How to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall {For Imperfect Walls}

how_to_make_chalkboard_wall

Have you ever wished you had a chalkboard wall in your home? But, you didn’t think you could create one because you have textured walls or damaged drywall?

blank_wall_for_chalkboard_paint

I feel your pain! We have a little wall between the kitchen and the dining room that was the perfect spot for a chalkboard wall. But the drywall was ripped from the removal of the beadboard. Sure, I could have ripped out the drywall and added new, but honestly I’m beyond drywall in our kitchen renovation process and I don’t like going backwards.

rough_ripped_drywall

Instead of replacing the drywall, I came up with a new solution to making the wall smooth enough for a chalkboard! You could also use this technique if you wanted to remove the chalkboard in the future if you change your mind, or if you live in a rental and aren’t allowed to paint walls.

Ready? Alright, let’s get this chalkboard painting party started now!

Materials:

rustoleum_chalkboard_paint

  • Rustoleum chalkboard paint
  • Masonite sheet (cut to size)
  • Primer tinted gray
  • Foam roller
  • Sanding sponge
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Finish nailer (or simply a hammer and finish nails)
  • Construction adhesive
  • Caulk gun
  • Chalk
  • Rag

Optional (if you have an outlet or switch to work around):

  • Lipstick
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw

Instructions:

Cut your masonite to size. (I had Lowe’s cut mine to size for the large section.)

cut_sheet_of_masonite

Use a jigsaw to cut each panel.

first_panel_up

I used a large sheet to the right of the door and a small piece for over the door. The skinny little section on the left side of the door was left blank, no one will notice the imperfections after I paint it black.

second_board_up

If you have an outlet or light switch, you need to cut a hole in the masonite to accommodate them.  To cut the hole, smear lipstick around the edges of the box (or you can smear it on an outlet as shown in this post.) Hold the masonite panel in place and push against the outlet box. When removed you should  see the lipstick impressions. (I used an extra outlet box to trace around for lines that were easier to see.)

marking_outlet_location_lipstick

Drill holes in the corner of the outlined shape. Use a jigsaw to cut from hole to hole. Test fit your panel.

drill_holes_for_outlet

Time to hang your panel. For a permanent hold, use construction glue and then secure with finish nails. If you want to be able to remove the panel later, skip the adhesive.

glue_and_nail_board

Fill nail holes and seams with wood putty. Lightly sand them smooth after the putty has dried.

masonite_installed_patch_holes

Using a foam roller, prime the chalkboard with tinted primer (ask your paint department to add as much black as they can to a small can of primer.) My Lowe’s store was able to produce a 50% gray color.

valspar_tinted_primer

After the primer dries, lightly sand it and wipe clean. Then break out the chalkboard paint. You’ll need at least two coats of chalkboard paint. For the smoothest finish, use a foam roller and lightly sand between coats.

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After the paint has dried thoroughly, enlist the help of your son or daughter to help season the chalkboard.

seasoning_chalkboard

Rub the side of chalk over the entire board. Then wipe it off with a dry rag.

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There is beauty in the gray movement on a chalkboard wall, wouldn’t you agree?

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Christen your chalkboard with drawings and your to do list.

kitchen_to_do_list

Mommy brag time: Will you look at the adorable tree with a tree swing that my six year old drew?! He’s a great artist, don’t you think?

childs_chalk_drawing_tree

Within two hours I had to erase the list because I was feeling a little stressed by all the things I still need to do in our kitchen ;-(.

I decided to paint the outlet cover with chalkboard paint (don’t paint the actual outlet) to help the outlet blend in better.

chalkboard_open_dining_rm

Do you have a spot in your home where you could paint a chalkboard wall? It’s great for doing funny things with your dog like this:

Just_one_more_walk

PHGFancySign

Comments

  1. Love this idea! Way to be innovative and get around a problem with an even better solution!

  2. hellebelle says:

    awesome! i am trying to find a wall to do this on because my house is horrifying devoid of magnetic spaces (stainless steel fridge). how well do magnets stick to your chalkboard wall?

    p.s. i like your lipstick cut-locating trick.

  3. Impressive problem-solving skills… LOVE THIS!

    Also, I happen to love your new background design on the blog too. :)

  4. Interesting fix for the rough wall problem. Maybe chalkboard vinyl would have worked on this rough wall, too? I can’t help but wonder, though, every time I see a big chalkboard wall in a house–what about the chalk dust? Isn’t it going to collect on the floor? I see you have an air vent just below it. Will that blow the dust around the room? I’m not actually planning to make one of these but I can’t help but wonder how people cope with the dust. When my son was little I put a small chalkboard my MIL found at a yardsale out on the porch for him to scribble on. There I wasn’t worried about the dust. I was thinking chalkboards must be a girl thing, he didn’t use it much, but gosh your son did a nice picture. Actually, I’m a little tired of chalk drawings on sidewalks in the neighborhood. It gets on your shoes, so you have to tiptoe through the artwork. Could everyone please put one of these in their houses so the kids stop drawing on the sidewalks? (Just kidding)

    • We have a large chalkboard wall in my son’s room. Yes, we do get dust almost everywhere, but it’s not like it’s permanent. We even have a rug in his room, and there aren’t any chalk marks on the rug. So, yes, there’s dust, but it is completely manageable (I am not a neat freak, though, so my standards are probably different from most). :)

      • Cath, you know, I must be totally immune to messes by now. With two boys, it’s just inevitable. I don’t mind a little chalk dust as long as I’m fostering creativity and fun in their lives. Lyndsay, How cool that you have a chalkboard actually in your son’s room! I bet he loves it.

    • They make chalkless chalkboard markers that are fantastic! You use them like any other marker but they are justliquid chalk, so just a damp cloth removes whatever you write. They are excellent for precision drawings, with NO chalk dust & great color options!!! Still prime your chalkboard with chalk dust, though, just to get the best results. :)

  5. Now I need to add lipstick to my toolbox!! Great tip Brittany on how to align the electrical box.

    It looks like the boys are really enjoying your project :)

  6. I recently bought some chalk MARKERS that I saw someone mention online. They work on any non-porous surface and look GREAT. You have to wipe them off with something wet, but I think they would minimize the chalk dust problem, just to mention. Plus they just don’t smear quite so easily. Kind of like dry-erase markers, but more opaque for dark surfaces.

  7. Very good ideas, Love the lipstick trick ;) That was quite a to-do list I would have erased it to. I just love chalkboard walls.

  8. I have a smooth wall but you have given me the inspiration to take the plunge and paint my small wall in the kitchen with chalkboard paint!!!

  9. I do and I did. I love it. And I totally wrote CAT when my girly was hanging by it. hehe. Mine is rough but I’m going to sand it down (making a mess) and then re paint it. When I get to it.

    Yours looks great!! It’s a wonderful feature and the perfect spot :)

  10. What a great project. I want to do this on one wall of our bonus room. The kids would love it!

  11. You are just too Good! That was a smart problem solver. I just can’t picture where that wall is, though. How are you doing on the time frame here? I’m betting for May. Ann

  12. I love it especially the dog! You made it so clear and simple!

    ________
    Rose

  13. why don’t you paint the outlet? I have painted all my outlet covers and the outlets themselves. . .oops, tell me the reason you do not do that.

    and I love the new background to the blog. . the turquoise distressed wood. . I loved the pallet wall background too. . .both more fitting than the floral

    peace to your home, body, mind, and heart-
    Su

  14. I was wondering is you used a special blade in the jig-saw? My husband was worried that the edge would be ragged
    Thanks
    Maggie

  15. What a great solution. I have textured walls ALL over my home but really wanted a chalkboard wall somewhere for the kids. Now I know what I can do, thanks for this :).
    I don’t know if you’ve seen the chalkboard paint recipe to make your own chalkboard paint with unsanded tile grout but I tried it on some furniture (for the kids) and it worked great. 1 cup paint to 2 tablespoons unsanded grout and you can use any paint color too. Your wall looks great, I can’t wait to make one, once I find a place.

    • Meg, thanks. Yes, I found the same chalkboard paint recipe. It is economical, but not as smooth as the pre-manufactured kind. (Then again, maybe I need to use a blender to make it more smooth ;-D)

  16. Staci Torgerson says:

    Love your blog as well as all the great, lots of directions, explanations, resources and photos you use with each tutorial. Thanks for not assuming everyone knows everything. You are great.

    QUESTION: We just bought a 30 yr old home that has the dreaded….popcorn ceilings. The ceiling height is only 8′ and we are trying to decide the best way to eliminate the popcorn. Either scrape by wetting or dry sanding or covering it with beadboard or ripping it all out and putting up new. When I saw your wall I was curious if you thought it would hold up for ceilings….installed upside down. What do you think and what wpuld hou do? There’s over 2500sq ft of it in the house.

  17. Hi there –
    I am in the midst of painting my chalkboard, with a foam roller, and it is leaving a small bit of texture….I have yet to sand it before the 2nd coat, but just had to ask if that was normal? It isn’t a huge texture, just the kind you get I think from using a foam roller….
    Any thoughts would be appreciated ;)

    • Sieglinde (love your name by the way), You should be okay, just sand after the first coat dries. Paint the second coat and you might want to lightly sand after that coat. I’m also wondering if you have enough paint on the roller? Or too much?

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