I’ve yearned for a chalkboard wall FOREVER – admiring them in magazines, *pinning* them, and generally salivating anytime I see a gorgeous wall o’ chalk, especially out and about at restaurants, where they’re often oversized and detailed with the most beautiful colors, images, and calligraphy.
My yearning deepened last year when I was homeschooling Mighty O in the Waldorf method, where chalk drawing is a central tool in exploring fairy tales and traditional rhymes with young children. We had so much fun with chalkboard artistry involving gnomes, fairies, golden geese, and so many other magical creatures.
Alas, each home we’ve lived in wasn’t quite right for a well-situated chalkboard wall. So I’ve pacified myself with cute little chalkboard decor here and there, staving off my true chalkboard dreams for a later time…. Until now. And let me tell you, it has been worth the wait! It was sticky – and it was tricky… But it is OH SO rewarding.
I picked up a can of Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint in black for that classic blackboard look, throwing it in there with our evolving French – Nordic cottage decor. I’m not sure that a chalkboard wall is completely authentic in this scene, though, hey – the contrast of vintage and modern touches is what makes it cool, right?! ;)
The wall I selected for this project is at an interesting transition point… between the kitchen and breakfast room, and also visible from the entry room/study, which is the area most open to guests and other visitors. Against the otherwise light, neutral tones of the home that I’ve been moving toward in the updating thus far, this is a bold touch against the rest of the “calming, serene, natural” theme. The room to the right in turquoise will soon be white, and I will be attempting a burlap wall treatment above the chair rail… big plans!!
**Speaking of which, I’m also toying with doing a dark charcoal in the master bath for a spa-esque feel…. and to camouflage lots of outdated tile with the distraction of bold walls. Though I digress…. more on that to come.**
At any rate, when I opened the can and took my first few strokes with this paint, I was very surprised at the consistency. It was quite goopy, almost tar-like and pretty separated even after lots of stirring… so it took a bit of recalculating from my usual painting method to get it just right in terms of spreading and coverage. I painted in the usual way – edging the top and bottom with a brush, and rolling on in the middle. Very, very streaky for the first coat… I was getting worried that the paint might be old or that somehow I wasn’t doing it right. Eek!
You can see how thick it is in this close-up photo. Be sure to tape really, really well… this stuff is NOT coming off if you get it on your woodwork. –>>>
On to the second coat, and things started to come together. The color became more even and the coverage more complete… shew! Now we’re in business:
By the time it dried, the chalkboard finish was beautiful, deep black, and even. Before use, though, the paint must be seasoned with chalk to create a usable surface for writing and – more importantly – the ability to erase.
Here’s where a little teamwork came in, and Mighty O was recruited for the job! We swiped the sides of chalk across the entire surface, careful to cover every inch. Once complete, it had to sit for about 3 days… while we were chomping at the bit to get our hands on it!!
Once it’s time to erase, the deep black finish is replaced by a slightly cloudy look, just like I remember from school back in the olden days:
At last, it was finished! We christened the board by creating the recipe for Mighty’s Famous No-Bake Cookies for a school project. Between the new chalkboard wall, COOKIES, and working on a Maker’s Club idea, I’ve never seen him write and spell so enthusiastically!
His friends love it, too. Chalk drawing is a requisite activity for any playdate now, and we’ve always got a little basket of vibrantly-colored chalks at the ready for our honored guests… whether they’re adults or children. ;)
This project has been so rewarding and fun for us, and much easier than I thought it would be to do. It hardly took any time at all… the hardest part was just waiting through the seasoning time for it to be ready!
What’s your next project? Are there any you’ve done that you thought would be a challenge, and instead were easy? Do tell!
Love and light,