StudioNews: Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint

While we’ve been working on making improvements to Stewdio 54, I decided that I wanted to paint a couple of walls with chalkboard paint. However, there are only 2 colors known to man: black and green. Ick.

I’ve unearthed additional options to broaden my color choices for my studio and I’d like to share them with you now.

My results:
Step 1) Apply Simple Coat of Paint First | When applying the chalkboard mix, I got apprehensive when I realized I needed to be thorough (it’s only my studio!) and wondered if I had the supplies to finish the job.

Learn from me: I recommend applying a simple coat of regular paint before applying your magic chalk mixture to the wall. It’s been since August since I’ve done this, but if I remember correctly, only 2 coats of chalkboard paint mix are needed after the first coat of regular paint.

Step 2) Apply Your Chalkboard Mix | Again, revisiting the apprehension, I noticed clumps of grout left behind as I applied the mix. I left them as is. Allowed it to dry and ran the sand paper over it. What a mess.

Learn from me 1: While the paint is still wet, just take your foam paint brush and pull it over the grout clumps, they’ll disintegrate before your very eyes, making sanding a breeze.

Learn from me 2: Initially, I used a roller because I didn’t believe that I had to constrain my over zealousness with a silly single brush. It would have worked if I had pulled the small brush over to disintegrate the grout clumps. Either way, you’re forced to use a small brush. It could be a 2-person job where one rolls and the other smooths. Your choice.

Step 3) Dry & Sand | Sometimes I got impatient and ran the fine grit sandpaper over the almost-dry paint. Do this if you think it will help, or go get a glass of wine and watch the paint dry.

Learn from me: Make sure you’ve blended those grout clumps as much as possible into the wet layer. Seriously, sanding will be so much easier. Otherwise, resort to opening a bottle of wine and watch the paint dry. I did.

More Tips: I painted 2 walls with this and it was a blast. The image you see drawn on the wall is approximately 5 feet wide by 6 feet high. The chalkboard application doesn’t have to be expensive and now that it’s 2009, you’d think the paint mfg would understand that we like more color options than schoolgrade black and green. I don’t want to be reminded how I almost failed my algebra test, so I’m not using forest green to induce more high school nightmares.

Join the Conversation!
We invite you to show us what projects you’ve accomplished now that you can rule the World with this fabulous technique.

Seriously, I’m starving for affection here. Please comment. I know you’re riveted by what you just saw.

Copyright PS. This is copyrighted material. If you really love what you’ve read, leave a comment. If you really, really loved what you’ve read and seen, please give me credit when you post this how-to on your site.

Lisa, CreativeGoddess
919 271 0668

18 thoughts on “StudioNews: Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint

  1. artgirlraleigh says:

    I’m going to try it! I’ve got the walls medium-dark blue, and the white chalk should make it look like a blueprint. You make it look easy as pie. Ummm, pie….


    • creativegoddess says:

      I’ve used flat and would probably lean that way again. I’m not sure how semi-gloss, satin, or the others would fare to keep the chalkboard as ‘ideal’ surface. One could always test, but flat will be a great starting point.

      Yes, the grout is what makes the surface writable. We’ve tested just writing on plain painted walls, but it (the chalk and the pressure of writing) leaves a mark and doesn’t necessarily erase -so don’t forgo the grout!

      As far as paint color, remember to keep it contrasty enough to show the chalk. I used terracotta, so anything in that value range should allow for drawn creativity.

      Have fun! And send photos!


  2. Sara says:

    I’m getting ready to try this in the next couple of days. I have one question – I’ve seen some other recipes for chalkboard paint that use glazing medium in addition to the paint and grout. Do you know why the glazing medium and do you think adding it will make the surface any better? Thanks! Love the video, very helpful!


    • creativegoddess says:

      Glad you loved the video, Sara. I can’t answer your question to why glazing medium was added, however.

      I’ve used glazing medium in my faux finishing and it primarily extends the paint, giving you a wash effect to your walls. For example, after I applied my terracotta color (can you tell how much I love that color?), I washed my walls with white + glazing to give it an old world feel. I can only say experiment. If you don’t like it, let dry and reapply with the mixture that you do like.

      When you do add the glaze to the original recipe and decide you don’t care for it, you won’t have to worry about ‘so much waste’ since you’re experimenting with only a cup or so.

      Best of luck!


  3. Dean says:

    I guess I’d call this the wasabi technique — since I use it when I mix wasabi into soy sauce for sushi. I like a smooth wasabi/soy mixture (no little green lumps), and if you add the full amount of soy sauce to a big lump of wasabi, it’s very hard to get the lumps out when mixing.

    Instead, I add a small amount of soy suce to the wasabi — then make a paste. I then add small amounts of soy to that mixture, and stir again – repeating the process until I’ve made the full amount I want. I basically make the paste thinner and thinner until it mixes easily into a larger volume of liquid. The result is a thin soy/wasabi mixture that is smooth and lump free.

    I’m thinking you could use the same technique with these materials… making a thick paste from the grout and a very small amount of water, then adding your paint a little at a time to the paste — stirring it in well each time.

    I obviously haven’t tested this, but I’m pretty confident it will work. You could even try using paint instead of water to make the initial paste, but for some reason, I my sense is that the viscosity of the paint might make the initial mixture too thick and hard to work with. I can’t imagine a teaspoon or two of water would affect the recipe much in the end anyway.

    If anyone tries this, please post your results.



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