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  • Writer's pictureAzie

The Tutorialist – Is Chalk Paint® for chalkboards??

We are back with a new tutorial! This one is especially relevant right now because as we introduce the Annie Sloan brand to NYC, we get this daily inquiry, “So is Chalk Paint® for chalkboards?” It makes total sense…it CAN be confusing if you are unfamiliar with it. Even more so when you find out it actually CAN be used to make chalkboards. We always try to explain that when Annie Sloan created this magical medium 25 years ago, chalkboard paint was not a mainstream product so there was no confusion. She called it Chalk Paint® due to its matte, chalky finish. We like to say it’s just an added bonus that it can be used in such a way.

We love using it as a chalk board – if you’ve been to our East Village (New York City) location, you will have seen our entire back wall in person – all Graphite, all chalkboard, all the time.

We also have a few examples at Montclair (although every time we create one of these it is quickly whisked away by a customer) of how to transform a thrift store find into a cool message board like so:

One last example before our tutorial…we painted an entire wall in our makers’ space in Graphite. Then we velcroed (WE LOVE COMMAND STRIPS) an open frame to the wall, then seasoned/primed the interior of the frame to use it as a chalkboard. SUCH fun! Check it out here (PS: that is English Yellow, Antibes Green, and Florence in those oversized polka dots):

This week, we focus on how to create your own crafty little chalkboard surface using Chalk Paint®. We hope you enjoy!

How to Make a Chalk Board With Chalk Paint ®

  1. Pick your color! Choose something dark enough that white chalk will contrast with it and be visible. Graphite (Annie’s soft vintage charcoal color) is obviously the most popular color for chalkboards, but most of the deeper hued colors would do. Primer Red, Emperor’s Silk, Burgundy, Emile, Old Violet, Greek Blue, Napoleonic Blue, Aubusson Blue, Florence, Olive, Chateau Grey, French Linen are some other possibilities. Tip: If you’re using colored chalk or soft pastels (non-oil based), then when you erase down, take into consideration how those colors might affect your background color. 

  2. Prep your surface. As always when painting a surface, give it a quick wipe down to make sure the area isn’t dusty or sticky.  

  3. Decant a small amount of paint into a cup or mason jar. Add a little water to slightly thin it down. Your overall objective is to have thin, smooth, even coats when you’re creating a chalkboard. So dampen your brush (but squeeze out any excess water) or stir in say, half ounce of water for every sample pot (4 oz). That way the paint isn’t runny, but you can more easily build light coats and minimize brushstrokes. Allow your first coat to thoroughly dry.

  4. -Optional- If you’re worried about brushstrokes still or if you didn’t water down your paint, at this step you can take fine grit (higher grade) sandpaper and sand in the opposite direction that you painted in, very lightly, to even out the brush strokes. Or if you have a fine grit sanding block that’s perfect, too. Your aim is just to gently smooth, not distress, so not a lot of pressure is needed. In general anything below a 220 grit will be too harsh for this without distressing.

  5. Apply your second coat and allow to dry fully.

  6. Sand if desired and that will be the final bout of sanding.

  7. Apply a third coat. Coverage should be opaque at this point if you’re using one of the more heavily pigmented colors. If you think you need a fourth coat, just to even things out, feel free to add it. But always allow your coats to fully dry so your paint doesn’t pull.

  8. Prime. Give a good drying buffer of at least 30 minutes and then take a piece of chalk and prime (or season) your board. Priming (or seasoning) just means rubbing a piece of chalk sideways over the entirety of your board. Once all of the surface is covered, erase down with a felt chalkboard eraser. Think of priming as a chalkboard’s version of waxing. It protects your painted surface from being permanently marred by what you first write. Without priming you’ll see the ghosts of whatever you write when you try to erase.

  9. Enjoy your brand new hand-painted chalkboard!

With my chalkboard pot, I painted about four thin coats of Graphite, without any sanding, then I gave the area under the lip of the pot a fully coverage of priming. I didn’t cover the entire pot because I thought it made for a cool contrast. Nonetheless I have a fully writeable surface! Chalk Paint ® may have been designed as a decorative paint for faux finishing but it works amazingly for crafting projects!

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