If you thought chalkboards were just for schoolrooms, think again. These wipe-off writing surfaces make handy helpers around the home, too. Thanks to paint that dries into a chalkboard finish, your board can be whatever size you desire and placed wherever you like. Store-bought formulas come in traditional green and black. But you can also follow our recipe to mix your own batch in any shade. Cleverly applied chalkboard paint means new places to track appointments, keep lists, and leave messages. Or simply use the surface to draw or doodle, which will appeal to kids and the kid in everyone.
A home office is the ideal spot for a family planner. Six weeks' worth of squares in a variety of shades can accommodate several schedules. The entire wall is also coated with chalkboard paint for more memos. Start with a base coat of store-bought black chalkboard paint, and then mix in varying amounts of white chalkboard paint for lighter squares.
The bottom half of a mudroom wall is just the right height for pint-size Picassos -- when coated with store-bought green chalkboard paint. When inspiration strikes again, the canvas can be wiped clean with a damp sponge. Corkboard, available at home centers, covers the wall above the chair rail, providing an area for art displays. The cork was colored with latex paint to match the room.
Write-on paint needn't be applied only to walls. We coated three framed panels and leaned them on an entryway shelf, where they function as miniature chalkboards. To create a similar effect, measure and cut pieces of sanded plywood, and slip them into picture frames. Cover each panel, frame and all, with primer and chalkboard paint; our topcoat coordinates with the aqua-blue walls.
Covered with chalkboard paint, a pantry door serves as the perfect place to keep a running shopping list. In this case, only the inside panels were coated, but we custom-colored the paint so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of the door. This concept also works on children's closet doors. Always tape off those areas that you don't want to paint, such as knobs and hardware.
Custom Colors How-To
Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.
1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.
2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.
3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.
4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.