How To: DIY Chalkboard

I have always lusted after homes with chalkboard art, bars with chalkboard menus, and parties that label all things with chalkboard.  During our renovation of the foyer, we took down a long coat rack leaving me with a large open space.  My original idea was a mirror.  I was only able to find very expensive vintage mirrors, very cheap oddly shaped, or poor kept mirrors.

All along Michael had nagged and reminded that we have an old dresser mirror stowed away in the house somewhere.  Why he does not understand the concept of fung shui- I will never comprehend.  He would go with out any furniture (and DID) if it weren’t for me!

Suddenly I realized, it is finally time for my very own chalkboard!  Now I had to convince Michael to build and paint it for me.  (Note; I looked to purchase one at a flea market and they retail used for over a $100 for half the dimensions that I was hoping for!)  Now Michael chimed in again about the old mirror… and this time it worked!

We had an old dresser with a mirror that did not stay put and really did not fit into the room at all.  It is laminate which is not my favorite thing in the world, but the color was exactly what I had planned to try and create with much time and stain.  After all the hours put into staining the steps, the laminate began to look just fine to me.   We put our heads together and realized we could remove the mirror, flip it over, and paint the underside – that way if we wanted to use the mirror down the road it would be reversible!

We bought a can of Rust-Oleum Flat Black Chalkboard paint(small, about 30oz) for $6 or $7 dollars.  I wish I would have advised Michael to tape off the mirror, because our brilliant reverse plan will now involve paint stripper.  Otherwise we did 3 coats with a traditional roller brush, letting each coat dry entirely.  I spoke with an acquittance who did a similar project over wood.  She had some chipping when she started to draw.  I would suggest MORE coats than less.


A tip that I stumbled upon while looking for art inspiration advised that I first season the chalkboard before using.  I am so glad I found this pointer!  Chalkboard paint can create dimples on the surface.  The dimples will collect any chalk dust from first contact and it will not go away.  The blog suggested one go-around with seasoning… I did it about eight times with white chalk, green, blue, and purple.  I wanted to fill the dimples and ensure they looked gray rather than bright white.  To season the chalkboard, simply hold your chalk vertically and rub it first from top to bottom on the board.  Then a second layer drawing from left to right.   Cover the entire surface this way.  I periodically erased and started again with different colors.


I forgot to take a picture of this step, so here is a borrowed image from the blogger that I read the tip from!


Now I can start the art!


I use a 3ft level to draw a grid on the board ( I hope to one day get one that reaches the entirety of the chalkboard.)




It does not have to be perfect, just a frame of reference !




I make small marks to identify the center of the board. I make small marks to remind me the height or width of a particular picture or letter.




I keep paper towels and q-tips handy to erase as I go! I also plan to buy a ruler to help perfect my lettering.

A few personal preferences:

I never use water to erase.  I like the ghosty look of ‘pictures of the past’ as a foundation of my drawings.  You certainly can erase with water without damaging your new chalk board if you need a fresh look as well!  For instance, if you decided to have a sidewalk sale, you would really want your sign to stick out … now would be a great time to erase with water to allow your new lettering to POP on a flat black background.

Also, I prefer to use traditional chalk (Crayola brand so far has trumped the target store brand chalk I also bought).  Some choose to use washable chalk pens.  These make for a beautiful precise finish.  I am currently enjoying the challenge of finding new techniques to hold or sharpen my chalk for different desired outcomes.    Every board has a different purpose,  a different audience, and each artist uses a different medium – so do what makes you the happiest.

Each board has taken me some time to complete.  One took 20 minutes, another took several hours.  My goal is to update the board monthly.  Pinterest has shared so many great ideas!  I have noticed I have progressed each months with my art skills and techniques.  If I learn to work faster, I might change it more often!  It has become a great escape and stress reliever to sit in quiet or with calming music and complete a master piece that makes me feel proud and my home feel more homey!

In order of my first to my most recent… here is how this project has added to our home:





Steeler’s Play Offs!



To help us get through a cold January !



In honor of Valentines Day !




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