7 Tips for Applying Chalkboard Paint

Chalkboard paint on a wall above a table
What You'll Need
Chalkboard paint
Drop cloths
Painter's tape
Drywall filler or wood putty
Short nap roller

You can give your kids an artistic outlet in their rooms or give the house an interesting design aesthetic by using chalkboard paint. Children can draw to their hearts' content without ruining the walls or causing mom and dad to have to repaint the entire surface. Chalkboard paint is also used in many other places where you have a need for a chalkboard or a place to doodle. Applying chalkboard paint is much like painting any wall, with a few little differences that you need to pay attention to.

Step 1 - Buy as Much as You Need

One of the problems many people run into when painting with chalkboard paint is they don’t purchase enough. Make sure you know how much you need before you start painting. If you happen to run out of paint and have to buy more, you’ll see a difference in the way the paint looks after it dries. There is a reasonable chance of not getting the same consistency in tint and color.

Step 2 - Prepare the Wall and the Area

plastering a crack in a wall

It doesn’t matter if you are going to be painting a small area or an entire wall -- it must be clean before starting to paint. Use a damp rag to clean any dust and dirt from the surface and remove any marks that are on the wall. It is also important to lightly sand the area to be painted to smooth the surface. Wipe the wall down after you sand as well to remove any dust.

Take all precautions to protect surrounding areas from splatters and drips by laying down drop cloths. Also, use a good quality painter’s tape to mask off areas that you do not want to be painted.

Step 3 - Fill Any Cracks First

Before you set out to paint your wall you should also fill in any cracks or small holes. Do this with drywall filler, wood putty, or any other filler according to the surface you are painting on. Wait until it dries before sanding it down level with the wall and cleaning any residue off.

Step 4 - Stir Paint Carefully

Chalkboard paint is very susceptible to breaking down if you stir it too hard. Use your paintbrush and gently move the paint around in the can. If you stir it too vigorously it will cause the properties that enable it to be written on to break down.

Step 5 - Apply Paint

Start in the middle of the area that you are going to paint and begin working outward from there. Work in a consistent manner and make sure that you overlap all brush marks. Use a liberal amount of paint on your paintbrush, but do not just "slop" it onto the wall. Clean up any drips as they happen to keep the surface consistently smooth. If you are doing a very large surface that will need to be rolled, use a very short nap roller. Do not press too hard to avoid lap lines and roller marks. Roll at different angles to smooth the surface.

Tip: Consider using a tinted primer as the base coat. This will help the chalkboard paint cover better and reduce the number of coats. It can take up to three coats of paint to obtain adequate coverage.

Step 6 - Allow to Dry

writing a To Do list on a chalkboard

After the paint has been applied to the wall you need to wait three days before you can do any more work to it. This is important as the agents inside the paint need to harden and cure before you can write on it.

Step 7 - Prepare With Chalk

Once the paint has been given enough time to dry, further prepare it by rubbing chalk over the entire surface. Allow this chalk to stay for a few seconds and then erase it. Once you have finished this process the chalkboard paint is ready to be used. As always, carefully read the paint’s label for any other instructions that come with the product to make clean-up, use, and removal as easy as possible.

Tip: Chalkboard paint can be used on glass, cabinets, clay pots, and other accessories around the house.

Pam Estabrooke, district manager of ProTect Painters, contributed to this article.