Homemade Chalkboard Paint- Tutorial

Did you know that you can make your own custom color chalkboard paint? I tried it out and not only is it inexpensive and easy, it actually works!

Before I tackled a wall or some other large, obvious surface, Mark convinced me I decided to test it out on something more easily fixable. This table and chair set was the perfect choice.

Not only will our younger children love to being able to write on the top, it desperately needed to be refinished anyway AND I already had this great dark brown paint left over from painting our accent wall in the dining room.

All you need is paint in the color of your choice. Flat is preferable, but I used satin and it turned out great. You also need unsanded tile grout.

  1. Mix 1 cup paint with 2 T. of the grout in a small container. Be sure to mix it thoroughly.
  2. Apply paint to the prepared surface with a roller or sponge brush.
  3. Do at least 2 coats to be certain of full and even coverage.
  4. When dry, smooth with 150-grit sandpaper.
  5. To condition rub side of chalk over the whole area and then wipe with a barely damp cloth.

After an afternoon of painting here is the finished product:

Now why didn’t I do that earlier?

While I had everything out, I decided to try it on the inside of the doors on our school desk. It worked.

Now I have the perfect place to write homework assignments and best of all it is hidden when guests come over.

Has anyone done this on a wall? Will I regret the amount of chalk dust it creates? How easy is it to clean a large area?

UPDATED:  I painted a whole wall with this paint.  You can now read about our chalkboard wall, how it turned out, how we use it and my answers to the above questions.

Want more “Works for Me, Wednesday? Visit We Are THAT Family or check out my other WFMW posts.

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48 Responses to Homemade Chalkboard Paint- Tutorial
  1. Laurel
    March 20, 2009 | 8:26 am

    That’s cool! The desk looks great!!!

    Laurel
    mama of 13

    [Reply]

  2. Roan
    March 20, 2009 | 8:05 am

    Do you mind if I list your blog on my bloglist? I want to read yours regularly.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Reply:

    Roan,
    Absolutely! I would be honored. Thank you.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  3. Bobbie Lynn
    March 20, 2009 | 8:16 am

    Kimberly,
    I have had chalk boards in my house for a long time. Everyone always recommends dry erase boards, but with young children it was not an option for me and my nice walls!! My youngest has Down syndrome and doesn’t quite understand the difference in a crayon, marker, pen, or chalk on wall surfaces, so having a chalk board and chalk readily available has always been a great mix! Great job!

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    Kimberly Reply:

    Thanks Bobbie Lynn.

    How is the dust and cleaning the wall? I’m thinking in my dining room, so it would be visible whenever we have guests.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  4. Smockity Frocks
    March 21, 2009 | 5:09 pm

    THAT is extremely cool!

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  5. Jenny
    March 25, 2009 | 12:21 am

    That is awesome!

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  6. Sheila
    March 25, 2009 | 7:45 am

    Very resourceful! The closest I’ve come to something that creative was painting a checkerboard on an old endtable then clear coating it.

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  7. Kate
    March 25, 2009 | 9:40 am

    Neat idea! I’ve always love the idea of chalkboard paint. =)

    ~Kate
    “Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?”
    http://proverbs14-1.blogspot.com

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  8. Suz
    March 25, 2009 | 10:14 am

    I have often thought of using chalkboard paint, but never thought of putting it on a table. Cute idea!

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  9. jubilee
    March 25, 2009 | 1:25 pm

    I painted a (small) wall once with store bought chalkboard paint. It turned out OK, but it wasn’t very smooth. The kids loved it. I put it in my scrap book room so my kids could be with me and guests would not see it. Yes, lots of chalk dust, but you vac anyway, so I didn’t stress.

    I am going to try your tutorial in our new house. Thanks for the tip.

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  10. Courtney
    March 25, 2009 | 1:47 pm

    wow I had no idea you could do your own paintcolor this way. I love the table and chair idea. Now I will have new ideas for garage sales this spring. great tip.

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  11. Sara
    March 25, 2009 | 2:02 pm

    This is great! My sister in law has a chalk board wall that she painted and her kids love it.

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  12. Ruth Saves $
    March 25, 2009 | 4:55 pm

    So creative! Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]

  13. Kristin
    March 25, 2009 | 8:53 pm

    I posted something about a year ago on how to get the best results from your chalk – which goes nicely with your post. Chalkboard chalk tip I wish I would have known about making my chalkboard a different color when I was painting my whole wall – but maybe next time.

    I love chalkbaords and chalk.

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  14. hi-d
    June 11, 2009 | 3:00 pm

    I know you posted this back in March, but I just found you and came to this particular post. I wanted to show you my chalkboard on my wall. I LOVE it! We use it all the time. Here it is in it’s latest state. http://haffnewie.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/activity-board/
    I really like your blog and will be back!

    [Reply]

    Raising Olives Reply:

    Your chalkboard is beautiful. I finally painted the wall in our dining room with the custom color paint. I hope to post about that soon. If there is no writing on it you can not even tell it is a chalk board.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  15. Nicki
    August 15, 2009 | 12:12 am

    I am getting ready to re-do a room for 3 of my kids, and I like the ability to custom-color the chalkboard paint. I’m going to do the closet door in brown to match the room colors. I also plan to do a table top for the kids to use out in the garage.

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  16. Someday Crafts
    August 17, 2009 | 12:57 pm

    why didn’t I think to paint a kids table in chalkboard paint? I’ve painted a wall, but not a table!!! Love it. I’m linking at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com (I got a lot of hits from your rain gutter bookshelves!)

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  17. Carol Ann
    September 4, 2009 | 11:14 pm

    While I don’t have small children who would appreciate having a chalkboard table, etc., I know what I am going to do with this. Paint the insides of several of my cupboard doors. For jotting items for my shopping list, for listing the menus for today’s meals, for phone messages…

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  18. Renee
    September 9, 2009 | 3:17 pm

    Cool, The desk is GREAT!

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  19. the inadvertent farmer
    September 15, 2009 | 5:31 pm

    I will have to try this on some jars!!! Thanks, Kim

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  20. fergus brown
    January 28, 2010 | 3:13 am

    This is so cool. Do you mind telling me what “2T” is?I think I have the grout in the attic!!
    Ferg

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  21. Renee
    January 28, 2010 | 12:17 pm

    2T is 2 Tablespoons :)

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  22. CJ
    March 22, 2010 | 1:05 pm

    Great idea. Please take a different picture as your show and tell photo of the chalkboard wall. The present one has a small f to start the word Friday.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    That is the way that I write a capital F. :)

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  23. Brandi @ Frugal Farmhouse
    March 23, 2010 | 9:10 pm

    this is perfect for my new obsession with chalkboard paint. that stuff is EXPENSIVE!! thank you thank you :)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’d love to hear how this compares with the “real” stuff.

    [Reply]

  24. [...] more ideas including how to make your own chalkboard paint check out my Create category or look through my other categories located just above my [...]

  25. Allie
    May 27, 2010 | 8:35 pm

    That is amazing!!! I have been seriously considering painting my son’s sliding closet doors with chalkboard paint, but I always balk because of the cost and the fact that it has to be black. This is the perfect alternative.

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  26. Katherine Grace
    October 26, 2011 | 12:31 pm

    Am I reading this right? You don’t use the “real” chalk board paint, but just the grout and a colored paint? I’d love to do my whole wall in this, but the real stuff is so expensive! Thanks Kimberly! I LOVE your site!! You have been a hugh blessing in helping to organize our large family! Blessings!! :)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Katherine Grace,

    Yes, you read that right, just grout and regular paint. :)

    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    [Reply]

  27. Claire
    November 8, 2011 | 3:11 am

    I gave this chalkboard paint a try too. MY daughter wanted a purple wall. I used acrylic paint (non glossy) and tile grout (no specification if it is sanded or not on the boxes in Belgium, only 1 kind). It does not work… My daughter cured with white chalk. I can’t wash the chalk off anymore, it leaves a very white residue all over. What went wrong? I hope you can help me!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Claire.

    I’m sorry that this didn’t work out for you. My guess would be that you used SANDED grout rather than the un-sanded. Nearly all of the grout that I saw was sanded and they only carried one type of un-sanded grout. I’m not sure why un-sanded is so important, but it is.

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  28. Claire
    November 8, 2011 | 11:53 am

    Hi Kimberley,

    Thanks for your reply. I will ask in the DIY shop then. Good to hear that unsanded is uncommon for you too, I was just wondering. I’ll let you know if that is what it was! :-D

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  29. Roxanne
    November 10, 2011 | 11:09 am

    Thanks so much for posting this! Do you know if you can use sanded grout instead? I failed to specify when hubby went to the hardware store….I’d sure hate to waste it.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Roxanne.

    Claire (in the comments above yours) said her chalkboard paint did not turn out well (the chalk won’t erase). She used sanded grout. I’m not sure if that was the problem, but I don’t think I’d risk it.

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  30. Roxanne
    November 11, 2011 | 8:52 pm

    So sorry! I read most of the responses, but I guess I missed that one! Well, thank you for taking the time to answer the same question again. My husband still had the receipt for the sanded grout, so he just exchanged it for the one I needed. Can’t wait to mix it up! Thank you for you wonderful site! It really helps us feel connected with other big, happy families!

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  31. Amy
    February 25, 2012 | 12:24 pm

    I am just curious if you think that tile mortar would work the same way as the non-sanded grout? I already have a bag of tile mortar and I’m only wanting to do a small chalkboard so I really don’t want to go out and buy a big bag of grout just for 4 T. of grout. Especially if I could use what I already have lying around. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m not sure, but I know that one of my readers used sanded rather than unsanded grout and it really messed up her wall, so I would be hesitant to try.

    The unsanded grout that my hubby bought came in a 1 lb. bag and only cost a couple of dollars.

    [Reply]

  32. Felica Workman
    April 13, 2012 | 10:26 am

    HELLPPPPP my daughter gets the “unveil” of her new room tonight ,, well I followed the instructions. But when I went to write on the door the paint is coming off with the chalk! What can I do to fix this? There are 4 doors done with this afraid to try the others ones due to time.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m sorry I’m not going to be much help as we didn’t experience anything like this.

    The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the paint you used isn’t compatible with the paint your painting over. Not sure why else it would peal??

    Maybe someone else has a better suggestion…

    [Reply]

    Felica Workman Reply:

    thanks… i guess i am just going to go buy chalk board paint :o/

    [Reply]

  33. Carol
    April 13, 2012 | 11:05 am

    If the paint is coming off, it has obviously not adhered properly to the undersurface. This is not likely to be due to the paint itself, but rather the condition of the undersurface. There are two possibilities I can think of. The finish on the doors should have been sanded to give it enough tooth for the blackboard paint to “grab” onto. If not sanded enough, the paint cannot hold to the slick surface. If sanded too much (the finish completely sanded off to bare wood), a primer would need to be applied prior to the blackboard paint to seal the wood and provide the tooth.

    [Reply]

    Felica Workman Reply:

    thanks carol! I actually have primer so I am just going to try again. only one of 4 doors did it and only in one small spot — weird! thanks so much !

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  34. Carol
    April 13, 2012 | 1:09 pm

    You are very welcome, Felicia. One additional suggestion. Let the primer dry at least 24 hours before putting on the chalkboard paint so that the primer has time to cure. One thin coat of primer should be sufficient.

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    Rose R. Reply:

    Just a note. It is possible to use sanded grout. I got a good price on sanded grout (10 lbs for 2)I figured I had nothing to lose so I tried it with the $1/ half gallon paint I picked up. Seems to working fine.No problems so far. It has been a week.

    [Reply]

  35. Michelle
    March 8, 2014 | 9:50 pm

    Love it! I would like to do something for my outdoor tables. Could the paint get wet and still be functional?

    [Reply]

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