new chalkboard wall!


i have been itching to tick a couple items off my summer project list and i finally did one!


our playroom is really a multi-purpose room.  it serves as our homeschool room, our playroom, and as my office/studio/workspace.  its a decent size room with great light and tons of built-in storage.  but because it has to do so many jobs, with very little wall space, it has gotten really really cluttered.  there was a lack of beauty to let your eyes rest on, only necessary chaos.

the above picture is what our playroom looked like before.  we added the gutter bookshelves about a year ago.  they worked ok.  i loved that they made it so all of our books were facing out, making them easier to find and more likely that the kids will gravitate towards them by seeing the pretty covers.  i was able to fit a trimester’s worth of books on the 2 shelves, plus our smaller white boards.  but the books always tipped forward, and the taller books couldn’t fit on the bottom. the gutters collected dust and grime.  and the kids liked to gently pull on or lean against them, causing them to slightly pull out of the wall and sag.  so while the gutter shelves were a good theory, unfortunately they didn’t work out for us.  anyone want some gutters? ;)


i decided in the height of my busy-ness (last week of school and while packing for a trip) that now should be the time to tackle this project!  i had a sweet partner in crime, joy.  she helped me take everything off the walls: gutters, whiteboard, map, number lines, outlet covers… everything!  thne she even wiped the walls down for me!  she even likes to come over and do my dishes and wipe down my counters so yeah, she’s a keeper ;)


then we taped off all the trim, pressed really hard along the tape line to hope we didn’t get any leaks, patched all the holes, then sanded them down smooth.


i went to home depot and asked for a gallon of their cheapest flat black paint.  i also bought a carton of plaster of paris.  i painted the first coat with the black paint.  while that was drying i made some chalkboard paint.  if you add 2 tablespoons of plaster of paris (in a paste form) to 1 cup of flat paint, it makes chalkboard paint.   so i estimated how many cups of paint i had left and made a paste in a separate bowl with the plaster of paris and just enough water to make it all wet.  i would probably make it a touch more wet next time just to make mixing the paste into the paint a bit easier.  i quickly added the paste to what was left of my gallon of paint and stirred really well with a stir stick.  the paste was heavier than the paint, so i was sure to stir at the bottom quite a bit.  *side not: make sure the bowl you make the paste in gets washed out right away or the plaster of paris becomes, well, hardened plaster.

so then i painted one coat of the chalkboard paint.  even though i asked for the cheapest paint, because i was using black it had really good coverage and only needed 2 coats of paint total.  one concern of mine was losing my nice smooth texture on my walls.  our walls were originally painted with a sprayer, so there was no texture from rollers.  i used a regular nap roller, not a smooth nap, only because thats what i had on hand and it would go so much faster than using a smooth roller. *another side note: i don’t think this process would work if you have “orange peel” textured walls because the texture would show so much in the chalk.  but i could be wrong ;)


the next step to making your own chalkboard wall is called priming.  if you don’t prime then whatever image, words, whatever you write on your new surface will stay on the surface pretty much forever. you will be able to erase most of it, but not all of it.  priming the wall is super easy, but time consuming.  it took me about as long to prime as it did to paint both coats!  all you have to do is rub chalk over the entire surface of the wall.  i didn’t have any regular chalk on hand at the time so silas grabbed me the lightest colored sidewalk chalk he could find from our backyard.


as you can see, the top section of the wall was done in pink chalk, but it worked out ok in the end.


and the entire wall was chalked!  what a huge mess!  i vacuumed a couple times during the process so the chalk dust wouldn’t get ground into the carpet.


then came the erasing.  lots and lots of erasing.


erasing actually grinds the chalk dust into the surface of the paint, so it was really important that i erased until the surface appeared to be smooth again.


i erased in all different directions:  up and down, side to side, and in circles, until it was all even.  but it still had a lot of chalk dust on the surface.


next i wiped it all down again with a swiffer sweeper cloth.  actually, about 10 swiffer sweeper cloths!  i wanted the walls to be clean enough that if you leaned against the wall you wouldn’t get chalk dust all over you.  plus it was too light before and i wanted a darker wall.


now this is my homeschool room, so it has to function as such.  we have to have up a world map (plus its really pretty!), and we have to have up our very well-used white board.  but aesthetically i didn’t like the white board with the map – just too busy.  so the plan it to move the white board to another location that i am in the middle of figuring out ;)  so the map stayed and the white board will be moved.


i find chalk hard to write with, but did you know you can sharpen it with a simple pencil sharpener?  it works so well!  i also love chalk paint pens, but i really wanted the look of chalk this time.


my sister was visiting, so i enlisted her help in decorating the wall.  we decided to do a simple frame around the map, with a banner above.  we didn’t measure a thing, just eyeballed it all, using the yard stick only as a straight edge for drawing our lines.


we were definitely not perfectionist about the process, and kept adding layers as we went.  we did a bit of sketching on paper before we started, but strayed a bit as we went.  it was a really fun process!


after we hung the map back up the wall we decided to add a little more to the frame.


just an extra thin border and some angled lines.


then came the banner above.  i was leaning in the direction of something with arrows, but my sister had the idea of more of a flowy ribbon to break up all the hard lines of the map and frame.  she was totally right.  but the arrows may come at another time.  thats the great thing about a chalkboard wall – i can change it whenever i want!


we made little “nails” to hold up the banner.


after practicing a bit on paper, i free handed “map of the world”.


now i have big plans to replace the gutter bookshelves, but that will have to wait for another post.  and another burst of energy.  and some free time.



  1. 1

    This is so great! I would love to do a chalkboard wall someday. Now I know where to refer to for the process! Thank you :)

  2. 2

    Love it!! I’m in the middle of painting my own chalkboard wall!

  3. 3

    Oh my goodness!!! LOVE it!! girl, you worked your hiney off, but so worth it! you are going to enjoy that so much!

  4. 4

    That is awesome! I’ve felt inspired to make a chalkboard wall in our house, but we have carpet. As soon as we either replace our carpet with hardwood or move into a house that has hardwood, I’m painting a chalkboard wall!

  5. 5

    It looks great! So happy you shared this “how-to”–I’ve been contemplating doing a chalkboard wall in my son’s room and you’ve motivated me to finally do it. :-)

  6. 6

    Lindsey, it looks amazing! Such a great how-to post as well – thank you!

  7. 7

    Looks great! Did you know that you can buy dust-free chalk at office supply stores? Would probably be useful in a set-up like yours where carpet is involved :)

  8. 9

    Wow!! You make it look so easy!! It looks amazing!

  9. 10
    Laryssa says:

    When function and beauty combine….it’s a wonderful thing! Great job.

  10. 11

    You are both so talented!

  11. 12

    FYI- chalkboard walls do not work well with textured walls. I did this in my hallway and it is so hard to wipe the chalk off because it all gets stuck in the little holes. And it’s hard to draw- like writing on sand paper. Of course I should have thought of this before I did it! Now I have a chalkboard wall that always looks messy and rarely gets used!!!

  12. 13
    Heather M. says:

    Well done!! It looks amazing!!! :)

  13. 14

    This turned out amazing!!

  14. 15

    All I can say is WOW! That’s amazing!!!

  15. 16

    I have to know, what’s around your map of the world?? It looks like a thin plastic strip?? We have a very similar map and the edges are just shredded from fingers and thumbtacks and I’m trying to figure out how to salvage it….

    • 17
      lindsey says:

      thats the way my map came. it has a stiff plastic strip across the top and bottom, probably to weight it down a bit.

  16. 19

    To looks great, Lindsey! I’ve always wanted a rich, dark wall, and having it FUNCTION, too, is a bonus! Well done!

  17. 20

    It looks sooo good! Good for you for taking the time to go through that whole process. I guarantee, I wouldn’t have read the directions and would NOT have primed it. And then I would have told everyone that chalkboard paint doesn’t work!

    I’m inspired by your homeschooling room. It looks so neat and organized!

  18. 21
    Crystal says:

    I love the chalkboard wall! The frame looks great around the map! I’m at the end of homeschooling. I graduated my oldest daughter last year and my other daughter will be a junior this year. We loved painting our school room and redecorating it every year before the new school year started. Love it!!

  19. 22

    I love this!! The map really pops up there. Can’t wait to see more!

  20. 23

    What a great effort!! Well Done!!

  21. 24

    Okay, I love this! I so want a chalkboard wall. I think I’m going to have to so a huge panel to lean against the wall since we cal chalkboard our walls in this defence house. That’s on my to-do list now for sure.

  22. 25

    <3 this! We are getting ready to start our homeschool adventure, and I'd love to do something like this in our home.

  23. 26

    Ahhh…I didn’t know about priming the chalkbaord and I have been fighting with ours, trying to erase old chalk markings!

    Thanks for the tips, maybe I’ll resurface our chalkbaord and prime it this time!

  24. 27

    I love your chalkboard wall!! And I’ve never heard of doing it with plaster of paris, on grout. Thanks for the info!

  25. 28
    Jennifer says:

    Love it! Can I ask where you got the map? My son wants one in his room.

    • 29
      lindsey says:

      i got it a year or so ago from costco. they usually carry more of them as we get closer to the start of school again.

  26. 30

    Love that! Ikea has picture ledges that would work in place of the gutters. They’re wood, so they won’t bend and are pretty simple lines, so that would make it easier to clean.

  27. 32

    This is convinced me to move ahead with the chalkboard wall I’ve been dying to put in my son’s room! Now let’s see if mine comes out as neat looking, lol.

  28. 33

    This looks great! Did you have to wait 3 days before priming the wall with chalk?

  29. 34

    Did you let it set for 3 days before priming?

  30. 35

    I have a question… errr.. more like emergency. My dad offered to do my magnetic chalkboard wall in my living room. he did the magnetic portion last night and it came out great and super smooth! came home today to find the wall with brush stroke ridges all over it. come to find out he used the same foam roller it used with the magnetic paint!! how on earth do i fix it? should i sand it down after the 3 days???

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