Chalkboard Update: The Elephant that was clearly beyond my skill level.

Good luck. It’s a long one.  There’s a few seconds where basically nothing happens and it’s because I’m getting a snack aka finally eating dinner.  This elephant was wayyyy too hard.  It took basically forever and my arm is literally sore from drawing it.  Definitely headed back to words next time.


How to: Chalkboard Wall

Chalkboard walls are prettyyyyy easy. It goes in like regular paint, there’s fancy ones you can tint any color, and you don’t need special brushes.

Tips for painting:
– don’t think you can just spray paint the wall because the spray paint is way cheaper and you don’t want to buy brushes. Unless the area you’re painting is very small, in which case cover up anything around it and pray pray pray.
– If you have crappy, builder grade paint check the wall for spots that aren’t smooth. I’ve found that a couple of passes of fine grit sand paper will fix that right up. Any uneven areas will be fairly noticeable and trap a ton of chalk.
– smooth, thin coats are best. Take your time and make sure you get good coverage.
– read the directions in your paint can. Every one is different and you may need to be prepared to wait a few days between coats or before use. I generally cut all those suggested times in half because I’m impatient and I’m sure they’re just trying to CYA. I hate letting things “cure.”

Where to add a chalkboard? Anywhere. They’re pretty awesome and are really fun during parties and great for easy decor updates. Here are some great examples and inspiration:

I painted the entire wall around my fireplace. (After checking that the heat from the fireplace wouldn’t cause discoloration or melting.) It’s a small wall (maybe 13’x10′? I don’t know) and the room gets a TON of light because and entire while is a sliding glass door (leading to a future deck.)

Our fireplace didn’t come with a mantel. New houses come with NOTHING. Which is another story for another day. I looked into purchasing one, scoured Craigslist and the nearby ReStores, but I was not willing to spend at minimum $200 for a mantel. The ones I actually liked would run closer to $400. Then I got to thinking about the fact that I don’t even have mantel stuff. No cute books, candlesticks, or vases. No seasonally appropriate framed postcards. All of that would cost $$$$ to. So I headed out to Lowes with a $50 house-warming gift card and spent about $75 total getting supplies.

I got home, started painting wayyyy too late, and totally panicked about half way through. BECAUSE THE WALL IS BLACK. It was so terrifying. But thankfully finishing was easier than the taking everything back to ugly builder “white” so I kept going. And BOOM. I love it. I use chalk from Ikea (kid section) and update the wall every few weeks. I pull inspiration from Pinterest – check out my Chalkboard Wall Board if you’re feeling a little stuck! Pick a theme and run with it. Oh and be sure to enjoy that crisp, dark black color. It will NEVER look that good again so be emotionally prepared for it. Don’t forget to prime the entire wall with chalk – get big pieces of sidewalk chalk and cover the wall before cleaning it all off. If you don’t do this, you’ll always be able to see the first thing you draw. And the first thing I drew was pretty sucky. Consider yourself warned.

My tools for updating the wall include the chalk (obviously), a square, a level, and two yard sticks – one metal and one wood. I’ve been using the wooden one more because I’m nervous about scratching the wall with the metal one. Generally I put a big axis in the center of my design to help keep things even and level. I do a lot of erasing and redrawing. It’s chalk and easily fixable so I don’t feel paralyzed by the anxiety of a potential mistake like when painting. To erase things I use a rag, an old dry erase marker with an eraser in the end, and Coke. Yup. Leftover, flat coke. It’s the only thing that will get the wall 90% clean. I clean the wall entirely between designs and use the pen’s eraser for small errors and cleaning up any guide lines (like the axis.)

Here are some instas of older wall designs: