Now that I’m getting serious about organizing my cabinet, I’m trying out all the crafts and tricks I’ll need to get the job done. Last week I experimented with making my own mod podge, which I plan to use for creating and decorating storage boxes (post on that to come!). The next item on the list: creating labels for all these boxes and containers, which I plan to use chalkboard paint for.
Chalkboard surfaces are so trendy right now, and I can see why – it’s a classy effect and so amazingly useful. If left to my own devices I would probably cover every surface in this house in chalkboard paint. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. It would save me so much money on post-it notes (and yes, I still use those).
After researching a couple different ways to make chalkboard paint, I decided to go with the recipe that uses Plaster of Paris. The other recipe I’ve seen (and the one Martha Stewart recommends) requires unsanded tile grout, and quite frankly I could not find unsanded tile grout at my local hobby store. They had sanded grout, sure, but not a container to be found of unsanded. From what I’ve read online (ie, the message boards I hopelessly searched while standing in front of an isle full of sanded grout) many others have had trouble locating this stuff, too. And for Martha Stewart’s recipe to work, you must have unsanded grout. So I solved this problem by walking a few feet down the isle and picking up a (fairly large) container of Plaster of Paris for only $5. Really, I’m not even kidding, it was a gallon tub. With this much Plaster of Paris, apparently I am going to paint every surface of my house with chalk paint.
Also, just to note: durability tests of the store bought chalk paint and the two homemade recipes (Plaster of Paris and unsanded grout) showed that all three have the same durability, shine, and writeability (a word?), so thankfully one method isn’t better than another. However, Plaster of Paris gets bonus points with me because I could find it without making a trip to the hardware store.
So by this point you know you need Plaster of Paris. What are the other ingredients?
Turns out, not a whole lot!
Ingredients & Tools
- 2 tablespoon Plaster of Paris
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 3 tablespoon Acrylic paint, matte finish, any color
- Foam brush for painting
- Measure out the water and add to your chosen container (note: this should be the container you plan to paint out of)
- Add Plaster of Paris to water and mix well, working out any clumps.
- Pour in your chosen acrylic paint and continue to stir, again working any clumps out.
- Once chalkboard paint is mixed, it should be used immediately. Chalkboard paint will harden even in a closed container, though you can try adding more water to save it (1/2 tsp at a time).
- For durability, apply 3 coats of chalkboard paint with a foam brush. Allow to completely dry between coats.
- Once the third coat is dry, it’s recommended to rub chalk all over the surface in order to temper it, then wipe off the chalk with a soft towel.
To test out the paint, I grabbed an old picture frame. I opted to paint the cardboard backing that typically goes behind the photo, just in case I ever want to use the glass again (or if I want to put the glass over the chalkboard to preserve a chalk drawing).
I applied 3 coats. The cardboard initially curved up a little when wet, but it flattened out again once it was dry.
(Please excuse my ugly nail polish in these pics!)
Next I tempered the surface by covering it with chalk.
And then gently wiped it off with a soft towel.
Not to shabby, eh? It almost looks like I know what I’m doing!
Once I put it all together, the chalkboard surface looked great in the picture frame. Actually, the distressed look of the picture frame is something I did inbetween waiting for the coats of chalkboard paint to try. Overall the entire project was a super easy and it only took me about 3 hours, including drying time.
With as good as this turned out, it has me pretty excited to work on the labels! And maybe a kitchen wall or two. All that Plater of Paris is just begging me to.