Create and prime your own DIY chalkboard to personalize your decor with beautiful lettering and easily maintain them for years to come.
As a child, perhaps you spent a few lazy school days doodling distractedly in your notebook while your teacher's chalkboard writing filled the quiet classroom.
Even though most schools now have high-tech smart boards, the chalkboard reminds us of a simpler life. All you need is a few chalky letters on a dark, matte surface to add a touch of honesty through an unfiltered message.
And there is always a holiday or occasion that inspires us to whip out our chalks (or chalk markers) and scribble our own messages on home chalkboards.
Frequently, I receive a variety of questions about how I maintain the various chalkboards I have had around my house.
I decided it would be a good idea to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my process for creating and maintaining my DIY chalkboards.
How to Create a DIY Chalkboard
1. Gather Your Supplies
- Large photo frame
- Painter's tape
- Small paint roller
- Chalkboard paint
When I'm making chalkboards, I prefer to use cheaper frames that come with plastic or acrylic frames. I've found in the past that the paint adheres much better to these than to glass fronts.
2. Apply the Chalkboard Paint
Wipe the plastic or glass with alcohol before applying the paint and make sure that there's no lint or other debris that might prevent the paint from sticking.
Use a foam roller to apply the paint, starting by rolling up and down then left to right for the second coat. Finally, apply a third coat up and down.
Let the paint dry for 24 hours. This step is vital to allow the paint to cure.
Once cured, you can move on to the priming the paint.
3. Prime the Surface
It's essential to know how to prime a chalkboard. It's basically "breaking in" the chalkboard but it's something that you can do periodically, to refresh the surface.
All you need to do is rub the side of a stick of chalk all around the surface. Don't be too aggressive, you don't want to dig the sides in and scratch the paint off, just roll the round side of the chalk around.
Chalk paint is porous so if you skip the priming step, you run the risk of your first drawing being stuck there permanently. Rub off the chalk with a dry rag to erase it.
Now you're ready to draw, write or whatever you want on your new chalk board!
4. Explore Chalkboard Lettering
Now you have the canvas and you're ready to take on a brand-new skill - chalkboard lettering!
When I set up my hot chocolate bar for Christmas one year, my carefully-traced lettering added just the right amount of old-fashioned charm.
5. Ongoing Maintenance
To clean the chalkboard, use a damp (not wet) rag and wipe clean. I like to touch up the paint every 6 months to a year with a fresh coat of chalkboard paint.
Be sure to prime it again once it has dried.
6. Other Chalkboard FAQs
Is there a difference between chalk paint and chalkboard paint?
Yes! Chalk paint is a type of paint created by Annie Sloan. It's used to add a chalky, aged texture to furniture. It is not the same as chalkboard paint.
How well does chalkboard paint work?
If you follow the steps above, it works great! And it will last you a long time.
How do you cure chalkboard paint?
"Curing" simply means drying time. Technically, chalkboard paint will be dry enough to use within 24 hours. But like most paints, it takes a full 30 days to fully cure.
Do you have to sand before you use chalk paint?
If you are painting over a plastic surface, then no. Lightly sanding over glass will help create some texture that will allow the paint to adhere better, but it's not necessary.
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