How to Make a Chalkboard Wall

Create a Large-Scale Message Board on Any Wall in Your Home

Home office with chalkboard wall
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images
Overview
  • Working Time: 2 - 4 hrs
  • Total Time: 3 - 4 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $30

Chalkboard walls are an easy DIY project that can be completed in an afternoon. Chalkboard paint allows you to turn almost any surface into a chalkboard. The paint, when dried and cured, creates a hard, scratch-resistant surface that can be applied to wood, metal, drywall, glass, concrete, and more. Applying chalkboard paint to a wall transforms it into a functional element in a room. A DIY chalkboard wall is perfect for kids' rooms, offices, or for use as a message center in a kitchen. Follow this simple DIY to learn how to make a chalkboard wall in your home.

Picking Chalkboard Paint

Chalkboard paint comes in a powder or premixed. Both types are inexpensive, easy to work with, and available at home improvement and craft stores. Chalkboard paint, like other oil and latex paints, is tintable. Although it's easy to find in the basic black or dark green color, it is available in white and can be tinted to any color. However, darker chalkboard paint allows the chalk to be more visible on the surface.

Tip

Chalkboard paint and chalky-finish paint are often confused. Chalk paint is a color coat paint with a soft, matte-like surface and is mainly used for antiquing furniture.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 9-inch roller frame
  • 1 paint tray
  • 1 drop cloth
  • 1 spackle knife
  • 1 level (optional)

Materials

  • 1 9-inch dense foam roller cover
  • 1 sheet #180 to #220 grit sandpaper
  • 1 stir stick
  • 1 tack cloth
  • 1 can chalkboard paint
  • 1 centimeter primer (optional)
  • 1 paint tray liner
  • 1 tub spackle
  • 1 roll painter's tape
  • 1 stick chalk
  • 1 eraser
  • 1 set gloves (latex or allergy-friendly alternative)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Surface

    Chalkboard paint is not as thick as regular acrylic-latex house paint, so it will not fill in any holes or divots on walls. The surface must be smooth before you apply a coat of chalkboard paint because paint will work and look better on smooth walls.

    Protect the surrounding area with drop cloths to guard against accidental drops and dust. Examine the wall. Use the fine-grit sandpaper to even out any rough spots or bumps. If you have nail holes, fill them with spackle. Once the space is dry, sand the area to ensure it's level with the wall's surface.

  2. Clean the Surface

    Use a tack cloth to wipe away any dust or debris from the surface.

  3. Tape the Area

    To ensure crisp, clean lines for the chalkboard wall's border, it's best to use painter's tape to delineate the frame before painting. If painting a whole wall, use the painter's tape to tape off the baseboards, molding, and light switches. If you are painting part of the wall, use a level to help you create a perfect rectangle, square, or whatever shape you want. 

  4. Apply the Paint

    Mix the paint thoroughly with a stir stick. Pour the paint into a paint tray. Cut in around the trim or tight areas first with a paintbrush. Then, use your paint roller to apply the paint onto the large areas of the wall. Let it dry and apply a second coat of paint.  You will most likely need two coats of paint at a minimum, maybe even three. It depends on the condition of your wall and the chalkboard paint brand you use. Allow the paint to cure 72 hours before conditioning it.

    Tip

    If the wall is especially rough or porous, use a primer first. Allow the primer to dry, then continue with the chalkboard paint.

  5. Condition the Chalkboard Surface

    After 72 hours, you will need to condition the surface before using it. To condition the chalkboard paint, rub the side of a piece of chalk over the entire area. Then, use a dry cloth to rub the chalk into the surface. This process creates a fine layer of dust that settles into the grain of the chalkboard. Filling the surface with an even layer of dust ensures that the chalk will rest entirely on the surface and easily erase when you write on the surface. Now the chalkboard wall is ready to use!

How to Get Rid of a Chalkboard Wall

The good news is that if you get tired of having a chalkboard wall, all you have to do is paint over it. First, however, make sure you wipe down the chalkboard surface with a damp cloth to remove any chalky residue. Then sand, prime, and paint over the chalkboard wall.