Chalkboard paint..sounds fun and whimsical…until you actually do it!
So the story goes…
We moved into our new home in March. Within the 1st week we added window trim, crown molding and painted both kids rooms! It was great start to erasing the builder blah. My daughter’s room was easy and [mostly] done by the second week. My son’s room on the other hand…well we painted 3 walls in the room the new main color [Seattle Grey Frazee (now Sherwin Williams)] and left what we knew would be the focal wall unpainted. This focal wall was stamped TBD…because I didn’t know what to do with it!
And it stayed that way…for four sad months. I would go into the room and just stare at the wall. Here I normally have all these fabulous designs going through my head…and I stand in my son’s room uninspired. I had no grand ideas! Some possible ideas would fizzle out once I attempted to price the project. But mostly I was as blank as this wall… 😦
It must have bothered my husband too, because after two months of the wall being boring he started throwing out ideas. One day he mentioned that we should try a chalkboard wall. Our son loves to draw with chalk, why not give him a chalkboard feature wall! As soon as I said “OK…???? [with quite a bit of hesitation]”, my hubby went to home depot and purchased not only 2 quarts of chalkboard paint…but surprised me with magnetic primer. Purchased…done…we are doing this!
Chalkboard wall cost breakdown:
- Rustoleum Chalkboard paint – $9.97 (Home Depot)
- Rustoleum Magnetic primer – $ 19.98 x2 cans (trust me you can skip this step!)
- Paint supplies – free (we already have plenty)
[Or…maybe not…] I love bright happy-fun-loving colors. And to top it off, this room is for my baby…and the paint is black! Isn’t that morbid for a baby! The primer is black. Holly cow I have never painted a wall ANYTHING similar to black. I shelved the chalkboard paint for another month or two. I couldn’t do it. It was going to be dark and I was terrified it would make my sweet baby’s room feel like a dungeon.
Summer finally arrived, I work summer school but the hours are much shorter then the regular school year. I decided it was now or never! I am either going to return this paint or just do it! My husband got out the paint supplies and we went to work! I poured out the black magnetic primer into the pan and my heart sank. Yep…blackest of black. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my little black dress, my black photo frames hanging on my wall and the color in general. But for an entire wall!!!!!
Next issue, the primer stunk. Literally. This magnetic primer is the smelliest product I have ever used. Think of an automotive garage that changes your oil and warehouses brand new tires. Then try to fit 20 of those garages in this bedroom…it was something like that! It was making my eyes water just standing next to it. If you have a sensitivity to strong odors, skip this step entirely.It is not for the faint of heart… or nose for that matter. The entire house smelled after using this product!
It took 3 coats of magnetic primer. I have read recommendations that you should use four coats to make it work the best, but we only had enough for three coats. And to be honest, we were done with the smell and with how much the product flinged back black speckles at you when you rolled it [use tarp on your carpet and tape off areas you don’t want painted! Do it!].
Next came the coat of chalkboard paint. One coat. We tried to be careful not to add too many coats over the magnetic primer otherwise it said we would lose the ability to stick magnets to it…and hey I didn’t just suffer through that stench for nothing!
After you paint with the chalkboard paint you need to wait 3 whole days before you can put fun silly images all over it! In needs to cure. I read enough horror stories online to make myself wait all three days. Patience is not one of my better qualities when I want something done yesterday!
After it cures, the chalkboard needs to be seasoned. In this step, you take a piece of chalk (or several if your keep braking like mine did!) on its side and rub and wipe away a layer of chalk. [My hubby couldn’t help with this step..it was literally like nails on a chalkboard to him…hahahaha]
**You season the chalkboard so you can erase what you draw in the future. If not the chalk will etch and leave a “ghost” image of what was drawn. <– Totally necessary step.
It was done, the room was painted with chalkboard paint…
and to my surprise…sorry, nope not even going to lie…I was not surprised that the room was dark. Here is what we ended up with. I looked at it for a full week and decided there was no way I could live with this dark wall (one picture during the day in full sunlight, one at night):
It looked better than the ‘before’ photo, but holy cow, it was depressing! My hubby felt deflated that I didn’t like his idea. And of course that made me feel awful (this was also the same week as our 12th wedding anniversary, who wants to make their spouse feel awful on our anniversary week…not this girl!) I decided I could salvage his design idea… and I finally knew what I was going to do with this feature wall! I asked my hubby if we had any bender board left over from our daughter’s room wainscot wall [tutorial here]. He said yes, but we didn’t have enough for my entire vision, so back to home depot we go for more bender board.
Adding molding (bender board) cost:
- 4 – 8′ strips of bender board at $2.83/piece -$9.52
- Paint left over from daughter’s project – free
- Killz primer – $16.48. I bought a gallon and did not need that much! Extra for later 🙂
- Quart of SW Aloe paint (Behr color matched) – $17.98 <– why is paint always my most expensive cost!!! [Still a tad bit upset about this item…but it was the pop of color I needed. I used about a 1/4 of a quart]
- White door and trim caulking $2.28
- Wood filler – left over from daughter’s project – free
- Paint supplies – already on hand so …we are going to say …free
Total: $46.26 ($29.78 without the primer! – you may not need to cover up a black wall and may not need 2 coats of primer 🙂 )
I used my handy-dandy chalkboard wall and drew out the image I had in my head directly on the wall! Hubby like it (I don’t think he would have said if he didn’t like it…) and he got to cutting the bender board with our miter saw. We hung the vertical pieces 1st, followed by all the horizontal pieces installing them with our nail gun.
Next I used wood filler and fill in all the gaps and sanded, just like I did in my daughter’s room.
Next came the Kilz primer. I was bummed about adding more coats over the magnetic primer – but it had to be done if I wanted to change the color. [**spoiler alert – I can still hang magnets on this part of the wall!!!!!]
Once the primer dried over night I added my pop of color. I color matched a giraffe painting I have hanging on the opposite wall [not shown]. I LOVE this color.
Caulked around all edges and wow does that make a difference! I found a cute saying and incorporated the chevron pattern found on his crib bedding for some chalkboard fun. The best thing about the chalkboard is I can erase and we can draw whatever we want later. It will be interesting to see what my son comes up with when he is older!
Put the crib back, added a tepee, and voilà! Finally this room is done 🙂