Monday, August 15, 2011

The (Belated) Weekender: Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint for under $5

We spent the weekend painting.  First we painted our kitchen an awesome turquoise blue and then we started painting our dining room rug.  If you're considering painting a rug, let me tell you right now that it's hard work!  With all the projects we have going on, I didn't get a chance to post last week's DIY...chalkboard paint!

Before I give the details, I have to state my position on chalkboards in the kitchen.  I think chalkboards (and dry erase boards) are a super handy way of jotting down notes in the kitchen.  We had a dry erase board in our last apartment and loved it.  The thing I DON'T like is that every house tour and magazine spread seems to have a big, black, chalkboard wall in the kitchen.  It's time to add some color!

That's why I was thrilled to find this super easy chalkboard paint recipe from Martha Stewart.  It takes about two minutes to mix and costs less than $4.  Because it's so easy, I didn't take any pictures...I think you're all smart enough to figure it out!


TIME: 2 minutes
COST: less than $5
  • paint
  • 2 tbs non-sanded grout (per cup of paint)
  • 150 grit sandpaper (UPDATED 10/17/11)

MIX your grout and paint, making sure there aren't any lumps.  My paint got a little thicker with the grout added.  Once mixed, roll/brush on like normal.  Do a couple of coats so that it's evenly covered.  Let dry.

Once it's dry, (I let mine dry about 45min) rub a piece of chalk across the whole board to condition it.  Erase with a damp (NOT WET) sponge and you're all set!

The un-sanded grout ($4.50 at Home Depot, Lowes, etc) comes in a pretty big box.  You only need a few tablespoons of it depending on the size of your project so you'll definitely have tons left over to share with a friend or for future projects.

The paint doesn't store well so make sure you only make as much as you need.  For the green chalkboard (20"x24), I used a full cup of paint and had a lot left over that I threw away.  For the orange board (same size) I reduced the mix and used 1/4 cup of paint and 1/2 tbs of grout.  I just barely had enough so next time I might try 1/2 cup of paint and 1tbs grout.  Remember, you can always mix more if you need it so it's better to start off with a little so you're not just throwing paint away.  The green paint I used was actually glossy, gloppy paint from years ago.  I thinned it with water but it was still pretty thick.  In the end, it came out with a more chalkboard-like feel than the orange eggshell paint.  Both erase well so I don't think it matters what kind of paint you use.

Have fun :)

UPDATE 10/17/11 - WAIT!!!!  I forgot to mention, you need to lightly sand the board with 150 grit sandpaper when it's dry.  Afterwards, condition the board by rubbing a piece of WHITE chalk sideways across the whole board.  Erase.

After having our board for two months I've learned that you should NOT use dark chalk on light colored boards.  I tried using red, green, and blue chalk on the yellow board and it left a faint stain.  It's only noticeable if you get close to the board, but if you used the dark chalk continually you'd definitely end up with a ruined board.  Stick with lighter colors on lighter boards.  We use yellow, orange, and white on the yellow board without a problem.  The other two boards are fine with colors and erase well.  Every now and then, clean the board with a damp, NOT wet, cloth. 

PICTURE UPDATE 10/17/11 - The yellow board is fine as long as we use white and yellow chalk.  The other two boards erase fine with all colors.

NOW, have fun :)


  1. Thanks! It's how we rank our projects here at home so I figured it would be helpful to other lazy people like myself ;)