What Is Chalkboard Paint?


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May 05, 2023

What Is Chalkboard Paint?

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Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

How to buy, install, use, and love it.

Were you the kind of kid that loved spending the afternoon with a bucket of chalk, turning your driveway into a multicolored canvas? Well, then you're likely on board with the recent surge in popularity of chalkboards in the home. Over the past few years, more and more paint companies have released chalkboard paint, allowing for far greater potential for the surface than classroom arithmetic or the announcing of the daily specials at your coffee bar. In the home, a chalk wall can serve as anything from a grocery or to-do list to a child's perpetual blank canvas.

If you're intrigued but don't know where to start, fear not—we've got you. Here's where to buy chalkboard paint, all you need to know about the material, and how to use it.

It's a paint whose ingredients can turn any surface into an instant writing surface. Chalkboard paints typically contain talc, titanium dioxide, and silicon dioxide, making for a surface that will hold chalk.

No! Benjamin Moore, for example, offersthousandschalkboard paint over

of colors of its and Rust-Oleum offers a clear chalkboard coat that can be painted any color to give it a chalkboard finish.

Additionally, there are a few hacks to turn your favorite paint into a chalkboard surface: mix 2 tbsp non-sanded grout into 1 cup latex paint or add 2 tbsp baking soda and 1 tsp of water to 2 ounces of acrylic paint for smaller surfaces.

Store-bought chalkboard paint is available pretty much anywhere you buy paint: Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and Amazon.

It starts at around $10 for a 30-ounce can.

Plenty of chalkboard paints (including the ones mentioned above) are non-VOC (short for Volatile Organic Compound) and nontoxic, so yes, it's safe to use in kids rooms!

As with most paint jobs, you'll first want to clean your surface, sand down any bumps, and spackle in holes. Most walls won't require a primer, but if you're painting over plastic or metal you may need one. Once your surface is ready, apply your paint (note: many chalkboard paints are quite thick in consistency, so you'll want to get a small amount on your brush to avoid drips). After painting, let your chalkboard dry for at least three days. Then, before you draw on it, roll a piece of chalk sideways over the entire surface (just trust us) and erase with a damp cloth.

The great thing about chalkboard paint is that it can make almost anything into a writing surface. The back of a kitchen door is a great place for a grocery list; a tabletop might make a fun canvas for a kids room. Use painter's tape to cordon off one small part of a wall for a handy writing surface or paint swatches onto your gardening pots or storage jars to label what's inside. Have an ugly old fridge and don't have a landlord to answer to? Cover the front of it in chalkboard paint to make it functional and decorative.

No. More on that here.

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Hadley Keller is the Director of Editorial and Community Engagement at the Design Leadership Network, a community of top interior designers. She has covered design, interiors, and culture for over 10 years.

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