After showing my newly painted chalkboard hallway yesterday, it only seems fitting to follow it up with a how-to on doing a vast expanse of DIY chalkboard paint. Buying it pre-made from the store or online is both expensive and limiting. I used this Martha Stewart article as my jumping point and went from there. This tutorial is even super green, and I don’t just mean the paint color!

You’ll need the following for your painting station:

  • drop cloths
  • sanding block
  • painter’s tape (I 100% recommend FrogTape)
  • two 2″ angled paintbrushes you won’t want to use again
  • paint stirrer
  • a measuring tablespoon
  • flat paint in the color of your choice*
  • unsanded tile grout (found in the tiling section)
  • clean chinese food or other #5 plastic containers large enough to hold 2-3 cups and wide enough to fit the brush comfortably
  • old magazine
  • ladder as needed

*I would recommend a medium color for your writing surface. Too light stains, and too dark will show the chalk dust really badly, though if neither of these bother you, choose any color you want! And it must be flat. No glossiness here.

Ready? OK!

1. Sand the walls for uneven spots. You want a flat surface to write on, right? I didn’t worry too hard about the tops and bottoms of the walls, but you can if you want.

2. Tape off the ceiling, windows, doorways. Remove any vent, light switch and electrical outlet covers.

3. Put down the drop cloth. Don’t be like me and think you’re good enough to avoid dropping paint. I don’t want you to have to Google “how to remove paint from hardwood floors.”

4. Prime the walls. Wait overnight for it to dry. Do not remove tape.

5. Paint the walls in your flat paint. Do not worry about being incredibly precise with even coverage. This is just the first coat. Let dry overnight. Do not remove tape.

6. Pour no more than two cups of paint into your #5 plastic container. Using your paint stirrer, keep the paint moving as you pour in one and a half tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix the grout in thoroughly. Immediately start painting. If you get little globs on the wall, paint over it until it flattens out. If it doesn’t, wipe it off and go over the spot again. Stir the paint completely in the container every so often to keep it from clumping. Go as far as the 2 cups will take you then return to your painting station.

7. Wipe the brush off on the magazine pages when you stop to refill your paint. Mix together another two cups of paint as noted above. Paint until you run out. Every two or three mixings, thick gook will collect around the edges and on the bottom of your cup. It’ll be obvious when you need to get rid of this stuff, as you’ll get more clumps on the wall. Brush them off and then pour that slop out into another container.

8. Mix, paint, wipe the brush off and remove gook until done. Before mixing a new batch of paint, remove the tape from the previously painted section to avoid the paint drying to the tape.

9. Once done, make sure all tape is removed, let dry overnight.

10. Use a piece of white chalk to run all over the walls to prime it for being written on. Wipe it off well, and doodle on your wall!

Do you see the tendencies towards reusing ordinary home products here? The plastic containers to paint holders, magazine to brush wiping apparatus, etc? Unfortunately there will be some waste from this project in the form of the used painter’s tape, the drop cloths (depending on how much you abuse them), and the paintbrushes that are used for the chalkboard paint are generally not very usable after getting the gritty paint up in the bristles. A little give and take is better than all take and no give though!


Enjoy your new doodle wall!