Last Updated: September 23, 2020
Aren’t chalkboard walls fun? Chalkboard paint is one of the simplest DIY projects. I’ve always loved the look of a giant kitchen chalkboard wall – in restaurants and home kitchens. There’s something fun and whimsical about it. I feel like it adds some creativity and soul, and fun to the house without much effort. Some months there’s not much happening on the DIY chalkboard wall. Other months it’s been filled up and erased a few times over.
Kitchen Chalkboard Wall Uses:
- Lists – groceries, what to cook, menu planning etc
- Art/Drawing – pictures, doodles, serious chalk art
- Calendar – workouts, family, upcoming fun, trips or bucket lists etc
- Kid activities – drawing, making a mess, anything to keep a toddler occupied while you finish dinner!
- Notes – notes to self, notes to your family, notes from visiting friends (pre-COVID – silent tear)
How to Paint a DIY Chalkboard Wall:
- First, identify your wall. Chances are you already have a wall in mind! Either way, think about how usable it is. Is it a heavily trafficked area in your home? Is that good/bad? How is the lighting/reflection from sun? Will everyone in the house be able to reach/use it?
- Measure your wall – multiply the height (vertically) and width (horizontal) to get the square footage. This will tell you how much chalkboard paint you need.
- Primer vs no primer – If you are starting with a white or light wall, you might opt to prime a first coat of grey to save on the chalkboard paint as it’s a bit more. I had a grey wall to begin with. So I just went straight to two coats of chalkboard paint and it covered great.
- Buy your paint – My wall was 60 square feet (9′ height by 6.7′ width). I bought a quart container of Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint and it worked for two coats. I had more to spare that I’ve used on other little projects, including our mud kitchen. There are a lot of different paint colors you can get now. A chalkboard “sandy” type additive is used. I just wanted a classic black chalkboard though.
- Prep – so chalkboard paint is a kind of a different animal than other painting! Because it’s dark! I had just finished painting 3 other rooms in our house when I decided to tackle this project. It was a quick project. But prep work and the painting was a bit more intense than painting a pale blue! I’ve found I do a better job at edging by using the Wooster brush. And just going slow instead of taping off. I tape around outlets or moulding if I can fit the tape under a seam. But for edges it’s easier to make sure paint isn’t spilling and pooling in the gaps. It’s also easier to clean up errors without taping IMO. Tip: have baby wipes handy to quickly swipe up any paint edging errors. So lay down some painter drop cloth and let’s get started. You can buy drop cloths or use what you have. (I usually use an old twin size duvet cover that’s pretty thick and has lasted me ages!)
- Edge around the wall first – As mentioned, I prefer to do this by hand with a paint brush. Instead of taping, just move slowly and wipe up any mistakes with a baby wipe. Do one coat and around any outlets etc and then move on to filling in. One edge of the wall in particular was pretty hard since we live in an old house. The line is fairly blurred between what is one wall and the other. No sharp corners, more of a curve. I did my best, it turned out fine and I don’t notice the curviness after it’s all done.
- Paint the entire wall. Depending on your wall size and your style you might just want to use a brush for the entire wall. I used my favorite brush the Wooster for the entire wall. As I didn’t want to waste any of the paint with it soaking into a roller/cleanup. And I was a bit nervous of rolling with the dark paint splattering. Especially since we have wood floors in our kitchen and white cabinets pretty close to it on one side wall. It went pretty quick with just a paint brush anyway. And I was able to do a thick coat of paint and get in all the nooks and crannies that needed a bit extra.
- Repeat edging and painting for a second coat. After waiting the hours recommended drying time. The second coat feels a bit more challenging as it’s harder to tell where you’ve painted as the paint drys quickly. Overall, once it’s done, it fills in great since it’s dark. And if you need to spot check later it will blend right in.
And there you have it! Now the most important tip I learned before using our kitchen chalkboard wall is that you WAIT! After the paint is dry, take a piece of chalk and rub the entire wall down with chalk filling the entire wall. Let it sit and then erase it. Only then is your chalkboard wall ready to use. This primes the wall so it’s easier to write on and erase in the future.
A note about chalk: We use plain old white chalk and our toddler’s sidewalk chalk with no issues. But be really careful about “chalk” type pens that are used for art and weddings/signage etc. They can be practically permanent and you may have to just repaint over them. So if you have any of these, make sure to put them away in a different art area and let your family know!
A note about our kitchen helper tower. If you have toddlers, a kitchen learning tower is also an amazing life saver of a kitchen item. Our kitchen is pretty small, and a lot of the popular towers are pretty wide. I ended up finding this more minimalist tower by UNICOO.
It fits just perfectly up to our IKEA kitchen cart. I love this spot for it because it’s the only wall in the kitchen that it wouldn’t be tripped over. Safety-wise, he’s been using this since around 18 months old. I keep only a cutting board, toaster and his kitchen clean up rags on the top of the cart. So I knew he wouldn’t be climbing up to a dangerous spot, happening upon a knife or something that could break etc. It’s usually an empty-ish top and then I’ll bring things to it. For example, if he’s helping me cook something or he’s watching me food prep etc.