Explorations in Chalkboard Paint

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Chalkboard paint -- It's a serious fad and not just on Pinterest. A great one, if you ask me. Especially if you have children, but even if you don't.

If you haven't already jumped on the chalkboard bandwagon, we're hoping this post will inspire you. It's fun, it's easy, it's inexpensive.

Plus, what you can do with the paint is without limit. If black is too dark for your taste, you can now create your own chalkboard color to suit your every whim with this clever recipe.

The first thing I went for was a blank chunk of wall that was screaming for some love. This is in an area of my house where my children play, that is close to the backdoor.

This is relevant because chalk is dusty. It helps to find a place where dusty floors won't be a problem. Here's what I learned about painting larger sections:

  • Definitely tape off the section you are painting! Don't be lazy about this. No, you can't just go around it carefully with a fine brush. TRUST ME.

  • Definitely use painter's tape for the above task. It's a little more pricey, but worth the investment. Go for 1.5 inches or above. Don't settle for the 1 inch.

  • Use a drop cloth! Tape it down.

  • Wipe up spills immediately.

  • Get the children out of the way.

Maybe these are all common sense, but some of us learn things the hard way. Don't be like me. Cutting corners is for dummies. Also, know that it takes at least 2 coats of paint to cover your space, so plan accordingly.

The hardest part about using chalkboard paint is waiting for it to cure. The Rustoleum brand I used for the wall required 72 hours. Afterward you rub a piece of chalk all over it to condition it and after this, it's nothing but FUN.

These same rules can be applied to all large scale objects, including tabletops. If you have a junky table you were thinking of throwing away, think again! I think writing on the table is entertaining no matter what age you are. The only extra tip to offer here, is to make sure you sand it first.

Small objects are a little different. I used Martha Stewart's Multi-Surface Chalkboard paint to transform some jars and a cutting board. I'm sure I could have used the Rustoleum, but I wanted to see how this product differed.

I really loved the way it worked on the wooden cutting board. It's as fun as an iPad!

Or not.

Really, it's just about the size of an iPad, but you'd be surprised by how much time you can kill writing and erasing on it. It's especially useful to keep score on. Perhaps you have a dart board or pool table in your home? Or you need to keep tally of how many times your husband is wrong? No, never that...

Finally, I had to try this. I love mason jars. But they all look the same from above. You have to pull every jar out just to see what the heck is in there. And if you use them to store spices and are looking at them straight on, they all look alike. Not anymore!

I will tell you that painting on glass is a pain in the... What?

It's kind of a hassle, is what I'm saying. It took me five coats and the first one is the worst. I used a small paint brush and struggled like crazy to keep the paint from spreading too thin. Just know that you can cover the clear spots later. This is just a foundation to hold the next layers.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out. I think they would make great gifts.

In case you're curious, I used chalkboard markers for the jar labels. They exist! Though they're incredibly hard to find. When you ask for them at the store, nobody knows what you're talking about and some employees will even argue with you about it.

I went to Staples and two Micheal's stores before I finally found them by accident at Target. They're called "Liquid Wet Erase" Markers. A pack of four different colored markers costs less than $4. Get them.

I still want to try this and these and I'm absolutely smitten with this.

We'd love to hear about your chalkboard explorations!

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