It doubles as an organizational idea for toys and imaginative play.

By Ashley Poskin
July 27, 2020
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Ashley Poskin

A chalkboard wall is a great way to keep kids happily occupied and learning while adding an interesting design element to their room. It can also help them to feel a sense of pride in being able to personalize their space.

Depending on how you choose to decorate, a chalk wall can change along with your child's developmental stages. As kids get older and learn to read, you can add positive affirmations for them to read each day, write lists that they can check off, or let them mural to their heart's content. Traditional chalk is great to use, but if you're looking for specific colors, try ​soft pastels​—they look really pretty against ​any color​ you decide to paint your chalk wall.

Prepping the Wall

Set out your painting tools and materials for the project: You will need paint, a tray, a roller, and drop cloth. First, prep and prime the walls before painting—this will give your kids the smoothest surface to draw on. Fill in nail holes, sand down any rough bumps left by previous coats of paint, and wash the wall with soap and a scrubby sponge.

After the wall is dry, lay out a drop cloth on the floor so that it covers the baseboards and at least 10 to 12 inches of floor space beneath the wall. Run painters' tape along the top of the baseboards, using the bottom half of the tape to secure the drop cloth in place. Also use it to secure a border at the edge of the walls, and along the ceiling. If painting on a bare surface you'll want to first use a primer. If your wall is already painted, you can proceed without priming.

Painting the Wall

Chalkboard paint comes in all colors, but we like Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalkboard Paint in classic black ($11, homedepot.com). This allows the other decorative elements mounted to the wall to pop and stand out more. Use a trim brush to ​paint​ around the baseboards, windows, ceiling, and near the corners of the wall. Work in small sections, keeping a wet edge and use a paint roller for larger coverage areas (we used a nap roller measuring 1/4 to 3/8 inch). Apply paint to the wall in light, even strokes and keep an eye out for runs or drips (wet wipes are great for cleaning them up). Let the first coat of paint dry before applying a second coat, then allow the paint to cure for at least three days before applying any chalk to the surface.

Season the wall by rubbing a large piece of sidewalk chalk over the entire painted area, then wipe the chalk off with a dry towel. This process helps to keep new chalk drawings from hanging around after they've been erased. Use a ​chalkboard eraser—the Melissa & Doug Felt Chalk Eraser ($3, amazon.com) is kid-friendly—or a dry towel to wipe away chalk and draw something anew.

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