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Why a chalkboard paint wall is your shelter-in-place dream come true

Limiting trips outside to essential grocery runs can make any household a little crazy. Factor in elementary school-aged children, and you’ve got a recipe for a restless house. Chalkboard paint is an easy DIY to undertake during shelter-in-place that’ll give you and the kids a new canvas for art, games, and overall fun. Let’s go over some benefits, as well as some things to consider before heading to the paint store.

A young boy in a yellow shirt studies at a desk placed in front of a black chalkboard wall
Julia M Cameron/Pexels

Reminders, children’s school lessons, art practice, and more

Once you’ve successfully applied chalkboard paint to a wall in your home, you’re free to utilize this functional space for so many different things. Here are some ideas:

  • In the kitchen, use it as a large grocery shopping list reminder, maybe bordered by colorful fruit and veggie doodles. You can also write an age-appropriate daily quote, drawing, or brain teaser as a conversation starter during breakfast. You can add it to furniture like suggests.
  • In the living room, use the wall as an ever-changing mural canvas. Grant your kids unlimited access to draw, color, and write whatever they feel like. You can also add this cool thing called Magnetic Primer to make the chalkboard paint wall magnetic. Then decorate with small magnetic photographs, pins, letters, etc. Use magnetic-backed chalk erasers so you never lose track of your cleaning tool.
  • In the kids’ room, use it as a chore check-off list if they’re old enough for shouldering small responsibilities. If not, use it as an education tool and make learning fun beyond online classroom interactions. To make material more engaging, illustrate lessons, whether it’s learning how to add or exploring what makes a good fictional story.
  • In the adult’s bedroom, you have full creative freedom. Make little reminders for appointments or work deadlines, write your favorite inspirational quote, or hang up magnetic photographs of the family.

You can make a colorful wall, not just a traditional black board

There’s a misconception that chalkboard paint has to be black because it’s the only color that exists. News flash: chalkboard paint for walls is available in any color of the rainbow. Green, orange, pink, blue, and purple are popular, but you can try gray or a muted teal for a softer look. 

Check with your local hardware store, or order a can online for more options. If you do decide to go for a lighter color, you might have to use primer before applying the paint.

A light-skinned hand holds up a paint roller in front of a wall that is half grey, half white.
Stephanie Ho/Pexels

How do I apply and use chalkboard paint?

For chalkboard paint, you’ll need at least two full coats to cover your existing color well. If your wall is darker, you might have to use primer. This is also true for walls that have a glossy sheen.

After you apply the first coat, wait two to three hours or until it’s fully dry. Apply the second coat and repeat a third time if needed. Then wait an additional two to three days before using it for the first time. This gives the wall enough time to dry and harden thoroughly. For best results, use a foam roller to apply the paint and apply thin coats to avoid unevenness is the paint.

What’s the best area in my house for chalkboard paint?

When choosing the area you want to paint, choose the smoothest wall possible. The good news is you can also apply this paint on glass, wood, or metal surfaces – just make sure the brand is suited for this use. 

A large chalkboard wall also means a little chalk dust, so if you have a sensitive nose, we suggest picking a wall near an entryway, in the garage, or somewhere else with good ventilation. You can also paint a small portion of the wall instead to minimize dust.

If you’re running low on arts and crafts ideas during shelter-in-place, why not grab a can of chalkboard paint this Friday, apply it while the kids are asleep, and rope it off until Monday morning? A chalkboard wall gives your little ones a stimulating outlet beyond virtual school and their favorite video channels. You and your kids will love making ideas come to life with good old-fashioned chalk.

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Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
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