It’s a bit of a catch 22.  If I title the post “Paint Your Own Chalk­board” I will unde­ni­ably under­mine the state­ment “stun­ningly cre­ative”.  How­ever, if I title it some­thing witty such as “Appa­ra­tus to Pre­vent Unin­ten­tional Con­sump­tion of Recipe-Destined Food Stuffs” it is likely that some­one search­ing for how to paint your own chalk­board will never have the plea­sure of my delight­fully engag­ing prose.  So instead, I will pro­vide my faith­ful read­ers with this Every­day Mod­ern “Choose Your Own Adventure”.


Title cri­sis averted, I will jump head­first into this post with a link to my good friend Martha Stewart’s web­site, as she has an excel­lent recipe for cre­at­ing “chalk­board slop”.  See Marty’s recipe here.  So why, might you ask your­self, am I post­ing about this if there already exists a how-to?  Because any­thing Martha Stew­art can do, I can do bet­ter!  Let me show you how:

Tool Belt:

  • Bucket
  • Paint Tray
  • Level
  • Yard Stick or Straight Edge
  • Paint Brush
  • Paint Roller
  • Drop Cloths
  • Pen­cil

Required Avail­able Funds:

  • Paint and Sup­plies: $25.00

Shop­ping List:

  • 1             Quart of flat paint, (it can be any color, but darker col­ors are best if you want to be able to read what you write on the chalkboard)
  • 2             Paint tray liners
  • 1             Pack­age of non-sanded Grout
  • 1–2         Rolls of mask­ing tape (it depends on how big your chalk­board is)
  • 1             Paint roller cover


Get Down to It:

In an effort to pre­vent my avid read­ers from devel­op­ing browser-tab-flipping-induced-carpal-tunnel, I have inte­grated Martha’s method with my enchant­ing commentary.

Exhibit A — Chalk­board sketch (yes, that’s the back of a Costco receipt…)

Step 1: Design your chalk­board!  Okay guys, it’s pretty obvi­ous that if you want to be a total square, you can just tape off some vari­a­tion of a rec­tan­gle and paint it black.  How­ever, since you’re vis­it­ing Every­day Mod­ern, it is clear that you have a deep-seated need to visu­ally entrance every unsus­pect­ing vis­i­tor who enters your home.  So, let’s have a quick chat about how to be a lit­tle more rogue.

Employ some cre­ativ­ity.  The chalk­board fea­tured here draws inspi­ra­tion from a film strip and adds a lit­tle bit of flair by incor­po­rat­ing sep­a­rate spaces for sketches, or lists, or notes to your co-habitant.  I did another chalk­board that over­lapped with brightly col­ored painted squares adding some asym­met­ric bal­ance to the typ­i­cally sym­met­ri­cal bed­room look.  Have fun with this part, sketch it out and try some dif­fer­ent ideas — if it looks ter­ri­ble, you can always paint over it!

Exhibit B — How to prop­erly draft a chalk­board onto a ver­ti­cal surface.

Step 2: Mea­sure and tape it off.  Pretty self-explanatory here — once you have your design, pen­cil it onto the wall.  A word of cau­tion though — I have yet to live in a dwelling with square ceil­ings and plumb walls, so do not use your walls, ceil­ing, or floor to mea­sure from when antic­i­pat­ing a straight line.  Grab your level and yard stick that you have so neatly laid out, and use that to draft your design.  Once you have every­thing pen­ciled on the wall and the scale looks good, tape it off with mask­ing tape.  I usu­ally go over the inside edge of the mask­ing tape with a bone folder just to make sure the lines are crisp and clean.  Be sure to watch those cor­ners where the tape over­laps, those are mag­nets for paint bleed!


Exhibit C — C is for Chalk­board Slop!

Step 3: Make the chalk­board slop!  For every 1 cup of paint you think your project will require, mix in two table­spoons of grout (your bucket will come in handy here…).  Mix enthu­si­as­ti­cally, tak­ing care to elim­i­nate as many grout clumps as humanly pos­si­ble.

Exhibit D — Grout streaks after a once-over with the brush

Step 4: Paint!  I have found that rollers work just fine with Chalk­board Slop, so roller on.  Once you get the first layer on, you will notice that there are these grubby lit­tle tex­ture blobs all over the wall.  That would be the grout clumps that you failed to fully dis­in­te­grate despite my dire warn­ing in Step 3.

Have no fear, because you are vis­it­ing Every­day Mod­ern and not some aqua-hued mega-corporation’s web­site, I will tell you how to fix that!  This is where your brush comes in handy.  Dip it in the paint and quickly brush over the entire sur­face of the chalk­board (the ensu­ing streaks are per­fectly nor­mal).  Obvi­ously this needs to be done right after rol­ler­ing or your blobs will be per­ma­nently affixed to the wall.  Com­plete cov­er­age requires two coats to elim­i­nate the grout streaks.  Once the first coat dries, paint over with a thin sec­ondary coat.

Step 5: Step 5 is where Marty and I dif­fer on our opin­ions.  Miss Stew­art will advise you to lightly sand the entire sur­face with 150-grit sand­pa­per after the paint has fully cured.  The ugly truth, is that “lightly sand­ing” will reveal all of the imper­fec­tions in your dry­wall by remov­ing the paint from any high-spots, leav­ing delight­ful drywall-colored discs in the mid­dle of your chalk­board.  More to the point, sand­ing is com­pletely unnec­es­sary because the chalk­board fea­ture of the paint mix works just fine sans sand.  So do your­self a favor and just rub a piece of chalk side­ways across the sur­face for con­di­tion­ing, wipe away the residue with a damp rag, and pull up a chair to admire your handy work.

Give your­self a hardy pat on the back for a job well-done and invite all your friends to com­mend you on this stun­ning addi­tion to your mod­ern dwelling.  Oh, and please feel free to share or re-publish, but give me credit for my work when you do!

Exhibit E — Before and After pho­tos of my kitchen wall

Oh, and in case you were won­der­ing about that witty title, my dar­ling web-designer hus­band, whom I love dearly and does a fan­tas­tic job of main­tain­ing my blog for free and with an amaz­ing pen­chant to turn my profanity-laced web-design inten­tions into a real­ity, has a habit of secretly munch­ing away any ingre­di­ents pur­chased for din­ner recipes.  Hence the need for a large fridge-adjacent reminder of exactly what is not to be eaten!