As a home-schooling mom, it quickly became very evident that I needed a chalkboard. Most online retailers sell pretty decent ones for a range of $150-$350 which is pretty steep in this economy just for something to write on. So I decided to make one myself and I’ve included the steps below for you.
Chalk line marker- If using a bare wall
Painters tape- If using a bare wall
Tri-ply underlay or similar flat board
Paint pan and roller
I brought everything I needed from Home Depot, but you can shop around for the best option for you.
Step 1: Determine your placement and the size needed for your board
First locate a good area within your home to place your chalkboard. Keep in mind that it should be low enough for you to reach the top of the chalkboard, and if using it for school, it should be a good reach for children as well. If your walls are not textured then your cost can be greatly reduced, however if they are, then you will need to go with an alternative surface. I decided to go with a 4` x 6` foot piece of tri-ply underlay from Home Depot. The cost: $6.97 perfect.
Step 2: Prepare your surface
When using a bare wall there really is no preparation to be done. Simply wash the walls where you will be applying the chalkboard paint and allow to dry. Once the surface is dry, measure and tape off the area to be painted. You may want to use a level and chalk line marker to make sure lines are straight before painting. With alternative surfaces such as the tri-ply you will need a little more preparation. Start with lightly sanding the smoothest side of the tri-ply, wipe clean with a damp rag to remove any fine dust and allow the surface to dry. Once dry; prime the surface with a basic coat of paint. You can purchase a separate small can of primer or use whatever latex based paint you may have on hand. The color doesn’t matter since it will be covered up anyway. Allow at least 3-4 hours of drying time before proceeding to the next step.
Step 3: Painting your chalkboard
Once the primer is dry, it is time to paint! Chalkboard paint is very fast drying and usually dries to the touch in just 30 minutes, so you need to work fast. Pour small amounts of paint into a paint tray and begin to paint your designated surface. Chalkboard paint is very forgiving and doesn’t leave streaking, so it is remarkably easy to work with. After you have painted your surface thoroughly, allow 3-4 hours of drying time then add a second coat. Once your second coat is dried, you can make a determination as to whether or not you want a third coat. Allow a total of 3 days after the final coat for the chalkboard paint to “cure” and harden before using.
Step 4: Hanging and decorating
Once your chalkboard is complete, simply remove the tape if your placement is directly on a wall. If you are using an actual board, then you will have to hang it. I used mirror hangers to place mine on the wall. They come with supports and can easily take the weight of a tri-ply. If you chose to use a heavier material, then you will need to make sure that your method for hanging your new chalkboard can fully support its weight. Once you have hung your chalkboard you can embellish it with paper boarders as I have, or you can choose to add molding to “frame” the board before hanging it.
Chalkboards can add fun to any room in your house! I use mine in my school room, but a playroom, kitchen, mudroom or garage are all perfect places to put a chalkboard. There’re green because they save on paper waste and families can use them instead to leave messages. The same method can also apply using magnetic paint which is another great addition to a playroom or child’s bedroom. There you have it, a simple easy weekend project all for under $30!