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DIY chalkboard with home-made paint

Updated on June 16, 2013

How to make a one-of-a-kind chalkboard with homemade chalkboard paint!

I had been searching around for a simple chalkboard paint recipe, and finally found one, but couldn't decide what to paint it on! I've seen it on walls and labels and things, but didn't want to make something ordinary.

Enter the old oak sideboard. It had been in my partner's family for ages, and though we are using the sideboard part, we took apart the shelving. And behind the shelving!? Voila! Safely hidden under a piece of old fabric was the perfect piece of doorskin. Just the right thickness and big enough for me to cut out some cool shapes.


So I had this great piece of doorskin, which is just a thin piece of plywood really, you could use anything. I like to re-use and up-cycle, so this was a perfect find!

What you'll need for the boards themselves:

- Wood

- Jigsaw

- Pencil

- Drill and bit (If you choose to hang the board)

- Ribbon or twine for hanging (Again, if you choose to hang it)

- Sandpaper and sanding block (depending on your board use a rough then smooth, so maybe and 80 and 100 grit)

- Dusk mask and eye protection

- Homemade chalkboard paint (below)

For the paint you'll need:

- Grout (un-sanded works best, or you can use sanded in a pinch like me, it was already here so the project cost me nothing!)

- Coloured acrylic paints - any colour you like!!

- White dust free chalk

- Chalkboard eraser

- a container to mix it up (I used a jam jar with lid, it makes a lot so you may want to keep it)

- paint brush

- 150 grit sandpaper for in between paint coats

- dust mask, as the grout is very dusty!

How to make the wood bit

So, the fun part! I have two grands, one loves cars but I was not sure what the other would like, so I did something typical British Columbia: a whale!

I didn't really put too much thought into the shape. For young kids they need to be big with rounded edges, so it was pretty simple to sketch mine freehand, but if you wanted something fancier you could search for a pattern or just go freehand from a picture.

Once you have your sketch on the wood, proceed to cut it out with the jigsaw.

Sand the edges and give both the front and back surfaces a once over as well, then go over them with a damp rag just to remove the dust.

If you are going to drill a hole for hanging, do it now and sand off any rough edges.

And you're done - so easy!

I wouldn't get far without these!

BLACK+DECKER LDX112C 12-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver with 1 Battery
BLACK+DECKER LDX112C 12-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver with 1 Battery

Even though this is only 12volts, I use it for everything and it's awesome!

Black & Decker Smart Select 5.0A Orbital Jigsaw
Black & Decker Smart Select 5.0A Orbital Jigsaw

Using up-cycled wood and scraps for almost all my projects, means I use my jigsaw all the time.


How to make the paint

As I mentioned, I had 'sanded' grout handy, but to do a perfect job, spend a few dollars and get the unsanded (It really is only a few dollars!).

The mixture is one cup of paint to two tablespoons of grout.

I spooned the grout into the jar first and then added the paint, this way it seems to raise less dust.

Give it a good stir and you're ready to go!

As I mentioned before you can do almost any colour you want! I would not go with a lighter colour obviously as it would be hard to see the chalk on it, but any darker colour would work fine, you could even do a few different colours! I just went for black, because I always liked a nice blackboard, and ours were always green when I was a kid!

So the paint will be thick and smelly - but that's normal. Three coats front and back with a light sand with 150 grit paper in between dried coats would be great, but because I used sanded grout, I found that one coat and then a light sand to remove a lot of the bumpiness worked well enough.

Once your project is dry (leave overnight), take the side of a piece of white chalk and go all over the board, then wipe it with a barely wet cloth. Now it's seasoned and ready to use!

Just add the ribbon for hanging (if you are going to hang it) and that's it!

This makes a great and super low cost gift for kids, with a box of chalk and an eraser brush. It would also make a cool project to do with older kids or even teens starting highschool.

Everybody needs a chalkboard!

I'll bet you never thought chalkboard paint could change the world! - Learning can happen anywhere!

Kid's desk updated with chalkboard paint! - I just saw this and had to come and link to it -

What a great project, you can even get the kids painting with you - and what a fantastic idea to save paper!!

I was so happy with my paint, - I made one for myself!

...just SO much better than scraps of paper!

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    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      I would never have thought it was possible to make our own chalkboard paint. This is a great project, and I especially like your BC whale shape - I'm keen to try it now on an Atlantic version!

    • JennAshton profile image

      Jenn Ashton 4 years ago from Canada

      @AcornOakForest: Hi! Thanks for stopping by;-) I know it's crazy simple and you can do so much with it!

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      This is such a cool idea. I never knew it was so easy to make your own chalkboard paint. Bookmarking this for future use!