June 10, 2012

Chalkboard markers out of the classroom and into the house

Special paint turns furniture, accessories -- whatever -- into blank canvases just waiting ...

By STACY DOWNS McClatchy Newspapers

Chalkboards may be old-school, but they're the newest accent in home decor.

The ABCs of chalkboard projects
click image to enlarge

Detail from a chalkboard-painted door.

McClatchy Newspapers photos

The ABCs of chalkboard projects
click image to enlarge

Chalkboard markers come in every color of the rainbow.

Additional Photos Below

"Look what I made," said Kelly Sims of Liberty, Mo., holding up her smartphone during an unofficial show and tell during a chalkboard paint class at Be Here Now, a store in Independence, Mo. She flipped through pics: A picnic basket with a chalkboard top for playfully listing its contents. An old mirror converted into a message board. The fronts of a few kitchen cabinets for meal planning and writing quotes.

Sims finds pieces in thrift stores, garage sales and even the trash, then transforms them with chalkboard paint into gifts and home-entertaining accessories.

Sims may be a kindergarten teacher, but she was a pupil that Thursday night in chalkboard paint class. The instructor was Meredith Martin, an interior designer who lectured on how to mix custom colors and what you can make with it.

Results included a table setting with a chalkboard-painted paper runner and flower pots with chalkboard labels. Next to her sat a chalkboard-painted desk, storage boxes and a child's play table. She led the class in a craft project, a large metal charger with the decorative border taped off. With paint, the center of the charger became a chalkboard.

Here's an array of chalkboard paint information:

Apply paint thickly with a foam craft brush for small pieces or a regular paintbrush for furniture and walls. For glass bottles, apply thinly. Spray cans of chalkboard paint are available.

Black -- as in blackboard -- is the most typical color of chalkboard paint, but it can be any color.

Chalkboard markers, available at craft stores and at Chalk Ink (chalkinkworldstore.com), are an alternative to dusty, smearing chalk.

Decals with chalkboard surfaces are another way to go if you don't want to commit to paint. Large-format shapes include rectangles, squares, airplanes and coffee cups, to name a few at All Modern (allmodern.com). Little labels are available at Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery at Staples (staples.com).

Erasers like you had in elementary school are adorable. But if you want the surface to be super clean, clean it with a damp cloth.

Furniture, such as the top of a desk or a dining table, works well for chalkboard paint. But the paint can be used on the entire piece. Artist Tiffini Killgore painted a dresser with chalkboard paint and wrote the names of Kansas City neighborhoods on the drawers in chalk.

Good gifts can be made with chalkboard paint. Paint an empty wine bottle, et voila! A vase. Great gift tags, too, can be crafted. The best part? They're reusable.

How to mix your own chalkboard paint: Buy your favorite color of latex paint, says interior designer Meredith Martin (she used a no-VOC variety). Buy unsanded grout ($3 from a hardware store). For a gallon of paint, mix in a quart of grout. (The ratio should be two-thirds paint to one-third grout). Stir. Add drops of water to make it thinner. After painting, allow to dry an hour. Often only one coat is needed.

Idea for parties: use a chalkboard-style oilcloth as a runner on the table. Give guests chalk or chalk pens and tell them to go to town.

Jot down anything on a chalkboard surface. It can be erased.

Kraft paper can be covered with chalkboard paint to create a tablecloth. Great for writing pairing suggestions for tasting parties.

Let your kids draw on the walls. No problem with a chalkboard or chalkboard paint.

Make a Monday-through-Friday message board out of an old five-panel door using chalkboard paint in the panels.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

The ABCs of chalkboard projects
click image to enlarge

Chalkboard paint transformed this desktop into into an erasable writing surface, perfect for a to-do list. Black – as in blackboard – is the most typical color of chalkboard paint, but it can be any color.


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