If you haven’t discovered chalkboard paint yet, you’re missing out. Chalkboard paint is a type of paint that dries to a finish that roughly resembles the surface of a chalkboard. Once it has been applied to a surface, it can be used just like a regular chalkboard. Chalkboard paint can be used to create a menu board in the kitchen, a wall suitable for chalk murals in a kid’s room, the top of a table, or pretty much anywhere else it might be fun to pull out the chalk.
Many hardware and paint supply stores sell this type of paint, and it can also be ordered through specialty paint companies. Chalkboard paint is generally a bit more expensive than regular paint, and it typically comes in black or green, but it is available from Rust-o-leum in 12 standard colors.
For people who want more flexibility in their color choices, or don’t want to spend the extra money for specialty paint, chalkboard paint can also be easily made at home. For every 1 cup of paint, mix in 2 tablespoons of powdered tile grout and then stir thoroughly. Before applying the paint to the wall, a layer of primer is advised, especially if the paint is light and it is being used to cover a dark color or if it is used over plastic, bare wood, or metal. Once the painting has been completed, allow it to set for at least three full days. This will allow the paint to gets its hard shell.
Before the first use, it’s a good idea to prime your brand-new painted chalkboard. This is needed because some chalk will get into the pores of the paint and be virtually impossible to remove. Without proper priming, a “ghost” of the first thing written on the board can remain indefinitely. To prime the board, simply take a piece of chalk and using the side of the chalk, rub it side to side to cover the entire board. Once covered, you may erase it. This will ensure that the entire surface has a light coat of chalk dust and that will make erasing easier. Some people like to do two chalk primings, one horizontally and one vertically.
After lots of use, it may become necessary to clean the chalkboard painted area more thoroughly than with just an eraser. You can safely clean your chalkboard paint with a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar in several cups of water. Dip a lint free rag into the solution and wring as dry as you can. Wipe the entire board gently and completely, allowing it to air dry. Make sure the chalkboard is completely dry before writing on it. Running a piece of chalk over a damp board will cause further damage – and quite possibly will ruin your chalk too.
You can also use lemon oil on a chalkboard. This will give an even more impressive results if you can wipe it down with a cloth that has “marinated” in a Ziploc bag overnight with the lemon oil on it. Use only a few drops; there is no need to soak the cloth.
Whatever you choose to use as a cleaning method, don’t forget the importance of those long strokes. Starting at the top left hand corner and going all the way across the board is the best way to clean without leaving streaks or other chalk residue.