Chalk Paint

I’ve tried a few ways to make my own chalkboard paint, and it’s a pretty fun project but will most likely consume a whole day of crafting. Another option is to buy chalkboard paint already made and on the shelves at your local hardware store. I have also used chalkboard spray paint from the store and found that for a small project it was worth buying a can for $6 (including tax) and not going through the effort of making my own paint. This was ideal because I wanted a small amount of the black traditional chalkboard paint.

It does seem like if you’re going to want to paint more than one item or larger items it does pay off to buy “cheaper” ingredients in bulk and make your own. I like to make my own chalkboard paint namely so I can paint items with a variety of colors. Which means I still need to buy Matte, or ideally Flat Acrylic Latex Paint in the desired colors. In hindsight, the color choice should really be on the darker side of the spectrum. Especially if you want to see white or yellow chalk written on the final product.

Take Away: If you just want to paint a few items in the traditional color and be done with it, then skip the DIY chalkboard paint and just buy the chalk paint because the pricing it very similar and saves you time.

Project Ideas

Now, what to paint? I’ve painted tables, signs, boards, and even greeting cards. Note, light does not travel through the paint and the end result will be opaque, so a bad choice would be a lampshade or lighting fixture. Mason jars are a fun idea to allow you to label your jars as needed. You could paint an entire wall in the kids room; although, you are teaching them it is ok to write on the walls. Somehow I couldn’t really get behind that idea, nevertheless the possibilities are endless! I like to up-cycle items that have been scratched or aren’t in the best shape, and then when the project is done they have a new trendy look and add to the environment instead of detracting from it. It’s also a great activity if you find yourself at a loss for what to do.


Materials and Pricing

The Rust-oleum brand is sold at your local home depot and the online listing compares Flat Black Acrylic Latex Paint to the Flat Black Chalkboard Paint at only $1 cheaper in price. Or so it appears, technically the container is a few ounces less for the more expensive chalkboard paint option.

The next consideration is the Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint, which is less than half as much in both cost and quantity.

For DIY Chalkboard Paint you need one of the following items, and this acts as the binding agent that alters the surface texture of Flat Acrylic Latex Paint. In my opinion, these items aren’t necessarily cheap but you do get a lot for your buck. Though if you only use it once 1lb of non-sanded grout or 4lbs of Plaster of Paris is way too much to have around. Therefore, the obvious choice to me is to use the common household item Baking Soda.

If you want to paint in a certain color, you need to shop for the hue and quantity desired. This is were it can get spendy, but in the long run it IS cheaper to use one of the DIY Chalk Paint Methods. Lets say we needed the Intense Teal color for our project. Pricing at Sherwin Williams for colored latex paint can run you about $26 for a quart and $70 for a gallon of this Acrylic Latex Paint. They also sell Krylon Chalky Finish Paint for ~$35 a quart, which comes in white and can be mixed with another color to achieve a similar desired texture and effect.

DIY Chalkboard Paint Methods

Baking Soda Chalk Paint

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cool water
  • 1 cup acrylic latex paint Flat / Matte

Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Plaster of Paris
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup acrylic latex paint Flat / Matte

Non-Sanded Grout Chalk Paint

  • 2 tablespoons non-sanded grout
  • 1 tablespoon cool water
  • 1 cup acrylic latex paint Flat / Matte
Painting Process

Like all painting projects once you have your chalk paint mixture you are going to need to follow steps 1-3: Sand, Wipe, + Apply. Also you will want multiple layers of paint so step 3, Application will need to be repeated once the first layer has dried. In this case Step 5 is omitted, this is because we don’t want to finish the surface with wax. Instead, we want to cover the entire surface with an even layer of chalk and rub the chalk into the surface as you erase it. This will ready the surface for writing on with your favorite chalk.

Binding Agent + Water

Cloudy Water Mixture + Latex Paint

= DIY Chalkboard Paint

DIY Chalkboard Paint

  1. Pick a DIY Chalkboard Paint Method from above and measure out your ingredients (I like to use the baking soda method as it is a household item that I always have on hand).
  2. Once you have all your ingredients measured out you need to mix the binding agent of choice with the cool water.
  3. Then mix your cloudy water mixture with the Flat / Matte Acrylic Latex Paint you want to use for your project.

Note: Chalk paint dries quickly, but the down side to this is the mixture you have crafted will not last for too long. Thus if you have a big project it’s a good idea to only mix up as much as you will need for that day. Also, when you are not using it make sure your paint is sealed air tight.

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