December 11, 2011
I recently came across Christina's chalkboard paint post from Designing by Numbers in the DIY Project Parade (thanks for the inspiration, Christina) and remembered that I had bookmarked Martha Stewart's chalkboard recipe with grand plans that kept getting pushed back. So, the next day I headed to True Value for supplies. (The True Value in Sarver, PA has a 'mascot'...the sweetest dog who greets customers at the door, with a roll of duct tape in his mouth. Adorable.)
Our basement stairwell is a blank canvas. Lots of plans, just needed to get started.
I wanted a navy chalkboard so custom chalkboard paint was the solution.
Color: Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
I started with having my primer tinted. Primer doesn't really tint well, so the closest I could get was a bright periwinkle, but every little bit of pigment helps.
To make my project go quicker and because ceilings are high/scary and complicated, I use an edger.
The secret to using this little treasure is dipping it into the paint at angle, keeping the wheels out of the paint.
Then drag across up the 'ramp' of the paint tray to get off excess paint...
I "sneak up" on where the wall meets the ceiling and then move from side to side. (Don't just smash down near the ceiling and start side to side.) I also 'smooth' out the bottom of the edged paint line to keep it from dripping/building up and making a visible line. So: touch the edger to the wall below where you're going to run your edging, then come back and smooth the line made from the bottom of the edger.
For high up/hard to reach places, I added an extension and stood on a ladder at terrifying heights (remember to keep as little as possible paint towards the side of the edger with wheels)...
Once the primer is applied and dried, it's time to move on to the next step.
The recipe calls for 2 tbsp. of non-sand grout for every cup of latex paint. Here's the conversion for making one gallon of chalkboard paint:
2 tbsp. for 1 cup
16 cups in a gallon
= 2 cups (32 tbsp.) of non-sand grout in one gallon of paint
I used a 5 gallon bucket for mixing.
I alternated adding paint then a bit of grout (thanks to Christina for the tip). Then stirred. Repeat until all paint and grout are mixed.
I used a paint stir. Tilting the bucket helps get the grout/paint mixed that sticks to the sides of the bucket.
The consistency is thick. There are small clumps...keep stirring (a mixer-bit on the drill might be more helpful). I did have a few bumps...but we're not picky. Most dissolved or smoothed out with a paint brush (a little bit of a pain but overall – it was worth it). If we were perfectionists, we wouldn't have bought an old fixer-upper farmhouse! This wall will actually be partially covered up (future project) and then a couple of years down the road, it's being torn out when we get to the big basement renovation. The solution is to lightly sand between coats.
Make sure you use a drop cloth and wear old clothes. Consistency is thick and splatters will occur. (Thankfully we have stairs waiting for slate tile...so although I was careful, it didn't matter). A mask is preferable too. The fumes were on the strong side. Use same edging technique as mentioned above.
I used a foam roller for the larger/middle task of painting the wall.
Once I finished the wall, I put the lid on my bucket and my paint tray/roller in a baggy and let the wall paint dry overnight.
First coat, drying...
In progress but looking good!
Second day, second coat. Next...the hard part. Rub the entire wall with the side of a piece of chalk.
All set to accept chalk board writing!
More on our stairwell transformation coming up – you'll never guess what we have planned.
Let's see what you've been up to!