the area that you are painting and place the board on top. Roll on the first coat of paint, making sure to cover the whole surface. It doesn’t have to be thick or that attractive; it just has to cover the board.
When the paint dries completely sand the board until smooth. This will help smooth any remaining imperfections that the wood or the paint may have and make writing on it more enjoyable. Just don’t sand the paint off.
Step 3: Adding Grout and the Second Coat
Designate a place on your paint tray to mix paint and grout together. Pour 1-2 cups (or however much it will take to cover your surface) of paint into the area. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of grout into the paint and mix well. You can do more or less grout depending on how rough a surface you want.
Roll or brush the grouty paint onto the board. Try to evenly distribute the grout over the board by moving the paint around until satisfied.
Step 4: Third and Final Coat and Conditioning
Once the second coat dries you can roll on the third coat of paint. This evens out the paint and makes it the grout less vulnerable to being exposed.
After the paint dries cover the board with chalk. There are a couple of ways of attacking this: either color and smudge or use the side of the chalk. As long as the board gets covered then you are fine. After that is finished, take a damp cloth and wipe off the chalk. This conditions the board and allows you to see if there are any areas that aren’t quite good enough. If it is necessary then add another coat with a little bit of grout in it.
Step 5: Mounting and Enjoying
Place the sawtooth hangers evenly apart on the back of your chalkboard and nail them in to attach. Be careful to not hammer all the way through to where the nail in sticking out of the front. If that happens then just pull the nail out a bit and hammer the nail sideways so that it stays flat against the board.
Mount as on the wall as if you are hanging a picture frame. If you are in a location where you aren’t allowed to put holes in the walls (dorms or rented housing) then I highly, highly recommend the Command strips.
I added the Command jewelry organized underneath to hold my chalk and rag but also to place my keys since mine is by my front door. It might be a little costly, but it looks nice and is extremely useful.
That’s it! You can use the board just like any other chalkboard. Your friends can leave you messages or pictures when visiting, you can write a to-do list on it, you can write a grocery list or little reminders to yourself on it, and so many other things. The chalk should wipe off clean with a rag. Enjoy!