Decorating with Chalkboard Paint

Decorating with chalkboard paint is solid proof that your algebra teacher had more in common with Martha Stewart than you ever thought possible.

That’s because chalkboards aren’t just for old classrooms anymore; decorating with chalk and chalkboards is a genuine red hot trend in home decor.

If you’re looking to liven up your home with something different and unexpected, then chalkboard decor is an excellent option for you.

As with any good home decorating idea, it’s extremely versatile and serves many possible different uses.

You could even argue that chalkboard paint has more use for you now than algebra does, but that’s neither here nor there.

So if you’re in the mood to boldly decorate where few have decorated before, then read on because this is one decorating idea you can “chalk” up to creativity.

decorating-with-chalkboard-paint-chalkboard-paint-blackHow it works

You may be surprised to hear that the chalkboard surface area is just paint. This means that anything that can be painted can also be written on with chalk.

That doesn’t mean your garage door needs to feature the Pythagorean Theorem, but it does mean that decorating with chalkboard paint is very flexible and can do almost anything you want it to do.

First, go buy yourself some chalkboard paint at any arts and crafts store, or even a home improvement store. Any paint store would also have it, and it’s surprisingly inexpensive. If you prefer, you can even buy chalkboard paint in a can and spray it where you want it. For the best results, though, stick to an old fashioned paint brush.

decorating-with-chalkboard-paint-chalkboard-paint-greenAs you pick out your chalkboard paint, you’ll notice that things have changed quite a bit since you were in the 3rd grade.

Specifically, they come in several different colors now. Pink, green, blue, you name it. And yes, I’m being serious.

While you’re at it, buy some dark tinted primer, and of course pick up some chalk. Chalk also comes in many different colors, but you already knew that.

Buy a brush too, so that you can wipe off the chalk at any time. See, that’s the beauty of decorating with chalkboard paint; if you don’t like what you’ve done, just wipe it off and do it again.

Now it’s time to start your project:

1) Once you get home and decide which surface you want to turn into a chalkboard (keep reading for some cool ideas), thoroughly clean the surface. Make sure there are no holes or any other small objects that might get in the way (pushpins, staples, tape, excessive dirt, gum, hair, food, blood, insects, etc).

decorating-with-chalkboard-paint-chalkboard-paint-black-slate2) Cover anything next to you that you don’t want to accidentally get paint on. For example: nearby furniture, clothes, personal belongings, cats, dogs, your husband, etc.

3) Unless you want a massive headache, open the windows and ventilate the room. This kind of paint has a very strong odor that will make your hamper smell Febreze in comparison. If it’s exceedingly cold outside, then consider doing the project when the weather is warmer, and try to ventilate with fans.

3) Apply the primer as directed by the instructions on the can. How long should you let it dry? Again, read the instructions because every brand is different.

4) Apply the first coat of chalkboard paint. And breathe through your mouth… or else.

decorating-with-chalkboard-paint-removable-wall-decal5) Once the first coat is dry (read the label to see how long that should be), apply a second coat. Two coats are generally enough for this type of home project.

6) Wait 3 days. When your 3 days are up, take a new piece of chalk, turn it sideways, and cover the entire surface area lightly with chalk. The purpose of this is to “set” the paint and train it to perform better in the future. The time invested in doing this now will pay off later, so make sure you don’t skip this step.

7) You’re done! Arrange everything back to the way it was and let’s draw on the chalkboard!

Now that you know about decorating with chalkboard paint in your own home, you are now free to brainstorm ideas about how to incorporate it into your home. Room by room, let’s talk about some ideas:

The Kitchen

  • The pantry: Your pantry door makes a great surface area for your chalkboard, and makes a convenient little place to use it. Here you can put friendly reminders on what you need to get at the store, or even keep inventory of items inside the pantry. You can also post messages to ward people away from food (“You’re on a diet Peter, stay away from the Twinkies”), or conversely, invite them to open the door and try something (“You’ve been good, Peter, try feasting on some raisins”).
  • Backsplash: If you can’t afford a granite or expensive tile backsplash, you can always draw one in. Done correctly, you can cross the line from gaudy to elegant and really create something nice.
  • The fridge: If you dare, you can even turn your refrigerator door (or part of it) into a chalkboard. Sure, you could always hang a real chalkboard on the door instead, but as anyone will tell you, there’s not always a lot of room on there to write. If your fridge is very expensive and you don’t feel like turning it into a chalkboard, you can have a second, older fridge nearby and make that one a chalkboard instead (space in the kitchen permitting). The refrigerator is notorious for being a place to put messages, so there will never be a lack of things to write on the board.
  • Calendar on the wall: To help organize your life, you can convert a kitchen wall into a chalkboard and use it as a wall calendar. You’ve probably seen this done in classrooms or offices, and there’s no reason you can’t use it at home. This is definitely a creative alternative to using a calendar you buy at the store and hang on the wall.
  • Miscellaneous message center: Random notes for a variety of uses can be easily communicated by writing on a chalkboard anywhere in the kitchen. Shopping lists, personal messages, notes about where you are when you’re not home, reminders for doctor appointments, and any other message can be posted on the chalkboard. My mom had one of these when I was a kid, but it was small and not in a location where it could be readily seen. With the wall or fridge as your chalkboard, you can easily post messages for everyone in the home to see.

The Dining Room

  • Dining table: This is not recommended for higher end tables, but if your home is more artsy than the average home, go ahead and paint your dining table with chalkboard paint. You’ve now got a writing surface where you can play games or draw pictures. You could even draw an elaborate tablecloth or placemats, or faux coasters. Just don’t get chalk on your dinner plate.

Kids’ Rooms

  • Walls: Perhaps the greatest benefit of decorating with chalkboard paint is that is lets kids makes a huge mess without wreaking havoc on your house. By giving them free reign of the wall(s), you get to inspire their creativity while keeping your sanity. Let them draw, act out, make a mess, and less likely, practice their math and English lessons on the wall. It doesn’t matter what they do, because the whole point is that whatever they scribble, it won’t be on your expensive furniture.
  • Desk: You’re not limited to vertical surfaces. There’s no reason you can’t turn a desk into a flat chalkboard so that kids can doodle while they’re sitting down too.
  • Regular chalkboard: If you’re tentative to go all out with decorating with chalkboard paint, there’s nothing wrong with a regular ol’ chalkboard that you can buy at any school supply store. Kids can then use it for any idea mentioned above, and it gives the room a more scholastic look.

The Bathroom

  • Frames: The purpose of decorating with chalkboard paint in the bathroom is rarely ever functional. The room where you bathe yourself and do your other personal business is not conducive to writing on a chalkboard. For decorative purposes, however, chalkboard paint is a perfect fit for bathrooms. You can create a small frame and place it above items like soap, towels, and tissues to identify items for guests or write inspiring messages.
  • Doors: The backs of doors make great locations for chalkboard paint decor. Some doors have squares and ridges, so you could just paint one, some, or all of them and write notes, messages, or draw artistic pictures.
  • Medicine cabinet: The inside of your medicine cabinet is another ideal place to put chalkboard paint and write down reminders, medications, or whatever else you can come up with.

The Garage

  • Walls: Garage walls are an overlooked place to decorate with chalkboard paint, which is too bad because the uses are quite functional. You could label shelves, drawers, tools, gardening equipment, chemicals, holiday decorations or whatever else you choose to keep in your garage.

As you can see, there’s no limit to how you can decorate with chalkboard paint in your living space. Chalkboard paint is not just for school anymore, so bring it home and put it to good use. As a unique, creative idea that will leave an impression with your guests and is guaranteed to start a good conversation, decorating with chalkboard paint can’t be beat.

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