Chalkboard DIY projects and crafts are seemingly everywhere these days, and there’s a good reason why: They’re a fun home improvement addition to add as a playroom easel, kitchen grocery list board or even a giant chalkboard art wall for the dining room! Adding an interactive element to your home with your own chalkboard is a great way to entertain the kids, but it’s also functional. Whether you’re looking to repurpose an old cutting board into a practice slate for your little one who’s just learning her ABCs or want to make your pantry door into a floor-to-ceiling family message center, you can use Real Milk Paint to turn ordinary surfaces into chalk-ready masterpieces.
Here’s how to do it:
Pick and Prep Your Wooden Piece
Maybe you have an old piece of furniture or slab of reclaimed wood at home all ready to go – or maybe you want to create a huge chalkboard wall. If so, great, but otherwise, you’ll need to go foraging. Antique shops, thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and even your neighbor’s curb could all lead to fantastic farmhouse style treasures to complement your home decor. Keep your eyes open and look for pieces that are structurally sound or only need a little work tightening up hinges and replacing a screw or two. Anything unstable or crumbling on the edges could be more trouble than it’s worth. You might want to look for pieces with a stronger wood frame.
Here’s a quick hint: Softer woods are more porous and will lead to the wood compressing and an uneven surface and more smudged writing. Harder wood is a better option if you’re looking for more legible results.
Prep a surface for milk paint by removing all dust and debris with a damp cloth. You can choose a bonding agent to help your paint adhere to a surface that already has paint or a sealer on it, and you may also want to sand the wood on your piece if you have a piece that’s a little rougher around the edges than you’d like. If your wood piece has any unwanted damage or dents this is the time to fill those marks with a wood filler.
Pick Out Your Milk Paint
Most modern chalkboards are some shade of black. Real Milk Paint’s Arabian Night color is a blue-black reminiscent of the night sky and would work brilliantly for this project. Another option: Black Iron milk paint. This shade is a smokier, carbon-inspired hue.
For a more vintage or rustic look, you may want to create a chalkboard that’s a bit more green, closer to the classic schoolroom models. Earth Green paint is a good option, or you could add a bit of black to any shade of green and create a custom color that matches your vision.
Applying Your Chalkboard Paint
Mix up your paint according to the directions — this is probably the easiest part — and don’t be afraid to mix up extra. Raw wood is known for soaking up a lot of paint, and if you have any leftovers, they’ll keep well for at least a couple of weeks.
Use a clean, lint-free paintbrush to apply your first coat of paint to your wooden surface. If needed, use painter’s tape to protect any areas you don’t want painted. It’s up to you how many coats you’ll ultimately need; most Real Milk Paints have great coverage, but your ability to thin out your mixture at will means you control how opaque or transparent the paint will be. Letting each coat ample dry time before applying the next one will help you gauge coverage as you go.
Finishing and Seasoning Your New Chalkboard
You will need to seal the dry milk paint with a sealant. Also to keep away moisture and preserve your surface against ordinary wear and tear, but because this is a chalkboard, you need to make the surface suitable for writing. Fine-Grit sandpaper (we favor a 400 grit, but feel free to experiment) should help remove any bumps, drips and stray sediment.
Finally, it’s time to seal your piece. Give the chalkboard a coat of Low Sheen Finishing Cream, then wipe the surface with a dry clean cloth while the Finishing Cream is wet to keep the surface smooth. We don’t want brush strokes in the Finishing Cream.
When dry give the chalkboard a coat of Clear Carnauba Wax. Buff when dry. This will make the surface slick and smooth. Typically, it’s recommended that you allow the paint to dry 24 hours before rubbing with a piece of chalk.
You can refresh your chalkboard any time with a few new coats of Clear Carnauba Wax The whole process is so simple you can make miniature boards as holiday gifts or redo multiple surfaces in your home and barely break a sweat.
Have you done a DIY chalkboard? We’d love to see!