Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint - DIY


Today I'm going to teach you how to make your very own chalkboard paint. FROM SCRATCH! Yep, I first learned the secret ingredient from the craft queen herself via her Martha Stewart Living Magazine.  In their version, they used a flat paint like you would purchase in the paint section at a hardware store, but I really just wanted a smaller quantity to do a few Honeysuckle accents around my house and for Valentine's gifts, so I thought I'd do some experimenting on my own with regular old acrylic craft paints and different proportions.

Here's what you will need:
Dry Non-Sanded Grout (purchased this huge tin at our local City Mill hardware store for $1.50...this will probably last me forever)
Acrylic craft paints - White, Black, and Bright Magenta (Apple Barrel line by Plaid, found at Wal-mart)
NOTE: Our craft stores here on the island are somewhat lacking, so I wasn't able to find anything perfectly matching Honeysuckle. I will give you my "formula" with those combined colors.
Measuring spoons and cups
Mixing cup or bowl
Paint brush or stick to stir

Step 1) Measure 1.5 teaspoons of the non-sanded grout and put in your mixing cup (this is very dusty, so please do this in a well-ventilated area).

Step 2) Pour in 1/4 C. of the  Pepto Bismol   Bright Magenta craft paint.

Step 3) Add 1.5 teaspoons of white acrylic craft paint.

At that point, I really liked the color, but I was going for perfection, and I had the Pantone website up and was trying my very best to match what I saw on the screen. I could tell I needed to mute it slightly with some black.

Step 4)  Add 1/8 teaspoon black acrylic craft paint.

Step 5) Stir for a couple minutes with a cheap paintbrush or stick.

(I'm not really left-handed, but I stink at taking pics with my left hand! ha)

This next pic is to show you that the consistency WILL BE SLIGHTLY LUMPY still. The grout is very fine, so when you brush it on, it spreads right out and isn't noticable at all.

Step 6) Apply it with a sponge brush.

(Hey, look! I took a pic with my left hand!)

You will need between 1 and 3 coats depending on your medium. For my wooden calendar, I used 3 coats on top of a piece of 1/8" MDF (I primed with Zinsser water-based primer).

As with any chalkboard paint, you will need to prep the surface once it is completely dry by rubbing a piece of chalk across the entire board (easiest if you turn the chalk on its side). Then erase completely, and it's ready to go!

I also used it on some cardboard cereal boxes and made chalkboard Chinese take-out boxes. I've been planning to do this for my daughter to take to school as gifts and was excited to have some Honeysuckle to use!

This time I only did one layer, and I did not prime it. I just cut the box and painted directly on the inside with the chalkboard paint. Then I used the Chinese take-out box pattern I designed and cut it out.

So with that one bowl of Honeysuckle, I covered a 28"x18" board x 3 coats, and a 12"x15" cardboard box x 3! Total cost for this chalkboard paint project is about $.35.  I can handle that.  :)

This opens up SO many new chalkboard color possibilities! I'd love to hear what you're chalking up!


Update: I was asked how long I let each coat dry since the spray paint chalkboard stuff says to let it dry one day between coats. Truth-be-told, I'm super impatient, and I was in a rush! I painted each layer, then used my blow dryer to dry it until it was really dry to sight and touch. Seriously dries really fast! Just like any old acrylic paint project! Yet another advantage to DIY'ing!  Sweet. ;)

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