Chalkboard Paint Projects

Most people, when they think of chalkboards, remember their childhood schoolrooms and the musty smell created when they were chosen as young students to knock the chalk dust off of those rectangular chalkboard erasers. But writing surfaces that can be wiped clean are handy to have at home, too.

Anyone can now buy a can or two of paint that will dry to a chalkboard finish. This wonderful paint medium can be used on whatever size board you choose and placed wherever you see fit. You can use the paint on a small area, or on an entire wall. The sky's the limit.

Chalkboard paint is sold in the traditional colors green and black, but if you make your own chalkboard paint, you can choose whatever color you prefer. Surfaces coated with chalkboard paint can be situated in a convenient place for keeping track of appointments, leaving messages, or for jotting down grocery lists. Or, use the paint in a rec room and leave out chalk so adults and children alike can draw and scribble whenever the urge strikes. If this feels too radical, think about painting your child's playroom with chalkboard paint. Kids never tired of doodling on the walls. Here are two projects you might like to tackle:

Scrawled Memos

*Family Planner—Apply black chalkboard paint to an entire wall of your home office. Now place some black chalkboard paint into several containers, then take some white chalkboard paint and mix it into the black paint to get several different shades. Use these shades to paint six rows of seven squares to give you a six-week calendar or perhaps a one-week calendar for six family members. The chalkboard-painted wall that extends past the squares can be used for scrawling memos.

*Kid-Friendly Mudroom—If you paint the bottom half of your mudroom wall with green chalkboard paint, your child can scribble away to her heart's content without causing any parental offense. The chalk can be cleaned away with a dampened sponge.

Making your own chalkboard paint means you aren't confined to commercial green and black chalkboard paints. Here's how:

Any Color

*For a small project, take one cup of flat-finish latex paint in any color you like and pour it into a container.

*Mix in 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout with a paint stirrer until there are no more clumps.

*Apply your homemade paint with a roller or a sponge brush to a surface that is either primed or painted. Give each small section a good going over to ensure an even and thorough application of the paint. Allow to dry.

*Sand the dry paint with 150-grit sandpaper to create a smooth texture and wipe away the paint dust.

*Condition the surface by rubbing it with a piece of chalk. Don't miss any part of the painted surface. Wipe away the chalk residue with a well-wrung-out sponge.