…so when we bought our house, one thing I HATED was the bright red wall in the back of our kitchen. It didn’t really match the room, and was an eyesore. Not only was it a bright, unwelcoming shade of red, but it was poorly painted. It was streaky, inconsistent, and very textured. It was almost like someone added sand, or small rocks to the wall, and painted over. Maybe it was to match the rest of the slightly textured walls in the house? I’m not sure. Because the other walls are so subtle that you can’t really tell it’s even textured.
It took me over a year to decide what to do with the wall.
What was my crazy idea??
A CHALKBOARD WALL, of course!
I was inspired first sometime in the last year, when my husband and I flew to Florida and Georgia to visit some of his family. We stayed with one of his friends, who had recently remodeled much of their house. My favorite part was a small part of the wall, in-between rooms, where they painted it with [black] chalkboard paint. It was wide enough that their daughter could draw on it, which she frequently did.
One day, when I was browsing Pinterest for inspiration for my kitchen, I found some homes that had a larger chalkboard wall. I was sold.
I waited until the rest of the dining room and kitchen were repainted before I got started (see blog post: sometimes katie goes from outdated to retro [dining room makeover]).
I asked around, and researched a little, about what to do about the texture on the wall. I figured that if I was going to be writing on that wall, the poky texture would be difficult to write smoothly.
My husband handed me a scraper tool, and I got to work.
The texture was so thick and hard that I had to almost put the scraper at a 90 degree angle and push it along the wall until the pieces came off.
After I scraped the whole wall, I thought maybe I could just go straight to painting it with chalkboard paint. The previous owners had left a small can in the basement, so I brought it upstairs, stirred it really well, and painted a couple of squares on the wall.
My husband was convinced that the wall was still too textured. I didn’t think he was right, but it turns out that he usually is when it comes to home projects.
I was talking about this project at work, and one of my co-workers recommended using a hand sander to smooth out the wall. Since the wall was made from plaster, I thought I’d give it a shot.
(According to research online, this was going to be a very messy, awful step, and my asthma was probably going to get VERY flared up. Luckily the sander had a piece attached that “caught” the dust, and so I tried out a little bit before going crazy on the whole wall).
I sanded over the part that I had painted black, and it revealed that yes, there was too much texture still, and the whole wall needed to be sanded.
It still made a little bit of a mess, but I just made sure I had a mask on, and an inhaler nearby. I think my eye allergies were actually worse than the breathing, since I had the mask on. Using the sander required a little force pushed into the wall, which made my arms even more tired than scraping. So this step I took my time with.
Once it was sanded, it needed to be “dusted.” When we sanded and re-stained our mantle black, I learned about tack cloth. It’s sticky and weird feeling, but it does the job. I think it took two pieces to clean the whole wall off, there was so much paint dust on it.
Finally the wall was scraped, sanded, and clean, and ready to be painted!
When I researched how to use chalk paint, it was recommended to prime the surface first. I had some leftover primer downstairs and just did one coat. Pretty easy step.
When the primer was dry, I started the process of painting with chalkboard paint. I’d never used it before, and it turns out it’s a little different than the normal eggshell variety I typically use.
Also, I was afraid that the leftover can in our basement wouldn’t be enough, so I bought another can. Disney makes a chalkboard paint and actually sells it at Walmart, for $10.97. It comes in a smaller, 1 qt. can, but that was more than enough for two coats on the wall. A cool feature about this paint is that you can tint it nearly any color you want. They have a color chart in store you can use. I went with the darkest tint, “Mouse Ears.”
The website recommends waiting four hours to dry after the first coat, and seven days to dry before writing on it. Man, that wait was hard! I used a roller and a trim brush to paint the wall.
Painting it black didn’t take that long, and I’ve become pretty good at cutting trim from all the painting I’ve been doing in my house.
While I was waiting a WEEK to use the wall, I painted the trim white so it looked tidy and neat.
While I was still waiting, my husband installed newer, modern-looking light switches and outlets. My goal is to do that with every single one in the house. We’ve made some pretty good progress so far.
He also installed a new track light above it, that we found in the “As-Is” section at IKEA. Previously there was a single bronze light (shocking), without a cover, and the light was just GLARING onto the wall. This new light adds light not only to the wall, but to the sides of the room, which is convenient.
So — onto actually USING IT as a chalkboard!!
A great tip I found was to “season” the chalkboard before use. Basically, you take a piece of chalk, and rub the side of it (not the tip) all along the chalkboard, first vertically, and then horizontally. This insures that when you first write something, you can erase it completely. If you don’t season it, you could have permanent marks on the board (faint, but still visible).
Another great tip I found was that the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work best for erasing the chalk off. I have found this to be absolutely true. When the Magic Eraser is dry, it takes the chalk off well, but if you want to completely clean the chalkboard so it looks new, you just get the eraser wet. I love those things.
I have bought a ton of colors, shapes, and sizes for the chalkboard wall. The biggest mistake was buying glitter chalk, because although it’s sparkly and “cute,” it’s a pain to wash off the wall.
A handy tool I found at Hobby Lobby was a chalk holder that prevents you from breaking the chalk because its housed in a holder.
So now that it’s done, I’ll show you some of the fancy artwork I’ve done so far!!
Wait… first, I have to put a Bob picture in here. As soon as the wall was finished, I found our cat sitting in front of it, almost asking to be photographed.
Okay — now some fun artwork!
I didn’t have a Christmas chalkboard, because it was around that time that I was the most nauseous from
morning afternoon sickness! The worst of the symptoms were around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I just didn’t have the energy to spend on decorating the board. I didn’t even put up a tree this year! Some small decorations here and there, so it felt like Christmas. I eventually wrote something a little Christmas-y on the smaller chalkboard I made (I’ll blog about that later):
So that’s that!
I hope this is helpful for anyone who wants to do a chalkboard wall in their house. Hopefully it’s much smoother for you, and you can just go straight to:
- Find a wall
- Clean it
- Prime it
- Paint with two coats of chalkboard paint
- Season it with chalk
- Go crazy with drawing, writing, and decorating!!